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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #48: William Bassett, Pilgrim, arrived on the Fortune

     It has been a source of some frustration to me that I have not been able to find a Mayflower passenger among my ancestors. This despite the fact that many ancestral lines go back to the 1600's in New England in both my father's and my mother's families. Even some in Plymouth. You'd think you'd somebody could have married a descendant of a Mayflower Passenger, right? So every year at Thanksgiving I review all the lines again  and look to see if I've missed a Mayflower ancestor. So this year I didn't find that (I did find a couple of spouses of cousins who had Mayflower ancestry but that doesn't count.). But I did find William Bassett, who came on the SECOND ship, the Fortune which arrived a year after the Mayflower in 1621.  It arrived on 9 Nov 1621, according to what I've read, after the first Thanksgiving.  The truth, though, is that no one has an exact date for that feast, it's thought to have been somewhere in October or early November 1621.  So it's possible he was there. But I think my father would find it amusing and a telling part of family lore to say that he missed it!

     William Bassett was born in Sandwich, Kent, England in 1600, possibly the son of William Bassett and Cecily Light.  He came to the Plymouth Colony in 1621 aboard The Fortune as noted above.  His wife, Elizabeth, was also on the ship and they married shortly after arrival. They had five children.  William was a blacksmith and was one of the wealthier and more prominent men in the town.  He acquired land in Duxbury and in Bridgewater and was one of the proprietors of Bridgewater.  He served in several town and court positions.  He had the largest library of any of the Pilgrims. His inventory after death lists more than twenty books, mostly theological, at a value of over 9 pounds. His wife died prior to 1651 when he married a widow, Mary Tilden Lapham. He died on 4 Apr 1667 in Bridgewater, leaving a last will and testament.

     William didn't come on the Mayflower but he was one of the earliest Pilgrims, a leader in the community and one of the founders of this country. The Pilgrims who came on the first four ships, with the Fortune being the second, called themselves the "First Comers", S

o he was a first comer to this country. And he was a reader which makes me feel a kinship even over the centuries!

1 comment:

  1. Coming the second year seems right to me. I don't think we have a tradition of adventurers or "early adopters." But having a personal library--that fits the family mold!