|Roger Bassett||Ann Holland||Hugh Burt||Ursula (Surname Unknown)|
|b. England||b. abt. 1602 in Dorking, Surrey, England||bp. 9 Aug 1590 Dorking, Surrey, England||b. abt. 1594 in England|
|d.1623 in Dorking Surrey, England||d. 7 Mar 1673 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts||d. 2 Nov 1661 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts||buried 3 Oct 1623 in Dorking, Surrey, England|
|William Bassett||Sarah Burt|
|b. 30 May 1624 in Dorking, Surrey, England||b. Bef. 1623 in Dorking, Surrey, England|
|d. 31 Mar 1703 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts||d. Aft. 1703 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts|
|Marriage||Abt. 1645||William Bassett to Sarah Burt|
|Elizabeth Bassett b. abt. 1647 in Lynn; m. 1) 1 Apr 1674 in Salem John Proctor (b. 9 Oct 1631 in Assington, Suffolk, England, d. 9 Aug 1692 in Salem); seven children: William, Sarah, Samuel, Elisha, Abigail, Joseph, and John Proctor; m. 2) 22 Sep 1699 Daniel Richards in Lynn|
|Sarah Bassett b. abt. 1649 in Lynn; m. 23 May 1676 in Gloucester Thomas Elwell (b. 12 Nov 1654 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, d. 25 Apr 1706 in Pilesgrove Township, Salem, New Jersey; seven children: Sarah, Thomas, Mary, William, Elizabeth, John, and Samuel Elwell; d. 26 Apr 1707, Salem County, New Jersey|
|William Bassett, Jr. b. abt. 1651 in Lynn; m. 25 Oct 1675 in Lynn Sarah Hood (b. 2 Aug 1657 and d. 1721 in Lynn); nine children: Sarah, William, Mary, John, Hannah, Ruth, Joseph, Deliverance, and Abigail Bassett; d. 16 Oct 1732 in Lynn|
|John Bassett b. Nov 1653 in Lynn; m. abt. 1683 Mary (surname Unknown) (d. aft. 1735 in Marblehead); eight children: Deborah, Sarah, John, Hannah, William, Michael, Merriam, and Abigail Bassett; d. 9 Dec 1735 in Marblehead|
|Miriam Bassett b. Sep 1655 in Lynn; m. 1681 in Marblehead Ephraim Sandin, Sr. (b. 1654 and d. Aug 1731 in Marblehead; nine children: Mary, Ephraim Jr., Sarah, Elizabeth, John, William, Hannah, Miriam, and Charity Sandin; d, aft. Aug 1731 in Marblehead|
|Mary Bassett b. Mar 1657/58 in Lynn; m. 1657 Michael DeRich (b. 1645 in Lynn, d. 23 May 1692 in Salem); one child: John De Rich; d. 1712 in Marblehead|
|Hannah Bassett b. 25 Feb 1660 in Lynn; d. bef. 1670 in Lynn|
|Elisha Bassett b. abt. 1662 in Lynn; m. by 1689 Elizabeth Collins (b. 8 Apr, 1666); four children: Hannah, Elizabeth, Elisha, and Daniel; possibly others: Richard, Zebedee, and William Bassett; d. aft. 1713 in Pilegrove, Salem County, New Jersey|
|Samuel Bassett b. 18 Mar 1663/64 ; d. after 1701 probably in Pilegrove, Salem County, New Jersey|
|Rachel Bassett b. 13 Mar 1666 in Lynn; m. 23 Jan 1693 in Lynn Ephraim Selsbee (b. 1660, d. 19 Sep 1728 in Lynn); four children: Henry, Mary, Rachel, Ephraim Selsbee; d. 10 Feb 1701 in Lynn; after in Lynn|
|Rebeckah Bassett b. 1668 in Lynn; d. aft. 1701|
|Hannah Bassett b. abt. 1670 in Lynn; ; m. 1691 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts John Lilley (b. 5 Dec 1662 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts , d. 1762 in Woburn); six children: John, Hannah, Sarah, Rebecca, Susanna, and Phebe Lilley|
Three of the children of William and Sarah Burt Bassett were involved in the Salem Witchcraft Trials that deeply affected their families. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, her husband, a step-son, one of her sons, and her daughter, Sarah, were all taken into custody, and the young men were tortured for testimony. Her husband, John Proctor, was hanged and Elizabeth escaped the same fate by virtue of being pregnant . Her brother William's wife, Sarah Good Bassett, was imprisoned in Boston for several months. Their sister, Mary De Rich was also imprisoned and had the added heartbreak of her only child John testifying against various of the victims after his father and her husband, Michael, died while she was in jail. The Salem Witchcraft trials made memorable history in America, and that period in Salem has been the subject of many writings, films, and Arthur Miller's well known play The Crucible, which featured (with some liberties) John and Elizabeth Proctor. Two premises of American law stemmed from the series of events in Salem: the concept of innocence until proven guilty; and the concept of cruel and unusual punishment.
William Bassett and his wife, Sarah Burt, who was also his step sister, lived their lives in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. One genealogical notation about Sarah Burt is that "proof" she was the Sarah, daughter of Hugh, was based on narrative of their day and cannot be substantiated in any records. William and Sarah had a large family, most all of whom survived to adulthood and populated various areas including Lynn, Marblehead, western New Jersey, and Woburn, Massachusetts.
Several Bassetts immigrated to the colonies in the seventeenth century, and two of these were "Williams" who arrived at about the same time in Massachusetts. All of the early New England Bassetts here are mentioned, because they are sometimes confused with each other -- especially the two Williams who arrived in Massachusetts.
1. William Bassett of Plymouth, Massachusetts, who arrived on the Fortune in 1621
2. William Bassett of Lynn, Massachusetts, who arrived on the Abigail in 1635
3. John Bassett of New Haven, Connecticut, who died there in 1652
4. William Bassett of New Haven, Connecticut, who died there in 1684
5. Thomas Bassett of Fairfield, Connecticut, who arrived on the Christian in 1635.
Our William Bassett was born in 1624 in Dorking, Surrey, England to Roger Bassett and his wife Ann Holland Bassett. William's baptismal certificate is still on file at St. Martin's Church, which also ascertains the names of his parents. He is the only one of the above-listed Bassetts whose parentage is known (so ignore the lineage to "De Bassetts" and the royal families of England spotted in some user trees). Roger and Ann Bassett were married in St. Martin’s Church, Dorking, County Surrey, England, on 27 Apr 1623. The marriage record still exists there as does the 30 May 1624 baptismal certificate for son William. Genealogists assume he was their only child.
William Bassett was registered (age 9) on 17 Jun 1635 for passage on the ship Abigail, which sailed from England and arrived in Massachusetts later that year. His name appears as the only Bassett on board with his mother Ann Burt, her husband Hugh Burt, and Hugh Burt's son, Edward (8). Hugh Burt, Jr. at age 15 was registered on 1 July 1635 by Shipmaster Robert Blackwell for the same passage.
The Burt family settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Hugh Burt’s name appears among the original inhabitants of Lynn, who were given land in 1638. William was given enough education to read and write as evidenced by the signing of his own will and that of Hugh Alley in 1673. His inventory at death also included books.
William married in approximately 1646 a woman named Sarah. According to Lewis and Newhall in the Annals of Lynn, William married Sarah Burt in 1640. However, there is no proof that Hugh Burt had a daughter of this name, and her surname and the year of their marriage are both in question. No record of her baptism exists with those of Hugh Burt’s other children at St. Martin’s Church in Dorking, and her name does not appear among the list of passengers on the Abigail. Hugh Burt refers in his will to “my son Will Bassett”, and refers to no daughters. Nevertheless, many genealogists name his wife as Sarah Burt, daughter of his step-father, Hugh.
There are many records from Lynn, Massachusetts which tell us something of William's life there. He was active in the community, participated in several real estate transactions, and served in the military, as evidenced by the records abstracted below:
William Bassett died on March 31, 1703 at Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. His will was probated on May 22, 1703. "The inventory of the estate of 'William Basset of Lyn.' taken 23 April 1703, totaled £110 14s., of which £74 was real estate: 'one old house, half a barn " seven acres " half of land.' £67 10s.; and 'one piece of salt marsh lying by the beach.' £6 10s..."[2,13]
Three of William’s adult children (and/or their families) were direct victims of the horrendous travesty of the Salem witch trials that occurred in 1692.
Elizabeth Bassett Proctor’s husband John Proctor, was 20 years or so older than she and a prosperous farmer in the community. In 1668, Proctor obtained a license to operate a tavern, which he named the Proctor Tavern. This new business, which was located on Ipswich Road about half a mile south of the Salem Village boundary, became very lucrative for Proctor and made him a wealthy man. Elizabeth was his third wife, and he brought with him to the household some of the children of his earlier marriages. John had four children with his first wife Martha Giddens, who died in childbirth in 1659, and six with his second wife Elizabeth Thorndike, who died in 1736. Together Elizabeth and John had seven children of their own, one of whom was born while she was in prison after John was hanged.
Elizabeth's grandmother Ann (Holland) Bassett Burt, a Quaker and a midwife, had been brought up on charges of witchcraft in 1669. As she was not a doctor, but was successful at curing the sick, some people felt she could only have medical skills if she were a witch; one of those who testified against Ann was Phillip Read, a doctor. The Puritans felt there was something "witch like" about Quakers. Could the stigma of being her granddaughter have contributed to Elizabeth’s trials?
The accusations began with a servant in the Proctor household, Mary Warren, who, in March 1692 began to have fits, and saying she saw the specter (ghost) of Giles Corey. John Proctor was dismissive of her claims (as he was of all the accusations) and worked her harder. He felt that witchcraft should be suspected of the bewitched girls themselves and not of the respectable women of the village. His negative reactions to the girls' accusations caused Elizabeth to become one of the next accused of practicing witchcraft. On March 29, 1692, Abigail Williams and Mercy Lewis again said they were being tormented by Elizabeth's specter. A few days later, Abigail again complained that Elizabeth was pinching her and tearing at her bowels, and said she saw Elizabeth’s specter as well as John’s.
In April 1692, 31 men from Ipswich, Massachusetts filed a petition attesting to the upstanding character of John and Elizabeth and denying that they had ever seen anything that would indicate they were witches. In May 1692, a similar petition was filed on behalf of John and Elizabeth containing signatures of 20 men & women, including several of the wealthiest landowners of Topsfield, Massachusetts and Salem Village. It questioned spectral evidence, to the Christian lives that John and Elizabeth had led, stated that they “were ever ready to help such as stood in need of their help” and stated that they had no reason to believe they were witches.
On June 2, 1692, a male doctor and several women completed a physical examination of Elizabeth and several of the other accused. They looked for birth defects, moles, or other markings that they believed were a sign that the person was a witch, and found none.
On July 23, Proctor wrote a letter to the clergy of Boston pleading with them to appoint different judges or move the trials to Boston where he felt they would get a fair trial. In his letter, he described the torture used against the prisoners, particularly against his son William, and declared that the accused were innocent victims.*
Reverend Gentlemen, The innocency of our case, with the enmity of our accusers an our judges and jury, whom nothing but our innocent blood will serve, having condemned us already before our trials, being so much incensed and enraged against us by the devil, makes us bold to beg and implore your favourable assistance of this our humble tradition to his excellency, that if possible our innocent blood may be spared, which undoubtedly otherwise will be shed, if the Lord doth not mercifully step in; the magistrates, ministers, juries and all the people in general, being so much enraged and incensed against us by the delusions of the devil, which we can term no other, by reason we know in our own consciences we are all innocent persons. Here are five persons who have lately confessed themselves to be witches, and do accuse some of us being along with them at a sacrament, since we were committed into close prison, which we know to be lies. Two of the five are (Carrier’s sons) young men, who would not confess anything till they tied them neck and heels, till the blood was ready to come out their noses; and it is credibly believed and reported that this was the occasion of making them confess what they never did, by reason the said one had been a witch a month. And another five weeks my son William Proctor, when he was examined, because he would not confess that he was guilty, when he was innocent, they tied him neck and heels till the blood gushed out at his nose, and would have kept him so twenty-four hours, if one, more merciful than the rest, had not taken pity on him, and caused him to be unbound. These actions are very like the popish cruelties. They have already undone us in our estates, and that will not serve their turns without our innocent blood. If I cannot be granted that we can have our trials in Boston, we humble beg that you would endeavour to have these magistrates change, and other’s in their rooms; begging also and beseeching you would be pleased to be here. if not all, some of you, at our trials, hoping thereby you may by means of saving the shedding of our innocent blood. Desiring your prayers to the Lord on our behalf, we rest your poor afflicted servants.
On August 2, 1692, the court met in Salem to discuss the fate of John and Elizabeth and several others. At some point during this time, John wrote his will, but he did not include Elizabeth. Some speculate that he assumed she would be executed along with him. In spite of the petitions and testimonies from friends, both John and Elizabeth were found guilty, and were sentenced to death on August 5, 1692. Elizabeth, who was pregnant at the time, was granted a stay of execution until after the birth of her baby. In May, three of the Proctor’s children, Benjamin, Sarah and William, had also been accused of witchcraft and arrested.*
Eight ministers met to discuss the letter and the fate of the victims, but on August 19, 1692, John was executed along with George Burroughs, John Willard, George Jacobs, Sr., and Martha Carrier. (Sarah Churchwell, granddaughter of our ancestor Richard Bonython, and John De Rich, son of Mary Bassett DeRich had testified against Jacobs). As an interesting side note, the Churchills had been driven out of their homes in Maine by the Indians, and some of the accusers had also survived these attacks. PTSD might have been a factor. Elizabeth remained in jail. Action was eventually taken on the petition that John had filed to save his life and that of Elizabeth, but it was too late for John. Elizabeth gave birth to their son, whom she named John III, while still in prison, and by the time he was born, the hysteria had passed. She was released.
Though Elizabeth was free, the ordeal was not over for her, for in the eyes of the law, she had been convicted. The law stated that possessions would be seized when someone was convicted. The Proctors' possessions had been confiscated long before their trials, and Elizabeth could not claim any of John's property, some of which had been salvaged by this time. She could not regain her dowry because legally, she no longer existed. Elizabeth petitioned the General Court for reversal of attainder to restore her legal rights. No action was taken for seven years, even though it was now widely accepted that innocent people had been wrongly convicted.
On April 19, 1697, the probate court at Salem ordered the Proctor heirs to give Elizabeth her dowry. On September 22, 1699, Elizabeth married her second husband, Daniel Richards, in Lynn, Massachusetts. The public demanded that the courts apologize, and a written apology was issued on March 18, 1702. In July 1703, an address was made to the General Court requesting the petitions from the families be granted. Finally, action was taken to obtain the reversal of attainder for Elizabeth. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill formally disallowing spectral evidence, but reversing attainder only for those who had filed petitions. This bill applied to Elizabeth and her husband, plus Rebecca Nurse.
John and Elizabeth Proctor were the central characters in Arthur Miller's play (and subsequent movie, The Crucible. Miller characterized John Proctor as a man much younger than the 60 that was his true age, and also depicted an affair with the servant who accused them. That servant was very young at the time, and historians doubt the affair. The troubles that came to the Proctors may have come from Hathorne, one of the prosecutors, who had earlier lost a case to Elizabeth's father, William Bassett. The Proctors are also described in the book The Devil in Massachusetts by Marion Starkey, written in 1949.
William, Jr., the son of William and Sarah Burt Bassett, was married to Sarah Hood. Sarah, like so many of her neighbors, was accused of being a witch in 1692. She was tried at Salem on 21 May 1692 and imprisoned in Boston until 3 December 1692. She gave birth to her son, Joseph, on 15 December, shortly after being released. In addition, she took her 22-month old child (probably Ruth) with her to prison. She named her next daughter "Deliverance" in honor of her freedom. In 1693, she was recompensed £9 for her experience.
The third of William and Sarah Burt Bassett's children to be affected by the witchcraft lunacy was his daughter Mary, who was married to Michael DeRich. She was tried, and imprisoned, but not sentenced for execution. Her only child, a son, testified against her and others, and her husband died while she was in prison.
After the ordeal of the trials, some of the Bassett family joined or continued in the the Quaker Church, and many of the third generation married into Quaker families.
Citation: Great Migration 1634-1635 A-B (Online database. New EnglandAncestors.org, New England Historic, Genealogical Society, 2008. Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635. Volume 1, A-B by Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn, Jr. and Melinda Lutz Sanborn. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society 1999.
* History of Massachusetts.org, Rebecca Beatrice Brooks
Genealogical publishings and probate material are our best proof of relationship for the Bassetts.
The goal of this project is to trace every line of ancestry to the arrival of its first immigrant to America. The basic information of each couple is considered complete when we know the dates of birth, marriage, and death for both spouses. their parents' names (or whether they were the immigrant), and the child or children in our ancestry line.
The research on this family is basically complete.