could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Samuel Bassett

Source:  “Nebraskans I Have Known, III Samuel Clay Bassett” by Addison E Sheldon, Nebraska History Quarterly Magazine

Where He Came From

        Born in July 14, 1844 in New York.
        Served in the Army during the Civil War
        Returned to New York where he farmed until coming to Nebraska in 1871

What He Did
1871 - one of the original members of the Soldiers' Free Homestead Colony
    Taught five terms of school, 20 years on the school board of Dist. 8

1871 – secretary of the first Republican County Convention
    First trip to a Republican State Convention – All delegates were provided free tickets to ride the Railroad

    to get there and then were expected to vote as the railroad said.

1875 – one of founders and first officers of Buffalo County Agricultural Society [fair board]

1905 – Appointed secretary of the State Board of Agriculture (state fair)

1885 & 1911 - member of the state legislature

1885 – one of founders and first president of the Nebraska Dairymen’s Association. This organization was instrumental in the revolution of Nebraska from a grain state to “cow country”

1910 – one of the leaders in founding of “The Farmer’s Congress” an association where farmers of both radical and conservative opinions could meet and debate the issues in a friendly format, helping to pave the way for changes in farm society.

1912 - charter member of the Nebraska Pure Grain and Seed Growers' Association

charter member and president of the Gibbon Library Association 1910-12

1916 - charter member and first president of the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement

member of the State Historical Society board for 20 years;
        vice president 1909-15 [6 years]

His interests were agricultural, political and historical

Bassett was a writer

Started with letters to local newspapers, speeches

wrote many articles for the State Historical Society magazine

Wrote two-volume History of Buffalo County

1914-1923 – Wrote “Echo Farm Musings” a column which appeared each Monday morning in the Nebraska State Journal.

Imagination and Humor

Liked to surprise his friends – put friends initials in adhesive tape on Jonathan apples so when they ripened the initials would stand out.

Once when up on ladder in orchard doing this he fell, injured his spine, and thereafter was confined to his home.

Now he read a great deal and wrote. Developed a religious philosophy which was nature based. His many friends from across the state would stop in to visit.

He died March 4, 1926

1926 – his portrait was hung in the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement

Sheldon Meets Bassett

1897 legislative session.
        Bassett was secretary of the Nebraska Dairymen’s Association
        Sheldon was a member of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.

The issues before them were:
        1. Request for $2000 for support of the Nebraska Dairymen’s Association.
        2. Request for $6000 to establish a Dairy Farm School on the Ag Campus of the State University.

Opposition to all requests for funding of new items in appropriation bills
        Populists - legislative majority; elected on a platform of rigid economy
        Nebraska was just coming out of a financial depression and crop failures
        no government programs like in the ‘30’s.

Strong prejudice by farmers in Nebraska against “book larning”

Bassett was described by Sheldon as “a practicing teat-puller on his dairy farm near Gibbon.”

(They were successful and the resulting Nebraska School of Agriculture operated until 1929 when it merged with the College of Agriculture.)

Bassett in the State Legislature - 1911 –

difficult decision on a proposed bill to call for vote on moving the state capital out of Lincoln

City of Lincoln had voted out saloons in May 1910. The liquor power in Nebraska wanted to punish the city by removing the capital.

State Constitution required a vote by the people.

Liquor interests drew up a bill that named the cities who wanted to be capital.
        People would vote for the city they wanted.
        If Lincoln did not get the majority people did not want the capital in Lincoln
                Probably none of the others would either

        Lincoln would then be eliminated and not included in the follow-up election.

Kearney was an active candidate and political leaders here had it all figured out how to win after Lincoln was eliminated.

Bassett saw through the plan - a vendetta by the liquor interests

1. He thought having the vote was bad publicity for the state.
2. Travel and trade routes had already been built on the premise that Lincoln was the permanent location of the capital.
3. He did not believe Kearney would be selected.

He knew this was just a move by the “wets” to get Lincoln.
        Pressure from lobbyist in Lincoln
        Political friends and supporters in Buffalo County visited his home

Day of the final vote - large package was handed to him on the floor of the Legislature.
        Contained a petition from home with 1200 signatures asking him to vote for the bill.

When his name was called, he stood up and said “No!”

[Needless to say, the people of Kearney and Buffalo County were very upset and disappointed. They called him a traitor and a recall was suggested but they got over it.]

1911 got bill passed for teaching agriculture in rural schools

And Also............

As we look at the beginning of the Christmas shopping next week ---
        Dec. 11, 1907 – a department store in Kearney was going to stay open until 9 p.m. for Christmas shopping


Copyright ©   All rights reserved


You may use content from this web site for your personal, not-for-profit purposes only. 


 Search Our Site

Please send Mardi Anderson your comments/feedback

Revised: 02/08/2018