Hayes (Kent) History

Hayes (Kent) History

HALDEMAN, Donald Carmichael
30 January 1860 – 5 February 1930
Farmer & breeder of pedigree cattle, Fellow Chartered Insurance Institute

Donald Haldeman was born in Philadelphia to parents John and Annie who moved to England during the 1870s.  In 1881 he lived with his parents and five brothers and sisters in West Hill, Lewisham.  He was described as a Private Secretary.  By the time of his marriage to Lydia Maude Riddle in Pennsylvania in June 1888 he was the UK  Manager of the Mutual Insurance Company of New York.  He resigned from this position in 1906 and became the Life Manager of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company.

By this time he had become a naturalised British subject and had many interests.  He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1918 and later chairman of the Kent Police Court Mission. He became a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society and a member of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners of which he became Master in 1921.  

Move to Hayes

In 1920 he moved from Downe to Baston House and took over the associated farmland when it became vacant as a result of the death of Mrs Katherine Morris. He also took over the lease of Hayes Street Farm and was known as a successful farmer and breeder of pedigree cattle.  Bill Dance, a school pupil in the 1920s, recalled that if the village lads saw Mr Haldeman as he rode around on horseback, doffed their caps and opened a gate for him, he would give them a shilling (5p), a large sum, so they were keen to follow him around!

After the war the Hayes Cricket Club were keen to revive the facilities on their pre-war ground at Baston Farm and Donald Haldeman agreed that the club could use the field every Saturday for matches, with the farmer having it the rest of the week to graze cows. The drinking trough had to remain in position, roughly at ‘second slip’. Bill Dance recalled that some matches were interrupted when the cows wandered across to have a drink! Mr Haldeman became President of Hayes Cricket Club until he left the district in 1927.
He also became President of the Football Club when it was started in 1922 and he provided a football pitch at one end of the cricket field near Baston Farm.

He was well known in the village and became the Hayes representative on the Rural District Council in 1922. His wife was on the committee of the Hayes Nursing Society and to raise funds for it he organised a concert party of musicians and singers from London.  

He moved to Gadsden, Hayes, in 1924 where he remained until the property was put up for sale in 1927.  Shortly before he left he paid for the local Hayes schoolchildren and their parents to have a day trip to Eastbourne.

He died in Portland Place, London in 1930