Adam Hallas – My 2x Great Grandfather

One of the main photographs I always remembered from my Dad’s collection was a larger loose photograph that wasn’t stuck down in the album. My Dad knew that he was his grandfather’s father but didn’t know his name at the time. We had a blue folder containing all the certificates and documents relating to Dad’s side of the family and in that was his grandfather Albert Hallas’s marriage certificate from 1919. From this I was able to see that Albert’s father was called Adam and that he had been a Cotton Spinner and had died before the marriage had taken place as he was listed as deceased.


The original marriage certificate for Albert Hallas and Annie Large from 1919.

From the information I had on this certificate I was able to locate Adam on the 1901 census. Had the 1911 census been available at that time then I wouldn’t have had much luck as it turned out he had died before then. In 1901 Adam and his family were living at 30 Stocks Lane in Stalybridge, Cheshire and Adam was aged 55 and was a Cotton Mill Labourer. What struck me as interesting was that he was over 20 years older than his wife Elizabeth who was 33. At the time of the 1901 census they had five children, Sarah aged 11, Harriet aged 8, Albert – my great grandfather aged 5, John aged 2 and 4 month old Enoch.


30 Stocks Lane, Stalybridge – from Google StreetView.

A search of the birth, marriage and death indexes on FreeBMD for ‘Adam Hallas’ brought up just three entries – a death and two marriages. Adam had married Elizabeth Fox on 4th April 1885 at the Stalybridge Parish Church. On the marriage certificate Adam stated he was aged 38 and a widower and his occupation was Minder. Elizabeth was 20 and a spinster. In actual fact Adam had recently turned 39 and Elizabeth was really 17 going on 18.

The 1891 census finds them living at 29 Tatton Street in Stalybridge, Adam is aged 45 and a Cotton Spinner and Elizabeth is 24 and was a Cotton Weaver. With them was their daughter Sarah and Elizabeth’s mother Sarah Jane Nield – a widow and a Cotton Weaver. At least they were more truthful with their ages on the censuses than they were on their marriage certificate!


29 Tatton Street, Stalybridge. Image from Google StreetView.

I looked on the great website CheshireBMD to see if Adam and Elizabeth had any other children during their marriage. In all I found that they had 8 children, their first child being called Enoch who had died on 25th October 1885 aged just two weeks, his cause of death was given as Stomatitis (mouth ulcers), Nasal Catarrh 7 days, Atelectasis 6 days (collapsed lung). Exhaustion. So it sounds like his only two weeks of life were far from happy. From his age at death it would seem that Elizabeth had been around three months pregnant when they got married. At that point they were living at 6 Gordon Street in Stalybridge, Elizabeth’s mother had been the informant of Enoch’s death, perhaps it was just too much for Elizabeth to register the death of her first born at the age of just 18.

They went on to have a son John in 1887 who died the following year aged 3 months, then Sarah in 1889, Harriet in 1892, Albert in 1895, another John in 1898, a daughter Emily in 1899 who died the following year aged 5 months and then the Enoch in 1900 who was with them on the 1901 census – sadly he too died a couple of months after the census aged 6 months of Dentition & Cerebral Effusion – so basically of teething and water on the brain, which might have been caused by meningitis. The teething may have lead to an infection.

From the Electoral Registers of Cheshire from FamilySearch I was able to see that Adam had lived at 6 Gordon Street from at least 1884 and by 1889 they were at 29 Tatton Street and by 1896 had moved to 30 Stocks Lane. I found out that in 1906 there was a flood in Stalybridge that affected Stocks Lane quite badly. I would imagine this would have been a pretty upsetting event for the family as it looks likely that their home would have been flooded out.


A very wet Stocks Lane in 1906. Image from the Tameside Image Archive.

Adam then died on 13th October 1907 at 30 Stocks Lane aged 61 of a brain haemorrhage, Elizabeth, his young widow registered his death – she was just 40. His occupation at that time was given as ‘Knocker Up’. This wasn’t someone who went around getting women pregnant, no, he would probably have been employed by the mill that had had worked for as a Cotton Spinner and Minder, in his later years to go round the streets with a long stick with which he would knock at the windows to wake people up to get ready for work, a paid alarm clock basically.

So what of Adam before his marriage to the young Elizabeth? As I had mentioned before there were three results for Adam on the birth, marriage and death indexes – and we know that two of them were marriages and that he was a widower when he married Elizabeth. Adam’s first marriage was to a Margaret Chadburn and took place on 1st January 1869 at the Methodist Connexion in Ashton under Lyne. Adam was 22 and was a Cotton Self Actor Minder and Margaret was three years older than him and was a Cotton Winder. Adam lived at Sidebottom Street in Stalybridge and Margaret at Bayley Street, Stalybridge. Adam signed his name but Margaret signed with a cross.

The 1871 census shows that he and Margaret were living at 19 Bayley Street, Adam aged 25 and Margaret down as being 26 and they were both listed as being Cotton Minders. By 1881 they were living at 12 Gordon Street, Stalybridge – Adam was 35 and Margaret 36. Adam was a Cotton Mule Minder and Margaret a Cotton Minder. With them was Margaret’s unmarried sister Ellen.

Then Margaret passed away on 9th June 1884 at 6 Gordon Street of Heart Disease aged 40. Her condition had apparently lasted for two years. I had searched on CheshireBMD to see if Adam and Margaret had any children during there marriage and I found no Hallas / Chadburn birth entries and within at least nine months of Margaret’s death, Elizabeth was expecting Adam’s child.

And before Adam’s marriage to Margaret? Well according to his baptism at St. Michaels Church, Ashton under Lyne on 12th April 1846, he was born on 4th March of that year, son of Richard Hallas and Sarah Pogson. His birth was not registered but it seems the surname was often spelled Hallows, but it is not registered under that spelling either.

Adam was with his family – down as Hallows – in 1851 at 5 Shepley Street, Stalybridge and in 1861 – also as Hallows – at 42 Mossley Terrace, Stalybridge as a Cotton Spinner.

There were a number of cotton mills in Stalybridge that Adam could have worked at over his life. When he lived at Mossley Terrace and Sidebottom Street he could have worked at Queen Street Mill, Kings Street Mill, or Bayley’s Mill on Queen Street although this one seems to have stopped being used around 1857. When he was living on Bayley Street then more than likely the Bayley Street Mill. When he was at Gordon Street he could have worked at Bankwood Mill and by the time he was at Stocks Lane he could have worked at Stayley New Mills which closed in 1896 or at Albion Mills. Of course he could have remained working at just one of these mills for the whole of his working life.

And what about that photograph that started this whole thing? Well here he is!


Adam Hallas 1846 – 1907


7 thoughts on “Adam Hallas – My 2x Great Grandfather

  1. He had an interesting life for sure! I laughed out loud about the ‘Knocker Up’ comment. 🙂

    One of Henry Hyde’s children is found living in Stalybridge in 1911 but it lists the county as Lancashire. I haven’t looked at the map yet. Now I’m curious about the geography.

    • 🙂 It is a great one for sure!

      Yes, Stalybridge is one of those odd places right on the border so can at times come under Lancashire in terms of registration districts as it comes under Ashton under Lyne – it is right next to Ashton under Lyne – which is in Lancashire and then on the other side is Dukinfield – which is in Cheshire but also comes under the same district. These days they come under Tameside which was created in the 1970s.

      The Stalybridge parish registers come under Cheshire on Findmypast but some of their records also come under Lancashire on Ancestry. It’s all a bit weird! But I always highly recommend checking out maps of areas like this to get a feel for the nearby places and the county borders!

      • Dear Alex, my name is Bruce Mills, I live in Jackson New Jersey. My uncle tells me we have ties to Stalybridge . We also have an old photograph of a family which would be the Greenwoods of stalybridge , My grandmothers maiden name , my question to you , are you in the hallas family tree and if I sent you a picture of this old photo would you be able to help me trace the history of it . Thank you Bruce Mills

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