Two French families settled at Hagley, those of Samuel French and Percy William French. They were distantly related, both descendants of Francis and Mary French. Francis is particularly remembered as being the first Wesleyan Methodist local preacher in Northern Tasmania. Also living in the Hagley area were their Badcock cousins, also descendants of Francis and Mary French.
Samuel French (1823-1902)
(Son of Francis and Mary French)
Samuel French took up residence at Hagley, Tasmania in 1863 on purchase of the “Spring Farm” property, and was an active supporter of the Hagley church, with following generations continuing strong support.
Roland Robert French (1861-1947) was the nineth child of Samuel and Mary Ann French and in 1896 purchased his father’s “Spring Farm” property. Roland had been educated at Horton College, the Wesleyan Methodist College at Ross, an indication of his parent’s strong Christian faith. Roland was a local preacher for 57 years in the Hagley area and during his life filled all offices open to laymen.
Roland’s children followed in their father’s faith footsteps. His son Edgar Roland French (1888-1944) was a local preacher in the Hagley area for 37 years. Another son Cyril Henry French (1897-1964) was a local preacher for 30 years and did much work in the life of the church. Cyril’s daughter Elsie French, became a Deaconess in the Methodist church with his two other daughters marrying ministers, Mavis to Graham Clarke and Nancy to Ralph Clarke. A granddaughter
Beverley Bellinger, was ordained as a Methodist minister.
Max French a descendant of Roland, as a pastor with his wife Doreen, did much work at Hagley.
The Percy William French family was the second French family to take up residence at Hagley in 1925 on purchase of the “Cliston” farm property. Percy was aged 41 years of age and his wife Edith, two years younger, also moving all their seven children, their four sons, Laurence, William (Bill), Eric and Trevor (Jim) and their three daughters, Dorothy, Joyce and Alice.
Percy was very active at the Hagley Church, a local preacher, Sunday School Superintendent and Church Trustee. Many in this family continued with strong support at Hagley, with attendance and financially, as well as trustees and stewards. Barrie French, son of Bill and Marj and grandson of Percy, was the organist at the Hagley church for 45 years.
The family, including Percy, donated a number of pews to the new church
Percy William French (1884-1963) and Edith Lillian Bessell (1886-1960)
Compiled by Ivan Badcock – January 2016