Hilda Mildred Hassett

Hilda Mildred Hassett provided an interesting piece to the Hassett-Wharton story. But for a typographical error on the original record for Hilda Hassett which read Hanett, I would have pieced together the details of Hilda a couple of months before now. As it transpired, Hilda was in fact the daughter of James and Martha Hassett (in cover picture) and married William Bernard Wharton.

The connection between the Hassett’s and the Wharton’s is fascinating. Unfortunately, as most of the events took place over one hundred years ago and immediate descendants have now passed, there is a lack of context to the relationship between the two families who came to be the focal point of my immediate family.

Some of the information is repeated from a previous blog, but I include it here again for accessibility and to draw further draw insight to Hilda’s short life.

Hilda Mildred Hassett was born on Christmas Eve 1885, as can be seen on her baptism record:

Hilda Mildred Hassett_bap_c

This further revealed:

  1. Baptism place: Christ Church, Byculla
  2. Baptism date: 13 February 1886
  3. Birth date: 24 December 1885
  4. Parents: James and Martha Hassett
  5. Abode: Byculla
  6. Profession (father): Fitter G.L.O. Railway

The baptism record reveals Hilda’s parents as James and Martha Hassett who also had a son, David Vincent Hassett, my great grandfather, Hilda’s younger brother. This makes Hilda my great great aunt or great grandaunt. The abode of Hilda’s parents, Byculla, is common among many of the ancestors discovered so far, particularly the Wharton’s. This may provide some insight into the relationship between the Hassett and Wharton families (i.e. living in close proximity to each other – Byculla was a neighbourhood in the city of Bombay). It is also apparent – although I have not yet written about the offspring of James and Martha Hassett – that Hilda was their first child.

The earliest link between the Hassett and Wharton families, so far, was the marriage of William Bernard Wharton and Sophia Charlotte Pereira. The link is not obvious at first glance. But tracing back to Sophia’s father, John Pereira, revealed his first marriage to Regina Pereira and the birth of their daughter Martha Pereira, who married James Hassett. Of course, James and Martha are Hilda’s parents. So the first link was their marriage in March 1885. Hilda provided a more obvious link between the Hassett’s and Wharton’s on 24 April 1912, when she married William Bernard Wharton:

William Bernard Wharton and Hilda Mildred Hassett_mar_c

This revealed:

  1. Marriage date: 24 April 1912
  2. Name of parties: William Bernard Wharton and Hilda Mildred Hassett.
  3. Age: William: Full. Hilda: Full. (generally: Full = 21 and over, Minor = under 21)
  4. Condition: William: Widower. Hilda: Spinster
  5. Profession (William): Inspector Bombay Trading co.
  6. Residence: Bombay.
  7. Father’s name: William: William Hastings Wharton. Hilda: James Hassett.
  8. Banns or licence: Banns. (public announcement in a Christian parish church of an impending marriage)
  9. Witness signatures: J. Hassett and W.H. Wharton.

As with previous marriage records presented, the witness signatures may provide some additional insight into the lives of William and Hilda (were the witnesses friends? colleagues? neighbours? or just the nearest people they could drag in to sign the paperwork?) Here it appears that James Hassett (Hilda’s father) and William Hastings Wharton (Williams’ father) were the witnesses to the marriage.

In a similar fashion to other findings so far, the story of William and Hilda is short. Hilda died on 31 March 1913:

Hilda Mildred Wharton_bur

Hilda’s burial record reveals:

  1. Burial location: Sewri cemetery
  2. Death date: 31 March 1913
  3. Age: 27 years 3 months
  4. Profession: Wife of W.B. Wharton. Supdt (Road Supt) B.E.S’Co Bombay
  5. Burial date: 1 April 1913
  6. Cause of death: Chronic Diarrhoea

This means Hilda died less than a year after her marriage to William Wharton. I have previously speculated on the impact this may have had on William’s daughter Edith Wharton. The cause of death, chronic diarrhoea, as previously mentioned is something we take for granted in 2015 as an easily curable condition (we probably wouldn’t even associate it with the word ‘disease’ in the developed world nowadays). The burial location, Sewri cemetery, is a common burial place among ancestors discovered so far.

To date, I have not discovered any offspring between William and Hilda. But we do know that William had children with his first wife Sophia – many of whom I have not yet written about. The key child in the story was (and is) Edith Aileen Wharton who of course went on to marry David Vincent Hassett.

The link between the two families is interesting and I have previously speculated on the marriage of David and Edith, the marriage of William and Hilda and the possible beginnings of the Hassett-Wharton story. Hilda has provided new dimensions to the dynamics and context of both families in the early 21st Century. Sadly, her life was short, but she will not be forgotten for her ‘official’ role (based on the documents available) in the Hassett-Wharton story.

Cover picture credit: Doug & Donna Wheeler

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