Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

Sargent, Foster Henry Hartley

Sargent (1878-1924) was the son of Charlotte Foster who married George Sargent [1]. He was born out of wedlock and was named Henry Hartley Foster. No record is known of his being adopted by George Sargent but following the marriage of Charlotte to George (which took place when he was 5 years old) he went by the name Foster Henry Hartley Sargent. George and Charlotte raised him as their joint son. They later adopted a daughter and had no children of the marriage.

Sargent attended Sydney Grammar School and was known as a cyclist [2].

After he left school his parents sold their business and travelled in Europe. He remained in Sydney and established (in 1901) his own business as a baker. When his parents returned to Sydney they established a single family business of which he was co-director with George.

Hartley married at Manly Presbyterian, Elaine Violet Starkey in 1900 and they had five children. Their son Ivor George, who was born in 1904, was baptised in St John’s Church, Beecroft. By 1906, and possibly earlier, they lived at Clutha on an acre of land on the northern corner of Hannah Street and what is now Wongala Crescent. This was a two storeyed brick home that they furnished expensively. From 1895 to 1906, with George (and their respective wives) he purchased jointly or separately, a considerable area of Beecroft land [3]. 

During his time in Beecroft, Sargent was on the committee of the Beecroft Progress Association and the Parents’ and Residents’ Association [4]. He was an early resident to have, in 1905, the telephone connected [5]. They left Beecroft in 1909 for Melbourne, when Sargent’s Limited was re-registered as a public company and he was one of the general managers. Over time George became Chairman. The Hannah Street house was leased until 1912 when it was sold, later becoming the well-known home and dental surgery of Os Seale [6].

His wife, Elaine Sargent died in 1914 aged only 35 years and left five children [7].

In 1915 Hartley enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force during World War 1, was wounded in 1916 in France and taken prisoner to Germany.

Following his return he married in December 1920 Mary Evelyn Proud of Centennial Park. Following the death of George and his mother becoming ill (and eventually dying) the company Sargent Ltd suffered its first loss in February 1924. While it is recorded that Sargent rebuilt the business he went to recuperate, from the damage to his health, at Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains. There on 25 September 1924 he fell off a cliff just near the Hydro Majestic and died. The Coroner found that there was no evidence to establish that it was suicide [8].

[1]      See elsewhere on this web site for the story of George and Charlotte Sargent under People.

[2]      Sunday Times, 20 December 1896

[3]      For example: Land Titles Office (Copeland Road East) 1029/143, 1137/192, 1163/247, 1143/4, 1329/160, 1139/216, 1139/246; (Hannah Street) 845/193, 853/61. Other property identified in the rate payer records of Hornsby Shire Council for 1907.

[4]      For example: Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 4 February 1905.

[5]      Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 18 February 1905

[6]      See elsewhere on this web site for separate articles on Seale as a dentist and for Clutha in Hannah Street under Houses.

[7]      Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 15 November 1913; Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 1914.

[8]      The Sun, 26 September 1924; Lithgow Mercury, 26 September 1924; Katoomba Daily, 27 September 1924; Sydney Morning Herald 29 September and 6 November 1924. 

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