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Black History in Webster

A Mystery Folder...




(Kathy Taddeo, Webster Museum Volunteer)

Webster, NY - In an old file cabinet at the Webster Museum are old-fashioned paper files filled by past museum volunteers with information about early Webster residents.

While searching for someone else entirely, this volunteer came across a folder for Asa Bass, whose name she did not recognize. Of course I had to open it.

The folder belongs to Asa Bass and contains census records as early as 1840, the year Webster was founded, identifying him as a Webster resident and as black, though in the language of that time period.

By 1870, the Federal census identifies him further as a farmer and property owner. The Gazeteer and Business Directory for Monroe County that year listed his farm as Lot 14.

He and his wife Matilda are buried in Webster Union Cemetery along with Maria Bass, possibly their daughter.

We thank the unknown museum volunteer who gave us these clues to Asa Bass and his life here. This is just the beginning, of course. Further research will fill out Asa’s story as well as the stories of other black residents who have and still do contribute to Webster’s unique history.

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