Article - 8 John Bassett of Madron (1790- 1868)
John Bassett lived for seven years in the colony of Victoria before he died in Sailors Gully, in the borough of Eaglehawk.[i] He arrived in Victoria in 1861 on the SS Great Britain with his wife and some of his extended family.[ii] The first location I can confirm was in 1866 when he was living in his own weatherboard home in Eaglehawk.[iii] His widow Martha continued to live at the property on Lester Street in 1869 after his death until her own death in 1882.[iv]
|Memorial Marker on Burial Plot # 34G, Eaglehawk Cemetery, Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia|
John Bassett Snr’s Residence (rates books)
Yr 1866, #169, Bassett, John; Sailors Gully, Weatherboard and Land, Valued at £17.[v]
Yr 1867, #175, Bassett, John; Sailors Gully, Weatherboard house and Land, £4. [vi]
Yr 1868, #166, Bassett, John; Miner; Lester St; Weatherboard house and Land, £6.[vii]
Yr 1869, #479; Bassett, Martha; Widow Lester St; wood house and Land, £20.[viii]
Yr 1881, Bassett, Martha; Lester St; £13.[ix]
Yr 1882, Bassett, Martha; Lester St; £13.[x]
After arriving in the colonies John Bassett (Snr) was an active lay preacher in the California Gully Wesleyan Church.
The “Wesleyan Methodist church did not have a residential minister until seventeen years after its beginning. This fact, combined with the pre-existing Methodist emphasis on lay ministry, meant that Eaglehawk soon established a tradition of a very active laity" which our research indicates includes such people as John Bassett Snr. It was noted in The Methodist History of Victoria and Tasmania that he was known as Grandfather Bassett.
“Mr John Bassett, known as Grandfather Bassett, was a much-loved and esteemed local preacher and class-leader; also was Mr T. Featonby and others, whose names cannot be erased by time, as their works follow them. Mr Bassett was called Home at 80 years of age in 1869”[xi]
He performed the burial ceremony for a John Holman of Eaglehawk who died at the age of 18 months on the 25/3/1866[xii] The founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, "advocated open air preaching and encouraged the laity to perform tasks traditionally belonging to the clergy".[xiii] Several “ministers” were usually appointed in a circuit (area) to preach itinerantly and to conduct some church rites, of which funerals would have been one. This also helps to explain why there were no Clergy present at his own burial.[xiv]
Active in the local church, he was surrounded by family who was also living in Sailors Gully according to the rates books.
Timeline of Family Events between 1861 and 1868
John Bassett arrives in Australia on Christmas Eve 1861
The first major event after arriving was his youngest son, James, getting married within two weeks of arrival. John had personally escorted his son’s bride from Cornwall to Australia ensuring that everything went smoothly.[xv] Ten months later James Bassett had a son James born on 6 Nov 1862 in Eaglehawk, Victoria but he lived only 11 days dying on 17 November in Sailors Gully, Victoria, Australia.[xvi]
In the same year, Catherine Davey the child of Anne Bassett & Stephen Davey also died, at the tender age of 5.[xvii]
Anne Bassett Davey daughter of Stephen Davey and Anne Bassett was born; she was one of two grandchildren born in Australia to survive to adulthood. Elizabeth Davey Bassett also died in 1863 on 4 March in Eaglehawk.[xviii] Six days later Elizabeth Rowe was born on 10 March 1863 in Sailors Gully and died 4 weeks later on 7 April 1863 (she was the daughter of James Rowe and Martha Bassett).[xix]
The second son of James Bassett and Eleanor Symons, James Bassett is born on 23 May 1864 in Sailors Gully although he lived 11 days; he died after a ten-week inflammation of the brain at 21 months on 31 Jan 1866 the following year.[xx]
Jane Bassett Trerise nee Davey (Cir 1843-1864) daughter of Ann Bassett & Stephen Davey, died at the age of 21 in childbirth with her third child.[xxi] Her two previous children had also died: John born 14 April 1863 and died 9 February 1864 at the age of 9 months, and John Davey born May 1864 and died the following year in 1865 at the age of 8 months.[xxii]
Mary Bassett daughter of William Bassett & Martha Moffatt also died in 1864 on 14 April at the age of 24.[xxiii]
The third son of James Bassett and Eleanor Symons, William Bassett is born on 4 July 1865but died the same year at the age of 10 months on 30 Dec 1865 in Sailors Gully.[xxiv]
Elizabeth Rowe born 20 March 1865 in Eaglehawk Gully, died of whooping cough 18 April 1866 she was the daughter of James Rowe and Martha Bassett.[xxv]
Catherine Jane Davey daughter of Stephen Davey and Anne Bassett, born on 13 Jul 1865 in Eaglehawk, she was the only other grandchild born in Australia before 1868 who managed to survive to adulthood.[xxvi]
His son John passes away from miner’s complaint after going bankrupt in the same year.[xxvii]
The second son of James Bassett and Eleanor Symons, James Bassett dies. [see 1864 for more details].[xxviii]
Eleanor Bassett is born daughter of James Bassett and Eleanor Symons on 31 Mar 1867 in Sailors Gully their first child who would survive childhood.[xxix]
Stephen Davey and Anne Bassett have a still born child 20 Feb 1868.[xxx]
Mary Bassett is born daughter of James Bassett and Eleanor Symons on 17 November 1868, a few days before John himself dies.[xxxi] John dies on 24 Nov 1868.[xxxvii]
John and Martha’s death notices as they appeared in the newspapers of the day
The Bendigo Advertiser
25 Nov 1868[xxxiii]
"The Friends of the late Mr John Bassett, of Sailor's Gully, are respectfully invited to follow his remains to the Eaglehawk Cemetery, This Day; funeral to move from his late residence at four o'clock."
Martha died 14 years later.
The Bendigo Advertiser
21 Mar 1882[xxxiv]
The friends of the late Mr. John Barrett are respectfully invited to follow the remains of his widow (Mrs Martha Barrett) from the residence of her son in law Mr. Kitto, Hodgson St, Sailors Gully to the Eaglehawk Cemetery tomorrow (Wednesday) Funeral to move at four o'clock
E.C.Brown Undertaker(copied as printed in newspaper) [note Bassett is spelt as Barrett]
Previous Articles in this Series - John Bassett of Madron, (1790-1868)
Article 1 - Who is John Bassett?
Article 2 - Looking for the Parents of John Bassett.
Article 3 - Living in the wake of family disaster
Article 5 - Locating John Bassett in the English Censuses
Article 7 - When did John Bassett come out to Australia?
[i] Death Certificate of John Bassett, died 24 Nov 1868, Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia, 8567 / 1868
[ii] Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 [database on-line]. Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 July 2017) Passenger List of S.S. Great Britain 19 October 1861, marked p.9, Line 14, John Bassett, age 70;[ Series: VPRS 7666; Series Title: Inward Overseas Passenger Lists (British Ports) Public Record Office Victoria, North Melbourne, Victoria.]
[iii] Extract from the Borough of Eaglehawk Rates Book 1866.
[iv] Hanson, Bev & Webster, Karolyn , 1996, Borough of Eaglehawk Rate Book 1869, Eaglehawk Heritage Society
[v] Extract from the Borough of Eaglehawk Rates Book 1866.
[vi] Extract from the Borough of Eaglehawk Rates Book 1867
[vii] Extract from the Borough of Eaglehawk Rates Book 1868.
[viii] Extract from the Borough of Eaglehawk Rates Book 1869.
[ix] Extract from the Borough of Eaglehawk Rates Book 1881
[x] Extract from the Borough of Eaglehawk Rates Book 1882.
[xi]The Methodist History of Victoria and Tasmania: Originally published in the Spectator, Volume 2, 1898 onwards
[xii] Register of Burials for John Holman, Eaglehawk Public Cemetery Register of Burials, Register # 142 Grave #28G
[xiii] Marshall, Brendon & Eaglehawk Uniting Church (Eaglehawk, Vic.) 1998, Mining, ministry and miracles : a short history of the Eaglehawk Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1852-1900, Eaglehawk Uniting Church, [Eaglehawk, Vic.]
[xiv] Death Certificate of John Bassett, died 24 Nov 1868, Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia, 8567 / 1868
[xv], Marriage Certificate James Bassett and Ellenor Symons married 9 January 1862, Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia 399/1962
[xvi] Birth certificate of James Bassett, born 6 November 1862, Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia, 22760 / 1862; Death certificate James Bassett, died 17 November 1862, Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia, 9457 / 1862
[xvii] EHPR #1931 p.274
[xviii] VIC BDM 5209/1863; EHPR#419 p.65
[xix] EHPR #7255 p.1325
[xx] Birth certificate of James Bassett, born 23 May 1864, Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia 10651/1864; Death certificate of James Bassett, died 31 January 1866 Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia, 2684/1866
[xxi] EHPR #1931 p.274
[xxii] EHPR #8539 p.1864
[xxiii] EHPR #423 p.66
[xxiv] Birth certificate of William Bassett born on 4 July 1865. Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia 17531/1865; Death certificate of William Bassett died on 30 Dec 1865. Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia. 9609/1865.
[xxv] EHPR Entry #7555James Rowe
[xxvi] EHPR #1931 p.274
[xxvii] VIC BDM 9587/1865
[xxviii] VIC BDM 2684/1866
[xxix] Birth certificate of Eleanor Bassett born 31 Mar 1867, Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia 7910/1867
[xxx] EHPR #6632 p.1104
[xxxi] Birth certificate of Mary Bassett born on 17 November 1868. Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia. 23053/1868
[xxxii] VIC BDM 8567/1868
[xxxiii]The Bendigo Advertiser, 25 Nov 1868
[xxxiv] Transcription by Robyn Tumney
[note EHPR = Eaglehawk Pioneers Register ]