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Major Brian and Polly, sometimes called Mary (Lane) Hall were my 4th g-grandparents.
Major Brian (Briant, Bryant) Hall was likely born in Norton, Massachusetts around 10 April 1763 to Brian Hall and Abiah Crossman.
When, his father died in 1778, Brian was just 15.
Brian is mentioned in father’s will and probate records.
He is referred to as “second surviving son, a miner” [minor]:
Duly we left of to Brian Hall a miner the second surviving son of said deceased Eleven acres and seventy three rods of land at the South end of the home farm bounded as follows Beginning at a large stump in the line of the widow third thence by the widow third to Josiah Hodges Land Hence. South twenty nine degrees East to Silvanus Branans Land thence by said Bramans Land north sixty six degrees east fifty two rods to a corner thence north thirty five degrees west eight and a half rods to a turn thence a straight line to the first mentioned stump together with one half the dwelling house to wit the with half and one half the cellar under said house and privilege to pass and repass through the other part of the house necessary to improve his own part and privilege to use the well and one half of the barn and all an __ Buildings Standing behind said Dwelling house with Liberty to move it off all which buildings being on the widows thirds. Said Brian to have the liberty to improve the same and also Eighteen acres and one hundred and twenty two rods of Land on the north west corner of the Lincoln farm lying on the West side of the road bounded as follows . Beginning at a heap of stones by said road a little to the South of a small brook thence west twelve degrees south forty eight rods to a corner thence south three and a half degrees East to the river thence up stream said river to Noah Wiswalls [?] Land thence by said Wiswall Land north twenty three degrees west forty four and a half rods to a corner thence North fifty four degrees east twenty one rods to a turn thence north seventy degrees east to the road thence by said road to the first mentioned corner and one third part of all the outland or any other Estate not particularly mentioned that was given to sons by the deceased being his full share of said estate appraised at one hundred seventy one pounds twelve shillings and eleven pence.
Ephraim Burr, relationship unknown, was named as Brian’s, and his brother Silas’ guardian in 1782. This wasn’t a “guardian” in today’s sense. Burr was appointed as guardian because there was an estate involved. Ephraim would not likely have legal custody of the children, just legal authority over the property they inherited.
Why not to Abiah? The Legal Genealogist’s blog explains – In Blackstone “Commentaries on the Laws of England” he writes: “a mother … is entitled to no power, but only to reverence and respect…”
The Legal Genealogist goes on to say:
…At common law, there were three essential types of guardians….The guardian by nature or guardian for nurture had the right to physical custody of a minor child. That was always the father or, if the father died without naming a guardian in his will, then the mother.The difference between the two was that the guardianship by nature lasted to age 21 and gave the guardian control over the child’s personal property. Guardianship for nurture lasted to age 14 and didn’t involve property at all. The guardian in socage was the one who had custody of a minor’s lands and person…. (read more here):
What About School?
We don’t know if Brian attended school. Puritans believed literacy was a religious obligation, thus most children were taught to read by their parents, primarily so they could read the bible. Any further education was typically determined by the social class of the family. Brian’s elder brother Isaac was our family’s first Harvard graduate in 1775, and both Isaac and Brian became Attorneys, so it is highly likely all the Hall boys were well educated.
A 1647 Massachusetts law mandated that every town of 50 or more families support a ‘petty'(elementary) school and every town of 100 or more families support a Latin, or grammar, school where a few boys could learn Latin in preparation for college, the ministry or law. In 1770, Boston’s public education system was quite unequal and narrow. School was available only to white boys, who typically enrolled at age seven. Choices were either Writing Schools or Latin Schools. It is also possible that in lieu of attending school the boys had private home tutors.
Brian married Polly (Polley/ sometimes named as Mary) Lane, 1 Jan 1788 (by Rev. Joseph Palmer), daughter of Ephraim Lane of Norton. The Lane family genealogy links her to William Lane who settled in Dorchester, MA as early as 1635. The family was thought to come from England.
A land deed filed in Taunton on 23 December 1796 (vol 79, pg 569, recorded March 28, 1801) names Isaac White, wife Mehetable, Brian Hall, wife Polly and Chloe Lane (single woman) all of Norton selling land to Ephraim Lane also of Norton. The deed explains that this is piece of land that was left by William Stone to his heirs, one of whom was his daughter Mehetable Lane. Mehetable is the late wife of the purchaser, Ephraim Lane, who is buying said land from three of her children/heirs, named as Mehetable White, Polly Hall and Chloe Lane. Witnesses are Nancy Hall, Silas Hall, Polly Lane and Ruth Phillips.
According to “The Halls of New England” Brian was a farmer and landholder. There are numerous deeds registered in Bristol County with Brian Hall, as the seller of land, most in Norton with Polly Hall signing as his wife, giving up her right’s of dower/widow’s thirds. Brian is listed with the title “Esqr” indicating he was an Attorney.
Index images for Bristol County, Massachusetts include land deeds for Brian who married Polly (d. 1833), his father Brian who married Abiah (d. 1778) and son Brian who married Henrietta (d. 1839).
Grantor Index (seller), Excel summary: Deeds Brian Hall
Grantee Index (buyer)
Revolutionary War and Town Involvement
Brian volunteered at an early age in the Revolution, he served for three months in a Company of State Militia, in Capt. Jabez Barney’s company, from Swansea, attached to Col. Luke Drury’s Regiment, in the expedition to West Point, 1781.
Colonel Luke Drury’s regiment was in charge of guarding the garrison at West Point, New York, a critical point in the navigation of the Hudson River. West Point was an area of strategic importance throughout the war as the Americans feared the Hudson River would be used by the British to separate New England from the rest of the colonies.
The time frame was during the siege at Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolution, when Cornwallis surrendered there on 19 October 1781.
Brian subsequently became a member of the Norton Artillery Company in the old 4th Regiment. On 20 April 1797 he was promoted to Major. Brian and his sons were not among the list of Norton participants in the War of 1812 (History of Norton). Brian was close to age 50 and all of his son, except Isaac, minors.
Brian took a leading position in public affairs as Town Moderator (1805, 1810, 1812), a member of the Board of Assessors for about twenty years (between 1795 and 1816), Selectman (1802, 1805, 1807-10), Representative in General Court (1809, 1812-13) and was appointed Justice of the Peace, 21 June 1809. He was a prominent adviser in town and county affairs, and a member of the old Congregational Society.
Norton – Town Assessors
1795…..Brig. Silas Cobb, Elisha Cobb, Brian Hall.
1796…..Noah Clap, Elisha Cobb, Brian Hall.
1797…..Noah Clap, Brian Hall, Joshua Pond.
1798…..Joshua Pond, Noah Clap, Brian Hall.
1799…..Timothy Briggs, jun., William Burt, Capt.Jonathan Hodges.
1800…..Major Brian Hall, Lieut.. John Hall, Capt.Jonathan Hodges.
1801…..Capt. Jonathan Hodges, Major Brian Hall, Lt.Elisha Cobb, Lt. Rufus Hodges, Lt. Samuel Hunt.
1802…..Major Brian Hall, Lieut. Elisha Cobb, Capt.Samuel Hunt.
1803…..Brian Hall, Samuel Hunt, David Arnold.
1804…..Major Brian Hall, Capt. Samuel Hunt, John Arnold.
1805…..Major Brian Hall, Capt. Samuel Hunt, John Arnold.
1806…..John Arnold, William Verry, Brian Hall.
1807…..Major Brian Hall, Lieut. William Verry, Lieut.John Hall.
1808…..Brian Hall, William Verry, Samuel Hunt.
1809…..Brian Hall, William Verry, Samuel Hunt.
1810…..Brian Hall, Samuel Hunt, William Verry.
1811…..Brian Hall, Samuel Hunt, William Verry.
1812…..Brian Hall, William Verry, Samuel Hunt.
1813…..Brian Hall, Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt.
1814…..Seth Hodges, Daniel Smith, Jonathan Newland.
1815…..Brian Hall, Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt.
Brian in 1797 became a Mason.
In 1790, Bryant Hall was enumerated in Norton, Massachusetts next to his widowed mother, Abiah Hall. Brian would have been 27, and is listed in a household with one male child under 16 (Isaac) and two women (wife Polly and daughter Polly). Benjamin Stanley was enumerated directly after Brian. Benjamin was the father of Nancy Stanley, who became Brian’s sister-in-law by marrying Silas. Polly’s father Ephraim Lane was enumerated a few households away.
The town of Norton had 195 dwelling houses and 1,428 residents.
In 1800, Brian is listed in Norton with a household of 9. In this year Polly had given birth to only 6 of the 8 children. The 9th family member is listed as a female age 26-45. The census enumerator alphabetized the town, thus we can not determine who may have been Brian’s neighbors. His brothers Silas and John 3rd were also listed in the Hall grouping. Abiah was not listed and does not seem to be enumerated with Silas or John 3rd. She could possibly be the 9th individual in Brian’s household, enumerated in the wrong age bracket.
FREE WHITE MALES.
Under ten years of age – 2 (Brian age 3, Milton age 1)
Of ten and under sixteen – 1 (Isaac age 10)
Of twenty-six and under forty-five, including heads of families – 1 (Brian)
FREE WHITE FEMALES.
Under ten years of age– 2 (Sophia age 8, Marcia age 6)
Of ten and under sixteen – 1 (Polly age 12)
Of twenty-six and under forty-five, including heads of families – 2 (Polly & ??)
In 1810, Brian is listed in Norton with a household of 10 next to Abiah and Silas.
FREE WHITE MALES.
Under ten years of age – 2 (Horatio age 8, Ephraim age 6)
Of ten and under sixteen – 2 (Brian age 13, Milton age 11)
Of sixteen and under twenty six – 1 (Isaac age 20)
Of forty-five and upward – 1 (Brian)
FREE WHITE FEMALES.
Ten and under sixteen – 1 (Polly age 12)
Sixteen, under twenty six–2 (Sophia age 18, Marcia age 16)
Of forty-five and upward – 1 (Polly)
In 1820 the Briant (spelled Briatt) Hall household is listed as having 7 people. There are two extra females, one under age 10 and another between ages 10 and sixteen. The census was again alphabetized, thus giving us no insight to who may have been neighbors.
FREE WHITE MALES.
Ten and under sixteen years – 1 (Ephraim)
Sixteen and under twenty-six– 1 (Horatio or Brian or Milton – none of the boys were found enumerated elsewhere)
Forty-five and upwards– 1 (Brian)
FREE WHITE FEMALES.
Under ten years – 1 (???)
Ten and under sixteen years – 1 (???)
Sixteen and under twenty-six– 1 (Sophia or Marcia?)
forty-five and upwards– 1 (Polly)
A letter written to support his brother’s application for a pension (below) indicates Brian relocated to Providence, Rhode Island in 1821. The reason for his move is unknown, but it appears that he and all of his children (all grown men and women) relocated to the area near Providence and Seekonk.
In 1830, Brian was recorded in Providence East Side of River, Providence, Rhode Island
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9 (1 – ??? perhaps Augustus Hall, born about 1824, who in later years is found residing with Brian’s daughter Sophia and her husband Horatio Barney – his parents are unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29 (2 – Horatio & Ephraim)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39 (2 – Brian & ??? – Milton and Isaac are listed at alternate addresses in the 1830 city directory)
Free White Persons – Males – 60 thru 69 (1 – Brian)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39 (1 – likely Polly who never married)
Free White Persons – Females – 60 thru 69 (1 – Polly)
White Persons – Aliens – Foreigners not Naturalized (1 – ???)
Total Free White Persons (8)
Letter Regarding his Brother John Hall
When Brian’s brother John applied for a Revolutionary War pension, Brian wrote an undated letter [likely 1833] as follows:
I Brian Hall of Providence in the County of Providence and State of Rhode Island do testify and say that I am in my seventieth year of age, that I well remember John Hall of Norton in the County of Bristol & Commonwealth of Massachusetts that in 1776 said John Hall enlisted in the month of January in the Company of Capt Silas Cobb and marched to winter Hill and from there to Dorchester Heights [?] and was in Service until the British troops evacuated Boston. —- after serving three months That said John Hall in July 1776 again enlisted in Capt. Samuel Whites company and were ordered to New York then he returned home the winter following after serving five months.
In June or July 1777 said John Hall again enlisted in Capt. Silas Cobbs company and was ordered to Swanzy [Swansea] in said county of Bristol to guard that shore and that he was in General Spencer’s expeditions to Rhode Island and served seven months.
In July 1778 the said John Hall again enlisted in Capt. Samuel Whites company and was ordered on to Rhode Island and was in General Sullivans [?] expedition and served four months.
In June 1780 s[ai]d John Hall again enlisted in Captain Abner Howard Company and marched on to West Point, was stationed there and served six months.
In October & November 1778 John Hall engaged with one Norton a Waggon Master that he drove his Fathers Team and was employed in Transporting Articles for the army at Providence and served two months.
I further testify and say that I the said Brian Hall was born in said Norton and always lived in said town until 1821 when I moved to Providence. Brian Hall
Brian died on Jan 14, 1833 in Providence, Rhode Island.
HALL Maj. Brian, formerly of Norton, Mass., at Providence, in 70th year, soldier of the Revolution, Jan. 13, 1833 – THE RHODE ISLAND AMERICAN
He and Polly are said to be buried in Norton Common Cemetery [although a visit here did not find them in the family grave site with Brian and Abiah and siblings Seth, Isaac & Prudence], West Main Street Rt 123 near Olympia Street or elsewhere.
In the 1836 Providence City directory, a widowed Polly is found residing at India Point, the same address as a few of her sons.
No death record has been located, the The Halls of New England states Polly died 3 April 1846.
No probate records were located in Massachusetts or Rhode Island for Brian or Polly.
(1) Polly was born in Norton, 28 June 28, 1788. Polly died 27 August 1834, single, at age 46 in Providence, Rhode Island. The same article tells us that her mother’s sister, Chloe Lane, age 76, also single, died the same day. Nothing more is known of Polly’s life.
(2) Isaac was born in Norton, 24 October 1790.
Isaac seemed to have a bit of an issue with money, he was committed to the Providence County Jail for debts owed in Sept., Oct. & Nov. 1825 – more here Isaac Hall Prison Committments – Debtor. He is listed in Providence the 1830 & 1832 directories as a laborer residing on Angell St., however he was not found in the 1830, 1840 or 1850 census.
It is possible that Isaac had a child Augustus, born about 1824. Augustus, a fisherman, and Isaac, a laborer, are found residing in the home of Isaac’s sister Sophia Barney in Seekonk, Massachusetts in 1855. Augustus resided with the Barney’s through at least 1880. He was enumerated as a fisherman, running an oyster saloon and a laborer. He had epilepsy. His birth/death records have not been located.
In 1865, Isaac, a laborer, was found as an inmate in the Norton, Massachusetts almshouse. He died of “old age”, single, 16 Dec 1869 in Norton, Massachusetts. His death record lists him as a farmer.
(3) Sophia was born 1 August 1792. Sophia married Horatio Barney of Seekonk, son of Israel (a marriage record was not located but Horatio Barney and wife are listed as heirs in her brother Brian’s probate records). A land deed transfering land in India Point from several Hall siblings to their brother Milton is recorded in Rhode Island where a Horatio Barney is listed as husband to Sophy, signed as Sophia (vol 77, pg 184, March 1838).
No record has been located, however Halls of New England claims that they had a child, Ephraim H. (who died age 1); Vital records and censuses name a son Briant Hall Barney b. 1831 (he is called Israel B. in 1855). He married Sarah J Goff of Rehoboth and had at least eight children. He died 11 April 1904 in Providence.
Sophia died 11 March 1862.
Horatio remarried six months later to Ardelia A Evans. They had two children. Mary Sophia who died after five days and Delia Maria who married Charles Carpenter.
(4) Marsha was born in Norton, 10 December 1794. She married George Samuel Sutton of Seekonk. A land deed is recorded in Rhode Island where a George Samuel Sutton is listed as her husband (vol 77, pg 184, March 1838, see Sophia above). A second land deed is recorded in Rhode Island where Marcia purchases 1/7 of the land previously owned by Brian Hall (her brother) and Henrietta Huchins in India Point (vol 77, pg 61, November 1839). Marcia Sutton is listed as married to Samuel Sutton of Seekonk.
Hall’s of New England states that she had 3 children: Marcia M. (died age 2); George L. (married Mary Eddy & Mary Brayton); Mary H. (married Nathaniel Stanton, W.H. Trim & Victor Broughton). George and Mary are listed as part of the family in the 1850 census. George’s marriage to Mary Eddy, daughter of Comfort, was recorded 22 Jun 1856 in Seekonk, they had a child Georgianna.
Marsha is said to have died November 16, 1862 at age 67. No record of this has been located.
(5) Brian was born 24 May 1797. Brian married Henrietta Huchins, of Providence, daughter of Richard. She is mentioned as his wife, giving up rights of dower in numerous land deeds through 1838, a year before his death. They had a baby age in February 1835 who died at 2 weeks of age.
Brian & Henrietta own a piece of land called India Point in Seekonk (after his death we find siblings Horatio & Ephraim L. and widow Polly living here). Seekonk was at times part of Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts in the area of East Providence. The portion of what was Seekonk is now Providence, Rhode Island situated at the mouth of the Seekonk and Providence rivers and at the head of Narragansett Bay, Providence quickly went from a poor farming community to a bustling seaport in the colonial era.
In March of 1838 Brian sells the land to his brother Ephraim L. Hall. The land is then resold to various siblings as described below. Prior to these transactions brothers Ephraim Lane, Horatio and a widowed Polly were living on this land.
Rhode Island, book 70, pg 415: Brian Hall and wife Henrietta of Seekonk sell for $1,000 to Ephraim L Hall of Providence on March 10,1838 land at so called India Point 20×80 feet plus a house of the same lot Josiah B____ (?) purchased of John Brown Esq by deed book 24, page 273 in the records of Providence.
Rhode Island, book 77, pg 38: Ephraim L. Hall of Providence for $200 sells in Nov 29, 1839 to Milton Hall of Providence 1/7th of land at so called India Point 20×80 feet plus a house of the same estate he purchased from Brian and Henrietta Hall in March 1838.
Rhode Island, book 77, pg 50: Ephraim L. Hall of Providence for $200 sells in Nov 29, 1839 to Horatio Hall of Seekonk 1/7th of land at so called India Point 20×80 feet plus a house of the same estate he purchased from Brian and Henrietta Hall in March 1838.
Rhode Island, book 77, pg 50: Horatio Hall of Seekonk for $200 sells in March 9, 1840 to Milton Hall Providence of 1/7th of land at so called India Point 20×80 feet plus a house of the same estate he purchased from Brian and Henrietta Hall in March 1838. Note that this is about the time that Horatio moved to Malden, MA.
Rhode Island, book 77, pg 61: Ephraim L. Hall of Providence for $200 sells in Nov 29, 1839 to Isaac Hall of Providence 1/4th of land at so called India Point 20×80 feet plus a house of the same estate he purchased from Brian and Henrietta Hall in March 1838.
Rhode Island, book 77, pg 61: Ephraim L. Hall of Providence for $200 sells in Nov 1839 to Marcia Sutton wife of Samuel Sutton of Seekonk 1/7th of land at so called India Point 20×80 feet plus a house of the same estate he purchased from Brian and Henrietta Hall in March 1838.
Rhode Island, book 77, pg 184: Polly Hall of Providence, Isaac Hall of Providence, George Sutton and wife Marcia of Seekonk, Horatio Barney and wife Sophy of Providence for $200 sell (no date but filed Mar 28, 1840) to Milton Hall of Providence 1/7th of land at so called India Point 20×80 feet plus a house of the same estate which Ephraim L Hall purchased from Brian and Henrietta Hall in March 10, 1838.
Henrietta Hall b. about 1796 died on 11 March 1838 and is buried at the same cemetery where Brian is buried a year later.
HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: PV001 NORTH BURIAL GROUND, Providence, RI Location: 20 ft west of NORTH MAIN ST at TEL pole # 140 100,000 burials with 40000 inscriptions from 1711 to 2000
A marriage intention in Seekonk was made between a Brian Hall and Lucy Mason about a year later on 23 March 1839. There is no marriage record found. Five days later Brian died on 28 March 1839 at age 42.
Brian’s brother Horatio had two daughters (one died at age 5) that were named Lucy Mason Hall. There is a Mason mentioned in Brian’s inventory as owing $3.00 and his probate records mentions property owned near the Mason’s. A few years later on March 13, 1842 another intention in Seekonk is found between Lucy Mason and Abel Cooper.
Partial transcription of Brian’s probate records can be found here, all of his siblings are named as heirs. Additional details of his life were documented in another blog post here.
(6) Milton was born 19 October 1799. He married, 20 Nov 1824, Rosanna Pitman b. England who likely died young. No further information has been located (Halls of New England, which is riddled with errors, lists a maiden name of Cheney, which may be an associated name or maybe just be an error) .
They had one child, Milton L. P., b. June 1826, who married Ellen Maria Dart, in Wrentham, he became a Boot Maker and later Postmaster, they had 3 children: William Pitman, Edward Milton and Emma Carrie Dart.
On 24 April 1849, Milton was issued a Seaman’s Protection Certificate in Rhode Island. He was listed as being born in Norton, age 45 with a dark complexion.
By 1850 he is a miner in Tuolumne, California, living at Don Pedro’s Bar (one of the most famous gold mining centers).
Milton resided in California for several years, returned to the East Coast and married, 1 June 1856, Ursula Maria Vose of Wrentham, daughter of Stephen Vose (he is listed as a laborer and reports it is his second marriage).
They had one child Harrison Vose “Harry” (who married Annette B Dupee of Medfield and had at least three children – Marion Inez, Frances Dupee, who died as an infant, and Bertha Annette). In 1860 & 1870 Harrison and his mom are found residing in Wrentham, 1860/5 with his grandparents and in 1870 with his grandfather. The 1865 state census Ursula Maria is noted as “married”. In 1880 & 1900, mother and son are residing together, his mother is noted as “widowed”.
Family lore claims that Milton return to California. In 1860 through at least 1866, he is a miner in Don Pedro Bar, Tuolumne, California and by 1870 a miner in Mariposa, California. In 1872 when he registered to vote in Mariposa, he was listed as the Tollkeeper for Myler’s Bridge.
He possibly died there, no death record was located.
(7) Horatio is my 3rd g-grandfather whose life is outlined in a separate blog entry here
(8) Ephraim Lane was born 16 October 1804. He married Lydia Woodward of Rehoboth, daughter of Samuel, and had no known children. He was residing on Hope Street, Providence as early as 1830 and in later years India Point with an occupation of “furnace”. The 1860 census has him in Providence, Rhode Island as a “toll keeper”. Lydia died in Seekonk 17 Feb 1865; in 1865 Ephraim was residing with a Ross family in Seekonk.
His death was recorded in Norton and lists him as a mechanic, he died on 22 January 1870, from diabetes, at the age of 66. His death records lists him as “married”, however no record was located indicating a second marriage.
In summary, descendants of Brian Hall and Polly Lane came from Sophia, Marcia, Milton and Horatio. Additionally, Augustus Hall, who likely never married or had children, was probably also a grandchild, parents unknown.