Our Bennett/Simpson Roots

A Distinguished Heritage

George Halliday

GEORGE HALLIDAY (1823 – 1900)

Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia

George Halliday, a successful missionary, Bishop and Patriarch, was born April 17, 1823, in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England, the son of Stephen Halliday and Jane Watts.

From his early youth he was religiously inclined and while yet very young he became a member of the Baptist Church, in which he took an active part, especially in Sunday School and Choir work.  Frequently, when only seventeen years old, he went into the country and took the lead in Baptist prayer meetings.  At the age of 21 years (Apri1 1, 1844) he married Mary Ann Case, a very sedate, religious and lovable young lady.  Soon after his marriage, his older brother, John Halliday, came to England from Nauvoo, Illinois, as a “Mormon” missionary.

He soon convinced his brother of the truth of the gospel and baptized him, November 10, 1844, as the first fruits of his Ministry in England.  In 1845 (February 16th) George Halliday was ordained a Priest by his brother, John and immediately commenced his labors as a local missionary.  At a place called Road, in Somersetshire, he baptized a number of persons who were organized into a branch of the Church.  He was ordained an Elder August 12, 1845, by his brother John, and while working at his trade as a plasterer he traveled and preached on Sundays and week nights, often going as far as ten miles, after a hard day’s work, to hold meetings.  During this time his wife was sick with consumption and after thirteen months of suffering, she died May 13, 1845.

Meanwhile, Elder Halliday continued his missionary work, and on January 1, 1846, he was appointed to labor as a traveling Elder in the Cheltenham conference under the presidency of Elder John Johnson.  He was thus employed until June 1, 1847, when he was appointed to labor in the Birmingham conference under the direction of Cyrus H. Wheelock.  Here he had great success in making converts.  While traveling in the Cheltenham conference, he became acquainted with Sarah Jane Kendall (daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Kendall), whom he married October 4, 1847.  In January 1848, he was appointed to preside over the Bristol branch and to travel in the South Conference under the presidency of his brother, John.  The two brothers labored together in the greatest of harmony and love, or until John was released to return to America.

In 1850 George Halliday was appointed to preside over the South Conference; subsequently he was set apart to preside as pastor over the South, Dorsetshire, and Lands End conferences.  He spent five years preaching the gospel in that part of England and was greatly blessed in his labors, as hundreds of person joined the Church.  The Saints enjoyed the spirit of the Lord to a marvelous extent and many grand and glorious manifestations of the power of God took place.  One instance is recorded by Elder Halliday as follows: “One Sunday evening, after preaching to a crowded house, a Sister Ware asked me to go to her home and administer to her son who was very sick. Her home being three miles away, and I being in a state of perspiration from preaching, endeavored to make an excuse for not going with her, but she plead so earnestly for me to go that I felt impressed to help her, so I took my pocket handkerchief and gave it to her, telling her to return home and place the handkerchief upon the child and pray.  She took the handkerchief and started for home, nothing doubting.  At the door of her house, she was met by members of her family who told her that the boy was dead.  The mother replied that she had Elder Halliday’s handkerchief with his promise that the Lord would heal her child and she was going to do as she was told.  Consequently, she went upstairs where the child lay apparently dead, but she put the handkerchief over him and prayed earnestly to the Lord to restore him to life.  Her prayer was answered, and the child was miraculously healed and the next day was able to go downstairs and eat with the family.  The boy got well and subsequently came to Utah.”

In January, 1853, Elder Halliday was released from his missionary labors in England with permission to emigrate to Utah.  He set sail from Liverpool, February 5, 1853, in the ship “Jersey”, having been appointed to take charge of a company of Saints (314 souls).  Elder Halliday and Captain Day, the commander of the vessel, became very intimate and friendly during the voyage, so much so that the captain promised to give Elder Halliday or any of his friends who might wish to cross the ocean in the future free passage.  Elder Halliday crossed the plains in wagons together with his wife, Sarah, and her sister Prudence, and two children (Joseph W. and Vernee L.).  The company arrived in Salt Lake City, September 24, 1853.  Two months later (November 17, 1853), Elder Halliday’s wife, Sarah, and her sister, were sealed to him by President Brigham Young in Salt Lake City.

In February 1854, he was ordained a Seventy by Jedediah M. Grant and chosen as one of the presidents of the 37th Quorum of Seventy.  In April 1854, he was called by President Young on a business and preaching mission to the States, from which he returned in September 1854.  In November 1855, he was commissioned by Governor Brigham Young as First Lieutenant of Company B in the Regiment of the Invicible (3rd Regiment of Infantry) and afterwards he was appointed captain of the same company.  Theirs was the first battalion of infantry called out to Echo Canyon in 1857.  On this expedition Elder Halliday was appointed commissary of the whole camp, and he was highly complimented by Brigham Young upon his return to Salt Lake City for his efficiency and the way he kept his books and accounts.  Early in the spring of 1858, before the Johnston army entered the City, Elder Halliday buried a lot of his effects deep in the earth, and then piled dry wood in each room of his house, preparatory to burning up everything on short notice if the approaching army should prove hostile.  He sent his family to Spanish Fork, Utah County, while he stayed back with others to guard the city.  During the temporary exile, his family was obliged to live in a cellar where his wife, Prudence, gave birth to a son (Leo).  During her sickness, she had to subsist on bread and water, but soon recovered her strength, and all returned to Salt Lake City.

In July 1859, Elder Halliday obtained his naturalization papers as a citizen of the United States, and in 1860 he was called on a mission to England.  During this mission he first presided over the South conference, with headquarters in Bristol, and afterwards labored as pastor of the South, Wiltshire, and Lands End conferences.  He also visited Ireland, where he held meetings in Dublin, Belfast, and other places.  After a four years’ successful mission he returned to America in 1864, crossing the Atlantic in the ship “Hudson”.  As Bro. John M. Kay, the leader of the company was sick, the responsibility of taking care of the emigrating Saints through the States fell to the lot of Bro. Halliday who crossed the plains in Capt.Warren Snow’s company which arrived in Salt Lake, October 4, 1864.  When Bro. Halliday left Salt Lake City, he was advised to take with him a suit of Temple Clothes.  He could not understand why this counsel was given to him as he should not need the clothes in England, but on the return trip, he learned the reason why, for on the 26th of September, 1864, John M. Kay died, and Elder Halliday’s Temple clothes were placed on Elder Kay, whose remains were interred in the Little Laramie river.   On his return home, Elder Halliday found that his children had grown so much that he did not know any of them.

In 1867, he moved his family to Pleasant Grove, and soon afterwards he was appointed as a home missionary in that part of the country.  In 1868, he was elected alderman of Pleasant Grove, and in March 1870, he was appointed chaplain of a division of the Nauvoo Legion and one of General Pace’s staff.  In 1871 (Aug 19th) he was chosen as a High Councilor in the Utah Stake of Zion and in August 1872, he was elected as one of the representatives from Utah County to the Utah Legislature.  In 1873 he was chosen as a councilor to Bishop John Brown of Pleasant Grove and in 1875 (Aug 1st) he was ordained a Bishop by President Brigham Young and appointed to preside in Santaquin, Utah County.  Not being able to sell his property in Pleasant Grove, he left his wife, Prudence, and her family in that and took Sarah and her family to Santaquin.

In 1887 he and his wife, Sarah, did considerable Temple work in the Logan Temple.  In 1888 (May 18th) he was arrested in Ogden on a charge of unlawful cohabitation.  He was subsequently tried, and convicted and sentenced to seventy-five days’ imprisonment in the Utah Penitentiary.  Thus he spent the time form Oct. 19, 1888 to Jan. 9 1889 in prison.  In January 1889, he was called away from Santaquin to preside as Bishop of American Fork.  Complying with his new call, he arrived in American Fork, Feb.2, 1899, and took up his labors there.  In May, 1891, he was appointed to labor as a home missionary in the Utah Stake, and was ordained a Patriarch Jan. 14, 1894, by Joseph F. Smith.  Subsequently, he visited the settlements in the Utah Stake and gave 208 Patriarchal blessings.

Having sold his home in American Fork, he built a house in Santaquin and went there to live in July, 1895.  His wife, Prudence, died Sept. 8, 1898, at Pleasant Grove, and Patriarch George Halliday died May 17, 1900, at his home in Santaquin, Utah, after a most eventful career, leaving a large family.  Following are the names of his children by his first wife, Sarah Jane: John Charles, Joseph Watts, Vernee Lorenzo, George Franklin, Willard H. and Serena Elizabeth.  His wife Prudence, bore him the following children:  Florence Edith, Wealthy Ann, Leo Francis, Clarissa F.,  John R., Catherine A., and Ernest R.

2 thoughts on “George Halliday

  1. Janeen on said:

    I have found a picture of George Halliday, if you would like a copy, you can email me.

  2. Greg Halliday on said:

    I would love a picture, as I am a descendent of George Halliday. Thanks so much.

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