Bassette initially supplemented his income by working a small farm near Hampton. He somehow found time to study law and was admitted to legal practice in Elizabeth City County. He qualified as a notary public on April 11, 1889, and on May 30, 1893. He likely served as assistant commonwealth's attorney for the county early in the 1890s. Bassette was one of the last African American public officials in the county prior to the conservative-white takeover of local government during the decade.
Bassette was one of the best-known figures in Hampton's African American community, and the city named one of its schools after him. As impressive as Bassette's own rise from poverty at the end of the American Civil War (1861–1865) to half a century of distinguished civic leadership had been, his family's subsequent achievements may have been his most significant accomplishment. While still teaching school, on September 8, 1881, Bassette married Louisa P. Boykin, of Surry County. Following her death, he married Ida E. Diggs, of Mathews County, on December 18, 1884. Of their ten children, three sons and three daughters lived to maturity. The sons all attended Howard University and became distinguished professional men and community leaders. Andrew William Ernest Bassette Jr. became an attorney, Burrell Bassette became a physician, and Edward G. Bassette became a dentist. Some of their sons, in their turns, also pursued careers in law and medicine.
In one of his last public appearances, Bassette delivered the principal address at the annual breakfast of Hampton Institute alumni in June 1940. Bassette died at his home in Hampton on August 7, 1942, and was buried in Bassette's Cemetery in Hampton.
November 1857 - Andrew W. E. Bassette is born in Hampton.
1876 - Andrew W. E. Bassette graduates from the Hampton Institute.
September 8, 1881 - Andrew W. E. Bassette, of Hampton, and Louisa P. Boykin, of Surry County, marry.
December 18, 1884 - After the death of his first wife, Andrew W. E. Bassette, of Hampton, marries Ida E. Diggs, of Mathews County. They will have ten children, of whom six will live to maturity.
1889 - Andrew W. E. Bassette is one of a dozen founders of the People's Building and Loan Association of Hampton. He writes its charter and serves as general counsel.
April 11, 1889 - Andrew W. E. Bassette qualifies as a notary public in Elizabeth City County.
May 30, 1893 - Andrew W. E. Bassette qualifies as a notary public in Elizabeth City County.
1897 - Andrew W. E. Bassette, of Hampton, reports that he owns property worth $6,200.
1904 - The People's Building and Loan Association of Hampton is capitalized at more than $100,000.
June 1940 - Andrew W. E. Bassette delivers the principal address at the annual breakfast of Hampton Institute alumni.
August 7, 1942 - Andrew W. E. Bassette dies at his home in Hampton. He is buried in Bassette's Cemetery in Hampton.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Hucles, M. E., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Andrew W. E. Bassette (1857–1942). (2015, January 23). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Bassette_Andrew_W_E_1857-1942.
- MLA Citation:
Hucles, Michael E. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "Andrew W. E. Bassette (1857–1942)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 23 Jan. 2015. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: December 15, 2014 | Last modified: January 23, 2015
Contributed by Michael E. Hucles and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.