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Thomas Hallett

(1820 - 1871)

Thomas Hallett was born in Kingsbury Episcopi on 4 March 1820, to parents John Hallett and Sarah Male. Whilst Thomas' baptism record can not be found in the parish records, his parentage and date of birth has been established by reference to a bastardy order.

Technically, Thomas and all of his descendants should be known by the surname of Male, for it appears that his mother and father were not married at the time of Thomas' birth.

Thomas was joined by a brother John, on 5 May 1822 (baptism date) and sister Lavinia on 31 July 1825, (baptism date). Again it would appear that John and Sarah had remained unmarried, both children being baptised as Male.

After a series of convictions for theft, Thomas' father John was transported to Australia in 1826.

On 7 January 1835 a will was prepared on behalf of Samuel Bradford who was the brother of Thomas' maternal grandmother. The will contains a number of bequests including the following:

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 Lavinia Hallett equally between share and share alike.

Whilst Thomas was not a recipient of the ten pounds, his father was still alive when Samuel Bradford died in 1841, the document serves to support the relationship between John Hallett, Sarah Male and their children.

At the time of the 1841 Kingsbury Episcopi census, Thomas is shown as aged 20 and working as an agricultural labourer. Also in the house is his 40 year old mother Sarah Male, his brother John, 18 and sister Lavinia aged 16. All of the children's surnames are recorded as Hallett.

On 18 April 1843, Thomas along with a Caroline Eves, were witnesses at the marriage of Robert Glover and Hannah Monkton. This is believed to be significant as it establishes a relationship between Thomas and Caroline at this time.

Caroline was also a witness at the wedding of Ambrose Male and Kesia Bonning on 24 December 1843. Her co-witness was recorded as James Hallett. James may have been incorrectly transcribed and could have been Thomas, this point will be clarified.

Caroline Eves gave birth to a child named George Eves, baptised in Kingsbury Episcopi on 17 February 1845, it is believed that Thomas was the father.

Thomas married Caroline Eves on 2 September 1848 in Kingsbury Episcopi.

Eight months after Thomas and Caroline were married, Caroline gave birth to Mary Jane who was baptised 13 May 1849.

The 1851 census records 31 year old Thomas as a brick maker, living in Kingsbury Episcopi, Stembridge. Also in the property was his wife Caroline, 27, two year old daughter Mary Jean (Jane), and son / step son George, aged six. George has assumed the Hallett surname.

Whilst yet to be confirmed, it would appear that Mary Jane Hallett died late in 1851. Certainly, Thomas had a further daughter who was also baptised Mary Jane on 9 November 1851.

The following 1853 letters were found in the Bradford company archives, suggesting that Thomas held a position of trust / responsibility or similar 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

Further information concerning the Pathfinder is available


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.

It is known that Thomas' brother John was one of the persons selected to travel and that he eventually settled in Toledo, Ohio. John was to repay his brother after his death by leaving a substantial part of his estate to Thomas' children.

Further children were born to Thomas and Caroline; Sarah, baptised 9 April 1854, Job baptised on 9 December 1855 and John baptised 13 June 1858.

The 1861 census reveals that the family were still living in Kingsbury Episcopi. Thomas was aged 40 and working as a brick and tile maker. Also in the house was his wife Caroline and all of the children other than Sarah and the first Mary Jane (believed to have died in 1851). Sarah would have been seven years old, her location in the census has yet to be identified.

The family also had a servant, thirteen year old George Male. Male is a family name and it may be that George was helping out in the household, more as a favour to the family. Male is also a very popular Kingsbury name and it may simply be coincidence.

Thomas and Caroline had two further children, Sarah Ann, baptised November 1861 and Louisa in 1865.

At the time of the 1871 census, the family appear to have had a change in fortunes. Thomas, now 51, thirteen year old John and six year old Louisa are all working as agricultural labourers. Caroline and 19 year old Mary were working as gloving labourers.

The precise location of their other children George, 26; Sarah, 15 and Sarah Ann, 10 has yet to be established. It is possible that the change of fortune / health meant that Thomas could no longer support seven children and they were placed with other families to earn their keep as servants, further census research would confirm this. Job was found, aged 15, working as an ostler at the Wyndham Arms, Kingsbury Episcopi.

Thomas died on 14 May 1871. His death certificate states that he was 51 years old and had died of consumption (tuberculosis). It is likely the consumption would have affected Thomas for many months and significantly reduced his ability to work, perhaps contributing to the change in family fortune.

Thomas may have been buried and is certainly remembered by a monument at the Kingsbury Episcopi parish church. The tombstone has the following inscription:

In Loving Memory of Caroline Hallett who died Dec 3rd 1913 aged 89 years Also of Thomas Hallett husband of the above who died May 18th 1871 aged 55 years also of Mary Jane daughter of the above who died Sep 20th 1883 Aged 31 years "Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him"

Also of Henry Furber who died March 13th 1924 aged 63 years and of Sarah Ann his wife daughter of the above Thomas Hallett.

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.