.pdf of the Bassett Family Register Report
.pdf of the Bassett Family Descendant Chart

The Bassett family's story is an interesting and tragic one. William Bassett, Sr. survived the early death of his father and being spirited across the Atlantic at age 11 to become a 17th-century war hero during both the King Philips' War & King William's War and a leader of the fledgling Lynn, Essex co., MA community. He then lived to see his children -- the third generation of Bassetts in this line -- absolutely decimated by the 1692 Salem Witchcraft Hysteria. Thanks go to The Nova Anglia Company of Salem, Essex co., MA whose book The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Documentary History of 1692 provides the unvarnished original court documents in most of the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria cases. All transcriptions of the trial proceedings and other legal documents pertaining to the Salem Trials come from this source.

Three of William & Sarah's 12 children were touched by the Salem Witch Hysteria prosecution. Their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, who married John Proctor, lost her husband and everything they had built together. Thomas Lecheford's letter describing how nasty the Sheriff was when he took everything from the home is heart-rending. Two of her children were arrested, tortured and tried and she, herself, was convicted and sentenced to death. Only her pregnancy prevented her execution. By the time she had given birth, the Hysteria was over and she was not hung. William, Jr.'s wife, Sarah [Hood], was also arrested, tortured and tried for witchcraft. Finally, William Sr. & Sarah's daughter Mary, wife of Michael De Rich, was also arrested, tortured and tried for witchcraft. Why this family was so plagued by this hysteria would make for an interesting investigation. The only clue I have is William Bassett, Sr.'s signature on a petition against John Hathorne for serving strong drink. I believe that either this John Hathorne or a near relative was the same John Hathorne who was one of the Salem Hysteria judges.

Heinous as the Salem Witch Hysteria was, it was also a pivotal moment in Colonial history which changed American Jurisprudence to this day. Read, especially, the case of Elizabeth [Bassett] & John Proctor. Sheriff George Corwin of Essex County, MA was especially sadistic in his attempts to extract "confessions" from the accused. In his letter to the Boston clergy, John Proctor describes the hog-tying of his teenage son in an attempt by Corwin to extract a confession of witchcraft from him. This was apparently not out of the ordinary for Corwin. (Legend has it that a curse was laid by Giles Corey upon anyone who holds the office of Essex County Sheriff...and enough odd events have befallen those who have done so to keep the legend alive into the 21st century) Regardless, changes to the way juries were chosen, confessions were obtained and -- most importantly -- that one was innocent until proven guilty (instead of the traditional other way around) were implemented after this judicial monstrosity. In addition, the use of "spectral evidence" and humiliating "physical examinations" in search of marks of the devil fell out of favor in American courts after this time.

It is also worth nothing that after 1692, several of the Bassetts became Quakers: marrying into known Quaker families; burial in the Friends' Burying Ground & either a lack of birth dates for their children or the birth dates are in Old Style well into the 1700s. Not surprising.

Name variations include: Baset, Basset, Bassett and Bassit.

Generation Husband
Wife Person #s


William BASSETT, SR.
Sarah [surname not known]

William BASSETT, JR.
Abigail BERRY
Nathan BREED

Return to Maddison Side Tree page.
Return to Family Index page. Return to Surname Index page.

email comments, suggestions, fixes and general mischievious mayhem to the web diva.

all the content on this page is copyrighted ©1992-2002 by Kristin C. Hall.
please drop me a line, if you wish to use it or link to it.

many thanks!

SPECIAL THANKS TO for the nifty background! Check our her sites, they are terrific!