Tag Archives: Ohio

52 Ancestors story #28: Questions for Elizabeth Stone Bassett

Elizabeth Stone Bassett 1773-1829

It is tempting to glamorize the life of Elizabeth Stone Bassett. After all, she had a father who fought in the American Revolution and she herself was a pioneer in Ohio territory. But was it a satisfying life–or a frustrating one? It certainly ended far too soon.

I wish that I knew more about Elizabeth Stone Bassett.

The little I can glean from the basic statistics – birth-marriage-children-migration-death – leaves me with more questions than answers.

Elizabeth Stone was the daughter of Jeduthan Stone, Minuteman and American Revolution Soldier of Rutland, Massachusetts. As I mentioned in the story about Jeduthan, my 3 x great-grandmother was born just seven months after her parents were married. The pre-Revolution times were already turbulent, and when she was two years old, her father marched off toward Bunker Hill for the first full-fledged battle of the Revolution.

A Late Marriage

My main question for Elizabeth is, “Why did you not get married until you were 30 years old?”  Elizabeth Stone married the younger William Bassett (b. 1776) in 1804. While that is a more common age for marriage now, in Colonial times, girls generally married around 20 if not before. Of course my mind toys with possibilities.

  • She might have been married before she met William Bassett and been widowed. If so, I have found no record of that marriage. With the voluminous documenting of the Bassetts, this does not seem to be a likely scenario.
  • Since Elizabeth was the oldest child, she might have been needed at home. After all, her 4-year-younger brother, Augustus (b. 1777), was blind, and he did not marry until he was 31 (in 1809). And her younger sister Patty (b. 1780) never did marry, which generally indicates a health or mental problem that would need extra care. Of her other four siblings, only Willard (b. 1776), born three years after Elizabeth, was married by 1804 when William Bassett and Elizabeth married.
  • Getting married late ran in the family.  Elizabeth’s mother was 29 when she married Jeduthan.  Her brothers married at 24, 31 and 29. However, her two sisters who married were 23.
  • She could have had some flaw–unattractive, terribly shy, misbehavior.  Given the appearance of her grand daughter Harriette Morgan Stout,  and the very religious nature of the Bassetts and Stones, unattractive and misbehaving seem unlikely.  If she was shy, she must have had great character to overcome her reticence and leave familiar territory to move from Rutland Massachusetts to Keene, New Hampshire and then to far away Keene, Ohio.

A Houseful of Daughters

Was it disappointing to have no sons?

When Elizabeth and William married in 1804, records identify his residence as Packersfield, New Hampshire or Keene Township.  That town, now Nelson, was experiencing a small boom in population and the residents actively resisted high tariffs against European trade. The newlyweds moved back to  Packersfield. There, they had (possibly) six daughters, only five of which I have been able to document.

1805: Elizabeth (Eliza) Bassett (Emerson)

1807: Martha Belding Bassett (Smith)

1810: Mary Bassett (Platt, Morgan), my 2x great grandmother

1812: Sarah (Sally) Bassett

1814: Laura/Lura Bassett

Mary Bassett's chest

Mary Bassett’s chest traveled from New Hamshire to Keene Ohio on a wagon, and 140 years later from Ohio to Arizona on a moving van.

When they made the move after twenty-three years of marriage, with everything they owned packed away in chests and boxes, the girls ranged from 13 to 22 years old. The two older sisters wasted no time when they got to Ohio–Martha marrying Sidney Smith in November 1828. According to the family account (not my family) mentioned below, Eliza married Enos Emerson on the same day. Mary Bassett married her first husband, Ashiell Platt in 1829.

However, it appears that Sarah never married, since she is shown in subsequent census reports living with Benjamin and Laura Stone (whom I believe is Laura Bassett and husband.)

An Adventurous Move

The other big question in my mind is how did you, Elizabeth Stone Bassett, feel about moving away from your family–particularly to the “wild west” of a canal town in Coshocton County, Ohio?

Various accounts date the move to Ohio at between 1826 and 1828. One family  story (not my family) which you can see here, says that William went first in 1827, and Elizabeth followed with the girls the following year. They traveled “by wagon to Troy, New York; by barge to Buffalo; by boat on Lake Erie to Cleveland and by wagon to Keene, Ohio.” That adventure would have required a lot of moxie from Elizabeth. The account is convincing since it appears to be a story handed down in the family from one of Elizabeth’s sisters.

My family records indicate that Elizabeth’s daughter Mary was 16 when they moved, which would date the move 1826 or 27.

Was it Worth It?

Did you think the move was worth it, to see your daughters–or at least most of them–settled in good marriages? Were you tired and ill after the rigorous trip from New Hampshire to Ohio?

Neither Elizabeth Stone Bassett nor William Bassett lived long after the move to Ohio–Elizabeth died in September 1829, at the age of 56 and just one month before her mother died back in Massachusetts. William died in 1833 at 54.

They are buried in the Old Keene Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Ohio.


Elizabeth Stone Bassett

Elizabeth Stone Bassett Old Presbyterian Church, Keene, Ohio gravestone

This has been my weekly ancestor story as part of the 52 Ancestors Challenge.  To see other people’s fascinating stories, go to No Story Too Small.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan Stout, the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett Morgan, the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone Basset and William Bassett.

Notes on Research

  • Cemeteries of Ohio, Genealogical Publishing Com pg. 116 reproduces the words from the gravestones of several members of Stone families.
  • Other details of relationships, birth and death dates come from records found through Ancestry.com
  • Research notes from Daughters of the American Revolution, prepared for my grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson probably in the 1930s or 1940s.
  • Some information is from “The Family Forest Descendents of Lady Joan Beaufort” by Bruce Harrison, found in a Google Search for Stone and Bassett names.
  • History of Coshocton County: Its Past and Present 1740-1841 Compiled by N. N. Hill, Jr. (Available on line from Google Books.)
  • The gravestone picture is borrowed from Find a Grave and the photographer is Todd James Dean.
  • Family tales and Bible records sketched the story of the move from Keene (township) New Hampshire to Keene (township) Ohio.


Father of Ohio

General Rufus Putnam House Rutland Massachusetts. Photo in public domain, from Library of Congress

Ahh, the connections.  Not only was Rutland, Massachusetts (home of many of my ancestors named Stone) settled mainly by people from Sudbury, Massachusetts (another base of many ancestors), but Rutland was known as the Cradle of Ohio (the eventual landing place for most of my immediate family), because of General Rufus Putnam (1737-1824).

Rufus Putnam, a native of Rutland, fought in the French and Indian Wars and played a large role in the American Revolution. In 1786, Rufus Putnam with a few others established the Ohio Company and in 1788 settled the first town in Ohio, Marietta, on the Ohio River. About 50 people from Rutland moved to the Northwest Territory with him. Thus Rufus Putnam was known as a father of the Northwest Territory and Rutland as the Cradle of Ohio.


52 Ancestors: #26 Why Did William Bassett Leave Keene?

William Bassett 1779-1833

Keene New Hampshire

Current day picture of Keene NH United Church of Christ

In 1826,  William Bassett and his wife Elizabeth Stone Bassett and their five daughters packed up a wagon in Keene, New Hampshire, and headed out for the new settlement of Keene, Ohio. It had been two centuries since the first William Bassett arrived in North America. Both pioneering families–the Bassetts and the Stones had spread throughout Massachusetts and into neighboring states by the 1800s.

Stagecoach moving west

A Stagecoach going West. Photo by the author.

My 3rd-great-grandfather, William Bassett, who was in a sense a pioneer when he settled in Ohio, actually came along SIX generations after the real pioneer William Bassett,–a member of the Plymouth Colony who arrived in 1621. (Why he wasn’t stepping ashore at Plymouth Rock in 1620 is another story for another day.) Ironically, I have far more information about the men on either side of this William than I do on William himself.

What persuaded William to move his family to Ohio? Was it a worthwhile move?

Click here to see the journey. (At least the start and end, since I’m not sure what roads were available to them.)

Keene New Hampshire

Keene New Hampshire

New Hampshire land disputes. Photo from Wiki Commons

Keene NH lies in the southwest of New Hampshire, in an area that was once disputed territory, with first Massachusetts and then both Vemont and New York claiming it.

Samuel Bassett, who had been born in Norton Massachusetts, lived in Keene ,New Hampshire when he enlisted in the colonial army in 1775. He married William’s mother, Martha Belding in Swanzey, a smaller town just slightly south of Keene, and William was born in Keene in 1779.

During the period between 1750 and 1790, WIlliam’s family in Keene had been subject to constant fighting about overlapping claims of three states. At first Vermont was considered part of the colony of New Hampshire. The New York claims to territory west of the Connecticut River spurred the formation of the Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen, to protect those settlers in what were known as New Hampshire grants.

Once New York was discouraged from poaching land in the New Hampshire grants, Vermont and New Hampshire fought over territory, and the people of Keene wished to stay with New Hampshire.

New Hampshire  officially became a state in 1788, with the line between Vermont and New Hampshire designated as the path of the Connecticut River.  Congress admitted Vermont in 1791 with the proviso that they should give up claims to New Hampshire East of the Connecticut River.

Keene New Hampshire in 1800s

The War of 1812 was demoralizing to the people due to disagreements about support of the war. Morality campaigns began to encourage those who had begun to ignore church. The town fathers felt it necessary to appoint tythingmen to insure that people paid to support the churches and remembered to attend churche on Sunday. William’s father Samuel, was appointed one of the first tythingmen in 1814.

Keene, New Hampshire in 1826 was a thriving community, growing fast, with many schools, churches, a new hotel, businesses of all sorts. It had recovered from the Revolutionary War and even held theatrical performances.  The most promising new mode of transportation was by steamboat on river and canal systems, and a company formed to finance locks along the Connecticut River.  One of the committee was a Belding (related to William’s mother.)

But despite all these signs of a healthy community, religion continued to divide people, which may have triggered the exodus of so many citizens for Ohio.

A group split off from the town-supported Congregational Church, forming a Unitarian Church. The town continued to tax everyone to support the church, despite protests from those who no longer attended. (Separation of church and state, anyone?)

Ohio in the 1820s

By the time that William and Elizabeth and their girls traveled to Ohio, it was no longer a territory–it was a state. (I am saying five girls, because although some people say there is a sixth, the evidence is scanty.  Based on the 1810 census, there might have also been a boy who died in childhood.)

The enterprising New Hampshirite who founded Keene, Ohio ( in Coshocton County) in 1824, was betting on the future of the new western state. The Erie Canal was being constructed through Coshocton County between the middle of the 1820s and 1830–and there were great expectations of the wealth this new transportation corridor would bring. When the community was founded, Holmes County had not been split form Coshocton, and boosters of Keene thought it would make a dandy site for a county seat. However, when Holmes County was split off, that no longer was an option.

Although it was adventurous to leave one’s native New England, it was comfortable to be traveling with numerous families who came from the same town. There are several Bassett families that show up in the history of Coshocton County, including an indication that William’s brother Nathan may have moved at the same time as William. Some others may have been relatives.

Within a very short time of their arrival, William’s daughter Mary Bassett had established her own school. It was short lived, since she was 16 when she arrived in Ohio and married at 19, when she moved to Holmes County. In short order the new immigrants to Ohio built churches and the Keene Academy. Among the churches was the Keene Presbyterian Church where several members of the family are buried.

The Family in Ohio

Within three years of their arrival in Keene, Ohio, William’s wife Elizabeth died and the three oldest daughters–Eliza (Emerson), Martha (Smith) and Mary (Platt,2nd- Morgan) were married. Eliza wound up living with a son in Kansas; Martha moved to Iowa and the next daughter, Sarah, never married. Sarah lived with her sister Lura, who had married a Stone (perhaps a relative of her mother) in Killbuck Ohio, and moved to West Virginia before moving back to Guernsey County. Mary, as we have seen, moved to Killbuck in Holmes County.

William himself died in 1833, just seven years after the big move from New Hampshire. Hardly long enough to establish himself in his new state, although his move was one more step in the westward movement of the family.

William and Elizabeth lie side by side in the Keene Old Presbyterian cemetery.

William Bassetts' Wife

Elizabeth Stone Bassett gravestone in Keene, Ohio, Photo by Todd James Dean

William Bassett

Gravestone of William Bassett in Keene, Ohio. Photo by Todd James Dean at Find a Grave.com


How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher, the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, the daughter of
  • Hattie Stout Morgan, the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett Platt Morgan, the daughter of
  • William Bassett.

This has been a weekly post in the 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks Project started by Amy Johnson Crow at “No Story too Small.” Check out her weekly recap showing the list of participants for some ripping good stories.

Research Notes

  • History of Coshocton County: Its Past and Present 1740-1841 Compiled by N. N. Hill, Jr. (Available on line from Google Books.)
  • Birth, marriage and death dates come from original records found at Ancestry.com
  • Gravestones and burial information from FindaGrave.com
  • Information from family stories from Vera Stout Anderson and Harriette Anderson Kaser and family Bibles.
  • History of Keene, New Hampshire, 1874-1904 by Frank H. Whitcomb (1904)