Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study      by Bill Jehan
Inscriptions for the Hassett family
at the community of Hassett,
Nova Scotia, Digby County, Canada
Hassett is a community in the District of Clare (formerly New Tusket),
in Digby County (formerly part of Annapolis County), Nova Scotia
This community has always been named "Hassett"
but is often referred to by local people as "Hassetts".

In 2004 the Municipality replaced existing "Hassett" roadsigns
with new signs reading "Hassetts" - why was this done?


The first of the name to settle in Nova Scotia was William Hassett Sr (alias Blennerhassett), b.c1790/4 Ireland, who emigrated from Ireland to St John, New Brunswick before moving on to Digby County, Nova Scotia.
NOTE: An alternative tradition suggests that he may have come to Digby County from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and before there from Newfoundland, but I find no supporting evidence for this. 
William Hassett was employed by John Heavyside of St John, New Brunswick, an enterprising lumber merchant who c1828-1829 took William Hassett Sr and a further 20 lumberman (all originally from Ireland with the exception of John Alride, born at Gibraltar) to operate existing sawmills located at the first falls of the Sissiboo River (now Weymouth Falls) in Digby County (then a part of Annapolis County), Nova Scotia. Heavyside made extensive improvements to these mills and appointed William Hassett as foreman. The lumber to feed the mills was sourced in forest surrounding the head of the Sissiboo river.
"Place-names of the Province of Nova Scotia" by Thomas J. Brown, published 1922, of the origin of the names "Mistake River" and "Mistake Settlement", tells us: "Lumbermen under William Hassett, who was foreman for John Heavyside, an early enterprising lumber merchant, at one time reached the shore and thought it was the north-east branch of the Sissibou [River]; finding they were mistaken they gave it the name as above (Mistake River), this was about the year 1828. Sometimes called Irish Settlement."
In 1835 William Hassett Sr married (Katherine) Margaret "Maggie" McAlpine, a daughter of Daniel McAlpine.
He prospered as a lumberman, enabling him to acquire his own land, and by 1838 had established a farm at Clare Township, New Tusket, south of the Meteghan River near Sissaboo (now Weymouth).
In 1839 William Hassett and John Alride, both of New Tusket, together built the earliest sawmill in that vicinity, "...on the North side of Southville Road,  nearly opposite Joseph Cromwell's house...". That sawmill they sold to Stephen Steele & John McAlpine only for it to be destroyed by fire ten years after being built.
The above notes are derived from ["A Geography and History of the County of Digby, Nova Scotia" by Isaiah W. Wilson, published by Holloway Bros., Halifax, Nova Scotia 1900, p.144 & 147; reproduced in 1975 by Mika Publishing, Belville, Ontario; reprinted in 1999 for the Admiral Digby Library and Historical Society by Sentinel Printing, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, ISBN #0-919302-50-5].
Copies are available from the Admiral Digby Museum and Archives.

Around William Hassett's farm grew the farming community of Hassett, taking its name from William Hassett and his homestead. He had opened the first Post Office at Hassett and was their first postmaster, his son William Jr succeeding him in that position. It is said that when the post office opened and the village community of Hassett needed to be named, the preferred name choice of the residents was not allowed, so the name of the postmaster was used instead.
The first Post Office closed in November 1892 following the death of William Hassett Jr. The second Post Office was opened by his brother, (Edward) Byron Hassett, who in later years told his son Percy that the community had been founded by his father William Hassett Sr, who had changed his own surname from Blennerhassett to Hassett because, as postmaster, the name Blennerhassett was "...too damn long for the forms...".
William Hassett Jr and his family lived on the farm with his father, but when William Hassett Sr died he was was succeeded on the farm by his eldest son, James. The last of the name Hassett to live in the community of Hassett is believed to have left the area in 1994.

Hassett, Nova Scotia 
photo: courtesy of Stefanie Hassett
Highway 340 entering Hassett,
early road sign
340  NORTH
Highway 340 entering Hassett, later road sign
In 2004 the Municipality replaced these "Hassett" roadsigns with signs reading "Hassetts".
Why is this?

St James' Church of England, Hassett,
as painted by Esther MacAlpine

St James' Church of England, Hassett, Nova Scotia. 
opened 19-October-1889, demolished 1956
at the entrance porch stands Esther MacAlpine, whose painting of the church appears above her.
Esther was great-grandniece of Margaret McAlpine (1810-1892) who married William Hassett Sr (1790/4-1876)
These photographs of St James' Church are shown courtesy of a descendant of Louis MacAlpine, brother of Esther.
The family now spell the name MacAlpine, but on 19th century documents it is often McAlpine

Tremont, Nova Scotia   
photo: courtesy of Stefanie Hassett
photo: courtesy of Stefanie Hassett
A. E. H.
grave marker for
Albert Eugene Hassett
(b.29-Aug-1890 d.c1949)
in the Ruggles plot at Tremont Cemetery 
Tremont Church and Cemetery

Rock Creek Park Cemetery
Washington DC, USA 
photo: courtesy of Kelly E. Nelson

photo: courtesy of Kelly E. Nelson
photo: courtesy of Kelly E. Nelson
photo: courtesy of Kelly E. Nelson
MARCH 27, 1880
JUNE 25, 1955
NOV. 5, 1864
JUNE 12, 1937
JUNE 16, 1869
JUNE 16, 1953
Ethel May Hassett
born Hassett, New Tusket, Digby Co.
her 1st husband
John Craig "JC" Dalphin
(previously Byrne)
her 2nd husband
James Kinney 

A memorandum of the family history of
John Craig (Byrne) Dalphin
(written c1932-37 by J.C. Dalphin,
transcribed by his wife
Ethel May Hassett Dalphin)
may be read here:
page 1       page 2      page 3
images: courtesy of Kelly E. Nelson


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