John Samuel Haslam

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About John Samuel Haslam

John Haslam was born May 21, 1823 in Little Leaver, near Bolton, Lancashire, England. The circumstances of his birth are a family mystery. John’s mother was Elizabeth (or Betsy) Haslam. She was a lady worker and teacher at the Duke of Bridgewater’s estate at Worsley. During this time she gave birth to an illegitimate son, John. The name of John’s father was kept confidential during John’s lifetime. In 1958, John’s daughter, Anne Isabel Haslam Luce, admitted that her father was the illegitimate son of Prince William, later King William IV of England. Prince William was a frequent visitor at the Duke of Bridgewater’s estate.

The following represents family comment and research on this subject:

“In 1958, Annie Isabel Haslam Luce admitted that her father John S Haslam was the illegitimate son of Prince William, later King William IV of England. This had been kept strictly confidential in the family over the years. His Mother, Elizabeth (Betsy) Haslam was a lady worker and teacher at the Duke of Bridgewater's Manor House Estate at Worsley. The Duke of Bridgewater enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Royal Family at Windsor Castle near London, and was held in high regard because of his engineering skill in canal and bridge construction. He and Prince William visited each other on many occasions. It was not uncommon for them to include their servants and staff on these occasions. It is reasonably certain that Betsy Haslam accompanied the Bridgewater party on their visits to Windsor Castle. During this time she bore an illegitimate son on May 31, 1823 who she named John. This event, according to our researcher, Edith Norris of Bolton, England was greatly talked about by the people in Bolton, and they were convinced that Prince William had fathered the child. Mrs. Norris remembered this being discussed in her family when she was young. Although no acknowledgment was made of an open financial settlement, our researcher, Jennie Weeks of Salt Lake City, Utah said that Prince William sent a bag of money periodically to support the child, according to three sources of information she had received from England. John was seven years old when Prince William became King William IV.” (Gladys Haslam Drennan)


“It was during times like these, and perhaps they were a contributing factor, that caused Elizabeth (Betsy) Haslam to go into service at the estate of the Duke of Bridgewater located at Worsley near Bolton. It was not uncommon for the mistress of the estate to select girls from the staff to work and reside in the main house. Betsy was one of those girls. The Duke of Bridgewater enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Royal family at Windsor Castle near London and was held in high regard because of his engineering skill in canal and bridge construction. The Duke of Bridgewater visited Windsor Castle on many occasions and likewise Prince William was the guest of the Duke and it was not uncommon for royalty to include their servants and staff on these occasions. It is reasonable certain that Betsy accompanied the Bridgewater party during their visits to Windsor Castle. During the period of service she bore an illegitimate son, whom she named John. This event was greatly talked about by the people of Bolton and they were convinced Prince William had fathered the child. Whether this allegation was justified or not there was ample evidence that several years before Prince William had sired a number of illegitimate children by an actress with whom he lived openly for many years. There was no attempt to keep these events a secret, and on his eldest illegitimate son he openly conferred the title of the Duke of Clarence. Settlements were also made upon his other illegitimate children and their welfare was openly acknowledged. John S. Haslam was born March 3, 1823, but no acknowledgment of an open settlement was ever forthcoming from the prince because of this marriage. However, I believe Elizabeth (Betsy) Haslam died and John Haslam was adopted and reared by the Hardmans. Jane Haslam Hardman was Betsy's sister. This would lend support to the fact that there seemed to be substance and means behind the Hardman family. The local people assumed this support came from the Royal family since the Hardmans appeared to prosper even during economically depressed times. There is no doubt in my mind but that this John Haslam and your grandfather are one and the same person. For the story that I have heard all my life and the facts that you have told me are more than a mere coincidence.” (Velda Haslam Johnson)


“We know that grandfather John S. Haslam was the illegitimate son of Betsy (Elizabeth) Haslam and that he said his father’s name was William and that much work over the years has gone into genealogical research...Also in a letter we found in Katie and Jennie Week’s correspondence from Mrs. Norris she states that the Hardmans and Betsy Haslam lived on the Duke of Bridgewater Estate and the Duke also had a brother who name was William. Their name was Egerton...We have talked to Bob Gunderman in the Medieval and Royalty department in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building Library in Salt Lake. We gave him the information we have concerning the William grandfather gave as his father, and also gave his the information that Mrs. Norris had given us. Mr. Gunderman informed us that there is no way possible that we can prove this, although it could very well be true. He also stated that it is very important that we have John S. Haslam and his mother Betsy sealed to her father, because that is the blood line.” (Velda Haslam Johnson)


“This is the history of my grandfather, John S. Haslem as I have been told it by my older relatives, that I have reason to believe should know and would have no reason to tell me anything but the truth as they knew it. First, I will start with my Aunt Lizzie Bennett, who was his daughter. She said her father ran away from home in England at twelve years old and got a job on a ship. This story Aunt Lizzie told me doesn't go along with the story we got from Mrs. Morris, our genealogist in England. She says John S. Haslem served as an English sailor, and Aunt Lizzie says he told her he was a runaway after twelve years old. Mrs. Morris says the King endowed all of his illegitimate children except John S., and it is my thought that the reason was because the King didn't know where he was. I have read a letter from the caretaker of those children that said, "We have finally found John S. Haslem. He is in America and has joined the Brighamites." I know my Aunt Lizzie Bennett wouldn't tell me the story her father told her wrong, so just take your choice which story you think is correct.” (John H. Haslem)


No christening record or other primary documentary proof has been found to establish the exact facts of John’s birth. The record of John Haslam as a Seventy in Nauvoo shows his father as William, with no last name given. The anecdotal evidence supplied by his daughter is compelling, but not conclusive. In the absence of any documentary evidence, the solution to this question may lie in molecular genealogy. If a know direct male descendant of King William IV (such as the Fitzclarences), and a direct male descendant of John Haslam were tested and had matching DNA, the connection would be proved.

  • Residence: Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire, England - 1841
  • Residence: Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States - about 1850
  • Residence: Manchester, Lancashire, England - 1851
  • Residence: Salt Lake County, UT - 1856
  • Residence: Great Salt Lake City Ward 16, Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory, United States - 1860
  • Residence: Preston, Lancashire, England - 1861
  • Residence: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA - 1880
  • Reference: FamilySearch Genealogy - SmartCopy: May 16 2018, 3:24:38 UTC
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John Samuel Haslam's Timeline

May 31, 1823
Bolton, Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom
February 5, 1846
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States
March 2, 1848
Douglas, Otoe County, Nebraska, United States
Age 26
Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States
March 2, 1851
Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States
October 7, 1851
Age 28
Utah, United States
February 14, 1853
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
February 26, 1855
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
September 14, 1857
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States