Samuel Halliday
Stefan Bielinski

Samuel Halliday probably was a Scottish trader who settled in Albany during the late 1750s. A number of individuals including at least one British officer were indebted to him. Trying to recoup his investments, he complained to General Amherst that soldiers assaulted him and dragged him through the street.

Halliday recovered to marry Albany spinster Hilletie Scott at St. Peter's church in December 1759. The marriage does not appear to have produced any children.

In 1763, he obtained land near Gallows Hill in the southwestern part of the city. In 1767, assessment rolls taxed his house and lot in the third ward.

He was one of the founders of the Albany Presbyterian church. In 1762, he was identifed as an elder of the congregation. In 1766, he joined other recently arrived Scots in securing the land where Presbyterian meeting house stood.

Samuel Halliday was dead by 1779 when his widow was listed on the assessment roll.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Samuel Halliday/Holliday is CAP biography number 8507. This sketch is derived chiefly from community-based resources. A Presbyterian Samuel Halliday was active in Pennsylvania during this time. We seek demographic information for his life.

The incident is described by J. C. Long in his biography entitled Lord Jeffery Amherst: A Soldier of the King (New York, 1933), pp. 124-25. It reads: "Frequently, the conflicts between the military and the civilians flared up into incdents distinctly discreditable to the army. In one notorious case a certain Samuel Holliday, merchant of Albany, accepted a London draft from an Ensign Newland. The draft proved to be worthless, and the Ensign then gave a note for the amount of 162 pounds. The note in turn was not redeemed and Mr. Holliday had Newland arrested. Newland demanded that the merchant go his bail, which Holliday refused to do. This occasioned a riot from which Mr. Holliday emerged much the worse:

About nine o'clock as your Excellency's Memorialist was going to his lodging, [Holliday wrote to Amherst], he was met by about 50 of the light infantry soldiers with clubs, bayonets, etc. who seized upon him, draged him backwards to Newland's lodging and began to beat him most unmercifully & called out 'Damn him! Kill him! and then his debts are paid him!' After being knocked down several times he got into said Ensn Newland's room and beged him for god sake to quiet the mobb and save his life, but to no purpose. He let into his room all the mobb, where they knock'd down your Memorialist again and draged him out, beating him in the most cruel manner untill they brought him to the Guard House where he cried out for help, but none came to his relief. They continuing their insults, drag'd him through the streets, giving a Hurrah and throwing stones at the windows every place your Memorialist was knock'd down at. So they continued untill they left him for dead. In this condition your Excellency's memorialist had certainly lost his life had not two soldiers, finding some small appearance of life in him, carried him out of the street and wash'd his wounds.

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first posted: 2/29/04