Owen A. Bassett was one of the ablest and most energetie actors in the Border troubles, the Civil war and the civil affairs of the Roconstruction period. A Pennsylvasian by birth, his father moved to Illinois in 1837 and two years later to Iowa. The family home was first in Lee County. The son’s original intention was to be a civil engineer, but he finally decided in favor of the law, although the stirring and compelling affairs which entered his life prevented him for many years from utilizing the legal training which he acquired. In 1855 he was employed in the United States land office at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, but in the spring of 1856 resigned to engage in business at Lecompton. Soon afterward he entered heartily into the free-state cause, joined the military company known as the Lawrence Stubbs, and was engaged both in the battle of Franklin and the capture of Fort Saunders. Subsequently he held the positions of engineer and quartermaster with the free-state army of Kansas, and in December, 1856, moved to Leavenworth. There he engaged as engineer for the Quindaro Town Company, and in 1857 and 1858 served in the Territorial Legislature. In the latter year he moved to Franklin County, published the Kansas Freeman a few months, returned to Lawrence and was admitted to the bar. At the outbreak of the Civil war be assisted in the organization of the First Kansas Infantry, but later was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Ninth Kansas, which later became the Second Cavalry, and with which he served until 1865. Colonel Bassett was elected district judge in 1868 and, by re-election, held that office until 1876. He was a prominent Mason and died at Ellsworth, July 19, 1896.
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