The Grandfathers
Vol.I, The Hall and Overstreet Families
Carrol Carman Hall, Springfield, IL, 1981

Section I
Chapter 4, Page 31

"...The completion of a good genealogy history of
an early Virginia family below gentry
rank is a great accomplishment..."

---Meredith B. Colket Jr.
(modified by cch)


From signature on his will

Among those Bedford county (Va.) settlers
who responded to the Indian alarm on May 1,
1757 and joined in the pursuit of the
Cherokees was a sixteen year old boy named
Hezekiah. He is assumed to be the second
oldest son of William Hall, who was killed
in the first skirmish with the marauders...

Hezekiah Hall
1741 - 1811
Yoeman of Back Creek +

he was a substantial man of the soil

family line:
William (l)
Hezekiah (2)

Members of the Hall - Overstreet family of Illinois are descendants of Hezekiah Hall, 1741-1811, who during his adult years from 1762 to 1822 lived on Back Creek in Bedford county Virginia. The area is at the extreme eastern edge of the county. When Campbell county was created from Bedford in 1784, Back Creek formed part of the dividing line. As a result, Hezekiah's land was in two counties.

From Hezekiah's Will of 1811 can be obtained the names of his children: the given name of his wife, the names of some of his friends and much about his property. One witness to the Will was John Overstreet, 1760-1848. Overstreet's two daughters were to marry into Hezekiah's family.

Man of the Land

Hezekiah Hall was a man of the land. Our first record of him as an adult comes from a purchase he made in 1762 when he acquired 200 Back Creek acres from a John Hall. ++ At the same time Bowker Smith whose grandson, Augustine, was to marry a daughter of Hezekiah made a similar purchase, thus, becoming a neighbor. Of especial interest is the fact that the men who witnessed the purchases had been involved in the Indian battles that resulted in the death of William Hall five years previously. To the writer, this is a firming fact in establishing family relationships. (see: section on Wm Hall, d. 1757).

Ten years later, in 1772, just prior to the Revolution, Hezekiah obtained a land grant of 480 acres, bringing his holdings to about 700 acres. (This land grant, given by the colonial government may have been for service in the Indian Wars.)

From the tax records of Bedford county, 1782-1800, he consistently paid taxes on from 530 to 630 acres. Since this was colonial and revolutionary times, he likely held more land than the records show.

Sons

In time, Hezekiah's older sons were marrying and setting up for themselves; we have no record of his giving land to his son, Thomas, but he surely did so, as Back Creek land figures in Thomas' estate. In 1807 he gave 225 acres of land to his William, the land being in the two counties and in 1808 he gave Elisha seventy-five acres. His estate at death contained 418 acres.

Hezekiah Hall was a substantial man of property. His farm +++ was in rolling country and its water came from Back Creek which flows into Goose Creek and eventually ends up in the Roanoke (Staunton) River. It was well-timbered and suited for grazing. There was some small farming, hay and grain; he probably did not raise much tobacco as the soil in his area produced a light variety not popular among the tobacco users of his time. Practically all the food needed was produced on the homestead.

Flax and wool were important fibers then; cotton became important later. Game and fish supplemented their mutton, beef and pork. Leesburg, Va., was a nearby trading community and Lynchburg as a city, was likely more important than Bedford City, the county seat. Land along the Staunton River to the south was still wilderness. The roads mere trails. Churches and schools were almost non-existent. It was a world of wood, hand tools, leather and homespun, travel by horseback - guarded by the rifle.

Citizenship

Hezekiah was apparently a conservative man as in 1779 we find him signing a petition against dividing the county below the River, an area which in 1786 became Franklin county. He was too old to serve in the Revolution and his sons were too young. There are several entries in the Bedford county order book indicating he furnished supplies to the Virginia troops. At a Court held for Bedford county at the Court House on Monday, the 25th of November, 1782:

'Hezekiah Hall pvd. That he furnished
John Ward, Com: of the Pro: Law (Com-
missioner of the Provision Law
) with
500 lbs Beef all'd 16/8 per Ct: also
Diets and Forage all'd 26/' +++++

This record enables his descendants to obtain membership in certain patriotic societies such as the SAR and DAR which accept public service as an eligibility. We do not know Hezekiah's actual sentiments about the War as for a time Virginia was virtually under martial law and the inhabitants required to furnish food and supplies to the Rebels, later to be regarded as Patriots.

Indians

As noted previously, our ancestor also participated in the Indian skirmishes that occurred in Bedford county and brought about the death of William Hall in 1757. There is record of him receiving pay for his services (one shilling per day).*

In 1757 he was a teen-ager and all able-bodied male inhabitants (not the blacks), 16 to 45, were in the militia. This service makes his descendants also eligible for membership in some hereditary colonial societies. From the limited knowledge we have of him, it appears that Hezekiah was known for his livestock. From a most unusual source we learn of it.

Livestock

In her magnificent book, The History of Pittsylvania County Virginia**, pp. 104-5, Maude C. Clement tells of horse racing in early Virginia.

"One could judge horse racing was a customary sport of the day from the casual reference made in the following letter written in 1782 by Henry Innes of Bedford county to Ralph Smith." ***

'Sir: I have sent ye bearer over to know if you will have ye stag which I offered you as I was returning from Pittsylvania Court. There is a very large Bull in this neighborhood which was formerly the property of Hezekiah Hall, the Stagg you wintered, and a good beef to weigh 300 lb at Ross' quarters which Mr. Herndon will deliver at any moment on my order, for these I will take fifteen dollars.

'The settlement is to be made at the races on Friday next.' (emphasis author's) ****

There is another record of a neighborly act that comes down to us from the musty records of the past. On May 5, 1781 Hezekiah witnessed the Will of Thomas Snow, who lived nearby. The Will was proved on August 28 of the same year.

Family

Like a good father he had some duties to perform. From the records we learn that Augustine Smith married, Sarah, his oldest daughter on February 26, 1800. Hezekiah gave the consent for himself and his wife. He may have given consent for the marriage of his daughter Tabitha to Robert Dalton in 1806. He would not do the same for his youngest, Keziah, as by the time of her marriage he was dead.

There is record of him acting as Executor for the estate of John Hall, Jr., a Baptist preacher in 1799. This is presumed to be a son of John Hall, d. 1794. and Hezekiah as the oldest surviving member of William's family (d. 1757) would be the logical one to handle the estate - another link in proving the relationships.

We note that following the death of Bowker Smith, his neighbor, in 1768, that Hezekiah brought suit agains the Smith estate, possibly over a land matter. It was settled out of court. *****

Taxes
From the Bedford county tax records we note that he paid considerable real estate and personal taxes. In 1782, for example, he paid 40# tax on his land and 1# 13'(shillings) on his personal property. The tax rate was one percent of the value of the land. The personal (poll) tax was paid on white males over 16 in the household. Each horse was 2 shillings; each cow three pence, and a tax was paid on each slave over 21 years of age. In 1782, he paid on himself, six horses, twelve cattle and nothing on slaves.^

This leads to speculate, was he a Quaker? If not, was he influenced by them? Up until about 1790 Bedford had many Quakers and there was a Quaker Meeting not far from where Hezekiah lived. At this point we must discuss his wife, Keziah.

Of his wife we know only for sure her given name. Since the name Banks was used for boys in the family, it has been assumed by early Hall researchers that she was Keziah Banks. Since these researchers were wrong on several counts, the writer in pure speculation and a long, intensive study of the records in Bedford county is inclined to believe that her surname was Smith. (Keziah does not appear as a given name for Banks women.)

Keziah ?

In 1741 Gideon and Daniel Smith made land entries in the Hall area of Bedford county. They were Quakers and had arrived in Virginia by the same route as William Hall, d. 1757 - England, Pennsylvania and then to Virginia. About 1755 Gideon Smith (Sr.) died. The church warden bound two of his daughters, Pennziah and Keziah, to Daniel Smith, their uncle. The two girls, youngest of the family, were small children at the time.

Hezekiah would have been of about the same generation and living in the same area as Keziah. If this supposition has merit, then John Hall, d. 1794 and Hezekiah, assume to be brothers, were marrying into the same family and John's wife, Magdalene and Keziah, were related. Magdalene was of this same Smith family.^^

These are the Smiths for whom Smith Mountain and Smith Lake in Bedford county are named. The first was an important early landmark: the second created in modern times by damming the Staunton River for the production of hydro-electric power.

Of course, there are other possibilities. She may have been a Banks. She may have been a widow of a Banks. Again, the author speculates:

Marriage

The writer believes that the use of the name Banks came from the marriage of Matthew Hall, son of John, d. 1794, who in the year of his father's death, married Mary Elizabeth 'Polly" Banks. With this marriage, the unusual Banks story reported at the end of this chapter came into the Hall family lore. The writer gives great credence to this reasoning as the name Banks does not appear in the Hall families until after 1794; then in Hezekiah's family not his brother John's as the last child in that family was born in 1782. It looms large in the families of both men among their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Hezekiah married late for the times. Apparently he aided his brother John in the establishment of the Rockcastle Creek farm and mill. Then, when he became of age and acquired land of his own on Back Creek, he developed the property before acquiring a wife. There is no record of an earlier marriage. According to the information at hand, his first child was born in 1775, thirteen years after the purchase of his land. He likely married in 1774.

From these records Hezekiah's birth year is established. Since he could not own property until he was twenty-one; and he purchased his land in 1762, the birth year of 1741 is arrived at. At his death in 1811, he was in his mid-60s; Keziah, a few years younger lived on until about 1820. Of unusual interest is his giant signature that features his Will; he could sign his name early in life as evidenced by various documents. It appears that he wrote out the contract of marriage for his daughter Sarah and Augustine Smith.

Will

On the ninth day of March, 1811 Hezekiah made his Will. By July of the same year he was dead. Settlement of his estate dragged on for over two years and a lawsuit was filed in Pittsylvania county to determine who was the Administrator. The Will is a short, terse document. Keziah, his wife, received one-third of the land, 170 acres. For Samuel, James, Abner and Keziah, his daughter, this amounted to a little over 60 acres for each of them.

The older children, William, Thomas, Elisha, Sarah and Tabitha a token bequest - five shillings each. The boys had been given land previously and the girls now were married women and their husbands were expected to provide for them. (A dowry usually went with a daughter's marriage.)

Once the court had established the Executor of the estate, it appointed three neighbors to divide the land. This job was completed in March, 1813. Since this was before the days of modern land surveys, the account of how they divided the land and the markers they used is amusing to our eyes. They measured from stumps to stones by stepping off the distances. Everything considered they did an excellent job.

A map of Hezekiah's land and the work of those who divided it as ordered by the court is in the Bedford county files. ^*^ The dividing of the land points up the fact, that with large families, the tracts were too small to be productive under the farming conditions of the period. Also, the Revolution had done away with primogeniture, an English system by which the oldest son inherited everything.

An item or two about the Will. In addition to John Overstreet, Francis Wood and Littleberry Dixon witnessed it. Only Overstreet could sign his name, the others made their marks. Under the law, those marks had to be witnessed by one who could write his name. In this case it was Overstreet.

The reader is to note the discussion under his oldest son, William Hadder Smith, in another section of the text.

In 1813 a suit was filed in Pittsylvania county (?) by Litterbery Dixon to become the Executor and in the same year the suit was dismissed and Lee retained. The Dixon's were related by marriage. Final disposition of the Back Creek land is given in a special section at the end of this chapter.

More correctly, 'Littleberry' Dixon, an interesting frontier name.

Speculation

Hezekiah intrigues us. He was a different man and a good family man. He owned no slaves and when his family joined the rush to the land westward, they went above the Ohio river, non-slave territory. His descendants, generally, were Unionists. He was likely buried on this land.

Will of Hezekiah Hall

I, Hezekiah Hall of Bedford County do hereby make this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say, I desire that all my Just debts be first paid. I lend one third of my estate both real and personal to my wife Kiziah Hall during her natural life, and after her decease, I give the same to my four first mentioned children equally to be divided among them and to be enjoyed forever. Item, I give unto Samuel Hall, James Hall, Abner Hall and Kiziah Hall which are my beloved sons and daughter, all my estate both real and personalty not otherwise disposed of. Item, I give unto William Hall five shillings. Item, I give unto Sarah Smith my daughter five shillings. Item I give unto Thomas Hall five shillings, Item, I give unto Elisha Hall five shillings. Item, I given unto Tabitha Dalton my daughter five shillings which I give to the, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever. I do hereby constitute my friends Jesse Leftwich, Burwel Lee and Ralph Smith executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made. In Witness whereof I have set my hand and seal this ninth day of March one thousand eight hundred and eleven.

Hezekiah Hall {seal}

Signed sealed in the presence of
John Overstreet
Francis {X} his mark Wood
Littleberry {X} his mark Dixon

At a court held for Bedford County at the courthouse the 22nd day of July, 1811.

This last will and testament of Hezekiah Hall, dec'd, was exhibited in Court and proven by the oaths of Francis Wood and Littleberry Dixon subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. And at ____held for said County at the Courthouse the 26th day of August following - on the motion of Burwell Lee one of the executors therein mentioned certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form, liberty being reserved the other executors to join in the probate when they shall think fit.

Teste,
J. Steptoe, C.B.C>

>Clerk Bedford County

Children of Hezekiah and Keziah Hall

Dates
Year
       
Name
born      died
Married
Spouse
Estate
Lived
William1775      1847 1802 Nancy Dixon G Virginia - Ohio
Thomas 1781      1815 1809 Elizabeth Radford G Virginia
Elisha 1783      1838 1811 Nancy Overstreet G Va - Oh - Ill.
Sarah 1784      c1824 1800 Augustine Smith+ D Virginia-Ohio
Tabitha 1788      ? 1806 Robert Dalton D Va. - ?
Samuel 1790      1863 1813 Jane Smith A Va. Oh - Ia.
James c1792      c1850 c1815 Eleanor ^^^^ A Va. Oh - Ill.
Abner c1795      c1843 c1814 Jane Overstreet A Va - Oh - Ill.
Keziah c1797      c1825 1814 John Neal ^^^ A Virginia - Ohio
All children born in Bedford County, Virginia. Arranged according to Hezekiah's Will and the land allotment pattern. Underlined dates are speculative based on circumstantial evidence and marriage dates.
Estate Code:
G - give land on marriage
D - possibly Dowry on marriage
A - allotted land by Will

authors note:
This is original research extending over several years and much searching among many sources. There would be no record (except accidentally) of children failing to reach adulthood.
Tracing male members of a family is generally easier than for the female members, since they usually adopt their husbands' surnames.
Contacts were made with descendants of William and Sarah and with the descendants of the Illinois migrants.
During the conduct of this research, descendants were found to be living in many sections of the U.S.

Marriage Bond Record Hezekiah Hall Family

26 Feb 1800 <>Smith, Augustine and Sarah Hall
dau. Hezekiah
John Smith, Surety
7 Mar 1802 <> Hall, William and Nancy Dixon
James Dixon, Surety
8 Apr 1806 <> Dalton, Robert and Tabitha Hall
Joseph Towler, Surety
Marr. By Rev. Wm Leftwich
18 Nov 1809 <> Hall, Thomas and Elizabeth Radford
dau. Polly
Tubal Dixon, Surety
17 Aug 1811 <> Hall, Elisha and Nancy Overstreet\
dau. John Sr.
James Hall, Surety
Marr. By James Scott
4 Feb 1813 <><> Hall, Samuel and Jane Smith
(Vol. I, p. 31)
28 Jan 1814 <><> Hall, Kitty to John Neal
(Vol. I, p. 121)
Marr. By Peter Wakefield, J.P.
Centerville Township.
No marriage records had for James Hall or Abner Hall

Abner Hall was probably married to Jane Overstreet, sister Nancy, in 1814. Their first child was born in Ohio in 1815

James Hall was likely married in Ohio after 1815

A Surety Bond was given to assure the completion of the marriage contract. The Surety was supposed to have money equivalent to the face of the Bond, sometimes questionable.

Using the date of their first child's birth, Hezekiah and Keziah Hall were possibly married in 1774.

Hezekiah's family was marrying in the post-American Revolution period. Marriage procedures were being regularized and all marriages legal, regardless of Church affiliation. The rapid movement of the population in the westward expansion made record keeping extremely difficult and in many areas was practically nonexistent.

Common-law marriages were frequent and generally acceptable, especially in the southern states.

End of the Virginia Days

In answer to the question: What became of the Hall and on Back Creek? The following accounting is given.

After the death of the father, Hezekiah, in 1811 William and Elisha sold their Back Creek land prior to their leaving Virginia. In October, 1812 James sold his land, and in May 1815 Samuel sold his inherited property. Samuel at that time was in Ohio and a Virginia neighbor, Burwel Lee, armed with power of attorney, handled the transaction. <><><>

Thomas who remained in Virginia, died in 1815. The land held in his name went to his wife and children by court order.

With Thomas gone, the widowed Keziah was left alone on her Back Creek property. June 1815 saw the final chapter on Hezekiah's holdings written. At that time, James, with power of attorney for Samuel, Abner and his wife Jane, and John and Catherine (Keziah) Neal of the county of Gallia, Ohio sold for $550 the 170 acres of the widow Hall's dower lands, which she had inherited by Will.

The transaction was signed by James Hall and Keziah, his mother, making her mark. Apparently, she was going to Ohio to live out her days.

It is assumed that Abner and his sister, Keziah, had disposed of their individual holdings earlier. So, by 1815 or shortly thereafter, the Hall holdings on Back Creek were in other hands.

authors note: complete information on these transactions will be found in subsequent material in this text. Also, in the Illinois State Historical Library information.

As for Hezekiah's wife, Keziah, we can only guess her age. She was probably dead before 1820 as her name does not appear in the census of that year. Assuming that she was somewhat younger than her husband, we can only approximate her years as: c. 1750 - c. 1820


+ A yeoman was one notch lower than the gentry, owning and working on his land. A gentleman lived on his invested income. Landless citizens and slaves (also indentured servants) were on the bottom.
++ This is not John Hall, his brother. This John Hall was a land speculator, who had obtained the tract in 1758 for 50#. His brother, John (d. 1794), guaranteed the payments. The price was 100#.
+++ The early Virginians referred to their farms as 'plantations.'
+++++ 16 shillings, 8 pence per 100 lbs. This was a final settlement.
* a total of four to five shillings in 1758.
** Pittsylvania county area was once part of Bedford county.
*** In his Will, Hezekiah refers to his friend 'Ralph Smith'
**** This is a business letter but as Clement points out, it was assumed that the principals would meet at the races, which were important to the more affluent of the colonial Virginians.
***** The suit was instituted in 1771; discontinued in 1772, details unknown.
^ Detail tax and property records for Hezekiah Hall are filed with material at the Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield.
^^ Not to be confused with the Bowker Smith group on Back Creek
^*^ also in material in Illinois State Historical Library. In their report, the land dividers, called the minor daughter, Keziah, 'Kitty' - a bit of home-spun whimsy!
^^^ married a second time
^^^^ possibly Eleanor Swearingun
<> Hinshaw, Quaker Genealogies, Vol. 6 Virginia, Bedford Co.
<><> Gallia County, Ohio Marriages
<><><> Lee, may have also been a kinsman. He handled Hezekiah's estate.

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