Halseys in America

In 1630 a descendant of the family, one of many called Thomas, moved from Redbourn to Kempston near Bedford, and, subsequently, with his family sailed to Lynn in Massachusetts Bay Colony; reputedly in the ship upon which Oliver Cromwell had intended to emigrate, had he not been dissuaded.

Tom eventually settled in Southampton, Long Island, New York, where his descendants still live and farm. The house he built in the 1650s, now the Halsey House Museum, is the oldest ‘saltbox’ house in New York State. Apart from the cedar shingles, it is a typical English seventeenth century farmhouse and would not look out of place anywhere in East Anglia.

Spreading from New England throughout the USA, his descendants have played a notable part in American life, not least his descendant Fleet Admiral William F. ‘Bull’ Halsey, KBE USN, victor of Leyte Gulf in the Second World War.

It is also not without interest that the Halsey brothers from Rockaway, New Jersey, and from Lessland, Orange County, near Culpeper Virginia - collateral descendents of Sir John Halsey, who lived during the 17th century English Civil War - served on opposing sides during the American Civil War two hundred years later.

Today there are thought to be Halsey family descendants in virtually every American state.

We’re delighted to have welcomed so many American cousins over the years. If you would like to make a visit please contact the Gaddesden Estate Office at the address on the Contact Us page. It may not be possible for a representative to meet you personally, because of farm commitments or vacations, but we will do our best.

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Photography copyright Sally Halsey van Allen/ Southampton Historical Museum

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