One of the major shapers of the community was Theodore Basselin who was born March 24, 1851 in Grostenchen, a village which was in Germany but is now in France. His parents moved to the US when he was 3 and settled in Croghan where they operated a General Store. His father died when Theodore was 10. Theodore attended the Seminary of our Lady of Angels (later known as Niagara University) for one year, but returned to Croghan where he worked in the family store for 4 years. In 1873, a friend gave him a parcel of land from which he prospered in the timber business. The major key to his success was allowing hemlock logs to rot sufficiently so he could strip the bark for use in tanning. Later he expanded his interests to include furniture and paper manufacturing, a railroad, banking, and electric power generation. He was elected the first President of the Village of Croghan.
He married in 1903, but his wife died three years later. A millionaire, he died at his home in Croghan on April 21, 1914. He left $100,000 for the creation of a college in Croghan and a generous endowment at the Catholic University of America. The Basselin mansion and family cemetery are significant Croghan landmarks.