Roger M. Bassett and family came here in 1882 from New York. This family consisted of the father 36, the mother 31, and the children, 12, 8, 6, 4 and 2 respectively. The father had been identified with the largest mercantile houses in New York and close application to business had nearly exhausted his health; their home had been one of comfort and luxuries; their object here was restored health, comfort if it could be had and the financial benefits the country was renowned for.
Roger Bassett became acquainted with Colonel Campbell at the XIT ranch at Colorado City, when that was made the XIT supply point and for a time was under him as assistant manager. At the conclusion of that connection it was evident that his business experience and thoroughly restored health and energy could be turned to better account elsewhere than on the ranch and that in time his family would want to return to their old environments. This influenced him to Chicago, but it was not until well established in a business connection there and the children were outgrowing their childhood did the family leave Texas except for occasional visits; meantime the Texas interests had been well looked after by Harry Smith and the boys. When it came time to leave, the second son, Julian, found his attachment so strong for the ranch and farm that he chose to remain. Left here at 16 years of age with his "cousin Harry" as he called Mr. Smith, he devoted himself to the business, this had always been more attractive to him than his school and he learned more by observation than from books, he was frugal and always trading and in that way had acquired some individual stock; his recreation was wrestling, bronco busting and hunting.
Julian finally liquidated the business, accomplishing the work of a capable man of business.
To gratify his mother, he then went to Chicago for the benefits of city life. He secured a good position with McCormack Harvester Company, met Chicago society; however, at the end of two years, he had tired of this life and wanted broader opportunities. The Klondike was then a new field that looked profitable, so with his sleeping bag and Arctic outfit, he started for Seattle. The party he expected to join left before his arrival, so he abandoned that venture and joined his brother in the electrical business in CA. This was new to him and for the first time, Julian "dropped his stake."
Never weaned from Texas, he returned to his old camping ground, arriving there broke. John Beal, who had succeeded John Brown as manager, gave him a mount on the Three H Ranch and here, he started a career for himself. His wages went for unbroken horses, as he could pick them up. He rode, traded, and before long had a brand of his own.
Trading horses, breaking broncos and cowboy´s wages was slow money making for a boy of his ambitions and Julian concluded to look up more capital; he went to Chicago and got a favorable introduction to the Coonley brothers by E.P. Bailey. He interested them in a small investment in sheep; his services to go in against their money. He returned with $5,000, invested it in 1800 head of Hank Smith´s sheep, and with Will Reagan as a herder, he drifted for two years where free range was available. The close attention and good management he gave this business brought results very satisfactory to the investors.
Julian Bassett gives the following account of the development of the Coonley-Bassett Livestock Company in the June 19, 1936 edition of THE CROSBYTON REVIEW."We organized the C.B. Livestock Company including myself, E.P. Bailey and the Coonleys. (Avery, John Stewart, Howard and Prentiss) with a capital stock of $100,000. I had $20,000 stock in the company, I came back to Texas to invest it. I got in touch with Lewis Lester of Canyon City, Texas, and bought a ranch in Bailey County where I increased our sheep to 2,500 head. At the end of the year, I went back to Chicago to make a report."
"Avery Coonley was president of the company and I served as vice-president and general manager. The other men of the company came out to see their investment. I met them at Portales, NM. We inspected two or three ranches and finally decided to buy the "Two-Buckle" (The Kentucky Cattle Raising Company in Crosby County which included about 125,000 acres. It was a coincidence that this property also included the four leagues of Crosby County School Land located in Bailey and Cochran Counties)"
It was the course of development of these ranchlands that Crosbyton came about.
Through extensive advertising and liberal terms buyers were attracted to this locality. A company office was established at Emma, at that time the county seat and nearest post office.
Bassett stated that he named two towns in Crosby County, Lorenzo for Lorenzo E. Dow and Idalou for Bassett´s two sisters, Ida and Louise.
In November 1916, John R. Ralls bought 7,621 acres adjoining Ralls townsite from C.B. Livestock Company at $32 an acre. The same year Santa Fe Bought the Crosbyton South Plains Railroad. In the first six months of 1917 both Bassett´s personal property and the remainder of the C.B. Livestock land was sold to Sidney Webb.
Bassett in turn bough 374 sections of rangeland from Webb and established the Block Y Ranch which included the townsite of Dryden, 13 miles from the Rio Grande. The Bassetts lived in El Paso, Gila, NM and finally settled in San Antonio.
Julian Bassett married Cora Drake Aug. 1, 1915. They settled in Crosbyton for a short time. The Bassetts had four children, Elizabeth Bassett Newton, Martha Bassett Williams, Lois Bassett Carpenter and Roger Julian Bassett.
Julian Bassett died Dec. 9, 1947. Cora wrote in 1958. "Until the day of Mr. Bassett´s death, he always regretted moving from Crosbyton and the rich rolling plains of the Panhandle, for they had meant more to him and were really his ´home´ and the land he loved more than any other in all the world."
Julian Marcus Bassett, one of the "oldest timers" in Crosby Co. did much for its prosperity and development. At 38 years of age he was the individual owner of large tracts of land and other real estate, a highly improved, well-stocked dairy farm of over 300 acres and 6,000 head of cattle, was president of First National Bank of Crosbyton, vice-president and general manger of Crosbyton South Plains Railroad Company, vice-president and manger of C.B. Livestock Company and president of Crosbyton Telephone Company. He made one trip to Europe, accompanied by his mother and business frequently took him to the large city, mostly he attended closely to local business interests.
Source: "A History of Crosby County 1876-1977" © Crosby County Historical Commission 1978; Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas.
CROSBYTON, Dec. 19 (Special) - Julian M. Bassett, 74, former resident and founder of the town of Crosbyton, died about 1:40 a.m. Friday morning at his home in San Antonio, according to information received by King Funeral home of Crosbyton.
Funeral services are planned for 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Crosbyton Methodist church. Burial will follow in Crosbyton cemetery, the site of which was originally donated to the city by Bassett. The body is scheduled to arrive in Crosbyton Sunday morning.
He is survived by his wife, a son and three daughters, but specific information on the survivors was unavailable today.
Bassett came to Texas from Vermont with his parents in 1888, settling in the southwest part of Crosby county in what was then known as Yellow House canyon. He received his schooling in a Quaker school at Estacado.
In 1900, he bought the Bar-N-Bar ranch in Lamb county, but sold his interests there after about a year. Returning to Crosby county, he purchased and became manager of the Two-Buckle ranch, then known as the C.B. Livestock company. In 1908, he laid off the site of the present city of Crosbyton and built the railroad between Crosbyton and Lubbock, later selling the railroad to its present owners, the Santa Fe. He moved to Dryden in Terrell county in 1918, buying the business interests in both Dryden and San Antonio. He has lived alternately in both towns from that time until the present.
Bassett´s body will lie in state at King Funeral home in Crosbyton between its arrival form San Antonio and the time for the funeral Sunday afternoon.
Lubbock Avalanche Journal, December, 1947Record provided by Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum
CROSBYTON (Special) - Services for Cora Bassett, 102, widow of Julian Bassett, founder of Crosbyton, are pending with Adams Funeral Home.
Mrs. Bassett, a native of Brunswick, Ohio, died Friday at her home in Crosbyton. She was found dead at 3:15 p.m. in her apartment after suffering a stroke Sunday. She was under the care of a home nursing service.
She took nurse training in Cleveland, Ohio. She married Bassett Aug. 1, 1915, in Manitou, Colo.
Bassett had come to Crosby County in 1882 as a small boy. He was a cowboy, bronc buster, chuckwagon cook, sheepherder and business representative of the family before investing, with the Coonley Brothers of Chicago, in Crosby land.
After founding Crosbyton for settlers of CB Livestock Co. land and building, the Crosbyton and South Plains Railroad to bring them from Lubbock railheads, Bassett was a banker and president of the first telephone company here. The Bassetts later traded holdings here for land in Terrell and Val Verde Counties.
Many business ventures then took the Bassetts to El Paso, to Gila, NM, and to San Antonio as well as their ranch in Dryden.
After Bassett´s death in 1947, Mrs. Bassett lived in San Antonio, returning to Crosbyton in 1982 with two daughters. She lived in a wing of the Smith House while daughters Lois Carpenter and Martha Williams (now deceased) turned the old boarding house into a community restaurant.
Mrs. Bassett was a Methodist.
Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Carpenter and Betty Newton of Crosbyton; a son, Roger J. of Shreveport, La; 12 grandchildren; and 30 great grandchildren.
Lubbock Avalanche Journal, April 7, 1984Record provided by Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum
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