The life record of Hon. William J. Hassett is another proof of the fact that in america the way to public honor is over the road of public usefulness and activity. With no special advantages in his youth, he entered upon his business career empty-handed, and by sheer force of character, unfaltering perseverance and capability worked his way upward, long maintaining a creditable and responsible position as a representative of industrial interests in Sacramento. It was his known reliability in business, combined with his loyalty and progressiveness in citizenship, that won him the highest office within the gift of his fellow citizens, and as mayor of Sacramento he is now giving to the municipality an administration which is characterized by business-like methods and dominated by the spirit of reform and improvement.

Mr. Hassett was born in Philadelphia, pennsylvania, Novembr 7, 1839, and is a son of James J. and Helen E. (Moylan) Hassett, both of whom were natives of Ireland and emigrated to New York city in 1830. In the year 1838 the family became residents of Philadelphia, and the father was there an employe of the Pennsylvania Central Railroad for many years. both he and his wife died in that city in 1880. Mrs. Hassett was a member of the Moylan family to which General stephen Moylan also belonged. He served as a member of General Washington's staff and had command of the cavalry branch of the army during the Revolutionary war.

As a pupil in the public schools of his native city Hon. William J. Hassett pursued his studies until fourteen years of age, when he was indentured to learn the printer's trade, in January, 1854. He followed that pursuit in Philadelphia until 1863, making consecutive progress in efficiency and skill. Making his way to California in 1863, he located in San Francisco, where he worked at the printer's trade until 1866, when he returned to Philadelphia and was married. He returned to the Pacific coast with his wife and resided in San Francisco until 1885, when he came to Sacramento to accept a position with A. J. Johnston as manager of his printing establishment, remaining in charge for eighteen years, conducting a business which proved profitable to both and making the enterprise one of the leading printing business of the city. The work executed under his direction was always of fine quality, and he kept in touch with the improvements continually being made in the printer's art. He resigned his position only when elected mayor of the city in 1903.

A Democrat in his political views Mr. Hassett has always taken a deep and active interest in local and state politics and has exerted considerable influence in behalf o the party. He was a candidate for railroad commissioner for the first district on the Democratic ticket in 1902, and was defeated, although he ran ahead of the party ticket, carrying his own county by sixteen hundred and fifty majority. When nominated for mayor of Sacramento he was more successful, and is now the chief executive of the city, in which he has made for himself an enviable record for reliability in business, loyalty in citizenship and fidelity in friendship and now has added to these admirable qualities unswerving faithfulness in office.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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