Our Bennett/Simpson Roots

A Distinguished Heritage


ABEL STEPHEN HALLIDAY (1826 – aft 1862) was born in Bristol, Wiltshire, England the son of Stephen Halliday and Jane Watts.

Abel married Emily Stevens 24 Dec 1848 in Melksham, Wiltshire, England.  Following their marriage, Abel and Emily lived in Towbridge where their first three children were born; their son, John Thomas, the only child born in England surviving birth.  While living in Towbridge, Abel’s older brothers, John and George Halliday, converted and baptized Abel and Emily members of the LDS Church.  Not long after, opportunity came for Abel and Emily to come to the United States to join with other members of their faith.

On 5 Feb 1853 Abel and Emily set sail on board the ship “Jersey” along with their infant son, John Thomas, as emigrants from Liverpool, England to the U.S.  Their ship arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana 22 Mar 1853.  The journey from England to the United States was led by Abel’s brother, George, who had been assigned by church leaders to arrange passage for a group of 314 church members to the United States – Abel, Emily, and John Thomas among them.

After arrival in New Orleans, arrangements were made for the group to travel up river to Keokuk, Iowa, where the group encamped in preparation for their travel on to Salt Lake City, Utah.  Abel and Emily intended to travel with the group on to Utah that summer of 1853, but Emily suffered an accidental  gun shot wound to the foot inflicted by Abel after his return to camp from a hunting trip.  Because of the injury, it was necessary for Abel and Emily to stay behind until Emily was well enough to travel west by wagon.  Apparently, Abel and Emily left the encampment at some point following the accident, and settled in the St. Louis, Missouri area for a brief time.  The following year, Abel and Emily came to Utah and settled in the Salt Lake City area, as evidenced by the 1856 Utah Territory census.

Abel and Emily had nine children of record:

  • William Halliday (5 Mar 1849 – 5 Mar 1849)  Born in Towbridge, England.  Died at birth.
  • Samuel William Halliday (5 Sep 1850 – 5 Sep 1850)  Born in Towbridge, England.  Died at birth.
  • John Thomas Halliday (17 Jan 1852 – 30 August 1861)  Born in Towbridge, England.  Died at the age of 10.
  • Martha Halliday (10 Oct 1854 – 10 Oct 1854)  Born in St Louis, Missouri.  Died at birth.
  • Mary Jane Halliday (11 Nov 1855 – 5 Oct 1856)  Born in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Died at the age of 10 months.
  • Mary Ann Halliday (12 Dec 1856 – 12 Dec 1856)  Born in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Died at birth.
  • James Halliday (15 Jun 1858 – 15 Jun 1858)  St Louis, Missouri.  Died at birth.
  • Mary Ellen Halliday (31 Jan 1860 – 3 Sep 1911).  Born in St. Louis, Missouri.  Married Willard Flinders, 29 Nov 1875.
  • Stephen Eli Halliday (2 Nov 1862 – 10 Mar 1940)  Born in St. Louis, Missouri.  Married Agnes Simpson 2 Nov 1886.

By 1858, Abel and Emily had returned to Missouri to live.  It was while living in St. Louis that their son, John Thomas, died on 30 August 1861.  According to family accounts, Abel became increasingly intemperate following his son’s death, and either died not long after or divorced Emily and left the family.  There is no record of the date or location of Abel’s death.

In June of 1867, Emily returned to Utah with her two children, Mary and Stephen, by wagon train.  Emily arrived in the Salt Lake valley the fall of 1867, and settled in Morgan County. It was there that she met and married Charles Dalton, a widower with seven children.



  1. Nancy Sparks Halliday on said:

    Thank you so very much for all the work you’ve done and posted. I live in Saint Louis, Missouri, and have learned a lot since reading this information. Abel is my second great grand uncle. His brother George is my second great grandfather.

  2. Randy Higley on said:

    Abel is my third great grandfather. Does anyone know of any photos of him? I have seen photos referenced as being him but they turn out to be of Charles Dalton Emily’s second husband.

    • Nancy Sparks on said:

      Abel Halliday is my second great grand uncle.  My second great grandfather is his brother George Halliday.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of Halliday family that you are looking for. 

      We have a Halliday Street in Saint Louis, Missouri, which is named after a member of the Halliday family, probably Abel.

  3. Nancy Sparks on said:

    Thank you SO very much for this article. This is fantastic. I am George Halliday’s second great granddaughter. Abel Halliday died here in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, Missouri (at that time Saint Louis was in the county, but not now) on 3 October 1867, however I don’t have the cemetery name.
    — Nancy Sparks, 26 March 2017

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