Haliday (Halliday, Hollyday), Samuel (1685–1739), presbyterian minister, was born probably in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, where his father, Samuel Haliday, was a presbyterian minister; his mother's name is not known. The elder Haliday was born 1637 in Scotland, and had been minister in a church at Convoy, Co. Donegal, since 1664; in 1676 Thomas Otway (qv), bishop of Killala, arrested him along with William Henry, a fellow minister; Otway wrote to the duke of Ormond (qv) that ‘these Geneva calves (Cleveland's bulls is too big a tytle for these sucking presbyters) were lately sent stragling [sic] into these parts . . . impudent beyond sufferance . . . Halliday [said] that he might preach anywhere, and that he would go to Dublin and preach in your excellency's ear’ (Mullin, 104–5). Despite the bishop's animosity, Haliday was released on providing security, moved (1676) to Omagh, where his son was probably born, and fled with his family to Scotland during the Williamite war. In 1692 he returned to Ireland, to Ardstraw congregation, Co. Tyrone, and died there 18 February 1724. He had at least one daughter as well as his son Samuel.
The young man was well educated in Ireland, attended Glasgow and Edinburgh universities, and went on to study theology at Leiden (where he received an MA) and Basel. He was licensed to preach at Rotterdam, when he subscribed the Westminster confession; was ordained in Geneva (1706); and became chaplain to Col. Anstruther's Cameronians, a Scottish regiment fighting in Flanders 1708–11. He was received in 1712 as an ordained minister by the general synod of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Synod in 1718 voted a grant of £30 and expressed thanks to Haliday for services to presbyterianism during his residence in London after 1712; he had worked to obtain an increase in the regium donum. He was employed as chaplain by Col. Anstruther's foot regiment, and was in London during debates in 1719 at Salter's Hall on the proposal that there should be a mandatory subscription to the doctrine of the Trinity as set forth in the Westminster confession.
At this period the Irish presbyterian church suspected its English counterpart of unsound and even heretical views; an Irish minister who accompanied Haliday in London brought home a report that Haliday had adopted Arian views in London. Synod in June 1720 rebuked the accuser, Samuel Dunlop, and found Haliday innocent of heresy; and on 28 July 1720 Haliday, who had been called to First Belfast, made a declaration about his beliefs to synod – steadfastly refusing, however, to subscribe the Westminster confession. Despite this refusal, he was installed as minister in Belfast, and the ensuing opposition brought to the surface the tensions of the first subscription controversy. This lasted in its active phase for five years, and had still longer-lasting repercussions within presbyterianism. Haliday's case was considered at the synod meeting of 1721, and in response to fears about heresy spreading from England, the majority of ministers voluntarily subscribed. Haliday with James Kirkpatrick (qv) led the non-subscribers, a group of twelve ministers and four elders. Haliday and Kirkpatrick lost large numbers of their hearers, who supported the policy of subscription. Despite strenuous opposition from the two ministers, a third Belfast congregation was formed after 1723; in 1725, the non-subscribing congregations were grouped together into a separate presbytery, the presbytery of Antrim. Two of Haliday's publications were of importance in the pamphlet debates of the 1720s: his Reasons against the imposition of subscription . . . (1724) was clearly argued and impressed even his opponents, and he set out his case in a letter (published 1725) to the Rev. Gilbert Kennedy (qv). He also published a sermon on the death of his former ally, the Rev. Michael Bruce (qv), in 1735. Haliday himself died 5 March 1739, and was buried in the churchyard of St George's church, Belfast; his funeral sermon was preached by Thomas Drennan (qv).
Haliday married (1721), as her third husband, Ann (d. January 1759), probably the daughter of Alexander Dalway or Dallway of Dalway's Bawn, Carrickfergus; she was well connected and wealthy. Alexander Henry Haliday (qv) (d. 1802) was a son; Robert Dalway Haliday, who died at Bath in February 1796, was probably another son. Alexander Henry Haliday (qv) (d. 1870) was a great-grandson.