PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903      P.  362

WILLIAM F. HALL.  The Hall family in Plainfield, Windham county, of which William F. and Henry Hall are the oldest surviving members, is one of the early settled and representative families of that town.  The name is found among the earliest Colonial annals, and tradition has it that several Hall brothers came from England, three settling in Massachusetts, and the others in Connecticut.  The Hall family in Plainfield is counted among the descendants of the Massachusetts settlers.

Samuel Hall, the first of the family to locate here according to the Plainfield records, on Jan. 5, 1719, bought land in Connecticut bordering on Moosup pond, for which he paid his uncle, John Hall, the sum of 90 pounds.  Soon after he bought other tracts in that neighborhood, made while he was still a resident of Middlesex county, Mass.  Subsequently he moved to Plainfield.  There are on record two children that were born to him, John and Stephen.  Samuel Hall and members of other branches of the family owned at one time the greater part of the land lying between Snake Meadow brook and the Quinebaug river, in Plainfield.  Samuel Hall, the first of the family in Plainfield, was married in Middlesex county, Mass., to Elizabeth, who died in Plainfield Nov. 18, 1776, aged eighty-two years.  He died Nov. 5, 1770, at the age of seventy-eight years.  Both are buried in the old cemetery in Plainfield.

John Hall, son of Samuel, was born in Massachusetts, and died in Plainfield in 1808.  He married Hannah Williams, of Sterling, Conn., and had three sons:  (1) John (2) who was born in July, 1761, and died in 1826, was twice married.  His first wife was a Kennedy, of Plainfield, by whom he had three children, Jeremiah, Fannie and Selina.  By his second wife he had Celia, Ruth, John W., Mary Ann, James A., Julia Ann, James A. (2), George W., Caleb S., Abby, Betsy and Emily.  (2) Squire married a Peck of Rhode Island, and had three children, Peleg, Hannah and Israel.  (3) William was born in Plainfield, and lived for a time in Sterling.  Later in life he removed to East Killingly, where he resided until his death, which occurred in 1839, while he was making a trip to mill in a wagon, and was caused by a shock.  All his life he was a farmer.  Nabby Hyde, his wife, was born in Sterling, Conn., and their children were Joseph, Clarissa, Harry, Noah, Ebenezer (mentioned elsewhere as the father of Esek Hall), Lucina, Susanna, Betsy, Lydia and Martha.  The youngest of these was the mother of Moses A. Linnell, of Moosup.

John Hall was a life-time resident of Plainfield, where he was engaged in farming, and owned a number of slaves, many of whom were liberated through his own and his wife’s benevolence.  They never sold one, and some of the descendants of these slaves are still residents of Windham county.  Mrs. Hall possessed natural healing gifts and was a doctor of ability for her time.  In the fall of the year it was her custom to send slaves to search the country for all kinds of herbs, and the enormous stock which was to carry her through the winter, and bring relief to hundreds of sufferers, was truly amazing.

Stephen Hall, son of Samuel, was born in Massachusetts in 1719, and came with his parents to Plainfield, Conn.  Here he married Hester (or Esther, as it is engraved on her tombstone) Lennard, in March, 1748.  She died July 13, 1797, at the age of sixty-seven.  He died April 1, 1818, at the age of ninety-nine.  Both were interred in the old Plainfield cemetery.  To them were born, according to the town records:  Stephen, Jr., the grandfather of William F. Hall, July 6, 1749;  Lucy, Nov. 18, 1750;  Sarah, Jan. 8, 1756;  Hester, Nov. 3, 1757.

Stephen Hall, Jr., was a lifetime resident of Plainfield, and had his home in the eastern part of the town, where he was engaged in farming.  For a time he served in the war of the Revolution, holding commission as a captain.  His death occurred Feb. 6, 1814, in his sixty-fifth year.  His first wife died May 24, 1790, at the age of forty-three, and his second wife, Fannie, passed away July 10, 1849, at the age of eighty-three.  William Hall and his sister, Sally, who married Douglas Parks, and moved to the town of Picher, Oneida Co., N.Y., were the only children born to the first marriage of Stephen Hall, Jr.  To his second marriage were born:  Abby, who married John Gordon;  Esther, who married James Wilson;  Lydia, who married Joseph Lathrop;  Olive, who married Hezekiah French;  Eliza, who died unmarried;  Polly, who married James Spencer;  Otis, who lived in Sterling, and later moved to Jewett City;  Leonard, who died in Voluntown, Conn., leaving a family; and Calvin, who moved West.

William Hall was born in Plainfield in 1776, and when a young man taught the local school for a year or more, and was for a time a teacher in the Plainfield Academy.  Well known throughout the county, he took an active part in political affairs, and for sixteen years served as deputy sheriff, a part of that time being during the war of 1812.  He collected the war taxes of 1812-14, covering the eastern portion of the State, and carrying the specie with him on horseback in saddle-bags.  In politics he was a Democrat of the old type.  A small property in Stone Hill belonged to him, and when not engaged in public life he followed farming.  He died in Plainfield June 16, 1861.  Ruth Davis, his wife, was a daughter of David Davis, of Plainfield, and died Nov. 27, 1848, at the age of seventy years.  To William and Ruth came the following named children:  (1) George, born July 30, 1811, died Jan. 15, 1813.  (2) Edward Perry, born Oct. 28, 1812, died Nov. 18, 1891.  He married Elizabeth R. Comstock, who was born July 27, 1827, and died April 9, 1900.  They lived in Plainfield.  (3) Catherine Lucretia, born Aug. 28, 1814, married Joseph Dean.  (4) Stephen, born Feb. 23, 1816, died in 1887, in Moosup, where for a number of years he had been a teacher in a district school, and had later presided over a private school of more than local reputation.  He married Mary Westcott, by whom he had eight children, several of whom are still residents of Moosup.  (5) Henry, who is mentioned elsewhere, was born April 19, 1818.  (6) William F., whose name introduces this article, was born March 13, 1820.  (7) Philip Davis, born June 8, 1822, lives at North Smithfield, R.I., and is unmarried.  He served in the war of the Rebellion.

Capt. William F. Hall was born in Plainfield, and, like many boys of his generation, his schooling was confined to a few winter months’ attendance at the Green Hollow and Stone Hill District schools.  His boyhood and youth were spent on the parental estate, and he became a practical farmer.  At the age of twenty-eight he went to Jewett City, where he had charge of a farm.  At Slatersville, R.I., he had charge of an extensive farm belonging to J. and W. Slater, where he had twenty men under his direction, and as outside agent for the firm was very faithful and efficient.  After ten years he had his first release from the onerous cares of this position, and returning to Plainfield, purchased the Judge Eaton place, which was his home for five years.  At the end of that time he returned to Slatersville to resume his position as agent for Slater Brothers, and for nine years acted as their capable and trusted representative.  In 1874 he bought the Andrews farm, which was his home for ten years, when he removed to his present home on Plainfield street.

When he was a young man Mr. Hall was a Whig, sided for a time with the “Know Nothings,” and in 1856 became a Republican, though largely taking an independent stand in all political matters.  He has served his town in various offices, and has been selectman, constable, and member of the school committee.  Mr. and Mrs. Hall are both members of the Plainfield Congregational Church, and he belongs to the Society Committee.

Capt. Hall was married, March 28, 1851, to Abby T. Shepherd, and to this union came:  (1) William H., born Feb. 13, 1852, married Frances Mason; for twenty-five years has been in the jewelry business at Attleboro, Mass.  (2) Ruth A., born Dec. 28, 1860, lives at home.  (3) Edward, born Nov. 29, 1867, is a farmer on Bradford Hill, in Plainfield; he married Evalyn Harvey, by whom he has had four children:  Ruth Harvey, Henrietta Catherine, William Francis, and Evalyn Abby.  

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel


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