Chapter 10, Page 94
The Hall - Overstreet Families in Ohio
For a period of about fifteen years, the Hall - Overstreet families lived in Ohio. This period of family history has long been neglected as the Illinois branch of the family concentrated their efforts on the colonial Virginia and, later, the Illinois periods. In the preparation of this volume, it has taken considerable effort and research to come up with the pertinent facts concerning this era in the family history.
It appears that there was a mass migration of the family of Hezekiah Hall from Virginia to Ohio in the years following the American Revolution. Other families were involved - the Smiths - the Neals - and many others from Bedford county. While for some of them, this was a temporary halt in the movement West, for others Ohio became their home.
The pressure to move West began long before the Revolution, but had been held in check. When the barriers came down, the frontier opened and, for many, Ohio was the promised land. Aiding this tide was the granting of land to War veterans, the easing of the Indian menace and, of course, the basic urge to own more land. Old John Overstreet had a veteran's warrant; others, purchased them from veterans who preferred cash to property.
A look at the map will show that Lawrence county, Ohio is at the extreme south-eastern tip of the state and is bordered by the Ohio River. It was still a part of Gallia county when the Halls' first moved there, but in 1817 Lawrence county was created from part of Gallia. Most of the group from Virginia settled in Union Township of the new country. Only William Hadder Hall settled in Rome Township. Proctorville, the principal town on the river, dominated the area. The general region was originally known as the Quaker Bottom.
The first settlers looked only to the farming possibilities of the land. Later, the mineral resources of the county became important and because of the proximity of the Ohio River, careers were carved out in the river traffic that boomed during the steamboat era. Descendants of the original family members that remained in Ohio became merchants, bankers, and townsmen, important in the business life of that section of the state.
Of the Hall - Overstreet group, only Dabney Overstreet, Old John's second son, settled out of Ohio. Dabney located in what was then Cabell county, Virginia (during the Civil War it became West Virginia) - just across the River from Lawrence county. The majority of the migrants were young, in their twenties, many married in Ohio and started their families there. Patriarch of the group was John Overstreet, soldier of the Revolution, then in his fifties. As a war pensioner(after 1818) he did not work the land.
By the end of the 1820s many of this Ohio group had moved on west. Of Hezekiah's children, Elisha, James and Abner, led by John Overstreet, Jr. had gone on to Illinois. In 1840, their brother Samuel took off for Iowa. The entire Overstreet group came on to Illinois, none remaining in Ohio. It was the next generation of William's and Sarah's families that left Ohio. Much of this activity, important to the author, will be reviewed in the section: Pioneering in Illinois.
It may come as a surprise to many of the family descendants of the present day to learn that they have kinsmen living in Ohio. + They are to be found in the same region that the Hall - Overstreet group came to following the Revolution. They can be found in Lawrence county and in the same towns and villages. A few of them still bear the name Hall!
William Hadder Hall, oldest son of Hezekiah, remained in Rome Township as did several of his children. Any relative by the name of Hall now found in south-eastern Ohio would be a descendant of William's line.
The two sons of Sarah Hall (Smith) of which there is record remained in Ohio. Her son Abner's daughter, Mary, married into the Watters family. Her husband, Charles E. Watters was a pioneer merchant and the postmaster at Proctorville. Their sons engaged in the river trade and business.
Rice Smith, another son of Sarah, fathered William Gardner Smith, who was a merchant at Bradick, in Lawrence county. He was postmaster there for thirty-two years. Each of Sarah's sons had sizeable families and the Smith-Hall descendants are much in evidence in the area today. Rice owned lots of land as did his father, Augustine.
One story about Rice Smith survives. In early times, Rice was the only owner of a grindstone in Union Township. If he liked you, you could use it. If he didn't, you couldn't. He was characterized by his contemporaries 'as honest but bull-headed!'
This family characteristic was shared by his son William Gardner Smith. Wm. G. ---known to be contrary but honest - who, on a wintery day, if too many showed up to loaf at the post office, would let the fire go out!
The old county histories and newspaper files of Lawrence county, give records of the Halls and their kin. The records are in the neighborhoods, schools, churches and cemeteries of the area. Those records tell the continuing story of marriages, land transactions and estates. It would be extremely difficult to locate the original holdings because of the old methods of surveying.
The log cabins in which they lived have long since rotted away. The old land marks that bounded their fields can no longer be found. A few gravestones survive. Their descendants, for the most part, are unsure of their linage and some couldn't care less. Surprisingly, the most durable remembrances of the Ohio years are to be found on the most fragile of substances ---paper!
+ closer than any family members to be found in Virginia