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Out of the Holliday Closet!

Written by Virginia Stokes and updated April 2006


This information has been written for all those members of the Holliday - Porter clan who are interested in their forebears with apologies to those receiving this who are not. Evidence strongly points to the fact that there was not one but two skeletons lurking in the Holiday- Porter rectory closet. They have now both come out! Not only did Henry Thomas Holliday have a convict ancestor but also his wife Mary Porter!

This information has been written for all those members of the Holliday - Porter clan who are interested in their forebears with apologies to those receiving this who are not. Evidence strongly points to the fact that there was not one but two skeletons lurking in the Holiday- Porter rectory closet. They have now both come out! Not only did Henry Thomas Holliday have a convict ancestor but also his wife Mary Porter!

Mary?s convict ancestor was her great grandfather James Slater who came to Sydney aboard The Surry on 28 July 1814. In the convict indent James Slater is described as Age- 33, Occupation- engineer and cotton manufacturer, Hair- black, Complexion- ruddy, Eyes- brown. Height- 5?6?. James in his early days of residence in Sydney made significant contributions towards the development of the cotton industry. Before he was imprisoned for stealing a weaver?s sack he worked in a cotton mill in Manchester as an engineer and had the knowledge to make the first water power driven carding machine, spinning jennies and looms in Australia. James would have been freed after serving 7 years as a convict. He lived in Sydney for some time, later moving to Balmain in 1843 where he bought a weatherboard cottage which stood on Lot 18, Duke Street.

James Slater was born in Lancashire about 1778 and married Mary Mayall in 1797 at the Cathedral in Manchester. James? father, Daniel was the clerk in the Anglican church at Ashton Under Lyne. His signature is found on many marriage certificates between 1803 and 1834. James Slater and Mary Mayall had nine children. They were in order of birth: Sarah, Mary, Ann, Esther, Miles, Daniel, Moses, Miriam and Maria. Their second daughter, Mary was the grandmother of Mary Porter who married Rev Henry Thomas Holliday.

On 20 January 1813 James Slater was tried at Lancaster Quarter Sessions and found ?guilty of stealing one twilled sack, at Ashton Under Line, the property of Samuel Howard.? He was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle which is still used as a prison. The family was split up amongst various relatives, some quite wealthy. It is possible that young Mary Slater (Mary Porter?s grandmother) went to live with her father?s parents Daniel Slater and Mary Stanfield as the name Stanfield (see Stanfield Holliday) was used as a Christian name in subsequent generations. Mary Slater married David Hall in 1819 when she was nineteen years old.

David Hall was a deaf brass moulder and not long after the railway link was established between Manchester and Liverpool they decided to emigrate to Australia. They set sail on 15 March 1844 on the Briton with their children, including their daughter Mary Hall and Mary Slater the convict?s wife, who travelled as a steerage passenger. Mary Hall later became Mary Porter?s mother and was aged about 4 when she arrived in Sydney with her family on 26 June 1844. Two years previously, James Slater?s youngest son Moses had migrated to Sydney on the Champion, which arrived in Sydney on 12 February 1842 and he immediately went to work in Kent Street, Sydney for his father whose main occupation was doing carpentry. Moses Slater was accompanied by his nephew, John Hall, and niece, Ann Hall, the older children of David Hall and Mary Slater. Ann?s husband, James Walker also came with them. John Hall also worked with James Slater, his grandfather. Ann and James Walker were assigned to work for a Mr Jobbins of Sandgate.

The Hall family settled in Balmain not far from James Slater. In fact as James Slater was building a house in 1844 on the site of 17 Duke Street, the Hall family probably lived next door in the house that James built. On arrival in Balmain David Hall was employed as a blacksmith by James Clayton. The three adult sons were employed as farm labourers, Daniel and William at Five Dock and Samuel at Portland Dale.

Samuel Hall married Agnes Porteous in 1851. After the death of Agnes he married Mary Cuthel in 1884. Judith Hall married John Spence, Martha Hall remained single. As yet I do not know who John, David junior and Daniel Hall married. Mary Hall married James Porter in 1857 and Mary Porter was born a year later. David and Mary Hall both died in 1882 and were buried in Balmain cemetery. Their address was listed as Darling Street, Balmain. On the closure of Balmain cemetery their remains were transferred to Camperdown cemetery which is now a memorial park.

The convict?s wife, Mary Slater only lived for three years in the colony. She died in Balmain on 17 July 1847, just two months before the couple?s 50th wedding anniversary, aged 71 and was buried at the Old Burial Ground and later reinterred at Bunnerong cemetery with the husband of her eldest daughter, Sarah Bradford. There is some speculation that Sarah may also have been a convict but so far no death certificate can be found to verify that.

The Slaters and the Mayalls were farmers and weavers for many centuries in England and embraced the new industrial technology of the 1800s. The ancestors of Mary Mayall can be traced back to the 1500s. Some of the towns they lived and worked in were Mosley, Ashton Under Lyne, Saddleworth and Botany. These towns were located in the Pennines on the border of Yorkshire and Lancashire. I have recently been in contact with the wife of a descendant of the Hall family who still lives in Ashton Under Lyne. Some of the Mayalls became quite wealthy and one branch of the family established the first cotton mill in the USA. There is quite an interesting story attached to that and they still celebrate Mayall Day in Maine USA.

James Slater died of old age in 1862. He had at least two defacto wives whilst living in New South Wales. One of these also called Mary was the informant on James? death certificate. However, he left his house to his daughter Esther Hilton, a widow whose passage to Sydney had been paid by her sister Mary Hall. (Mary Porter?s mother). Esther came to Sydney in 1854 accompanied by her adult children, Martha and James and three children by the name of Pickering, the offspring of her deceased sister Miriam.

Much of this information has come from Joyce Gardner of Nambucca Heads who is married to a direct descendant of Esther Hilton. Moses Slater died at Camden in 1893 where he lived on a farm with his nephew Samuel Hall. Moses and Samuel are buried in the old Werombi Cemetery at Narellan. Further information is available if requested.

Some Descendants of Mary Mayall and James Slater

1.Mary Mayall born c 1776 died 1847 m 1797 James Slater born c 1778 died 1862
2. Mary Slater b 1800 d. 1882 m 1819 David Hall b. 1795 d.1882
3. Mary Hall b. 1839 d.1920 m 1857 James Porter b 1831 d.1919
4. Mary Porter b 1858 d 1945 m 1880 Rev Henry Thomas Holliday b 1854 d 1924
5. Sidney Herman Holliday b 1886 d 1925 m 1911 Henrietta Purchase b 1881 d 1973
6. Edna Layburn Holliday b 1924 d 2001 m 1946 Bruce Eric Holloway b 1923
7. Virginia Lynette Holloway b 1948 m 1980 Leonard Alwyn Stokes b 1929

Written by Virginia Stokes and updated April 2006


Linked toFamily: HOLLIDAY/PORTER (F0531); Edna Layburn HOLLIDAY; Sidney Herman HOLLIDAY; Thomas LUXTON; Ellen May WILSON

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