The Family of Betsy Haslam of Bolton, Lancashire


John Haslam’s mother was Betsy Haslam and his father was William. In a letter from Jennie Weeks, a genealogical researcher in Salt Lake hired by the Haslam family in the 1960s, to Edith Norris, a genealogical researcher in Bolton, England, Ms. Weeks states: “He gave his mother’s name as Elizabeth Haslam, and listed his father as William with no surname given.” The letter continues with additional clues: “We have definitely proven that the English family that he was connected with, who wrote him many letters after he left England, was the family of John Hardman and his wife Jane. We have a record showing that Jane had an illegitimate son, Thomas, born 16 July 1815. She then married John Hardman and had five children, including Elizabeth, James, Rodger, Giles, and Sarah. We know that this is the family he calls brothers and sisters.”

Betsy’s parents were John and Alice Haslam. Research in Bolton is challenging because Haslam is a common name, and during this time period there were four John and Alice Haslam’s having children. They were:

1. John Haslam and Alice Draper, married in 1779, in Bolton.

2. John Haslam and Alice Crompton, married in 1782, in Deane by Bolton.

3. John Haslam and Alice Roscoe, married in 1786, in Bolton le Moors.

4. John Haslam and Alice Halliwell, married in 1794, in Bolton le Moors.


Dividing out the many Haslam children among the proper families has been difficult, as the mother’s maiden name is not given at the christening. These christenings took place in St. Peter’s in Bolton, and in Deane by Bolton. On occasion, the townland is given, which can be helpful in grouping the families. Notes from Mrs. Morris, along with the townlands propose the following family groups:


John Haslam and Alice Draper

John Haslam and Alice Draper’s marriage is recorded in the St. Peter’s parish register: “John Haslam, weaver of this parish, and Alice Draper of this parish were married" on 14 October 1779. Their children, all christened in St. Peter, were:
1. Betty, christened 17 September 1780 of Tong.
2. Ellen, christened 10 August 1783 of Tong.
3. Alice, christened 18 April 1784 of Great Bolton.

Alice Draper Haslam died 1807 as a widow.
Sources: IGI, St. Peter parish register, FHS# 559176; marriage FHS# 559180.

John Haslam and Alice Crompton

John Haslam of Middle Hulton married Alice Crompton 12 February 1782 in Deane by Bolton. Their children, all christened in Deane by Bolton were:
1. Mary, christened 28 June 1782 in Deane.
2. Peggy, christened 21 August 1785 in Deane.
3. Hannah, christened 18 November 1787 in Deane.
4. Alice, christened 4 September 1789 in Deane.
5. Matty, christened 27 December 1791 in Deane.

6. Ruth, christened 19 October 1794; died 2 September 1795, buried in Deane.

7. Betty, christened 1 January 1795 in Deane.

8. Abraham, christened 5 November 1795 in Deane.

9. Thomas, christened 25 September 1796 in Deane.

10. John, christened 30 April 1797 in Deane.

11. John, christened 18 May 1800 in Deane.

12. Lettice, christened 18 September 1802 in Deane.

13. Hannah, christened 7 August 1803 in Deane.

14. George, christened 6 September 1804 in Deane.

15. James, christened 15 September 1805 in Deane.

16. Elizabeth, christened 7 February 1806 in Deane.

17. Mary, christened 17 May 1807 in Deane.

18. John, christened 15 October 1809 in Deane.

John Haslam, Sr. died 13 November 1808. Alice Crompton Haslam died 26 March 1819.
Sources: IGI; monumental inscription in Deane churchyard for John, Alice and their daughter Ruth. The inscription states “Here is interred the body of Ruth Haslam the daughter of John and Alice Haslam of Middle Hulton September 2nd in the year 1795. Also the said Alice Haslam died March 26th 1819 in the 60th year of her age. Like wise John Haslam died November 13th 1808 in the 67th year of his age.”

John Haslam and Alice Roscoe


Marriage of John Haslam and Alice Roscoe in St. Peter's parish

John Haslam and Alice Roscoe’s marriage is recorded in the St. Peter’s parish register: “John Haslam of Deane, weaver, married Alice Roscoe of this parish 25 December 1786.”

Their children were:

1. Mary, christened 6 May 1787 of Darcy Lever; died 8 May 1791.
2. Catherine, christened 1 March 1789 of Haulgh; married Thomas Openshaw 26 September 1813 in Bolton; died 9 October 1832. (Mother of Job Openshaw who immigrated to Utah.)
3. Molly, christened 31 October 1790 of Great Bolton.
4. Alice, christened 13 November 1791 of Haulgh; died 10 May 1800.
5. John, christened 30 September 1792 of Great Bolton at Bolton Le Moors Methodist Church on Bridge Street.

6. Jane, christened 10 May 1794 of Great Bolton at Bolton Le Moors Methodist Church on Bridge Street; married John Hardman.


Sources: IGI, St. Peter parish register, FHS# 559176.


John Haslam and Alice Halliwell


Marriage of John Haslam and Alice Halliwell, St. Peter's parish

John Haslam and Alice Halliwell’s marriage was recorded in the St. Peter’s parish register: “John Haslam of this parish, widower, and Alice Halliwell of this parish, spinster were married in this church by banns this fifteenth day of October in the year 1794.”Mrs. Norris proposed that this is the second marriage for John Haslam, with the first marriage being to Alice Roscoe. The children, all christened in St. Peter, were:

1. Betty, christened 15 November 1797; died 1798.
2. Thomas, christened 25 November 1798.
*3. Betty, christened 25 May 1800 of Tong.

Betty Haslam baptism

 Baptism record for Betty Haslam in Bolton: "25 Betty dr of John & Alice Haslam of Tong"

4. Alice, christened 15 November 1801, Great Bolton.
5. Mary, christened 24 April 1803 of Haulgh.

6. Samuel, christened 24 February 1805 of Tong; died 11 December 1883.


Sources: IGI, St. Peter parish register, FHS# 559176.


There are several possible Betsy Haslams in the families of John and Alice Draper, Alice Crompton, and Alice Halliwell. John S Haslam’s mother Betsy had a sister, Jane, who raised John after her death. Only the combined families of John Haslam and Alice Roscoe, and Alice Halliwell meet this requirement.

Other information related to Jane Haslam confirm this assumption. The Bolton parish register shows the birth of “Thomas, son of Jane Haslam, Haulgh, spinster” on 18 June 1815. (FHS# 559176)  The townland of Haulgh is listed at the christenings of several of John and Alice Roscoe and Alice Halliwell’s children.
In addition, a death certificate for Jane Hardman on 28 February 1838, at the age of 44 years has Thomas Haslam, brother listed as the informant. (Death certificate of Jane Hardman) Betsy has a brother, Thomas, two years older than her in the family of John Haslam and Alice Halliwell.


Another clue in the letters of Jennie Weeks and Edith Norris is the fact that John S Haslam was related to Job Openshaw. Ms. Weeks states: “Another fact that has been established shows that John was related to Catherine, the wife of Job Openshaw, and several of these connections you have been able to authenticate with actual dates and places.” Catherine was the daughter of John Haslam and Alice Roscoe. She was actually the wife of Thomas Openshaw, and the mother of Job Openshaw. Job was born in 1819 in Tong, Bolton, and died 1901 in Salt Lake City.

The combined families of John Haslam and Alice Roscoe, and John Haslam and Alice Halliwell meet all of these conditions. Betty Haslam, christened 25 May 1800 to John Haslam and Alice Halliwell is the most likely person to be Betsy, the mother of John S Haslam.

The letters from Edith Norris propose this parentage for John Haslam and Alice Roscoe:

John Haslam, christened 3 July 1761 to James and Ellen Haslam.

Alice Roscoe, christened 14 September 1760 to Robert and Ellen Roscow of Tong.

Alice Halliwell, Betsy’s mother, is most likely the daughter of Thomas Halliwell and Betty Marsh, and was christened 28 April 1771 in St. Peter's, Bolton le Moors. While there were other Alices born within the right time period around Bolton, this Alice is the only one born in St. Peter's parish. In addition, her parents were Thomas and Betty. These were the names given to Alice Halliwell Haslam's first two children.


JAMES HASLAM married Ellen Heywood 23 December 1760 in Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire. The parish record shows, "James Haslam of this parish, weaver and Ellen Heywood of this parish spinster were married in this church by banns this 23rd day of December in the year one thousand seven hundred and sixty by me, J. Folds. This marriage was solemnized between us, James Hazleme and Ellen Heywood in the presence of John Haslam and Jas. Livesey."

James Haslam marriage

Marriage record for James Haslam and Ellen Heywood in Bolton

Ellen was christened 23 June 1731 in St. Peter, Bolton, the daughter of Hy Heywood and Elizabeth Rothwell.

James and Ellen had the following children:

*1. John, christened 3 July 1761 in St. Peter, Bolton, of Little Bolton; married 1) Alice Roscoe 25 December 1786 in St. Peter, Bolton; married 2) Alice Halliwell 15 October 1794 in St. Peter, Bolton. John was a weaver.

John Haslam baptism

 Baptism record for John Haslam in Bolton

2. Thomas, 24 Oct 1762 in St. Peter of Little Bolton.

3. James, christened 3 July 1763 in St. Peter, of Tong.

4. Peter, christened 14 July 1765 in St. Peter, of Little Bolton.

5. Richard, christened 2 November 1766 in St. Peter, of Tong.

6. Mary, christened 15 February 1767 in St. Peter, of Little Bolton.

7. Hannah, christened 9 February 1772 in St. Peter, of Sharples.

8. James, christened 25 February 1774 in St. Peter, of Sharples.

9. Alice, christened 29 October 1775 in St. Peter, of Sharples.

10. Betty, christened 16 November 1777 in St. Peter of Sharples.

SOURCE: IGI; St. Peter parish register.

Betsy Haslam

The research above suggests that Betsy Haslam, the mother of John S Haslam, was born in 1800 to John Haslam and Alice Halliwell. When Betsy was born she had five older brothers and sisters: Catherine, age 11; Molly, age 10; John, age 8; Jane, age 6; and Thomas, age 2. More brothers and sisters were born: Alice in 1801, Mary in 1803, and Samuel in 1805.

When Betsy was in her early twenties she was employed as a “lady worker and teacher at the Duke of Bridgewater’s estate at Worsley. William, the Duke of Clarence, was a visitor at the Duke of Bridgewater’s home. William later became King William IV of England. While in the Duke’s employ, Betsy became pregnant. At the age of 23 she gave birth to a son, John. John gave his father’s name as William. William, the Duke of Clarence, may have been the father. (See the discussion of John S Haslam’s birth for research on his parentage.) Some family stories indicate that Betsy received financial support for her son John.


Betsy raised her son. When John was only nine years old Betsy died. She was 32 years old when she died on 6 May 1832. There is no record of a marriage or other children for Betsy.


Betsy’s son, John, was then raised by Betsy’s sister Jane. Jane had an illegitimate son, Thomas in 1815, when Jane was 21 years old. Jane married John Hardman on 13 May 1832, just seven days after Betsy’s death. Jane and John Hardman had six children: Elizabeth, James, Rodger, Sarah and Giles, who were twins, and Martha. John Haslam considered the Hardman children as his brothers and sisters. (Click here to see letters to John Haslam from his family in England.)


If John was the son of William IV, then financial support may have stopped in 1837, when William died. John would have been 14 years old at that time. Stories of John’s childhood, as told by his wife Mary Ann Kay, say that John “had to work in the coal mine as a child…Later at the age of 14 his mother bound him over to a Mr. Wordley to learn the blacksmith trade.” Jane must have been the mother mentioned, as Betsy had died by then.

Jane Haslam died just six years later, on 28 February 1838, of asthma. After Jane died, “When John was 16 years of age, he served in the British Navy.” He would have left home to join the Navy one year after Jane died. (Coincidentally, William IV served many years in the British Navy, and had a great love for the sea.) John stayed in touch with his adopted “brothers and sisters”, actually cousins, and several fond letters from the Hardman children are in descendants' possession.



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