Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chapter 40. - Our Hall Family Ancestors

My 5th great grandfather, Benjamin Hall, was born in Cheshire near Wallingford, Connecticut in 1736 and he died at the age of 50 in the year 1786. He was 40 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed and it should be safe to assume that he was a patriot soldier during our War for Independence. In fact, we listed him as one of my Revolutionary War ancestors in Chapter 15 of this blog although we admitted at the time of writing that it was difficult to find any definitive information about him in the history records other than the mention of his name as a Connecticut soldier. When we decided to write a chapter on my Hall family ancestors, we spent a lot of time focusing on my 5th great grandfather hoping to narrow down his actual experiences during the war.  At first we became excited when we discovered that a Benjamin Hall from Connecticut was present during the Lexington Alarm in Massachusetts in 1775.  We than began to find his name listed multiple times in various regiments over the course of the war.  Our story was just beginning to develop when quite unexpectedly we came across a record of a Benjamin Hall again from Connecticut, who was an avid Tory, a British sympathizer. Could this man have actually been my 5th great grandfather, a Tory? Before we get to far ahead of ourselves and our story of our Hall ancestors, let us return to the beginning.

My 9th great grandfather was a man named John Hall who was born in England around 1605 and emigrated as a young man to America around 1632. Fortunately we find that much has been written about our John Hall although unfortunately at the same time much of what has been written is contradictory. Even in these early years of our country with a small population, the name John Hall was fairly common and perhaps it should not be surprising to discover that two of the earliest settlers of Hartford, Connecticut both were named John Hall and their histories have been somewhat intertwined. That said, what we are about to write is what we believe is the accurate story of our 9th great grandfather, John Hall.

John Hall was 21 years old when he married my 7th great grandmother Mary Lyman on the 8th day of December in the year 1692. Some believe that John Hall sailed from Downs, England on the ship Griffin which arrived in the Boston Harbor on 4 September 1633 carrying around 200 passengers including the well known religious dissenters, Thomas Hooker and John Cotton. The only real hint that John may have been part of this group is that in 1636 he followed Thomas Hooker and a group of around 100 other individuals, mostly Puritan followers of the Rev. Hooker, on a wilderness trip into Connecticut where he and the others helped found the new settlement of Hartford on the Connecticut River. In Chapter 29 of this blog we go into a rather detailed description of the founding of Hartford which we will not repeat in this chapter particularly since it appears that by 1640 John Hall had already sold his land in the new community of Hartford. We suspect that our John Hall may not have been ready to settle down when he first arrived in Hartford in 1636.  His name does not appear on a 1636 lot map listing the original settlers of Hartford and then on a later 1640 map of Hartford his name appears as follows: "John Hall sold (land) to William Spencer."  Apparently he had already sold his land by 1640 and had moved elsewhere.  In 1640 John Hall was around 35 years old and unmarried and perhaps not ready to settle down or at least not settle down in Hartford. There are some historians who believe that our John Hall was part of an early group of explorers led by a man named John Oldham who traveled extensively throughout Connecticut as early as 1633 to trade in furs with the local Indians. This might of course suggest that when John later traveled with the Thomas Hooker group in 1636 he may have been serving as their guide. This is of course, pure speculation but it might help to explain why he did not ultimately settle in Hartford.

We know that in 1637 John Hall served in the militia during the Pequot War probably volunteering and serving with other men from Hartford. Without going into a lot of detail about the war and its causes, it should suffice to say that the Pequot were an Indian tribe who lived in southeastern Connecticut who along with their Dutch partners were in an intense struggle with the English to control the fur and wampum trade.  The first military action against the Pequot Indians followed the killing by the Pequot of John Oldham, trader and possible former partner of our John Hall, in July of 1636.  It was not however, until a large force of Pequot warriors attacked English settlers in Wethersfield on the 23rd day of April 1637 and killed nine men and women that the Colony of Connecticut declared war on the Pequot tribe on May 1st. Ninety soldiers from the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor formed an expedition to attack the major Pequot villages.  Our John Hall was undoubtedly one of these ninety men.  The war from this point ended quickly for on May 26th the English soldiers along with some of their Indian allies attacked a fortified Pequot Indian village known as Mystic Fort and killed around 400 to 600 Pequot old men (the younger men were not there), women, and children which effectively ending the war and the Pequot Indian tribe.  Only two English soldiers were killed in the brief battle. While some tribal members continued to fight in other locations without much success, the war officially ended on the 21st of September in 1637 with the signing of the Hartford Treaty. The Treaty stipulated that the Pequot tribe was to be no more.  No Pequot Indians were present at the signing to protest the terms.

It is not obvious why John Hall decided to leave Hartford in 1640 and move to the new settlement that was to be called New Haven.  If John had been a fur trader as some believe, this would have meant that his job required him to be away from home for long periods and therefore he may have spent little time at his small log cabin home in Hartford. Thus when he had the opportunity to sell his property in Hartford, he took it. Again, if John Hall had been a trader, New Haven's location near the Great Bay (the Long Island Sound) was an excellent choice to relocate since it opened up the possibility of his being able to readily ship his goods to the other colonies and to England. That, plus the original settlers were for the most part newly arrived and well financed merchants from England and not primarily farmers as they had been in Hartford. New Haven it would appear was "founded to be a commercial town." If John Hall was indeed a trader it was probably a good move on his part.

Sketch of early New Haven
Perhaps after his move to New Haven he realized that at the age of around 35 it was about time that he found a wife and start a family. It was in fact somewhat unusual to find a single man in his mid-30s during these early colonial years. We are not certain as to the date of John's marriage to our 9th great grandmother Jeanne Woolen, although we suspect that it was not long after his arrival in New Haven and certainly no later than early 1644 as he is listed as already married in court records in July of 1644. Jeanne Woolen was brought to America in 1633 by William and Abigail(?) Wilkes and it is believed that she was possibly the niece or cousin of Mrs. Wilkes. In exchange for the cost of her passage, my 9th great grandmother agreed to work for the Wilkes for a period of at least five years or possibly longer essentially working as Mrs. Wilkes maid-servant. She was to receive for these services a small annual allowance plus 10 English pounds when she married. They apparently immigrated on the ship Griffin and if this is the case it is possible that Jeanne Woolen had met her future husband, John Hall, during their voyage and they had spent a short time together while both were living in Boston.  The Wilkes family along with Jeanne Woolen moved to the new settlement of New Haven probably in the spring of 1638 along with the other new settlers.  If John Hall and his future wife Jeanne Woolen had met each other previous to John Hall's move to New Haven, that might explain in large part John's motivation to move from Hartford to New Haven in or around 1640.  This is however, but pure speculation.  What is known based on court records is that when John and Jeanne married, William Wilkes refused to give her the 10 pounds that he had promised and then sometime later in 1644, William Wilkes probably for business reasons, returned to England where he is believed to have died.  His wife returned to England in 1646 and she too unfortunately died when her ship was lost at sea. John Hall, very much angered by the Wilkes' failure to pay his wife the 10 pounds she was promised, sued the Wilkes' estate in 1647, and after a long drawn out court battle the Halls were awarded the 10 pounds that they were owed.

John Hall spent thirty years living in New Haven.  Based on the amount of land that he accumulated he was fairly successful at what he did for a living (whatever that was) although he was not by any means a wealthy man.  During their time in New Haven, John and Jeanne Woolen Hall raised seven (7) children, five boys and two girls, including their third child, Samuel Hall, our 8th great grandfather, who was born in 1648. Despite the fact that John Hall's name was found in the historical records on a number of occasions we still have learned very few details about his life. While he did sign the New Haven Planters' covenant, the Fundamental Agreement, that created the new settlement of New Haven on 4 June 1639, he was considered an "after-signer" in that he signed the document at some unknown later date, and consequently we do not really know the exact year that he moved to New Haven.  Another confusing item is that if he married Jeanne Woolen in late 1643 or early 1644 as is generally assumed and their first child John Jr. was born sometime in 1644, why then did John and Jeanne wait until 9 August 1646 to have their first two children, John Jr. and Sarah, baptized in the First Church of Christ. This church was organized six years earlier back in 1639 but the first reference to John Hall as a member in their records was not until the 1646 baptisms. Since being a recognized citizen in the plantation of New Haven and belonging to the church were synonymous and inseparable, either the Halls were not permanently living in New Haven until a few years after their marriage or the church records are simply missing.  Even if there are missing records, this still does not explain the delay in having their children baptized.  We suspect here again, that John Hall continued as an active trader both with the Indians as well as with merchants in the settlements north of New Haven. It is possible that this would have required him to travel a great deal perhaps even with Jeanne, his new wife. It is also a possibility we suppose that he did not permanently settle in New Haven until after the birth of their daughter Sarah, at which time they formally joined the church and then had both of their young children baptized.  This explanation conflicts of course with why he was granted land on Mill River in New Haven on 17 January 1641 and that he took an Oath of Fidelity in July of 1644. Both of these occurrences suggest that he was living in New Haven and was likely a member of the church. Some of the fun of studying the history of our ancestors is that we occasionally encounter these types of mysteries that we know will never be solved no matter how much time we spend looking through the records.

In 1670 John's and Jeanne's three oldest sons, John, Samuel, and Thomas, ages 25, 23 and 21 respectively, moved to the new community of Wallingford located about 14 miles north of New Haven up the Quinnipiac River (then referred to as "the east river.")  Wallingford had just been formed a year earlier and sons John, Samuel, and Thomas undoubtedly eagerly signed their names to the founding covenant.  Moving to a new community such as Wallingford gave the young men a chance to own their own land, build their own homes, start up new businesses, and raise their families without having to share everything with their parents and siblings.  Both John and Samuel were married and their wives moved with them.  Their father and mother were also to moved to Wallingford, only a few years later and even then for a few more years John and Jeanne Hall maintained homes both in New Haven and in Wallingford.  In 1665, John Hall Sr. had turned 60 years old and as a result his obligation to serve in the militia had ceased and we suspect that his business, perhaps at that point as a store owner and merchant, may have either been sold, closed, or turned over to one of his two youngest sons to manage.  It seems apparently in any case, that John Hall Sr had slowed down somewhat since in 1675 in Wallingford he agreed to serve on a committee of thirteen men along with his sons John Jr. and Samuel to formally establish a church. There are no records of John Hall in the past ever finding the time to serve on committees and in fact, in New Haven in 1669 he had actually turned down a request to serve as a constable.  Some of the biographies of John Hall state that he served as one of the 1st deacons of the church in Wallingford and as a Selectman although we believe that it was in fact his son John Jr. who served in these rolls. My 9th great grandfather John Hall died somewhat unexpectedly at the age of 71 in early 1676.  We believe it was unexpected simply because he left only a verbal will and despite his modest wealth he had not anticipated his death. The death was probably caused by illness that took his life rather quickly.  Not unexpectedly, my 9th great grandmother, Jeanne Woolen Hall married, not long after John's death, a widower named John Cooper whom she had known in New Haven.  Jeanne died in 1690.  Some believe that John Cooper's first marriage was to Jeanne Woolen's sister Mary Woolen although we found absolutely no evidence to support this claim.  John Hall was in the end a good man.  He worked hard during his life providing for his family and clearly he had set a good example for his sons for they all were successful in their own lives after their father's death. 




























Of the original 38 families who were assigned lots in Wallingford in 1669, three of the eight acre lots were granted to sons of John Hall.  Lot number 5 went to John Hall Jr,; Lot number 15 went to Thomas Hall, and lot number 3 was given to my 8th great grandfather Samuel Hall.  This small acquisition of land by Samuel was only the beginning of his land acquisitions for it is said that by the time of his death in 1725 Samuel had become a large landowner.  His ability to acquire all of this land was obviously a result of his successful business career as a "dishturner." He had constructed in Wallingford on the east river (the Quinnipiac River) a water mill that powered a saw for cutting lumber.  From the cut lumber he manufactured wooden dishes, cups, and possibility furniture which were all in high demand during this period of history when china, copper, and silver dinnerware was not yet readily available nor affordable. My 8th great grandmother's name was Hannah Walker, daughter of John and Grace Walker who are believed to have been good friends of Samuel's parents and settled near them in New Haven.  Hannah and Samuel married in New Haven in the year 1668 shortly before they moved to Wallingford.  Their first child, John Hall (1670-1730), my 7th great grandfather was born shortly after their move to Wallingford in 1670. Obviously Hannah was pregnant while Samuel Hall labored to build them a new home in the wooded wilderness land on the hillside above the Quinnipiac River. In total, Samuel and Hannah were to have seven children.

Samuel Hall was not only a good business and family man but he also played an active role in maintaining his civic responsibilities.  As with most men his age in Colonial America, he was a member of the local militia.  He not only served during the King Philip's War of 1675-1676, but by 1696 he was listed as a lieutenant of his "trainband" (groups of local men who were trained periodically to fight to protect their community) which probably meant he was second in command of the local Wallingford militia, and then by 1704 (during the Queen Anne's War) he was promoted to the rank of captain (first in command of his militia unit) which would have been quite an honor and showed that he was highly respected in the community both for his military training skills as well as for his leadership ability. What is not really clear in any of the history records that we reviewed is whether or not Samuel Hall and his small militia unit ever actually engaged in any direct battles with the Indians. The constant threat of an Indian attacked however, existed during Samuel's entire life and therefore constant military training was an essential and important feature in all early American communities. The threat of Indian attacks continued long after Samuel Hall's death in 1725 for the French and Indian War did not even begin until 1752. Besides his military duties, Samuel Hall also served for many years as a Deputy to the General Court where he and the other selected deputies worked to determine the laws and taxes within the various local towns.

We also know that in 1716 Benjamin Hall was made a Deacon of his church an honor that was immortalized on his gravestone after his death at the age of 76 on 5 March 1725.  There is also a record that Samuel served as one of the "selectman" in his town, a position that basically works with the other selectmen to manage the town's affairs. Samuel Hall's appointments as a captain in the militia, a deacon in his church, and one of the town's selectmen, clearly shows the respect that his friends and neighbors had for my 8th great grandfather. He helped found the settlement of Wallingford in 1670 which began as a community of 38 families consisting of around 100 men, woman and children living in mostly small log homes. By the time of his death in 1725 Wallingford had more than tripled in size and a number of other nearby communities had been organized and were growing rapidly.

As we researched our Hall ancestors it quickly became apparent that most members of the Hall family in these early generations were all hard working and successful individuals and my 7th great grandfather, John Hall, was no exception.  He was born in Wallingford on the 22nd day of December in the year 1670.  His birth home was probably a new log cabin that his father had just finished constructing.  As Christmas was approaching there may have been a roaring fire in their new stone fireplace and quite possibly snow was laying on the ground surrounding their home.  We have to believe that shortly following his birth, his uncles John and Thomas Hall along with Uncle John's wife Mary, and possibly even his grandparents John and Jeanne Hall stopped by the home to welcome the newborn baby and congratulate the new parents. In their house on this 22nd day of December there were three John Halls, a fact that helps explain the confusion that historians have had when researching the life of my 7th great grandfather.  The problem is further compounded when we add another John Hall to the list, a son of Uncle John and wife Mary who was born in 1678 and as it turns out lived in Wallingford during the same time period as his cousin.

John Hall married my 7th great grandmother Mary Lyman on 8 December 1692.  Mary was the daughter of John  and Dorcas (Dorothy) Lyman of Northampton, Massachusetts which immediately begs the question as to how did John Hall of Wallingford meet his future wife Mary Lyman of Northampton. While today these two communities are only about a one hour drive apart, in 1692 the 60 mile trip might take as long as two long days.  While we do not really know how they met, we have a theory.  Mary's older sister by two years, Dorothy Lyman married a man named Jabez Brockett who was an early settler of Wallingford.  Jabez Brockett was born in 1656 and was 35 years old when he married 26 year old Dorothy.  Jabez Brockett was known to be a militia soldier during the King Phillip's War and it is possible that during the war which took place in 1675 and 1676 that he may have met Dorothy and Mary Lyman's father, John Lyman, who was known to be a lieutenant during this Indian war.  Whatever the case, Jabez Brockett and Dorothy Lyman were married in November of 1691 and shortly thereafter she became pregnant.  Since Dorothy knew few people in her new home in Wallingford, we suggest that she may have invited her sister Mary, who was two years her junior, down to Wallingford to help her through her pregnancy. While Mary was in Wallingford she met John Hall and they fell in love.  Her sister's baby was born on 17 September 1692 and John and Mary were married less than three months later on 8 December 1692.  This makes for a great story and it makes sense.

John and Mary Lyman Hall's first child, John Hall, Jr., was born on the 13th day of September 1693 only nine months and five days after his parents' marriage.  Together my 7th great grandparents were to have seven children (who were alive at the time of John's death and mentioned in his will) including my 6th great grandfather Benjamin Hall who was born in 1704.  John Hall's life was eulogized at his funeral in 1730 by the Reverend Samuel Whittlesey, pastor of John's church, who fortunately hand wrote his eulogy on paper so that today we can still see the words he used to describe the life of our great grandfather.  Some of these words tell us quite a story: "Skillful and righteous judge," "Wise and able Counsellor," "Extended foresight," "Truly fitted for government and public service," and finally, "excellent talents." We also see in many of the historical narratives describing John's life where he is referred to as the Honorable John Hall, and based on his civic activities during his life time it is quite easy to see why he was so respected. In his Will it reports that he distributed to his sons almost 1,000 acres of land that he owned so obviously what ever John Hall did for a living in addition to the work that he did in government, he was successful enough to be able to acquire land.  Like his father before him, John Hall was elected to be the Captain in the local militia and while we do not know whether he directly participated in any of the Indian wars, what we do know is that he lived during tumultuous times when the colonies were in a state of constant excitement and alarm and it is therefore probable that he faced on numerous occasions situations where military action was necessary.

My 7th great grandfather, John Hall, was also prominent in public affairs. The early colonial government of Connecticut was very special in our country's history as its "Fundamental Orders of Connecticut" established in 1636 was one of the first written democratic constitutions that established a representative government and it is generally accepted by most historians that it formed the basis of the later United States Constitution. It was modified slightly with the Connecticut Charter of 1662 which merged all of the colonies within Connecticut under one government and perhaps more importantly, the new charter gave the colony a legal basis and the approval of the King of England.  The governmental structure of the colony of Connecticut within which our John Hall participated was organized as follows:  At the head of the government was an elected governor and a deputy governor. Below the governor was another elected group referred to under various names including the Governor's Council or Assistants or the General Court which consisted of a group of elected magistrates to advise the governor, to make the laws, and to act as the justices of the court.  The final group was known as the General Assembly which was composed of elected deputies from each of the towns. Our understanding is that our John Hall served first as one of the town's deputies in the General Assembly and then from 1722 until 1730 he was elected and served on the Governor's Council as an Assistant and as a justice of the Supreme Court of the Colony.  The title of "Honorable" often seen proceeding the name John Hall would certainly be appropriate for a man who served as a judge. John Hall's service in the government of Colonial Connecticut was cut short when he died at the relatively young age of 59 in the year 1730.  One final observation worth mentioning before we explore the life of our 6th great grandfather Benjamin Hall, is that John Hall was the grandfather of a man named Lyman Hall who was the son of John Hall's oldest son John Hall Jr. Lyman Hall was only six years old when his grandfather died. He is important in our country's history not only because he was a governor of Georgia but also because he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Lyman Hall is my 1st cousin, 7 times removed.

All of the sons of John Hall were successful and prominent in their lives including my 6th great grandfather, Benjamin Hall, who was born on 17 December 1704 in the Town of Wallingford, Connecticut. Benjamin was 22 years old when he married my grandmother Abiah Chauncey. Abiah Chauncey was descended from a very well known and religious family.  Her great grandfather, Charles Chauncy (1592-1672) was an early pastor in Plymouth Colony and he was later elected to be the second president of Harvard College in 1654.  Her grandfather Israel Chauncy (1670-1745) is credited with being one of the founders of Yale in New Haven, Connecticut.  Her father, Charles Chauncey (1668-1714) graduated from Harvard in 1686 and served as a pastor at his church in Stratford, Connecticut for nineteen years.  The story of my Chauncey ancestors is told in Chapter 3 of this blog. Abiah Chauncey's mother's name was Sarah Walcott and they also were descended from a well known, respected, and somewhat wealthy family whose story is told in Chapter 16 of this blog.

Benjamin Hall's father died in 1730 and in his will he left Benjamin and his brothers a lot of land including a large landholding on the Mill River over in Cheshire just west of Wallingford, where Benjamin and Abiah moved along with their three children who had been born prior to the move.  It was undoubtedly due to the fact that Benjamin came from a wealthy family, was a large landowner, and was probably respected for his apparent leadership traits, plus the fact that his older brother Samuel was pastor of the local church, that he was elected in 1733 to be a Representative to the Assembly by the town of Cheshire and then in that same year and even greater honor was bestowed on him when he was commissioned to be not only a Magistrate in the Governor's Council/General Court but also a captain in the local trainband, the militia.  Benjamin was only 29 years old and still a young father when all of this occurred.  Despite being very busy for the next two decades, traveling, serving his legal duties as the local magistrate, and being head of the local militia, Benjamin and Abiah managed to raise nine children including their sixth child and my 5th great grandfather Benjamin Hall Jr. who was born the 27th of September 1736.

Before and after the French and Indian War
The French and Indian War in America which began in 1754 was actually a war between the British and the French with both sides using Indians as allies. The war itself, at least in America, was about throwing the French out of territory claimed by the British, namely the colonies including all land east of the Mississippi including upper New York and Vermont, and even eastern Canada. By this point in his life Benjamin Hall was now a colonel in the militia and he could hardly avoid playing an active role in the war against the French and the Indians. It is estimated that upwards of 16,000 men in the Connecticut militia participated from time to time during the war years of 1754 through 1764.  Although there are not a lot of records that have survived that describe Benjamin Hall's role during the war, we do find his name mentioned on a few occasions. As a colonel in the 10th Regiment we know that his regiment helped to restore and garrison an abandoned French fort at Crown Point on Lake Champlain in 1755.  In 1756, he commanded a regiment that was sent north up to the St Lawrence River but whether they engaged the French or Indians during this campaign we could not determine. In 1757, his regiment was sent to Fort William Henry to help protect the fort against a French attack but their company arrived to late to protect the fort's capture by the French. As late as 1759 there is mention of Col Benjamin Hall's war activities as well as copies of his war correspondence in a history book entitled History of Cheshire, Connecticut written by Joseph Perkins Beach in 1912. The capture of Quebec in 1759 and Montreal in 1760 pretty much ended the war as far as the Connecticut militia was concerned.  Whether Benjamin Hall was present at either of these victories we could not determine although it would appear likely.

Benjamin Hall's active political career continued into the 1760s.  He was not only a judge (magistrate) on the General Court but he served on the House of Assistants under then Governor Thomas Fitch.  Unfortunately Benjamin Hall's political career ended abruptly in May of 1766 as did Governor Fitch's and several other of his Assistants when they all were voted out of office for having supported the notorious Stamp Act.  The Stamp Act, which was essentially a tax assessed against the colonies by the British Parliament to help raise money to pay the cost of British troops in America, angered the majority of Americans and was one of the many causes leading up to the American Revolution. As a result of his vote, Benjamin Hall's career abruptly ended at the age of 62 and for the remaining six and a half years of his life until his death on 1 January 1773 he lived in retirement and obscurity.

Benjamin Hall 1736-1786
This now brings us back to the beginning of our story of our Hall ancestors and Benjamin Hall (1736-1786), son of Benjamin Hall and Abiah Chauncey, and our initial quandary as to whether my 5th great grandfather was a Patriot or a Tory during the American Revolution.  Benjamin Hall was 36 years old when his father died and he must have been very much aware of his father's British sympathies in his support for the hated Stamp Act.  Benjamin Hall graduated third in his class from Yale in 1754 and he obviously was an intelligent and perhaps even a very opinionated individual when considering his minority status as a British sympathizer. My 5th great grandfather married my 5th great grandmother, Hannah Burnham, in 1767 and together they had four children including my 4th great grandfather, William Burnham Hall, who was born in 1774.  Their youngest son who was born in 1784 near the end of the American Revolution, they named Edmund Fanning Hall.  This is very significant for their son Edmund was named after an infamous and hated American named Edmund Fanning who had joined the British Army and fought against the Americans during the War. In 1783 he and other Loyalists moved to Nova Scotia.  The fact that our great grandfather named his son after a well known Loyalist is pretty clear evidence that he did not support the American cause for liberty. At least following the war he did not choose to relocated to Nova Scotia although it is possible that his early death at the age of fifty in 1786 may have prevented an otherwised planned departure.

William Burnham Hall was just under 12 years old when his father died and while we do not know for certain, he probably continued to live with his mother at his parents' home until her death in 1797 when William was only 22.  At that point what we believe is that he like so many others during this same time period moved westward, and eventually settled in Seneca County, New York in the Town of Fayette located between Cayuga Lake on the east and Seneca Lake on the west. Here he met his future wife and my 4th great grandmother, Rebecca Meekins Boardman, and they married sometime around 1797.  Rebecca was only 14 years old when they married.  She was only around five years old when she had left her birth home in Hubbardton, Vermont in 1788 and moved with her parents and two older siblings to central New York State.  Her father, Benajah Boardman, our 5th great grandfather, was a soldier during the American Revolution and he is credited with being a sergeant in a company under the command of Col. Ira Allen, brother of Ethan Allen.  The company under which he fought has been called the Green Mountain Boys.

William and Rebecca were to have only three children before her early death in 1805 at the age of 22. Unfortunately of their three children only one survived beyond childhood and that was my 3rd great grandmother Elizabeth Boardman Hall who was born on the 15th of April 1801.  Unfortunately, we found very little about the life of our great grandfather.  It seems that he remarried a woman named Lucinda shortly after Rebecca's death but his new wife also died in the year 1808 also at the young age of 22.  William was only 34 years old when his second wife died so it is probable that he remarried for a third time. We did find US Census records for the years 1810, 1820, and 1830 for a William B Hall in Fayette which is undoubtedly our great grandfather that would suggest a third marriage and at least one additional son and possibly two additional daughters.  We also found an 1812 voting record for Seneca County giving the results for the election of an assemblyman to the New York State Assemble.  William B Hall was listed as one of the candidates for the position however, he received only one vote out of several thousand which probably reflected the fact that he voted for himself.  Clearly our 4th great grandfather, William Barnham Hall was not as highly regarded as his forbearers.

The only other historical information that we could find about William Hall was that he was one of three purchasers of a large parcel of land in the Town of  Fayette in Seneca County in 1807. The size of William's land was 163.9 acres and what is interesting about the land is that it was part of a larger section of land purchased from the Cayuga Indian tribe in 1795.  What is interesting about this is that the Cayuga Indians have been trying to claim ever since their original sale of their land, including filing a recent lawsuit that began in the 1980s, that they are entitled to be compensated for their land.  Their argument is that the original agreement was never ratified by the US Congress as they claimed was required under the terms of the original sale therefore they still owned the land.  Had the Indians won their suit which they did not, the poor current owner(s) of William B Hall's land would have had a very clouded title to their property. On the map to the right our grandfather's land would have been part of the reservation land immediately to the west of Cayuga Lake. We could not learn the exact date of William's death although he does not appear in the 1840 US Census so he may have died prior to that date.  Some of the family trees on Ancestry.com have William dying in 1842 although we could not find any records to confirm this date.

It appears that Elizabeth Boardman Hall was still living with her father and her father's third wife in 1820 as she is listed as the oldest daughter in the 1820 US Census.  We do know however, that she married Mosely Hutchinson on 22 March 1822. Mosely was originally from Ithaca, New York but he had moved to the Village of Cayuga which was only a few miles from the Hall homestead in the town of Fayette when considering that in the year 1800 a bridge had been built that crossed Cayuga Lake connecting the Village of Cayuga directly to Fayette.  It is not clear how they actually met although in 1822 Mosely Hutchinson, then 26 years old, was already a successful farmer and undoubtedly some of his travels had taken him across the bridge and into Seneca County and the Town of Fayette.


Elizabeth's marriage to Mosely was long and prosperous.  Mosely became an attorney, and for a period a judge and a State Assemblyman. Together they had seven children including my great, great grandmother Mary Rebecca Hutchinson who was born on the 24th of April in 1825.  We are related to the Hutchinson and Hall families through my mother's grandfather, Eugene Hutchinson Ferree, whose grandparents were Mosely and Elizabeth Boardman Hall.  We have visited the graves of my great grandparents Eugene Hutchinson Ferree and his wife Marian Coapman Ferree, and his mother Mary Rebecca Hutchinson Ferree, and his grandparents Mosely Hutchinson and Elizabeth Hall Hutchinson who are all buried near one another in the Lakeview Cemetery in the Village of Cayuga, New York.  The Hall family tree was a wonderful ancestral line to explore and write their story, as once again we have discovered more of our ancestors who played strong roles in our country's history.

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