Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
HON. JOHN D. BASSETT, one of
the most widely known bankers in the State of Washington, now living in
Ritzville, was born in Plainfield, Connecticut, January 6, 1858, and is
descended from an old English family, which came to Connecticut and settled
in Guilford in 1660. His father, William E. Bassett, a Congregational
minister, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and his mother, Mary (Dowd)
Bassett, was also a native of the "Wooden Nutmeg State," and came of one
of the old New England families. The father died in 1881 and the
mother five years later in Norfolk, Connecticut.
For forty years Mr. Bassett lived in the state
of his birth, and was educated in the public schools, Williston seminary,
the seminary of East Hampton, Massachusetts, and one year in Yale.
In Norfolk he was engaged for several years in the mercantile business
and silk manufacturing, being at the time and is yet secretary and treasurer
of the Aetna Silk Company. In 1891 he came to Washington and established
the Snohomish National Bank, Snohomish, and the Adams County Bank, which
in 1901 was converted into a national bank at Ritzville, of which he is
president. He also at this time organized the First National Bank
of Waterville, of which he was cashier some months He is now president
of the First National Bank of Ritzville, the Odessa State Bank, the Bank
of Lind, the Prosser State Bank and the Farmers' Bank at Hatton, Washington.
He is treasurer of the Sprague Mercantile Company, Sprague, Washington;
president of the Ritzville Library and Improvement Association; and president
of the Chamber of Commerce.
After leaving school in 1879 Mr. Bassett was
for eighteen months employed in the banking house of Cowles & Eldridge,
in Norfolk, and in 1881 he went to Minnesota, where he studied law with
C. M. Start, now a member of the Minnesota supreme court. He was
never admitted to practice, however, but went from Minnesota to Kansas,
where he remained two months and returned to the state of his birth.
Here he became secretary of the Norfolk Shear Company, and on January 1,
1883, he engaged in the general merchandise business with the firm of Clark
& Bassett, in which he was extremely prosperous. In 1890 he sold
his interest in business to his partner, and spent the following year in
organizing banks at Hartington and Ogalala, Nebraska, and at Dunlap, Iowa.
John D. Bassett has no brothers, but has one
sister, Rebecca B., wife of Dr. Plumb-Brown, Springfield, Massachusetts.
On September 30, 1896, John D. Bassett was
married to Alice W. Case, a native of Barkhamstead, Connecticut.
He father also was born in that state. This union has been blessed
with three children, Joseph E., Mary D. and Emma S.
In fraternity circles Mr. Bassett is affiliated
with the Western Star lodge, No. 37, Norfolk, Connecticut, A. F. and A.
M., and both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star. They
are also prominent spirits in the local Congregational church, of which
our subject is a deacon.
Mr. John D. Bassett has been unusually prominent
and active in political circles, both in his native state and the state
of his adoption. He represented his district in the Connecticut State
legislature in 1886-87, and was active in all educational measures and
clerk of the temperance committee. He was superintendent of schools
and town treasurer for several years; and was registrar of voters ten years.
He has been a Republican all his life, and in addition to the above offices
was chairman of the Republican central committtee from the eighteenth senatorial
district of his native state.