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German native left lasting legacy on Hannibal's business climate

Are you a descendant of Joseph Bassen? click here to begin a conversation with Mary Lou Montgomery.

Here's a building block from Hannibal's past: Joseph Bassen died in 1943 at the age of 84. He was a native of Germany, where he was born at Helvesick, in the state of Hanover, on June 20, 1858, the son of Johann Heinrich and Anna Bammann Bassen. He crossed the ocean in 1872, at the age of 14, to join his two brothers in Hannibal. John H. and Fred Bassen had a shoe business at what would later be addressed as 204 Bird Street.

He learned the shoemaker's trade and followed it up to 1879 when he embarked in the retail shoe business at 308 Broadway. In 1885 he formed a partnership with his brother, Fred, and the two brothers conducted the Star Shoe store until 1891 when Mr. Bassen, after selling his half interest in the shoe business to his brother, entered the employ of the Logan Shoe Company, continuing with this firm until 1896.

He also was a prominent player in the real estate and insurance business. Throughout his residency in Hannibal, he lived at 1229 Church Street. He was survived by four daughters, Mrs. Carl Scheidker, Indianapolis, Ind., Mrs. Henry Wichern, New York City, Mrs. Oscar Broemmer of Hannibal and Miss Marie Bassen, formerly of New York City who had been with her father since the death of his wife two years prior to his death.

Mr. Bassen bore a striking resemblance to Mark Twain and portrayed the role of the world famous author and Hannibal's favorite son during the mammouth pageant presented in Hannibal in 1935 for the Mark Twain centennial celebration.

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