Edward Halden is my GGG Grandfather I have known of his existence ever since I became interested in my family history, he was the furthest my Grandma could “get back”. She said he was a Methodist Minister who emigrated to America with his family, probably due to ill health. She also had some copies of poems he wrote which traced him back to living in Staffordshire.
We knew that Methodist Ministers moved around a lot so thought that the Staffordshire may have been simply the last place he lived but research has painted a somewhat different picture.
The only census I can find Edward Halden on is in 1841, he is living with his wife Jemima (Eaton) and four daughters (I think daughters but 1841 does not actually prove this). Elizabeth, Mary, Jemima and Rachel my GG Grandmother, also living with them is an Emily Ellis aged 9. His occupation is school teacher not minister, but I have found the following information about his teaching career from another person researching the Haldens.
Edward Halden was the Master of the old ‘Free School’ at Brereton from its founding in 1838 until 1847. The Trustees’ minute books of the school from 1838 are (or were) at ‘Hob Hill School’ at Brereton, which replaced both the Methodist and the C of E Schools at Brereton in 1971.
The Free School, for 40 boys, was built in 1838 by Miss Elizabeth Birch, a well-to-do Brereton lady who had converted to Wesleyan Methodism and did much to further the cause of Methodism in the locality and beyond until her death in 1842. She also endowed the Free School with £1,500 to pay the Master £50 pa and £10 pa for stationery, and she placed its running in the hands of Trustees from the outset. Miss Birch required the school to be ‘free from sectarian tendency’ but its Master was to be ‘a member of the Wesleyan Society’.
It was the early days of Methodism, the decisive break from the Church of England being in 1795 two years after Edward’s birth.
The next time I find the family they are living in Chicago in 1850 but Jemima is a widow, so Edward must have died between 1847 and 1850, I expect he left for America in 1847 but I can find no passenger records.
However a casual internet search (Ok a random google) unearthed the sale of a letter written by Edward Halden of Milwich to a Mrs J Thompson at 5 Bedford Place, Kensington. I looked up the address and name J Thompson and found that it was the home of the engraver John Thompson, the husband of Harriet Eaton, his wife Jemima’s sister. The letter related to the will of an “Uncle Podmore” I knew that Edward’s mother was a Mary Podmore but wondered why this would be of so much interest to Harriet Eaton.
I discovered from the National Archives website that there were papers relating to William Halden V William Halden and Edward Halden. William Halden joiner claims that he has never received an annuity left to him in John Podmore’s will and that Edward and his brother William Halden as executors are responsible. In this document Edward’s occupation is described as a “dissenting minister”.
I had discovered that the mother of Jemima Eaton was an Elizabeth Halden and this document shows what her relationship is to Edward. John Podmore had two sisters, one Mary was the mother of Edward, another Elizabeth was the mother of Elizabeth, Jemima’s mother. To make matters more complicated the two sisters were married to two Halden brothers, Mary to Roger Halden and Elizabeth to John Halden.
This makes Edward and Elizabeth Halden junior double cousins, genetically siblings, so in marrying Jemima it is effectively like marrying his niece. Perhaps it is just as well the family moved to the USA and brought some fresh genes into the mix.
I am not sure what to make of Edward Halden, did he flea to America because of the contesting of the will or was he just negligent? There are advertisements showing him to be selling properties in the area, maybe those previously owned by “Uncle Podmore”.
Also oddly Edward Halden is listed as a shopkeeper at the baptisms of daughters Rachel and Jemima, he is also listed here with his brothers as a shopkeeper. So three possible careers!
He was certainly educated, in a time when most people could only “make their mark” on marriage certificates Edward wrote poems with flowery language and complicated biblical references. My Grandmother thought his poem implied that he was ill when he left for the USA, he certainly doesn’t sound like he intends to return.
He certainly didn’t, somewhere between 1847 when he was last recorded as schoolmaster at Milwich and the first census record for the family in the USA which finds Jemima a widow, he died. It is likely that his death certificate was burnt in the Great Fire of Chicago,so I expect I will never know.
Unless there are descendants of Elizabeth or Mary in the USA, perhaps they could tell me…