Lynn Haselden Boccia

by William Dove "Bill" Haselden, 22 August 1977

"In my imagination I went back in time and enjoyed visiting the DeHaselden family.  Through the 14th century the patriarch of the DeHaseldens were King's Warden or game keeper, preventing poachers.  That was a very important profession or position.  However, about the end of the century the Head of the Household backed the wrong pretender to the throne and the family was no longer in favor.  I saw the manor house and the names engraved in the stone wall.  One name I could read was William Haselden.  There is no indication of what part the boys reached in the New World, but it can be assumed that it was in New England.  And from there to Pennsylvania for a period of years, and then on to South Carolina.  In my imagination, I have gone back in time frequently, seeing myself in Wakefield, visiting the DeHaselden residence and attending official functions."

by Stan Barnett, July 16, 1970

"Most families in America have some for of a legend as to how they arrived in the New World.  Many have even gone to great lengths to make one up.  After two hundred years in South Carolina the story of the migration of the Haseldens had been lost.  That is until one rainy day in mid-January of 1970.  During a visit to Europe my cousin, Miss Nancy Haselden, (now Mrs. Nancy Blakely), searched for and found, I believe, the Haselden Estate.  All that follows in regard to the migration of the Haseldens  should be regarded as legend. It is all hearsay from the present owners of the estate and none of it is documented.

Until now only a few scattered bits of information survived about the origins of Haseldens in America.  It could be gathered that they came from England since in Bodie's History of Williamsburg, the Haseldens of the early 1800's are referred to as Episcopal.  Second, in Smith's Dictionary of American Family Names, is this statement under Hazelton.  The spelling of the name varies radically. "(Eng.)  One who came from Hazelton (homestead with hazel bushes), in Gloucestershire."

Mr. Stephen Chapman of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had heard from three sources that the Haseldens came from a place known as Scotland Rhodes; though the location of this place was a mystery.  None of the usual research materials yielded any information about Scotland Rhodes.  The coat of Arms reads:  Gules, a cross patonce or, on a chief azure three round buckles of the second with a talbot's head argent as a crest.  Actually it is made up of a golden cross on a red field with a blue rectangular stripe at the top.  On the blue stripe are three gold buckles in a line.  The shield is topped by a silver head of the now extinct Southern Hound.  These were all of the facts
that remained before Nancy's trip.  Before my cousin left we visited a Mr. Beckman Haselden in Andrews, SC, who had visited the estate and settlement of Haselden.  Mr. Haselden gave directions as to how to reach the places.  On January 19 we received a
triumphant letter postmarked London.  Nancy had visited both the village and the estate.

The Village of Hazleton is a very small settlement with roads too narrow for a car.  Two points of interest are the church and a large house, both of which bear the name Hazleton.  No one in the village however, knew of any connection with any of the Haselden family.  In fact, none of the people had ever met anyone bearing the name.  The parson of the church presented Nancy with a prayer book and a collection bag., both well over hundred years old.  The collection bag was designed with the same style cross as appears on the Haselden Coat of Arms.  The entire coat of arms appeared in the house at Hazleton.  The house is now owned by a Mrs. Hughs.  (The fact that no one remembered meeting any Haseldens does not contradict Mr. Beckman's story,
since he said that he did spend much time in the village and therefore did not meet any of the residents.)

Several miles to the south of the village of Hazleton lies the estate known as Hazleton Manor.  The exact address is:  Hazleton Manor, Rodmarton, Cirencester, Glouster.  It is situated near the head waters of the Thames River in an area known as Cotswold Hills.  It turns out, incidentally, that the Cotswold Hills are known to hunters and local residents as Scotland Rhodes.  The house now much larger than the original structure, contains 122 rooms located on an estate of 126 acres.  It is built of stone in the Early
Restoration Period style with three points prominent in the front.  The grounds also contain 14 servant houses built with thatched roofs, a servant chapel, a servant pub, and several long brick barns.  The present owner, a Mr. Trehearne, was exceptionally courteous and showed Nancy and her traveling companion around the house.  He, too, had never seen a Haselden.  In the house are a bracelet engraved with the name Haselden made of gold found in small quantities on the grounds, a bed dating back to the eighteenth century, several maps belonging to Haselden who was a cartographer, a signet ring with the Haselden coat of arms, and other sundry antiques.

These are the facts.  There is more to the story, however.  The Legend.  According to Mr. Trehearne, the former owner of the estate, a Mr. Ground Ferris, has researched the history of the estate and therefore the history of the Haselden family.  From what Mr. Trehearne can remember of that research, the house was built in the early 1600's by the Haselden family.  They lived in the house until 1820 and none have lived there since.  In the depression following the French and Indian War, (1756-1763), the family was faced with a dilemma.  The owner was in declining health, his wife had died, and he had four sons to support.  In desperation he sold some of his land to finance his
sons' passage to America.  The father is supposed to be the cartographer mentioned before.  Mr. Trehearne also mentioned that as a prominent author, Mr. Ferris was often visited by Winston Churchill who came to hunt.  The house was added on to in 1868.  This would all be conjecture if it were not for one other fact:  On the rear wall of the house appears and inscription caved roughly into the stone and weathered almost beyond recognition.  It reads, "Left for Plymouth" and is followed by four names the top one being the only one readable-- William.  What legend would be complete without a ghost story?  According to this legend, there is a piano which plays itself:  supposedly the ghost of the father of the four boys is behind it.  He is supposed to have done that when he was upset.

Whether that old mansion in southwestern England is really the place the Haseldens left behind I cannot say for sure, yet.  I will say, though, that until someone either proves or disproves this, it remains a genuine legend.   There is just enough proof and coincidence to keep the story from being  fantasy and just enough lack of proof to keep it from being fact.

Stan Barnett
May 29, 1970
Williamsburg County, South Carolina

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