The Henry Hall Family Story
Lucy M. Dodd
With the help of Dave Hall
The "Old Settlers", etc.
Henry Hall, the oldest known ancestor of the Hall family of which we have any record, was born near Hagerstown, MD, about 1774; went to Loudon County, VA., and there married Sally Harper, who was born about 1783, and was probably one of the descendants of the people for whom Harperís Ferry was named. Five children were born in Virginia 1) Nancy, 1801; 2) Aaron, December 24, 1802; 3) Thomas; 4) Washington, May 8, 1809; and 5) Thompson, August 19, 1811. These children were all born in Pittsylvania County, VA.
In 1816, the family moved to Martin County, IN, near Loogootee; here three children were born 1) Sally, 1821; 2) Henry, 1823; (3) Emily, 1828. In October, 1828, they moved to Sangamon County, IL.
There is no record of the state in which Nancy was married, but Aaron married in 1825 while they were still living in Indiana.
Henry Hallís family settled about 200 yards east and 100 yards north of the Old South Fork Church location, close to South Fork Schoolhouse on land now (1928) owned by Earnest Campbell.
They build a double log cabin in a little clear space; cleared the ground all around and farmed it. The timber west was extra heavy. An almost perfect circle was the shape of a grove north of the home and in its center stood three extra tall elm trees, straight as a die without a limb for over 50 or 60 feet. These trees piloted anyone to the Hall homestead and could be seen for miles.
Nancy Hall Taylor moved with her family on to Christian County.
Aaron Hall, oldest son, moved his family to Sangamon when his father came and settled one quarter mile north of his father and, back at the edge of the timber, he build a log cabin (afterwards owned by Bird Price, then by Thompson Hall) and reared his family there. This log cabin stood the wind and weather and when the writer was a girl it was still marking the place but later was torn down.
Aaron Hall died in 1852, just 50 years old, and was considered an old man. His widow married "Uncle Billy" Dodd who had two children (Charlie Bill and Cinda).
Washington Hall, born 1811, was married at the age of 22 to Susannah H. Wyckoff, a native of Kentucky. They built a house of one room, 18 feet square with a fireplace, west of the spot where the old church stood, one quarter mile in the dense forest; later crossing the creek and building the old homestead in 1832, which stands today. Four rooms are exactly as built by "Uncle Wash," as everybody called him.
The lumber is all hard wood, even to the "weather boards" which are solid walnut. The house had an east front porch and the road was laid out to the southeast, only a short distance at the "fork" of the creek in such a way that it crossed both the north and south fork of the South Fork of Lick Creek (Lick Creek proper, the main branches joining several miles farther down the stream). Mr. Hall lived in this house practically all his life, saw a generation live and die. His children all died or married and the writer can well remember visiting him in her teenage years, in the south room of the old house, the rest being occupied by people who cared for the farm. Had I written down the things he told me those days, I could tell you many things today, but I didnít.
The road has been changed as time rolled on and each generation demanded different things; and now 1926, as T. T. Hatcher present owner drives to his home, he comes from the west and takes a side entrance. The old front door is seldom ever seen except from the inside. The timber is most all gone, only the four rooms and the creek remain the same. There is only one child of Washington Hallís left David W. who owns a farm close to the old homestead and makes his home in Loami. He is 69 years old; his descendants numbered.
Now living oldest, David Hall.
Thompson Hall, born August 19, 1811, married when he was 28 years old to Eveline Jacobs, settled in a one-room house only a short distance from his fatherís. As the one room grew too small and crowded for the family, he built what was considered a fine home in that day. It was very similar in plans to his brother Washís, having four rooms to the front, a story and a half high, with a front entrance from the south and an ĎLí room back to the north; and yet I can see the old fireplace in the north end.
This house has been remodeled in later years but strange to say this road that lead past, or close, to the fatherís and sonsí (Aaron and Thomps) homes has changed but little in all these years and still winds in and out and eventually reaches Loami. It is kept well maintained and oiled now and connects with the Lowder and Auburn roads.
All of Thomps Hallís children settled close to home, none living over two miles away and their homes are nearly all owned by direct heirs G.T. (his son) owns the home place; Eva, Lena and Frank Hallís heirs own William T.ís; Edna Keplinger, granddaughter of Sallie Hall Miller, owns and lives on, their second home, but their first home, built about 1878 or 1879 one and one-quarter miles west, is owned by a Hall descendant, Frank Baker, and the old house they first lived in still stands but is back from the road, a new cottage being erected where the old one stood. Ellen Joyís home (after the first few years of her married life, which was spent on the Lowder Road, "out in the prairie" those days) is owned by her only heir, Myrtle W. Joy, who has resided in Loami since January 3, 1900. The house where Amanda went to make her career with her husband, James M. Joy is now owned by Melvin and Lucy Dodd (she is a daughter of Sally Miller). They have lived there 24 years. A part of this house is as built by Mr. Joy, but like Wash Hallís, the road changed from east to west and the house was turned to meet the needs. It has been added to (1910) and is now a seven-room house instead of three as originally. It was built in a small open space only big enough for a yard and garden and heavy timber nearly, if not all, around it. That is all gone and Mr. Joy, on coming back 40 years after selling it, could find nothing that seemed natural. The twigs he set out are giant maples; the turning of the house, the changing of the road; changed all. The land that Amanda owned was a part of the Thomps Hall homestead or in fact was purchased and added to the homestead, then deeded to her later. It once sold for $3 per acre to Washington Hall and, afterwards, to Thomps. The finishing timber in this original house was hauled from Springfield, IL 22 miles away, with teams and wagons. The frame was cut from timber and sawed at some local mill. Dave Lowry, Jennie Lowry Hallís brother, helped haul lumber from Springfield.
Thomps Hall has had 46 descendants, 28 of whom are living. Eva Hall, daughter of William of Loami, being eldest, born in 1870 and Dale Dodd, the youngest born in 1924. The latter is a grandson of Lucy Miller Dodd.
Mrs. George T. Hall has a letter in her possession, written by Eveline Hall to her son William on October 14, 1875 from Indiana where she had gone to visit and see a doctor for poor health. The ink is well-preserved and the handwriting remarkably easy to read; and only a few misspelled words. We have in our possession a dress worn by her only a short time before her death. It is in an almost perfect state of preservation and, since reading this letter, I am more than convinced that it was one of the dresses worn on that trip before she died on June 30, 1877. A strange coincidence happened in 1923 or 1924. A friend of the Hall family asked to have this dress to be used by a famous ladiesí ready-made style house (on living models) in a style show put on for the benefit of a domestic club in Indiana. The models showed old styles and present styles; and the dress that carried the honors, won first prize and the applause of the big audience, was the one owned by Eveline Hall. I now wonder if there was anyone at that style show that knew the Halls when they sojourned in Indiana.
Sally Miller in reminiscence has told many times about the first shoes she had, that she carried to the old Sulphur Springs, washed her feet, and walked up to the hill to the old Sulphur Springs church that stood on the hill (which I can still remember). She and her sisters and mother made them by hand. They wore a ruffle below their knee to represent pantalets because they could not buy muslin to make them. The older girls washed, carded, spun and wore the wool that made their winter clothes, and also flax for the summer.
To make dye for the coverlets mother had, they set yeast (same as we do for bread, with a starter). This was set in an iron pot and left to stand for nine days. They kept this warm especially in the day time of course never let it get cool even at night. If it was good for use at the end of the nine days it had a greenish look on top; if it had spoiled; it was black and muddy or cloudy looking and had to be thrown out and some more yeast starter gotten from some good friend who was more lucky. This was strained then, ready to use. Indigo was added for blue and Madder red, a sort of stuff that looked like sawdust, for the red dye.
She told about her first calico dress, costing $1 per yard, and it took more yards then than now. They were supposed to spin so much per day and many times she told of the times she went to sleep at her post only to be awakened by her mother and told she must keep on. It was so slow and cold weather coming. She told about the log school house, the home made benches to sit on (simply holes bored in a board and pegs driven in). One thing she always told was about some Campbell boys that were so good in mathematics. I wonder now if she was inefficient in it and handed it on down to the present generation. It was always on her mind when talking about school. She often told about her first few years of married life, how little she had to work with and how much she managed to get out of seemingly nothing but her own labor.
How she cherished the little things she kept of the first two children that she lost. Then four children lived and are living. Two younger ones died. She forgot many things in later life but her early life was clearly, one might say indelibly, stamped in her mind and she loved to tell about it in later life.
Some years, when the weather was dry, they drove their stock to springs for water and one famous one is still running on Wash Hallís farm where they would all come for water. Only a few years ago folks cleared it out a bit and hauled water from it during the dry season.
Andy Mahard ran his horse down the hill so fast that he went on over the horse and into the spring. Cy Hall, Dave Hallís brother, pulled him out.
The old hillside that stands bare of timber but is in blue grass that you look out onto from our back porch, was a favorite meeting place for all the children from the different Hall homes and many a happy hour was spent there. The trees are all gone and now the children of our neighborhood use it for coasting parties.
One characteristic of the Hall generation I have noticed (or being a girl, I though I did) was that they were partial to the boys that bore the Hall name. It always seemed to me that the girls as they married and changed their names, lost something they could never regain, in their childhood home. I could never understand why this should be. There are only two boys, descendants of Thomps Hall, that bear the Hall name. They are great-grandchildren of his Robert and William Hall, sons of Frank Hall, who was the third son of William T. Hall, Sr., he being the oldest of Thompson Hallís family.
One thing distinct of Ellen Joy - no matter what she had, big or little, worthwhile or not, she took the best care of it and today in her daughterís home are many of the first things she had in her new home "out on the prairie." Stuart Dodd possesses one of them a dresser, a bed and a table, or possibly two tables.
If anyone of the later descendants has a knack of hard work and making something out of nothing, they got it from Sallie Hall or if they are good at anything they are asked to do, they got it from Ellen Hall Joy. One of strong characteristics was doing a thing well if she did it al all and she was always a busy woman.