'He who is forgetful of his ancestory is neglectful of his posterity.'|
….Sons of the American Revolution.
The year 1976 saw the observance of the bi-centennial of the United States of America. In 1776 thirteen of the British North American colonies renounced allegiance to the mother country and its king. Eventually the separation was made effective by the Revolutionary War and finally the Constitution made the supreme law of the new nation. That document is now the oldest written constitution in the world, and the people who made it had established the longest-lived democracy in history.
As 1976 rolled around, the writer passed the proverbial 'three score and ten' and to his own amazement discovered that his life had covered a third of his country's organized existence.
Including the period of colonization preceeding the American Revolution, his paternal family history covers almost the entire period of the history of the United States. The Hall-Overstreet family story assumed a firm outline a half-century before the ringing of the Liberty Bell in 1776 and follows the development of the nation from the eastern seaboard to the Pacific Ocean in the two hundred years that have followed.
In writing a personal bi-centennial history, tribute is paid to those rugged pioneers of his own family as well as to a myriad of other ancestors of the 'common people', who settled the land, fought its wars, laid out its villages and towns, and made the country as it is two centuries later.
This is not a genealogy, but an 'anecdotal' accounting of his family told against the background of events that were framing their lives and destinies. Every effort has been made to insure genealogical accuracy.
The term 'Grandfathers' is used rather loosely and includes many other relatives of each grandfather generation whose stories cannot be left out. It will, at times, include some 'grandmothers' - without whom, the succeeding generations would not have been possible.
Surprisingly, for a family that contained no scholars, few professionals and certainly no individuals of national or political prominence, the amount of family history is reasonably abundant. It exists in histories of areas and regions, in incidental historical references, the legal documents that have survived and, of course, in family tales that have passed down in the oral tradition.
There have been no known family histories published. There has been some genealogical works - the works of those few interested persons seeking to preserve family lore or to acquire memberships in various lineage societies. These efforts are limited in scope because of the lack of time and funds, as well as experience in genealogical research - and interest only in certain branches of the family, not the total picture.
The story told in The Grandfathers is an interesting one and mirrors the hopes and ambitions - or the lack of them - for each family generation.
In 1976, using the writer as the last man in the line, and each 'grandfather' shaking the hand of the 'grandfather' of the generation preceeding him, there would be less than ten men in the line - and they would almost reach across the entire history of the United States!
COPYRIGHT. ---the material in Vols. I and II of The Grandfathers is not copyrighted, except as the term is understood in common law.
Therefore, the reader (s) of these volumes is free to copy, steal and lift for his or her own personal use any of the contents. In fact, the author will feel greatly complimented if by chance anyone would read it and honored if its contents were worth borrowing without pay.
Works such as THE GRANDFATHERS are for personal satisfaction not money --- although they are among the most valuable writings that can be left for future generations. They are the true histories of a people.
The material in these volumes was obtained by relentless searching, voluminous correspondence, library haunting, travel, expenditure of money and lifting from others' works. Most of all, by the graciousness and forebearance of those who were contacted in person or by letter. The greatest factor of all was TIME of which un-godly amounts were used in its composition.
At the bottom of various pages in the text the reader will find, on occasion, various explanatory footnotes. In most instances these notes are added to give the reader additional insights to the person or persons or period of family history under discussion. It is hoped that they are appreciated and enjoyed!
Volume I of The Grandfathers is dedicated to my father, Henry Edward Hall, 1873 - 1951. A man of many uniforms, the military, his veterans groups and the postal service. He had the wonderful capacity of making many friends. Loved and respected by his kin; for a man of limited education he had a strong sense of history, especially that of family. Some of that interest rubbed off on his son - a fact that no doubt would please him greatly!
The Grandfathers is not strictly a genealogy but is as genealogically correct as possible. The works are not exhaustive for the families involved, but are devoted to the main line of the author's ancestory.
Not including work done by other members of the family, nearly ten years has been spent in gathering the material presented. In some instances there have been assumptions made for which there appears to be no documentary evidence. No apology is made for a bit of 'historical romancing' and the author is receptive to corrections if and when the proper evidence is produced.
Meanwhile, the family story is told, the basic material of which is accurate. Being the kind of people they were, the early family members left fragmentary trails behind them --- so, until some family member can do better, perhaps a more accurate job, the work will have to stand.
Genealogical data, pertinent correspondence, maps, notes, etc. have been placed in the Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield for anyone who many wish to peruse them and perhaps continue the family history. The material is filed in accordance with the development of the text.
Certain acknowledgements by the author for material sources used in the development of The Grandfathers will be noted at various places in the text. Otherwise, this information will be found in the supporting documents as noted above.
To simplify the text so as not to complicate it with too much genealogy, the reader is advised that the following systems of notations are used:
In most instances when giving the life dates of a family member, the exact months and days are not given, only the years. For example: James Wesley Hall, 1815 - 1870, indicates the approximate birth year and death year date.
The generations in America are indicated thus: (1), (2), (3), etc. Only the American generations are given; none for the period before the immigrant ancestor. Thus: James Wesley Hall (4) 1815 - 1870 would indicate that he is of the fourth American generation.
A double line under the name indicates that the person named is in the direct line of the writer. Thus: James Wesley Hall (4) 1815 - 1870 indicates that the writer is descended from him.
An underlined word, phrase or date in parenthesis is an insertion by the author to clarify or add an explanation to the narrative, a quotation or a statement. Thus: James Wesley Hall was a charter member of the Athens (Ill.) Christian church.
In listing family group members, the family name of the spouse(s), if known is given as follows:
Should the reader wish more precise information than that given in the narrative, examination of the genealogical information filed at the Illinois State Historical Library, (Springfield) may provide it or suggest additional sources of information.
Because the Hall-Overstreet story covers over two and a half centuries and because names of other family members are introduced, an outline of the writer's family line is given below.
Only the names of the male ancestors are given. More detailed discussions are given on each of the Grandfather generations in the subsequent sections (grandmothers are also included!)
William Hall (1) c. 1707 - 1757
The Immigrant Grandfather
John Hall (+) - c. 1732 - 1794
Miller on RockCastle Creek
Hezekiah Hall (2) - c. 1741 - 1811
Yoeman of Back Creek
The Grandfather of the American Revolution
The Grandfather of the Westward Movement
The Grandfather of the Civil War
The Grandfather who was an Illinois Farmer
The Father Who Was Not a Grandfather
Carrol Carman Hall (7) - 1905
(1) (2) (3), etc. generations in America
++ his daughters became Hall grandmothers