Bassett, Houston A. P. (1857–1920)

By: Paul M. Lucko

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Houston A. P. Bassett, a black man who represented Grimes County in the Texas House of Representatives during the Twentieth Legislature, was born on March 14, 1857, in Grimes County, the son of poor farmers. He did not attend school until he was ten years old but was able to enroll in Straight University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1875. From 1879 to 1882 he attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He returned to Grimes County, where he became active in Republican party politics. In 1886 he won election to the House. J. P. S. Thompson, his opponent, alleged that ineligible voters had aided Bassett's victory, but the House Committee on Privileges and Elections ruled in Bassett's favor because Thompson lacked sufficient proof.

Bassett resided in Anderson during his single term in the legislature. He sat on the Educational Affairs, Stock and Stock Raising, and Military Affairs committees. He also served as chairman of a special committee that investigated the state insane asylum, introduced legislation to permit the chartering of cooperative associations, and attempted to secure a state constitutional amendment that would temporarily exempt capital investments in manufacturing from taxation. Bassett also tried to increase the amount of money that the state received from the lease of convicted felons. He married Cordelia Foster on September 9, 1886, and the couple had four children. Bassett was an active member of a Baptist Church. He died on July 17, 1920, in Grimes County.

Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Paul M. Lucko, “Bassett, Houston A. P.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

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