William Hazen was the son of Moses Hazen and Abigail White of Haverhill, Massachusetts. His brother was Moses Hazen (1733-1827), who chose the rebel side in the American Revolution and became a colonel in the American army. In 1759, William Hazen served under General Amherst during his campaign in Canada and the capture of Quebec. After the war he became a merchant in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and later joined his two cousins, James Simonds (1735-1830), Richard Simonds (d.1765), and others in a business enterprise at Portland Point (Saint John), New Brunswick.
James White was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1738 and was a descendant of William White, one to the founders of the community. He had been an officer in a Massachusetts regiment during the Seven Years War. When he retired from active service at the end of the war in 1763 he was employed by Boston merchants, William Tailer and Samuel Blodget. In early 1764, he became involved with the Hazen/Simonds Company in Haverhill and Salem Massachusetts, but came to Portland Point in April of 1764 where he was one of the original partners in the first company. In later years, James White held several public offices including sheriff of the old Sunbury County, Nova Scotia, collector of customs, and magistrate licenced to solemnize marriages. He was the chief agent in bartering with the Mi'kmaq (Micmac) and Wolastoqiyik (Malisset/ Malecite) Indigenous (Indian), and also kept the company books.
The first partnership involving William Hazen and James White was formed on 1 March 1764, and consisted of three senior partners: Samuel Blodget, James Simonds, and William Hazen, each with one-quarter interest in the business; and three junior partners: Richard Simonds, James White, and Robert Peaslie, who was Hazen's brother in-law, each with one-twelfth part in the company. Two partners remained in Massachusetts and handled the business there while the others operated out of Portland Point. The company exported fish, furs, feathers, lime, and lumber, and supplied the garrison at Fort Frederick with limestone. They imported supplies for the settlers and the garrison, as well as goods for trading with the Indians. In 1765, Richard Simonds was killed by the Indians while trying to prevent them from carrying off company property, and soon after Peaslie and Blodget retired from the company. These changes resulted in a new partnership being formed in 1767 with William Hazen, Leonard Jarvis (b.1742), James Simonds, and James White. The company operated their trading routes very profitably, including the West Indies trade, until 1775 when it became too dangerous and expensive during the early years of the American Revolution. When American privateers raided the company stores at Portland Point, complaints to the British Government about the lack of protection resulted in the construction of Fort Howe by British troops under the direction of Gilfred Studholme. In 1773, Leonard Jarvis left the company, and in 1778 James Simonds retired from the firm and moved inland. A new partnership was in place by 1781 between Hazen, White, and Michael Franklin who was able to gain government masting contracts, and Halifax became the firm's centre for overseas trade. With the arrival of the Loyalists in 1783, Hazen became a Loyalist agent and was the only pre-Loyalist chosen to sit on the Council when New Brunswick was created a separate colony from Nova Scotia in 1784. The coming of the Loyalists created a need for lumber and manufactured goods, and the end of privateering made it possible for the company to resume both the coastal and the West Indies trade routes. The business prospered and their future was secure. Several members of the large Hazen family became leading citizens of the community. William Hazen's daughter, Elizabeth, married Ward Chipman, and his daughter Sarah, became the wife of William Botsford, the son of Amos Botsford. A grandson, Robert Leonard Hazen, was a prominent lawyer and New Brunswick politician.