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  • Title
    Hassall family papers, 1793-2000
  • Creator
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    1.38 of textual material (21 volumes, 1 folder, and 5 items) - manuscript, typescript, printed, printed with manuscript annotations, clippings
    0.73 metres of textual material (5 boxes) - manuscript, typescript, printed, clippings
    1 videocassette (VHS) (235 min.)

    Rowland Hassall (1768-1820), missionary, lay preacher and landholder, was born in Coventry, England, the son of James Hassall. He married Elizabeth Hancox (1766-1834) who was a silk weaver like himself. Hassall and his wife were 'called' under a sermon preached by Reverend George Burder and became members of his congregation at the West Orchard Congregational Church, Coventry, where Hassall founded a Sunday School and was a field preacher. Burder was a director of the Missionary Society, established in 1795, later called the London Missionary Society. He recommended Hassall as a missionary artisan for Otaheite, now known as Tahiti. The Missionary Society purchased a ship, the 'Duff', in April 1796 for the purpose of sending missionaries to the South Seas. Hassall, his wife and their two sons, Thomas (1794-1868) and Samuel Otoo (1796-1830), sailed for Tahiti in the 'Duff' in August 1796. The 'Duff' set sail under the captaincy of James Wilson carrying a group of thirty missionaries comprising four trained ordained ministers, twenty five artisans and one surgeon. The 'Duff arrived in Tahiti in March 1797.

    In 1798 Hassall and his family joined a group of missionaries who decided that it was unsafe to remain in Tahiti, and who arrived at Sydney aboard the 'Nautilus' in May 1798. Hassall received an initial grant of 100 acres of land in the Dundas district which was later greatly augmented. From his arrival Hassall worked as a lay preacher and assisted Reverend James Cover and William Henry, both of whom had been missionaries in Tahiti with Hassall, in their itinerant ministry.

    From the time of his arrival Hassall established a strong relationship with Reverend Samuel Marsden. In September 1800, on Marsden's recommendation, Governor King appointed Rowland Hassall government store-keeper in charge of the granary at Parramatta and the stores at Toongabbie. He was discharged from the position in 1802 for not having discovered the fraudulent practice of the forging of initials of the Deputy Commissary of Parramatta. In March 1804, he was a sergeant in the Loyal Parramatta Association of Volunteers. He opened a store in Parramatta which prospered and which supplied missionaries in Tahiti. Hassall ran a flock of sheep, borrowing a Spanish ram from Samuel Marsden's flock to cross with his own ewes. During Marsden's absence in England, Hassall acted as his agent and managed his property. By 1808 Hassall had acquired 1300 acres of land. In 1814, he was appointed superintendent of the government stock managing Cowpastures, which was the most extensive in the colony.

    Hassall continued to preach at Portland Head on the Hawkesbury River and later at Liverpool. He also held services in his barn at Parramatta. Hassall remained loyal to the London Missionary Society and his house at Parramatta became a base for visiting missionaries. He corresponded with missionaries in the field and with the London Missionary Society. In 1814, he was elected as a committee member of the New South Wales Philanthropic Society for the Protection and Civilization of such of the Natives of the South Sea Islands who may arrive at Port Jackson. Hassall made several trips beyond the Blue Mountains and was the first person to preach at Bathurst. In 1813 the first Sunday School was conducted in Hassall's house at Parramattta by his son Thomas.

    Hassall died at Parramatta on 29th August 1820 during an epidemic which also claimed the lives of two of his grandchildren. His estate included farms totalling 3000 acres at Parramatta, Dundas, Prospect, Mulgrave Place, Cook and Bringelly.

    Elizabeth Hassall died at Parramatta in 1834. Rowland and Elizabeth Hassall had nine children, Thomas (1794-1868), Samuel Otoo (1796-1830), Jonathan (1798-1834), Mary Cover (1799-1825), James (1802-1862), Eliza Cordelia (1804-1835), Susanna Marsden (1806-1890), Ann (1808-1891), and Elizabeth (1810-1812).
  • Scope and Content

    Series 1: Rowland Hassall, papers, 1797-1820, 1860.
    Series 2: Hassall family, correspondence, 1793-ca. 1900.
    Series 3: Thomas Hassall, diaries, 1859, 1865.
    Series 4: James S. Hassall, diary 1881.
    Series 5: Hassall family, printed leaflets of the Parramatta Sunday School and the New South Wales Sunday School Institution, 1816.
    Series 6: Wesleyan Methodist Society, quarterly tickets of Ann Hassall, 1822-1825.
    Series 7: Rowland Hassall, Parramatta store day sales books, 1803-1804, 1809-1812.
    Series 8: Rowland Hassall, Parramatta store ledger, 1811-1822.
    Series 9: Mrs King's farm stock account books, records of livestock on a land grant of 790 acres at South Creek (St Marys, New South Wales), owned by Anna Josepha King and managed by Rowland Hassall, 1807-1820, 1829-1832.
    Series 10: Thomas Hassall, cash account book, 1819-1826.
    Series 11: Thomas Hassall, account book and muster roll of convict servants, 1822-1833.
    Series 12: James Hassall, letter book, 1827-1846, 1862-1870.
    Series 13: Articles of agreement concerning 'Milford Vale' farm, Bathurst, land owned by the late Samuel Otoo Hassall, 1830, 1834.
    Series 14: Deed of trust on behalf of Reverend Thomas Hassall and his children, 1838, 1841.
    Series 15: Copies of entries made in a family prayer book regarding the Hassall and Shelley families, with an extract of selected entries, 1794-1890, 1972.
    Series 16: 'Descendants of Rowland Hassall, 1798 to 1947', compiled by William Douglas Adye Campbell, 1947, along with addenda, 1947-1982.
    Series 17: 'The Hassall Family: Descendants of Rowland and Elizabeth Hassall', unpublished manuscript by Jean Stewart (1999), and 'James Samuel Hassall (1823-1904)', paper by Jean Stewart (1998), 1998-1999.
    Series 18: Hassall Family Bicentenary Committee records, 1992-2000.
  • System of arrangement
    The Hassall family papers comprises 18 record series. You may navigate to a more detailed description of each series from this record.
  • General note

    The digitisation of this collection has been funded by the Hassall Family History Association, 2019.
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