John Hatfield was born in 1740 in Fontmell Magna, Dorset, England. Early in the American Revolutionary War, he was a Sergeant in the 4th (Kings Own) Regiment of Foot, where he served in Boston, Staten Island, and Brooklyn before being discharged on March 10, 1777. He was then appointed Captain in the 3rd New Jersey Volunteers, a unit based largely out of Staten Island on April 15, 1777. He served with the Volunteers in the Battle of Savannah under Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell on December 29, 1778. Later, he served in the 1779 Quebec campaign with Robert Rogers's Kings Rangers.
He was married on June 28, 1778 to Mary Lockerman at New York City’s Trinity Church, by the Loyalist Reverend Charles Inglis, Rector and Chaplain in the regiment and who later was made Bishop of Nova Scotia. Family oral history indicates that Capt. John Hatfield eloped with his wife-to-be, Mary Lockerman, bringing her from Staten Island to New York in a small row boat. She came from an anti-Loyalist Knickerbocker family.
John and Mary had three children. The family sailed from New York to Nova Scotia with 2,000 Loyalists circa 1783. They arrived first in Yarmouth and then moved to the Parrsborough Shore. They landed and took possession of land at Fox River. He was granted 700 acres in 1784 at Lot 51 in Fox River, "on the shore of Minas Gut." He retired from the Kings Rangers with half pay in 1792.
The Hatfields prospered, and purchased more land, some years before the present town, Parrsboro, (first called Mill Village) was named. John Hatfield took an active part in the development of Parrsboro district. He was appointed by the Court of Sessions in 1794 as Surveyor of Highways and he was again appointed in 1799. Captain John Hatfield passed away on November 16, 1804 and was interred in uniform within the Hatfield family burying ground near the mouth of the Fox River. Approximately, 50 years later Mary (Lockerman) Hatfield was buried in the churchyard of the Holy Trinity parish of Port Greville, Nova Scotia.