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   George Hewlett Sargent and Bessie Dodd
George Hewlett Sargent 
Bessie Sargent


By Marion Sargent

George  Hewlett  was the fourth child and second son  of George  Eliel  Sargent and Emma (nee  Hewlett).   As  his elder  brother Daniel George died young,  the name George was  carried down through the family by George  Hewlett's descendants.

George  Hewlett was born in Eythorne,  Kent,  on 27  May 1844.    His  childhood seemed  to  be  rather  idyllic,  rambling around the countryside of his village home,  and attending  his uncle Theophilus' private school with  his brothers.

He moved to Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire to work as a brewer's clerk for his cousin and brother-in-law Peter Beuzeville Byles at Gray's Brewery, Friday Street. He attended the old Independant Chapel, now Christ Church, United Reformed Church, in Reading Road, where he may have met his future wife,  a genteel young lady, Elizabeth Dodd,  who  was known as Bessie.  She was born in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, on 19 December 1849,   the daughter of John Dodd and Hannah Elizabeth (nee  Knight).   The marriage took place on 20 December 1873 at St Margaret's Church, Iver Heath.
Their  three  children,  George Newton  (1875-1955),  Amy Ruth  (1877-1950) and Myra Bessie (1878-1940),  were  all born  in Friday Street,  Henley-on-Thames. George   Hewlett's  mother's  family  had had a long association with this town. The Beuzeville family had a silk factory in Friday Street,and the Byles family had lived there for some time. George Hewlett lived with his cousin Martha Byles in a house which was located between the Anchor Hotel and Peter Beuzeville Byles' home. Gray's Brewery was behind the houses.

By the time of the 1881 census the family had moved to Enfield, Middlesex, where George Hewlett worked as a mailer of periodicals. They later moved to Birmingham where George Hewlett took up a position as a clerk at Cadbury's. They lived in Camp Villas on Cadbury's Estate, King's Norton.

In1886 the family left their familiar surroundings  and sailed for a new life in Tasmania,  on the other side of the  world.   We  can only speculate as to why they  took this  adventurous  step.  One  reason is that  they  were attracted  by  the advertisements which  they  had  seen describing  Tasmania as a paradise where money  could  be  made   growing  apples.

 I  believe the catalyst which drove them from their  home  was  the  shame and humiliation they felt when  a  family member misappropriated a sum of money from a client.  All the  money  was  refunded by the extended  family  before their depature.

Their  last night was spent in Whitfield,  Kent,  at  the home of George Hewlett's elder sister Emma Davison, where Bessie  was  overheard telling Emma that "You could  have knocked me down with a feather" when she was told of  her husband's decision to emigrate.  They  sailed  from  London on the  Orient Line  ship  SS Sorata on 29 April 1886,  the last voyage this ship made to Australia.  A cousin,  Obeithio Sargent, his wife Mary Ann  and  children,  who also lived at Kings Norton near   Birmingham,  left England  on the Elderslie just a few days  later.  They were all bound for Tasmania, but as Mary Ann was about to give  birth,  Obeithio's  family  disembarked  in  Perth, Western  Australia,  and  did  not  reach  Tasmania.  For details of their voyage and life in Western Australia see  the section on Ebenezer Sargent and Esther Hewlett.


George Hewlett Sargent applied for a grant land on 2 July 1886.  He  received  80 acres  and bought a  further  20 acres  at Glengarry,  in the West Tamar area of  northern Tasmania.   We believe that he had an orchard there,  but it  was not profitable.   By October 1888 the family  had  moved  to  a property called "Fairbanks" in Rosevears  on the  Tamar River.  They rented 320 acres and had a pickle manufacturing  business  for a short while.  The children attended St Michael's State School three days a week.  On Sundays  they  went  by  boat across  the   river  to  St Matthias' Church at Windermere.

In  1890 the family moved to Launceston where  George worked   as  a  fruiterer and  a  grocer.    They  moved frequently  in those early years.   A letter George wrote to his cousin Obeithio in 1906 gives us the  reason.   They were  renting houses which George spent time and  trouble renovating with good quality materials "...and just as we were  reaping the reward of my toil  the landlord[s] sold [them]".   The  section  on  Launceston  has  a  list  of addresses  of  the homes and shops where they  lived  and  worked.    They   attended  the  Baptist  Tabernacle   in Cimitiere Street.

In  1910 all the family,  except for Amy who was in England,  moved  to Wynyard on the north-west  coast  of Tasmania.  They did this at the urging of a friend, Ralph Margetts,  who insisted that Wynyard was about to develop considerably  and that the Sargents should take advantage of its future prosperity.

They took up land at Flowerdale,  a beautiful rural  area not  far  from Wynyard,  but in 1912 moved into  the  town.  After  only  three  years George Hewlett died on  the  22 October  1914,  at 70 years of age.  At the time  of  his death  he  was a Justice of the Peace,  a member  of  the Table Cape Licensing Bench and a prominent church  warden of  the Wynyard  Baptist Church.

George Hewlett Sargent also wrote a few novels. The ones I know about are: Adventures of Two Brothers, Joe Harman's Experiences, Ned the Barge-Boy and the same book in French, Le Petit Batelier.

Not  much  is known about  Bessie.   Apart  from  quietly attending  to   her  duties caring for  her  husband  and children,  she was the president of the Women's Christian Temperance  Movement in Launceston in 1904.  Bessie  died suddenly  nearly  10 years after her husband on  3  March 1924  at her son's residence in Hogg Street.  She was  75 years  of  age.  This  was just 10 weeks before  her  son Newton was to be married.

The children of George Hewlett Sargent and Bessie Dodd:
     1.  George  Newton  Sargent,  Born 2 Jan  1875,  Henley-on-Thames, England
          Died 15 July 1955, Wynyard, Tasmania
          Sawmiller, builder
          Married 14 May 1924, Surrey Hills, Melbourne, Victoria
          Ruth Dodgshun, Born 3 Jan 1891, Launceston, Tasmania
          Died 30 Oct 1986, Latrobe, buried Wynyard, Tasmania

     2.   Amy Ruth Sargent, Born 25 March 1877, Henley-on-Thames
           Died 19 July 1950, New Norfolk, buried Wynyard, Tasmania  
Trained as a nurse at the Launceston Homoeopathic Hospital
Served with QAIMNSR in France and England during WWI
School nurse in NW Tasmania for 21 years

      3.  Myra Bessie Sargent, Born 3 Feb 1878, Henley-on-Thames
           Died 31 Aug 1940, Wynyard, Tasmania
           School teacher, Lady Help, Photographer

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