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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William David Bassett

A few miles out from Petaluma on Rural Route No. 4 may be seen the flourishing ranch property of which William D. Bassett is the proud owner. A visitor here, glancing over the one hundred acre ranch, with its substantial improvements and comfortable residence, feels a thrill of admiration for the man whose ability, unaided by friends, influence of capital, has brought about such results as are here visible. While the ranch is not the largest that one may see in this locality, still it would be hard to find one laid out more advantageously or one whose income per acre exceeded the one of which Mr. Bassett is the owner.

Of foreign birth and parentage, William D. Bassett was born near Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales, September 9, 1872, the third in order of birth among the six children born to his parents, Daniel and Mary (Evans) Bassett, the former born in 1840 and the latter in 1841. William D. and his brother Thomas were the only sons in the family, the daughters being, Elizabeth, Margaret, Jane and Katie. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became the wife of Thomas Day and is the mother of four children. Margaret is the wife of David Thomas and the mother of four children also. All of the children were reared to lives of usefulness by their faithful, God-fearing parents, and on the home farm one and all contributed in some way toward the common good. William D. gave his services to his father until he had attained his majority, and the year 1893 found him setting sail for the United States, his chief assets, in addition to a sturdy frame and stout heart, being a practical knowledge of farming and milling. The ocean voyage completed in safety, as soon as he debarked at the port of New York he secured transportation to the Pacific coast, and in October of the same year in which he left his boyhood home he landed in Marin county. His knowledge of farming as conducted in his own country stood him in good stead, and by applying its principles to conditions which he here found he was able to make a success of his efforts from the first. The ranch upon which he located in that county was well adapted to dairying and poultry raising, and it was therefore along these two lines that he confined his efforts until coming to the vicinity of Petaluma in 1904. Here he has one hundred acres of choice land, of which four acres are in orchard, set out almost exclusively to apples. A small dairy of twelve Jersey cows is also maintained, besides which pasturage is given to three head of heavy draft horses. The crowning effort is undoubtedly the poultry industry in which the owner takes a just pride, and whereas he now has a flock of three thousand White Leghorn chickens, it is his purpose to increase this branch of his ranch enterprise from time to time as he is able, for he is convinced that it is the most profitable line of agriculture in which one can engage in this section of country. Five acres of gum trees add to the beauty of the ranch, which taken as a whole is one of the finest and most productive in the entire country round about. His farm is located about two miles northwest of Two Rock church and only one mile north of the celebrated Two Rocks, from which the valley receives its name.

For a life companion Mr. Bassett chose Miss Gertrude Marie Nielsen, who was born in Denmark, one of a large family of eleven children born to her parents. Four of these children were sons, Andrew, Christian, Louis and Jensen, while the remainder were daughters, Gertrude Marie, Catherine, Laura, Anna, Julia, Laura and Christina. Mrs. Bassett has been a resident of Sonoma county since 1904 and since her marriage has made her interest one with her husband in making the ranch all that is possible financially and in every other way, and that they have succeeded in their efforts a casual glance over the ranch will determine. They are both active members of the Two Rock Presbyterian church, of which he is one of the trustees.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011