George Marsh Halliday

A long, long time ago (or at least that’s what it seems like to me) I mentioned in passing one George Marsh Halliday, the (half) brother of my 3 x great-grandfather, Thomas Halliday Hurcombe. I know I’ve talked about Thomas and George’s mother, Ann Adams otherwise Hurcombe formerly Halliday before now (on more than one occasion, I’m sure!), but George has remained a footnote … until now …

George Marsh Halliday (or rather, Holiday as the family spelt it as the mood took them) first appears in a record upon the event of his baptism on 23 February 1834 in Boxwell with Leighterton, Gloucestershire. His mother, “Ann Holiday” is recorded as a “single woman“. The scallywag. The record doesn’t give any details such as “reputed father” – of course, I wouldn’t be that lucky! But Ann’s choice of name is fairly telling.

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On Christmas Day 1834, a George and Hannah Marsh baptised their son William … I think the record rather speaks for itself.

The 1841 census records George (as George Marsh) living with Stephen Hurcom and his wife Ann (Ann had married the widow Stephen Hurcombe on 12 October 1835) in the parish of Leighterton. (Yes, George and Hannah Marsh are living in Leighterton Village too …)

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The 1851 census remains strangely shy of George Marsh Halliday … He isn’t with Ann and her family. He isn’t with his father, George Marsh, and his family. No trace of a George Holiday, Halliday, Halyday, Marsh or Hurcombe of any description has been found. However, he turns up as a resident of Leighterton on 28 June 1856 when he marries Ann Sherwood, daughter of Henry Sherwood (note this name for later). Most interestingly, the father’s name on his marriage certificate? George Marsh …

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On All Hallow’s Eve 1858, George, Ann and their son, Alfred Thomas (born in the 3rd quarter of 1857) “of Tetbury”, depart from Liverpool aboard the “North”, bound for South Australia. They arrive on 28 January 1859 – just 3 years after South Australia had become a self-governing colony. The birth of Loveday Henry Halliday, born 6 April 1859 in Crafers, South Australia, is registered in Adelaide, South Australia. His parents are given as George Halliday and Ann Shorwood. No prizes for guessing who these are … I can’t help but feel for Ann somewhat. I’m not entirely sure that I’d like to undertake a trans-global sea journey on a 19th-century sailing ship during the first 5 months of my pregnancy … I’m fairly certain she must have kissed the ground upon arrival!

Sadly, the wonderfully named Loveday was not long for this world. On 16 August 1861 Loveday passed away in Reed Beds, South Australia and this was registered in Adelaide once again.

A year later on 28 February 1862, another child was born, this time in Thebarton (a district close to central Adelaide). Albert Halliday, the son of George Halliday and Ann Sheerwood (close enough …!), did better and married twice, producing 3 children.

George’s story diverts here as on 25 July 1863 one Ann Halliday marries Thomas Halliday at the residence of George Findon in Kapunda, South Australia (roughly 80km northeast of Adelaide). Her father’s name? Henry Sherwood. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of this certificate so I cannot say if she married as a purported divorcee (unlikely) or as a widow. To make it slightly more interesting, Thomas Halliday was the brother of George’s mother. The Australian Hallidays seemed to like keeping it in the family as the number of cousins who marry each other is quite astounding, and then their children also marry their cousins …

As reported elsewhere, Thomas and Ann’s marriage lasted some time – he died in May 1881 apparently as a widower. However, it is my belief that Ann(ie) had married William Allen Waples 21 February 1880 – the father’s name? Henry Sherwood. Six months later, Ann died and is buried in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, as Annie Waples.

But George himself disappears. Perhaps into the Australian interior, perhaps even back to England, although no deaths can be readily found in either country. His eldest son Alfred also disappears. No unaccounted-for marriage for an Alfred Thomas Halliday, no unattached deaths. Another pair of entries onto the Mystery List …!

Whilst I can’t say that George’s journey is complete, it’s an amazing insight into one man’s voyage from rural Gloucestershire to South Australia’s urban spread (as a sidenote, it’s interesting that Adelaide was not only a planned city, but one that was freely-settled and is a rarity in Australia in that it has no convict history – mainly because the government sold plots of land at a price that was kept high enough to preclude labourers and journeymen from purchasing them), and the tangled web that he and his wife wove – although that’s nothing as to the webs entangling their children and grandchildren…!

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