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John Hallett

(1821 - 1899)

John Hallett is believed to have been born on 17 February 1821 and was baptised on 5 May 1822 in Kingsbury Episcopi. His baptism record shows Sarah Male as the mother, but records no father.

John's mother had a previous child named Thomas. Thomas had been the subject of a bastardy order naming John Hallett of Kingsbury as the father. It is also believed that this John Jnr. had the same father.

A further child, Lavinia, was born to Sarah Male and baptised at Kingsbury Episcopi on 31 July 1825. It is believed that Lavinia was also a daughter of John Hallett Snr.

It is known that John Hallett Snr was convicted of theft in November 1821. Following a further theft in December 1824, he was sentenced to death, later commuted to being transported to Australia. John Jnr. would have been four years old when his father was transported.

An 1835 will, prepared in the name of Samuel Bradford, the brother of John's grandmother Mary, makes a bequest to John Hallett Snr, or in the event of his death to the three children of Sarah Male known as Hallett. It is suggested that this will is further evidence of the relationship between Sarah Male, her children and John Hallett Snr.

The relevant part of the will is transcribed below:

And I give and bequeath unto my nephew John Hallett who is now in New South Wales the sum of Ten pounds and if he shall die before making a demand on my Executors for the said Ten pounds then I give and bequeath the said Ten pounds unto the three children of Sarah Male of Bladon in the said Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi which are called Thomas Hallett, John Hallett and Lavenia Hallett equally between share and share alike.

The 1841 census places 19 year old John, his brother Thomas and sister Lavinia, with their mother Sarah Male, living at Bladen, Kingsbury Episcopi. Interestingly, all of the children have assumed the surname Hallett.

The 1851 census records John, working as a labourer. Living in the same house is his mother Sarah, oddly though and perhaps a trancription error, John's mother is recorded as his wife.

The following 1853 letters were found in the Bradford company archives, suggesting that John's brother Thomas held a position of trust / responsibility in the local community. He was jointly responsible for selecting persons to sail to New York on the vessel, Pathfinder.


New York Feby 13th 1853

E Cunard Esq

Dear Sir?,

We hand you herewith four hundred dollars ($400) We wish you to advise the agent of the Pathfinder ( Owned by Messrs Axford & Son of Bridgewater ) that we have deposited this sum with you to pay the Steerage passage of such persons as shall bring an order on you from Jarvis Bradford or Thomas Hallet for the cost of their passage to New York in said vessel on her next trip provided it leaves port before the first of May next.

Yours truly

Buckinghams McCulloh




New York Mch 5 1853
Jarvis Bradford Esq
Thorney England

Dear Sir

We have been instructed by Mr P. Buckingham of Toledo to pay the passage of some twenty or more persons from your country to this on board the Pathfinder. We have accordingly deposited with E Cunard Esq 400 $ ( equal to about 80 £ Sterling ) to pay the steerage passage of such persons as may bring an order from you or Mr Thomas Hallett on Mr Cunard for the cost thereof.

We could think of no other way to arrange the matter by which the passage money could be rightly paid for those who Mr B wishes to come.

We enclose a copy of our instruction to Mr E Cunard & they have advised the agent or owners of the vessel Pathfinder of said deposit & instructions. We shall leave further arrangements to you and Mr Hallet.

Yours Truly

Buckingham[s] McCulloh



Jarvis was very likely Jabez Bradford who in 1881 was a corn and timber merchant living at Penn House near Yeovil. In 1853 he was only 26 and Thomas was 33.

Why Thomas had any involvement in selecting persons to travel to New York is unclear but it could have been that as a foreman of a brick works he was considered a good judge of people. Also unclear is why persons were being selected at all, why the Pathfinder and whether Mr P Buckingham of Toledo had a representative called McCulloh and also what was his trade.

John Hallett offered himself or was one of the selected persons to travel to New York. If the timings of the above letters were adhered to, John would have travelled on the Pathfinder between February 1853 and May 1854.

The Pathfinder is mentioned in a book, Squibbs History of Bridgwater. The article which is transcribed below, suggests that the vessel was built in Bridgwater. Further research has identified that she was built for her Bridgwater owners, Axford and Son, in Pictu, Nova Scotia during 1851. She may have been 'fitted out' in Bridgwater.

In February a fine new ship, the Pathfinder, the property of Bridgwater merchants, was built in Bridgwater by Messrs Axford & Sons. Bridgwater people were very proud of this vessel which was lying in the floating dock being prepared to convey passengers and goods direct from Bridgwater to New York.

It marked a new era in local history and was confidently felt to herald a new and better state of affairs for the port. The ship left Bridgwater on Sunday, 8 March at about seven a.m. for New York. She had on board a full complement of emigrants, about one hundred and thirty in number.

Upwards of 5,000 people lined the banks of the river to witness her departure, and when she was towed by the steamer out of the outer basin, she was saluted with cannon and the hearty 'hurrahs' of the spectators. For some weeks the Pathfinder had been a great attraction in Bridgwater and she had been visited by thousands, and her superior fittings elicited the marked and decided approval of all who had seen her.

On leaving the basis she proceeded to sea with the same tide, which, for a vessel of her size, and drawing as she did l5ft. of water, was a feat not often accomplished from the port. The Pathfinder reached the Channel at nine a.m.; the steamer continued with her as far as Minehead, which she reached at 12 noon. Messrs Axford & Sons were congratulated for their spirit and received great credit for the undertaking. It was the most spirited enterprise which had ever been undertaken on behalf of the port, and they had the earnest good wishes of their townsmen for the success of the venture and the safety of the vessel.

The emigrants left in good spirit and received the generous farewell, not only of their friends, but of the thousands of spectators who witnessed her departure. The Pathfinder was described as a fine, new, first-class, fast-sailing, clipper-built barque of 800 tons burden. The commander was William Loveless, and the voyage took 30 days

Little is known of John's life from the point he arrived in the United States until his death. He must have lived through the Civil War but record of his involvement has yet to be found.

The 1860 census for West Toledo suggests that John is the head of household. He has yet to be found in the 1870 census and the 1880 census suggests that he was a widower, working as a commercial labourer and lodging with the Leibins family of Toledo.

Toledo Directories for 1889 - 1891 show John as a farmer, living at 2060 Franklin Avenue.

At the age of sixty one, John married Emily J Stone in Toledo, Ohio on 8 April 1882; Emily died four years later.

Most of what is known about John and his time in America is taken from his will and newspaper memorium. It would appear that John had travelled directly to Toledo and remained there all of his life. He is referred to as being of a retiring disposition, and was clearly someone who disliked alcohol. His dislike of alcohol is interesting as it has been suggested that his father was an alcoholic.

Although not known how, John was able to amass a substantial estate including farms of 200 acres in size and additional commercial buildings. After making a number of specific provisions, most of of the balance of John's will was bequeathed to his sister, nieces and nephews in England.

The following transcript is taken from the 14 November 1899 Toledo Blade.

An old resident was John Hallett.

The death of John Hallett, announcement of which was made in yesterday's Blade, removes another of the old residents. Mr. Hallett was born nearly four score years ago, and has lived in Toledo at least 30 years. He was for a long time employed in the office of C.A.King & Co.. By close application to business, he amassed a comfortable fortune, and at the time of his death owned the Summit street blocks occupied by R. B. Baker and Franc, besides several productive farms. Mr Hallett left no near relatives in this country, and his retiring disposition narrowed his acquaintance to a small circle of friends.

The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock from the late residence.

John was living at 2060 Franklin Avenue, Toledo. His death certificate describes him as a widowed farmer, aged 78 years 8 months and 25 days; he had died of chronic bronchitis on 13 November 1899. This unusually precise age was used to calculate his date of birth as stated earlier in this document.

The following is a full transcript of John's will. It is interesting to note that the widow Isabella E. Dudley and her grand daughter Laura Shirley and her husband George, also an executor, all lived at 2060 Franklin Avenue.

Last will and testament of John Hallett of Toledo, Ohio.
Admin No 2456.

Pleas before the Court of Probate within and for the County of Lucas and State of Ohio at a session therof held at the Court House in the City of Toledo on the 16th day of November in the year of our Lord 1899 before the Honorable Irvin I Millard Sole Judge of said Court.

Lucas Probate Court.
The State of Ohio
Lucas County ???

Be it remembered that on the 16th day of November 1899 there was filed in this court a certain last will and testament of John Hallett deceased, which will is in the words and figures as follows to wit.

Will of John Hallett.

I, John Hallett, of Toledo Ohio, age 78 years, hereby revoking all former wills made by me do make and publish this my last will and testament as follows, to wit.

I will and direct that all debts I may owe at the time of my death, the expense of my last sickness and burial and the expense and cost of administering my Estate be first paid in full out of my Estate.

I will, devise and bequeath the following property and amounts of money to the persons hereinafter named as follows.

1st: To James Connars of Toledo, Ohio One Thousand ($1000) Dollars.

2nd: To Patrick Driscoll of Toledo, Ohio, Five Hundred ($500) Dollars

3rd: To Mrs. Bridget Driscoll of Toledo, Ohio widow of Daniel Driscoll Five Hundred ($500) Dollars

4th: To my friend John Daly, of Toledo, Ohio, Tweny five Hundred Dollars ($2500)

5th: To my cousin Susan Quantock of Hambridge, Somershire [ sic ] England, One Thousand ($1,000) Dollars.

The foregoing five legacies I request to be paid as soon as my Executors reasonably can without sacrifice, not exceeding one year from the date of my death.

6th: To my sister Lavinia Fry of Bristol England, Five Hundred ($500) Dollars per year for each, and and every year she may live after my death: the same to be payable each year in four equal quarterly installments of $125 each, the first installment on the first day of the third calendar month after my death, and a like installment on the first day of each third month thereafter as long as she lives, and the same to be remitted by my Executors by draft to my sister without trouble or expense to her.

I will devise and bequeath to Mrs Isabella E. Dudley of Toledo, Ohio, the use of $5,000 as long as she lives, and on her death the principal therof shall go absolutely to her grand child, Laura Shirley of Toledo Ohio. And I direct that my Executors as soon as convenient shall invest said $5,000 in an interest bearing bond or bonds or notes secured by mortgage on real estate for the benefit of said parties, and hold the same until they are otherwise ready to settle my Estate, when they shall nominate and appoint some Trustee to hold such security and collect and pay over the interest to the person entitled. The annual interest on such security shall be paid to to the said Isabella E Dudley each year during her life and on her death the security shall be delivered to the said Laura E. Shirley, her heirs or assigns. Any taxes upon said legacy or said security levied while it is held by my Executors shall be paid by them out of my Estate generally and not out of the said $5,000 but the delivery of such security to any Trustee shall relieve my Executors from any liability of paying any taxes levied after such delivery.

I will, devise and bequeath to Edmund Collins of Washington Township, Lucas County, Ohio for and during his natural life only, the following described lands and tenements, namely:
1st: The farm known as the Hallett Farm in Washington Township Lucas County, Ohio, bordering on the North side of Ottawa River and being all that the part of Section 18 North of the center of said River --------------------- and all that part of the South-east Quarter of Section 7 lying South of the public road running North-east and South-west through said section 7 and all said lands being in Town? 9 South Range 8 East, Lucas County Ohio and containing in all about 200 acres----------------------and the South-west 40 ft. of the North-east 140 ft. of lot number ten hundred and fourteen and one half (1014½ )of the Vistula Division of the city of Toledo Ohio being the same?? premises now occupied by my tenants B A Baker & Company as a?? store and being store rooms Nos 435 and 437 of Summit St. of the city of Toledo of Lucas County Ohio----------------- The said Collins shall have the possession and use of said farm, and shall pay all the taxes and assessments on said farm, and on said city property each year.----------------

The said Edmund Collins shall not cut any timber on said farm except the dead timber which he may cut for wood, and my Executors are especially charged with the duty of enforcing this condition.---------------------------------------

My Executors shall keep the buildings on all said farm and city property insured in their names for the benefit of my Estate, and the leases for the city property shall be made by my Executors, who as shall collect the rents and out of said rents pay.-----------------
1st: The premiums of the insurance on said buildings on said farm and city lot.
2nd: Any necessary repairs on the buildings on said farms and city lot.
3rd: The taxes and assessments upon said two pieces of property.
4th: And the balance each year to the said Edmund Collins for and during his natural life.------ On the death of the said Edmund Collins both parcels of said real estate shall go to my nieces and nephews under the residuary clause of this my will.

All the rest, residue and remainder of my Estate, real, personal and mixed, left after settling and filling the foregoing bequests of my will, including the remainder of said two parcels of property hereinbefore devised for his life to the said Edmund Collins. I will devise and bequeath to each of my nieces and nephews as may be living at the time of my death, the said nieces and nephews being the children of my deceased brother Thomas Hallett and the two children of my sister Lavinia Fry of Bristol, England, but the said Lavinia Fry shall have the use and benefit for and during her natural life, of the portion herein devised to her two children.

That none of my lands shall be used by either my Executors or by said Edmund Collins as a location for the sale of beer, ale or any intoxicating liquors and should said Collins use or permit to to be used any part of said lands devised to him for life as a location for the sale of or use of beer, ale, whiskey or other intoxicating drinks his rights in said land shall immediately terminate. And should my Executors use or permit to be used any of my property for such purposes their authority in the premises shall immediately terminate and they may be removed by the Probate Court.

I hereby authorize and empower my Executors to sell any and all my property, real, personal and mixed at a private sale and to execute good and sufficient deed or deeds for any real estate so sold so as to convert said property into money for the purpose of paying off the said legacies and dividing my property among my residuary "legators" and thereby avoiding all litigation, and to make division and partition, and deeds of partition between my residuary legators and to pay owltry? if necessary in making such partition.

In case my residuary legators make such disposition of any lot or parcel of land as will render it not necessary for a division therof, then such lot or parcel of land shall not be sold by my Executors, but the same shall be disposed of and conveyed by my Executors, as directed by the residuary legators in writing. And I authorize my Executors to settle and compromise all claims in favor or against my estate, and to adjust and settle any and all claims that might arise between any of my devisees under this will, but my Executors are hereby given sufficient time to convert my property into money without any great sacrifice thereto.

I hereby nominate and appoint as Executors of this my last will John Daly and George Shirley, both of Toledo, Ohio, and especially authorize and empower them and their survivor, successor or successors in office to carry out and execute the provisions of this will, but should they or either of them die, resign or refuse to act I hereby authorize their survivor and their successor or successors to do any and all things herein authorized for them to do. ---------
Any bond required by my Executors shall be furnished by the Surety Company and the cost thereof paid out of my Estate.---------------------
In witness whereof I do hereunto sign my name and affix my seal and publish this my last will and testament on this sixth day of June A. D. 1899

John Hallett "Seal"

Signed, sealed acknowledged and published as his last will and testament by John Hallett in our presence and we in attestation thereof in his presence and at his request sign our names hereto

Michael C. Gavin

Clayton N Eviritt

On the same day an Application to admit to said will

A letter was found amongst the personal effects of Maude Hallett in Adelaide, to whom John was a great grand uncle. The letter was dated 10 March 1924, from solicitors in Ohio and concerns a disputed piece of land, forming part of the John Hallett estate.

Much of the above information was provided by Geoff Hallett who lives in Canada and has researched the Hallett family in great detail. Significant contributions to Geoff's research on John Hallett's [ 1796 ] descendants have been made by Bob and Lynette Stunell of Adelaide, Australia and Bert Hallett of Kurri Kurri, NSW, Australia.

A separate page is available crediting sources of information with links to original documentation where available.