Archive for the ‘Hall’ Category

My Brick Wall – Brian Hall b. 1727 Bristol County

I recently attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Problem Solving Course.  The abridge course description:

Choose a project focus, ancestor, time period, geographical area, and research questions.

Under guidance from professional consultants, student’s will use a group collaborative approach to discuss research progress each day, utilizing the combined knowledge and experience of the group to solve problems.

Although I am “more organized”, I did not solve the mystery.  If you want to help, here’s the abridged version!

Brian Hall tree.png


Who are the parents of Lt. Brian/Briant Hall, my 5th-great grandfather?

Lt. Brian/Briant Hall, a soldier in the Revolution, was born about 9 Jul 1727, perhaps in Taunton (later Raynham), Bristol, Massachusetts.  He married, 14 Nov 1751, Abiah Crossman, daughter of Samuel Crossman and Joanna Leonard and died about 13 Dec 1778 in Norton, Bristol, Massachusetts.  He is buried with Abiah at Norton Common Cemetery who died 15 Feb 1814.

Known children: Isaac, Nancy/Anna, Prudence, John, Brian, Abiah & Silas


The First Book of Raynham (Massachusetts) Records 1700–1835 (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Handwritten unpublished transcription, transcriber unknown, “First Book of Raynham Records,” donated to NEHGS in 1897) lists:

Birth: 9 July 1727 – Brian son of John Hall 3d of Taunton & Mary his wife


Brian's birth.png

The eastern end of Taunton, was incorporated as Raynham when Brian was about four, on April 2, 1731. The entries around his birth record date circa 1752/3. The entry is surrounded by other Hall families. Brian was married in August 1751. Thus, Brian perhaps reported the birth himself, about the time of his marriage.

As one is unable to recollect their own birth and because the records appear to be in the same handwriting (perhaps copied from an earlier book), the source and reliability of this information is unknown.

The 1733 Raynham tax list shows only one John Hall.

1733 tax list.jpg

The 1757 Raynham tax list shows a Brian Hall with a John Hall 3rd as the following entry.

brian tax list.jpgbrian-tax-list-pg-2


Unsourced publications assert that Brian Hall was the son of John Hall and Mary (unknown) and name him as a descendant of George Hall, an early settler of Taunton, Massachusetts through:

  • George’s son John m. Hannah Penniman,
  • George’s grandson John m. Elizabeth King and
  • George’s g-grandson John m. (1) Mary and (2) Hannah Williams
  1. The earliest of these (likely the source of all others) appears to be “The Halls of New England. Genealogical and biographical”. By David B. Hall, published Albany, N.Y., Printed for the author by J. Munsell’s Sons, 1883. George’s ancestry is found on pages 567-648, with Brian named on pages 574, 580 & 581 (screen shot below) –

Halls of NE.png

In his preface, the author writes, “…My first intention was to compile only my own line, the Halls of Medford, but afterwards I concluded to embrace in the work all the records that I could find. And I have found much more than I then supposed was in existence, and still the work is far from containing all that might be obtained….”  Perhaps less effort was given to unrelated Hall families.

I surmise that much of this genealogy was crafted through letters from Hall families residing in New England in 1883 vs. use of original sources.

Richard Henry Hall, a great-grandson of Brian Hall, in December 1886 became the mayor of Taunton, Massachusetts.  The election may have given him reason to name himself (and thus Brian) as a direct descendant of George Hall (See page 730 – Our Country and Its People: A Descriptive and Biographical Record of Bristol County, Massachusetts, Part 2) or perhaps he really believed that he decended from George as did all other Halls in the Taunton area.

The concept of “John 3rd” likely had different meaning in the 1700’s vs. current day, and should not be interpreted as the third generation of John in that particular family. It may mean there were at least three John Hall’s in the area from same or different families, and Brian’s father John was the youngest of the three.

2. Excerpt from George Hall and his Descendants (1603-1669) compiled by Robert Leo Hall, published in 1998 [copy in my private collection]:

John Hall born 1694, in Taunton, Bristol County, MA; died 1766 in Raynham, MA. First married Mary (Ukn) and had children Freelove and Brian. He second married Hannah Williams and had children John, Hannah, Elkanah, Elisha, Joseph and Noah.

His source: ALLRED RECORDS in the home of Marcella G. Allred, 349 W. 3rd St., Lovell, WY 82431. I have been unsuccessful in tracking her work.

Robert Leo Hall is deceased and his descendants do not know what became of this cited source.

In 2009, a descendant of Marcella wrote to me: Aunt Marcella Allred passed away a number of years ago.  I am not sure where any of her living children are, possibly in Utah.  Aunt Marcella was famous in this area for the amount of genealogy work that she did.  Her maiden name was Graham.  I am assuming that she must have been related to your ancestors.

3. In “Brian Pendleton and his Descendants, 1599-1910”, Everett Hall Pendleton, asserts that Brian’s mother was Mary Brettun/Britton, daughter of William Brettun and granddaughter of Mary (Pendleton) Brettun Cross Morey, who married (1) Joseph Hall and (2) John Hall, descendant of Brian Pendleton, born about 1599, one of the early settlers of Watertown and Sudbury, Massachusetts who owned land the Maine and New Hampshire.

Mary Morey left a will recorded 10 Jan 1732/3.  It is indexed under the name “Marcy Morey” in ”Abstracts of Bristol County, Massachusetts Probate Records, 1687-1745″ H. L. Peter Rounds.  In it she names her father, grandfather, husbands and grandchildren.

mary morey.png

The actual will (copy in my files) reads:

….Item – I Give and Bequeath to my Grand Children William Brettun, Abiale Brettun, Ebenezer Brettun, Pendleton Brettun, Mary Hall, Lydia Brettun, Sarah Brettun, Elizabeth Brettun, & Abigail Brettun,  all the remaining three quarters of my Real Estate lands Meadows & ____ which belong to me to be equally divided between them Only that my granddaughter Mary Hall is to enjoy her part during her life and after her deceased her children to enjoy her part equally between them and their heirs….


Is Brian’s father John Hall, g-grandson of George who married 2nd Hannah Williams?

  1. Brian Hall, son of John (with Mary) and John Hall, son of John (with Hannah) were born within 7 months of one another, if the Rayhnam records of birth are accurate, and the pregnancies were full term – either John Hall got two women pregnant at the same time or there were two John Hall’s in Taunton/Raynham in 1727 (John Hall, son of John Hall and Hannah is born January 26, 1728. Date based on the birth record in the original Raynham Vital Records, he was conceived around May of 1727, Brian was born two months later).
  2. Brian Hall is not mentioned in John Hall of Raynham’s will of 1766. All 6 of his children by Hannah are mentioned (including those who got nothing):
    • He left of to John Hall eldest son of the deceased all the aforesaid of five lots of land one small right in the old iron works in Raynham and two seventh parts….
    • It is stated in the will “Nothing is left to Joseph Hall son of deceased because he already got a gift in his lifetime of 95 acres estimated at 3 quid and 50 pounds”. and “Nothing is left to Noah Hall son of the deceased because he already got a gift in his lifetime of four pieces of land which are estimated at three hundred pounds the land being about 84 acres”
  3. All land deeds in Bristol County were examined (by me) for Brian Hall. There was no land exchanged between the two men during their lifetime.
  4. None of Brian’s children followed the naming patterns of the John who married  Hannah’s parents/grandparents.
  5. A number of errors have been discovered by other researchers in the “Halls of New England”, most of which were repeated in the book “George Hall and his Descendants (1603-1669)”. One example is “A Maze of Halls in Taunton, Massachusetts: Correlating Land Description to Prove Identity” written by Marsha Hoffman Rising, and originally published in National Genealogical Society Quarterly in 1993 which sorts the Samuel Halls of George of Taunton and Edward of Rehoboth.
  6. Y-DNA evidence suggests there is no relationship between the two men. As of today, there are four testers through George Hall’s son Samuel. One from Samuel’s son Ebenezer and three from Samuel’s son Samuel. None of these match the DNA of three of Brian’s descendants, one through Brian’s son Brian and two through Brian’s son Silas.  As of Jan 2016 one of George’s son Joseph’s likely descendants has tested and we are awaiting results.  If he matches Samuel this will further support the theory that Brian does NOT decend from George. No living male Hall descendants have been located for George’s son John and thus that line remains untested. Y-DNA of Brian’s descendant do not match that of Edward Hall of Rehobeth either.

Results here:  Brian is family #47, George is family #24 and Edward family #6

Is Brian’s mother Mary Brettun/Britton, descendant of Brian Pendleton?

  1. In 1727, the name “Brian/Briant/Bryant” was quite uncommon. It is plausible that Brian was named after Brian Pendleton.  Many years later, the 1790 census on lists just thirteen Brian/Briant’s as head of households in the United States (even with indexing errors and the fact that other household members are not listed, this seems low and indicates the name uncommon). *Note that on a 1728 map of Taunton (available for purchase at Old Colony Historical Society), in the area which is now Raynham, there was a Briant/Bryant family residing next to the Crossman/Britton families could Brian instead be a family surname? 1728 map Taunton with names
  2. Mary Morey’s will is very detailed. Mary Hall is the only grandchild called out separately in the will: “Mary Hall is to enjoy her part during her lifetime but after her deceased her children to enjoy her part equally between them and their heirs” Although not direct evidence, this seems to imply that perhaps Mary already had children in 1732.
  3. There is record in Bristol County of Pendleton Britton and Brian Hall owning land together implying the two were associates and perhaps cousins?
  4. Brian was recorded as a cordwainer (shoemaker) in land deeds and Iron Works records beginning when he was 23. Mary Britton’s brother, Ebenizier, also of Raynham, was a cordwainer. Perhaps Brian was raised by the Britton’s and apprenticed with his uncle as a young man.
  5. In Raynham, 1731, a John Hall and William Britton are paid for supplying pine boards to the town.  This suggests a relationship between the two – Brian’s supposed mother was Mary Britton, William Britton’s daughter.  If John was a Miller with William Britton, maybe their kids married?


There is a John Hall who got land near Cobbler’s Corner (book 9, page 72 – an area which is now Mansfield) in 1715 it seems with Mill rights*.  He might be the same John Hall listed as an early Norton church member (a member of the First Church of Norton and witnessed the ordination of its first Minister, Joseph Avery in 1714). Wife of John Hall, Bethiah joined in 1716.

Then John Hall and wife Ruth record births of Bethiah 1 Dec 1721 and Benjamin 10 Aug 1720 in Norton (at that time Mansfield was part of Norton). So maybe Bethiah died, he married Ruth and named a child after his deceased wife?  In 1723 (not filed until 1735) there is a deed where a John Hall is selling land near Cobbler’s Corner, with Ruth his wife (book 23 page 494)

In Raynham, 1731, a John Hall and William Britton are paid for supplying pine boards to the town.  This suggests a relationship between the two – Brian’s supposed mother was Mary Britton, William Britton’s daughter.  If John was a Miller with William Britton, maybe their kids married?

There is also a marriage recorded of John Hall to Sarah Wellman both of Norton 7 March 1726/7. Then in 1730, there is a deed for purchase of land in Raynham by Samual Wellman of “John Hall of Norton, Miller” he also mentions his Mill, with a Sarah Hall as wife (book 25, page 116). Other witnesses include Benjamin Wellman, Isaac & Isaac jr Wellman***.

There is a John Hall, husband of Sarah who died intestate in 1736 in Raynham.  Others mentioned James Hall & John Hall yeomen.

None of these “Johns” appear to be listed in the “Halls of New England” book…  Unfortunately none of the John Hall wives were named Mary.

A Mary Hall who was born in 1699/1700 and is buried in Mansfield Cemetery called Happy Hollow Cemetery on York Street (Mansfield Vital Records).  She is called a widow when she died February 20, 1760 and her gravestone gives her age as being in her 60th Year.

**Halls of New England claims John Hall (a descendant of George) who married Esther Bell was the John who received the mill privilege in 1714 in Norton (which is modern day Mansfield) and that he lived at a place called Cobblers Corner…based on a review of land deeds this seems inaccurate.

*** Isaac Wellman died intestate before 1743 his heirs are listed as the widow Mary, sons Isaac, Ebenezer and Timothy and daughter Hannah.  A “deceased child” is also mentioned, it seems the other siblings are splitting her share – this might be Sarah.


Note: Brian recorded 63 land transactions in Bristol County and several in North Providence, Rhode Island in his lifetime, all have been examined but not all have been added to this timeline yet.

  • 9 July 1727 born to John 3rd and Mary (thus conceived around October/November 1726 – Brian’s birth record was recorded about 1752) – record indicates  a Raynham birth, however Raynham was not broken off from Taunton until 1731.
  • Sept & Oct 1747 – Hewing Timber and working with the carpenters at the forge (one of them being Thomas Crossman) – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society], Iron Works records for the Taunton/Raynham area.
  • 1750 – Land purchased of Solomon Printice for 80 pounds by Pendelton Bretton of Easton and Briant Hall of Raynham; land in Easton containing 40 acres that was laid out 30 Sept 1713 to James Phillips of Taunton on the 50 acre division that lies near the land of John Selleson [?] also another tract of land that lies next to this land in whole 90 acres; land conveyed to Printice as warranted by heirs of James Phillips – witnesses Abigail & Katherine Leonard [Bristol Deeds 37:536]
  • 1750 – Living next to Elijah Leonard in Raynham, MA – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • 1751 – Owns a Shop – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society] Several entries 1750 – 2 in regards to services as a cordwainer.
  • 1751 – Account book kept by the Leonard Family of Norton; References a brother several times, Brian receives credit for the services of the brother, no name given. – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • August 1751 – married Abiah Crossman (Abiah Crossman; Female; Birth: 28 AUG 1726 Taunton , Bristol, Massachusetts; Death: 15 FEB 1814; Father: Thomas Crossman; Mother: Johanna; (Joannah Crossman has a sister Alice Leonard and parents are Thomas Leonard and Joanna all of Raynham – per probate records) Spouse: Brian Hall; Marriage: 1751; Sealing to Spouse: 01 OCT 1953; Film Number: 458137) Brian Hall and Abiah Crossman marriage Raynham 1751
  • October 1751 – Signs a petition against a new road in Raynham, MA – Raynham Town Records
  • 18 May 1752 – Brian Hall saw that the 2 calves skins and one dog skin which he brought from Swanzey today comes to 4-10-00 at tenor [Old Colony Historical Society, Iron Works Account Book]
  • September 26, 1752 – child of Brian Hall died in Raynham, MA  – Vital Records
  • 1752- Brian Hall – Distribution of Iron Shares [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • December 9, 1752 – Pendleton Britton and Brian Hall buy land in Easton, MA.
  • April 1753 – Brian Hall buys land in Raynham, MA from Alice Leonard, give several names including land bordered by Nehimiah and Nathanial Hall, filed 1758 [Bristol Deeds 43:115]
  • August 16, 1753 – son Isaac Hall born in Boston according to historical accounts – birth not located in Vital Records. The History of Norton reads:

Isaac Hall, Esq. (grad. H.U. 1775), was the son of Brian Hall ; and was born in Boston, Aug. 16, 1753. His father moved to Norton before Isaac entered college, and ever after resided there. Mr. Hall studied law, and died soon after entering upon his professional career. For more particulars of him, see Funeral Sermon by Rev. Sylvester Holmes. His tombstone, in the ” Norton common graveyard,” informs us that he was an attorney-at-law, and that he died Dec. 14, 1779, aged twenty six.  In the Providence Gazette of January 29 1780, may be seen a notice of him which says: “His learning, abilities as a lawyer, and strict adherence to the principles of virtue, rendered him dear to his friends, an honor to his profession, and highly esteemed by all his acquaintance.”

  • Historical accounts read: A year or more after their marriage and the death of their first child, they moved to Boston (WHY??), living there a few years, during which time their eldest son Isaac was supposedly born (no birth record located). Having purchased a farm in Norton, they moved there and Brian subsequently became a large owner and operator in real estate
  • April 1, 1755 – daughter Nancy Hall born, Norton – historical accounts, not listed in Norton vitals/births
  • May 2, 1755 – Mentioned in the Account of Abijah Wilbore as receiving Iron – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • Sept 1755 – Brian Hall buys land in Raynham from Thomas White, 2 1/2 acres measured by Taunton proprietors – mentions Brian’s other property, filed 1758 [Bristol Deeds 43:116]
  • 1756 – Brian Hall – Ministers Rate/Tax Rate, Raynham Tax Records  [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • 16 & 17 January 1756 – by 2 quarts & half of rum; buy 1/2 gill of rum [Old Colony Historical Society, Iron Works Account Book]
  • 6 August 1756 – by 2 quarts of NE rum to you at ___[Old Colony Historical Society, Iron Works Account Book]
  • 10 August 1756 by 2 gills of NE rum to your workmen about hay [Old Colony Historical Society, Iron Works Account Book]
  • 12 Aug 1756 – by 3 gills of NE Rum to your workmen [Old Colony Historical Society, Iron Works Account Book]
  • 19 August 1756 – by 2 quarts NE rum to you at 26p per gallon [Old Colony Historical Society, Iron Works Account Book]
  • 1757 – Bryan Hall of Raynham for 240 pounds from John Gilmore land in Dighton purchased of Abijah Wilbur and land near the house of John Crane, land he sold to Wilbore, signed by Brian & Abiah Hall – witnesses Zephaniah & Anna Leonard [Bristol Deeds 42:507 – deed reads Bryan, signs as Brian]
  • 1757 – Brian Hall sells land to Alice Leonard in Easton, part of land bought with Pendelton Brittan of Solomon Prentice – 43 acres – witnesses are Leonards [Bristol Deeds 42:534]
  • 1757 – Brian Hall, Raynham Tax Records [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • 1757 – John Hall 3rd recorded next to Brian Hall in the Raynham Tax Records.  [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • 1757 – Last entry in account book, he is settling his account with Elijah Leonard – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • January 8, 1758 – daughter – Prudence Hall born Norton? – historical accounts, not listed in Norton vitals/births
  • October 7, 1758 – Agreement between John Gilmore and Brian Hall – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • February 8, 1758 – Agreement between Abijah Wilbore and Brian Hall – Account Book [Old Colony Historical Society]
  • 1758 – Sale of Pew in Raynham Church, Brian Hall sells to Elijah Leonard his pew in Westward part of the church.  Witnesses: Thomas Crossman and Silence Hall.
  • April 13, 1758 – Brian Hall buys land in Norton: Elijah Leonard of Raynham for $240 lawful money sells to Brian Hall of Raynham, corwainer, a tract of land with dwelling house upon it – land description mentions land of Elnathan Jones, Josiah White, Seth Briggs, Cobb & 5 acres in Cedar Swamp mentions land of Thomas Shaw deceased, Joshua Fairbanks  – dated 31 Mar 1758 – witnesses Ebenezer Brettun & Ebenezer Brettun jun [Bristol Deeds 43:79]
  • October 12, 1759 – Brian Hall sells 114 acres of Land with a house, for £236 in Attenborough to Stephen Pond
  • October 10, 1759 – Brian Hall sells land in Norton, MA, to Elijah Leonard
  • 1750’s (??) per Old Colony Historical Society there is a land reference in Mansfield, MA, involving Brian Hall and a John Hall.  They are both pitching for the same piece of land in the 1750’s? Can not locate deed to which they are referring? –  there is a 1774 deed – Brian Hall of Norton yeoman (seller) for 2 pounds, 5 shillings paid by John Hall of Norton gentlemen transfers 2 1/2 acres of land in a tract of land known by the name Taunton North Purchase in Norton, Mansfield & Easton in Bristol County Common undivided land of said purchase bound on the East side from Moses Copland to Mansfield fur river (?) and by land owned by said John. And is ye 2 1/2 acres of land which Brian Halls house pitched for this day as may appear by said pitch if ye land is to be had in ye above described place and if it is not to be had these to be when me anyplace in common and undivided land where it is not pitched for to have and to hold said same. May 11, 1774, 14th year of his majestries reign King George 3rd. Witnesses: Benjamin Morey & Anna Hall
  • October 21, 1760 – son John Hall born Norton ? – historical accounts, not listed in Norton vitals/births
  • October 3, 1765  – daughter Abiah Hall born Norton – historical accounts, not listed in Norton vitals/births
  • October 30,1766 – Brian Hall buys land in Norton, MA, from Elijah Leonard
  • 1767 – Brian Hall sells land to David Manley
  • June 19, 1768 – son Silas Hall born  – – historical accounts, not listed in Norton vitals/births
  • April 10, 1762/3 – son Brian Hall born  – – historical accounts, not listed in Norton vitals/births
  • 1771 – Brian Hall listed twice in the Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771, both entries in Norton (his son Brian was age 11).Brian Hall 1771 tax.png
  • 27 November 1772 – Brian Hall buys land in Easton, MA, from Alice Leonard
  • 25 May 1774 – Brian Hall buys land in Easton, MA, from George Leonard
  • 1774 – Properitors of the North Purchase to Brian Hall
  • 1774 – Jobe Hunt sells land to Brian Hall
  • 1776/8 – He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and according to published accounts  “one of the first to act and respond. He was also a member of the select committee of correspondence (read more of the committee here), to take into consideration the “Confederation of the Union of States” proposed by Congress, and also being on the committee to devise means for the formation of a State constitution”.
    • Hall, Brian (also given Briant), Norton. 1st Lieutenant, Capt. Isaac Hodges’s (2d) co., Col. John Daggatt’s (4th Bristol Co.) regt. of Mass. militia; list of officers chosen by the several companies in said regiment, dated Attleborough, March 18, 1776; ordered in Council March 21, 1776, that said officers be commissioned; reported commissioned March 21, 1776; also, Lieutenant, Capt. Isaac Hodges’s co., Col. John Daggit’s (Daggett’s) regt.; service, 25 days, in Dec., 1776, and Jan., 1777, on an alarm, including travel (34 miles) from Norton to Tiverton, R. I., and return; also, 1st Lieutenant, Capt. Samuel Robinson’s co., Col. Wade’s regt.; engaged June 18, 1778; service, 25 days, at Rhode Island; company raised to serve for 21 days from June 21, 1778; roll dated Attleborough.
  • Brian held positions in the town of Norton and was assessor the year previous to his death in 1778.
  • 13 December 1778 – died, buried at Norton Common Cemetery – Hall plot found to the right of the main entrance near the road at marker 126 behind a rust colored stone entitled “Briggs”.  Hall Stones in order are:
    • John Hall, died April 13, 1840, aged 79 years
      • Son of Brian and Abiah
    • Wells Hall, died Dec. 13, 1828, aged 19 years
      • Son of John and Dilly
    • Dilla wife of John Hall, died May 2, 1857
    • John S. Hall, died Nov. 27 1827
      • Son of John and Dilly
    • Silas Hall, died Jun 29, 1841, aged 73 years
      • Son of Brian and Abiah
    • Nancy Stanley, wife of Silas Hall, died March 26, 1833, aged 63 years
    • Anna, daughter of Silas and Nancy Stanley Hall, died Nov. 14, 1818 in the 22 year of her age
    • Prudence, daughter of Brian and Abiah Hall, died March 28, 1839, aged 81 years
    • Isaac Hall, Attorney at Law, son of Brian and Abaih Hall, died Dec. 14, 1779, aged 26 years
    • Lieut Brian Hall, A Patriot of the American Revolution, Died Dec. 13, 1778, in the 52 year of his age
    • Abiah, wife of Brian Hall, died Feb. 15, 1814 in the 88 year of her age

Brian Hall Grave Norton Common Cemetery.jpg


  • Why did Brian and Abiah supposedly move to Boston after the death of their first child, did they have family there? Is there any evidence of this other than historical town/county histories and published genealogies?
  • Who is Silence Hall? “1758 – Sale of Pew in Raynham Church, Brian Hall sells to Elijah Leonard his pew in Westward part of the church. Witnesses: Thomas Crossman and Silence Hall”.  Could she be the wife of Jacob Woodward named as “brother in law” in Brian’s will and Brian’s biological sister?
    • I leave to my brother in law Jacob Woodward and Silence [?] his wife to them their heirs an assigns forever real estate lying in North Providence in the state of Rhode Island excepting only ten acres to be measured of according to Quantity & Quatily [?] which I have herein given to my son Issac.
      • Brian’s wife Abiah Crossman was a 2nd cousin of Jacob Woodward – Robert Crossman was their g-grandfather. Would this cause Brian to refer to Jacob as brother-in-law?
      • Mary Britton’s brother William Britton jr. married Sarah Woodward (daughter of Robert Woodward and Hannah Briggs) who was a first cousin to Jacob Woodward (son of Ezekial Woodward and Sarah____). Would this cause Brian to refer to Jacob as brother-in-law?
      • Who is the Brian Hall Woodward b. 1778 (year of Brian Hall’s death); d. 1798 and buried North Providence at Hopkins burial ground (grave #35) next to Capt Richard Hutchins (grave #36)? All other surrounding stones blank. (Rhode Island Roots, Volumes 13-15 – Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 1987 – Registers of births, etc) – could this be a child of Silence and Jacob?
      • North Providence land deeds for the Halls and Woodwards were examined the only connection seems to be:
        • Ruth Woodward in N. Providence deeds pg 199 (1748 or 1768?) mentions brothers Jacob & Paul Woodward and father Ezekiel (will A774, 1760 N Prov.). One of the witnesses signs as Mary Hall. Brian did not have any children named Mary.
        • A Providence deed from 1821 [book 5 pg 86] mentions a Jacob Woodward, Mary Woodward and Henrietta Hutchins selling land.  Brian Hall (Brian’s grandson through his son Brian) signs as a witness.  He later marries Henrietta Hutchins daughter of Capt. Richard Hutchins (the man buried with Brian Hall Woodward) and Henrietta Woodward.  Could Henrietta Woodward also be a daughter of Jacob and Silence?
      • According to death indexes for Silence & Jacob – Silence was born abt 1740 – 13 years younger than Brian. So John 3rd would still be alive in 1740 if she is a sister! If correct, the age difference is further evidence that the John Hall who fathered Brian could not be the John Hall who married Hannah Williams!
        • WOODWARD Jacob, in 85th year, at Providence, Aug. 5, 1822 (birth about 1737).

        • WOODWARD Silence, wife of Jacob, at North Providence, in 76th year, Nov. 26, 1816 (birth abt 1740).

  • Who is Brian’s “brother” listed in Leonard’s account books? Full brother? Half brother? Husband of Brian’s sister? Brian debtor credit pages.jpg
  • When Brian died, why was Ephraim Burr of Norton selected as guardian to Brian’s minor children, Brian and Silas? How was he related or associated with Brian (or Abiah)? partial probate transcription here: willguardian.jpg
    • The Legal Genealogist’s blog tells us that Burr was likely not a close relative of Brian’s:

…..But when property was involved, the preference was overwhelmingly for the nearest male relative who couldn’t inherit from the child to serve as guardian. Even the example used by Blackstone points this out: “where the estate descended from his father, … his uncle by the mother’s side cannot possibly inherit this estate, and therefore shall be the guardian…… Read more here.

  • There is a Bristol land deed with witnesses signing as Pendleton Hall and Anna Hall who were they?
    • 11/27/1772 Brian (Hall)    Alice Leonard      Easton book 55           page 37

land deed


  • The article “A Maze of Halls in Taunton, Massachusetts: Correlating Land Description to Prove Identity” written by Marsha Hoffman Rising, originally published in National Genealogical Society Quarterly in 1993, mentions the Greenlaw Collection at NEHGS. This was reviewed in 2008 but should be looked at again!  COMPLETE JAN 2016 – NOTHING FOUND
    • The article also implies that Ms. Rising already reviewed Bristol land records, contact JAN 2016 – NOT AT NEHGS – EMAILED HISTORICAL SOCIETY IN MISSOURI THEY OFFERED TO CONTACT MARSHA’S FAMILY – FAMILY CAN NOT LOCATE.
  • Examine Church Records.
    • Raynham (1731 from Taunton) First Church Records – there are no John Hall listed among the member of the church.
    • Norton (1710 from Taunton) – There is a John Hall listed in early church members, his wife Bethiah joined 1716. John Hall and wife Ruth record births of Bethiah 1 Dec 1721 and Benjamin 10 Aug 1720.  There is also a marriage recorded in Taunton John Hall to Sarah Wellman both of Norton 7 Nov 1726.
    • Taunton
    • Mansfield  (1770 from Norton)
    • Other? Towns established from modern day Taunton:
      • Freetown (1683 from Taunton)
      • Dighton (1712 from Taunton)
      • Easton (1725 from Norton)
      • Berkley (1735 from Taunton/Dighton)
  • Research all Halls in Bristol [then expand to Rhode Island and nearby counties] and related surnames/FAN club (witnesses to Hall deeds and will’s, neighbors on early map and in censuses, war associates, the Britton’s, Ephraim Burr, Jacob Woodward & Silence, etc.) in all Bristol County (and Rhode Island) records. BIG PROJECT! Define scope and priorities.
  • Land deeds – Just John & Brian? All Hall’s? Other surnames, maybe Britton’s? Have transcribed microfilm index for Bristol County Hall’s in Excel and have reviewed some deeds (online).
  • Trace the land described in the will of Mary (Pendleton) Brettun Cross Morey in Maine, New Hampshire and possibly Rhode Island (?), to determine how it was distributed and who sold it to whom….
    • COMPLETE – This was done at the FHL in SLC Jan 2016. Portsmouth and York land deeds were examined for all Britton transactions. Although Pendleton land changed hands, only James Britton was mentioned.
  • Research the genealogy of our DNA match Charles Rowland Hall (b. Poplar Flat, Lewis County, Kentucky). The match might be many generations in the past and research might prove difficult. Contacted tester Jan 2016 to see if he would add a SNP test which will help to further determine the potential number of generations between us.
  • Reach out to the Norton Historical Society, Raynham Historical Society & Wheaton College Library to determine what records might be available. CONTACTED NHS – THE DO HAVE EARLY CHURCH RECORDS FOR NORTON AND MANSFIELD IN BOXES ONSITE – SCHEDULED TO VISIT JULY 2016.
  • Review area town records on PARTIALLY COMPLETE JAN 2016.
  • Take a look at the nearby Taunton/Raynham Briant Family (Ichabod) – PARTIALLY COMPLETE – A VITAL RECORDS/LAND DEED/PROBATE REVIEW RESULTED IN NO CONNECTIONS WITH THE HALL FAMILY – there was another likely unrelated Briant Hall residing in New England in the same time frame, born about 1767 in Connecticut.  He appears to be a Yale graduate and the son of Amos Hall and Betty Briant. It is unclear if he is the same man who participated in the war of 1812.bryant-hall


Major Brian Hall married to Polly/Mary Lane


Major Brian and Polly, sometimes called Mary (Lane) Hall were my 4th g-grandparents.

Brian Hall tree

Early Life

Major Brian (Briant, Bryant) Hall was likely born in Norton, Massachusetts around 10 April 1763 to Brian Hall and Abiah Crossman.

brian birth

When, his father died in 1778, Brian was just 15.

Brian is mentioned in father’s will and probate records.

brian will.png

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):

brian and Silas

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.

brian Polly marriage

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.

Later Years

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

brian grantor

Grantee Index (buyer)

Brian Grantee index

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 revolution

job freeman testimony

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.


Brian 1815

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.


Census data 

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.

1790 census

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.

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)
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 & ??)

1800 census

In 1810, Brian is listed in Norton with a household of 10 next to Abiah and Silas.

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)

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)

1810 census

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.

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)

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)

1820 census

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)

1830 directory

hope Street

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.

Polly 1836

india point

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.

Polly death providence

(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) .

Milton Pittman marriage

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.

Milton Pittman death

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).

Milton marriage 2

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.

Milton toll keeper

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.


Remember When Your Mother Said “Don’t Trust Everything You Read?”

Most of us newbies made the same mistakes, “back in the day”.  We viewed trees or Googled our ancestors and added everything found, as “fact”, to our tree.

Years later we are still correcting errors added from those damn trees!

But what about published books?  They are correct, right?  NO!!!!!!!

Unless the book lists sources, and you see the source with your own eyes, you should be leery of publications. Obviously some are better than others.  I trust NGSQ articles, recently accepted DAR application (many of the older ones are unsourced) or  publications by well known genealogists like Thomas W Jones, CG℠, CGL℠ or Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG℠, CGL℠.  But if possible, I still seek out original sources for my files.

One that has been a problem for me for a long time? A book: “The Halls of New England. Genealogical and biographical”. By David B. Hall, published Albany, N.Y., Printed for the author by J. Munsell’s Sons, 1883.

This “Bible” which has been used by many New England, Hall researchers, for generations, is riddled with errors.

George Hall, was an early Taunton, Massachusetts settler, who’s ancestry is given on pages 567-648.  As of this writing, 195 tree users, copied the text exactly!

John Hall.jpg


The writer lists a son of George Hall as:

(Lt) John b. 1640 d. 1693 m. Hannah Penniman, their children:

  1. John b. 1672
  2. Joseph b. 1674
  3. James b. 1675
  4. Benjamin b. 1677
  5. Sarah b. 1678 (died young)
  6. Jacob b. 1680
  7. Hannah b. 1682, m. Samuel Haskins

He then goes on to claim that John and Hannah’s son John d. 1768 (age 96) m. Elizabeth King, their children:

  1. John d. 1766
  2. Judith m. John Tisdale
  3. Phillip and perhaps others

A review of Bristol County, Massachusetts land deeds (available free at offers alternate information.

Book 57/Page 110  – This deed indicates that Lt. John’s son, John, was deceased by 1747 – so he couldn’t have died in 1768!  It further indicates that Lt. John’s daughter Hannah was in 1747 married to John Andrews (which may or may not be her first husband, but this husband is not listed in Hall’s narrative – he lists Samuel Haskins).

We don’t know why all of the grandchildren of James are named and only one grandchild, John, is named of John.  Were Phillip and Judith actually associated with this family?

….Agreement made 22 May 1747 by Joseph & Jacob Hall of Raynham, yeoman; Benjamin Hall of Raynham cordwainer John Andrews of Norton yeoman and Hannah his wife children of Lt John Hall late of Taunton and John Hall of Raynham, yeoman, grandson of the deceased and James Hall, Nathan Hall,  Marey Hall, Edmund Hall, David Hall all of Raynham husbandman and grandchildren of deceased and coheirs, children of James Hall deceased late of Raynham who was the son of Lt John Hall deceased have come to Agreement on division of land…

The following page continues item #5 states….John Hall in right of his father John Hall deceased….

deed 1.jpg

The deed was not filed until thirty years later, in 1777; this might be the source of Hall’s confusion. It is typical for deeds to be recorded years later – your ancestors may have lived a distance from the courthouse, couldn’t afford the filing fees, just didn’t bother to file until they were ready to sell the land or their heirs were settling the estate.

Book 24 page 72 and page 74 & book 27 page 557– give us further information. It appears that if John, Judith and Phillip are Lt John Hall’s grandchildren, then their father John died before 19 June 1729 – at least 40 years before Hall’s notation of 1768!  These pages seem to indicate that John’s daughter did marry John Tisdale.  But we discover a second unmentioned daughter, Mehitable, who married Nehemiah Dean. We also discover that Lt. John’s widow, Hannah, likely remarried a man named Haskins

dated 19 June 1729…..John and Judith Tisdale of Taunton have received of our brother John Hall of Taunton the sum of 130 pounds which we receive as our full part and portion out of the estate of John Hall late of said Taunton (our honored father) who died intestate and also out of the real estate of Hannah Haskins late of said Taunton deceased (our honored grandmother)…..

dated 26 July 1733…..Nehemiah and Mehitable Dean his wife, both of Norton have received of our brother John Hall of Raynham 130 pounds full part of honorable father John Hall of Taunton deceased and grandmother Hannah Haskins late of Taunton….

dated 29 June 1739…Phillip Hall of Raynham, yeoman, for 200 pounds paid by John Hall my brother of the same town of Raynham aforesaid yeoman – rights in estate of Honored father John Hall late of Taunton and grandmother Hannah Haskins late of Taunton

…. wait Haskins – grandmother Hannah Haskins? maybe Hannah (Penniman) Hall married Samuel Haskins?? vs. her daughter marrying him as Hall’s book surmises?  Hannah born abt 1682 would have been “marrying age” (20) in 1702, but it seems more likely, based on the language in these deeds, that her mother Hannah (Penniman) Hall married Samuel!

hannah marriage

Book 16, page 310 – tells us that John was alive in 1700 when the deed was signed,  but we don’t know if he was alive in 1725 when the deed was filed.

….Hannah Hall widow of Lieutenant John Hall deceased and her sons Joseph, James, Benjamin & Jacob all of Taunton, for 5 pounds to the eldest son John of said John Hall deceased…twenty acres of land…Taunton, eastward from the meeting house….six acres….on the Neck Plain so called and ten acres of land bounded Eastward by 6 acres of plain and westward by the land of Phillip King and four acres of land joining to the northward side. Ten acres of land is bounded Eastward, Northward and Westward by the land of Thomas Dean which twenty acres of the land by agreement and settlement of the estate of the above Lieutenant John Hall deceased did belong to the above Hannah Hall during her natural life…. but now said Hannah Hall and her sons….grant to said John Hall….

deed 2

I did find the probate record of Hannah Haskins, 1726, in Taunton, which seems to mention the “Hall Division” and names Jacob, John and James.  This seems to indicate that Hannah (Hall) Penniman did remarry and thus we are pretty sure John, father of John, Judith, Mehitable and Phillip is the son of Lt. John since grandmother Hannah Haskins is named in the deeds. It further seems plausible as John did have brothers Jacob and James…..  Of course additional research is needed.

[Note: Bristol book 17: page 167 dated November 1926 where Benjamin sells land of his deceased mother to his brother in law John Andrews is further evidence that that Hannah Haskins who’s estate was settled in 1726 was his mother and that Hannah married to John Andrews, his sister].

Hannah Haskins

Hannah probate

Further examination of probate records reveals a John Hall junior of Taunton with a sister Hannah and wife Elizabeth who died about 1708. This is likely Lt John Hall’s son.  He passed a 60 years before the date attributed to his death in Hall’s book – perhaps a typo on Hall’s part, yet copied into at least 195 trees and likely hundreds more on other sites and private genealogies!

There is quite a bit of research that can be done which could add further details and perhaps correct additional errors, including an analysis of the land descriptions.

My interest is to examine all the Hall deeds to identify the parents of my ancestor Brian Hall b. 1727 to John 3rd and Mary.  Brian was a cordwainer (shoemaker) who may have apprenticed with a relative.  I examined this set of deeds with interest, since Lt. John’s son Benjamin Hall is identified as a cordwainer, who would have been about 50 when Brian was born.


How to find Massachusetts Land Records in Bristol County

Click here, Select Bristol County, and open first the Grantor Index (seller), then the Grantee Index (buyer) for the time period you are seeking. Make note of the book and page number for your ancestors.

Grantor Index for Brian Hall

grantor Brian.jpg

Return to the original link, select the appropriate book # and then search for the page.

It is faster to search on the Registry of Deeds, just type book and page under “Recorded Land” site:; here you can only view the images.  They are $1 to download, but free to view and free to download on the Family Search site.



Betty and Bob’s 53rd Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my parents, Betty and Bob. Today, 18 February 2015, they would have been married 53 years. The first year, they lay at rest, together again.

About a year ago, my mother wrote an account of their first date, courtship, engagement and marriage:

Pat, my friend since the age of ten, and I, grew up in a  neighborhood [the Bellrock section of Malden, Massachusetts] with lots of kids our age.  When we were teens, we hung around the corner drug store, owned by Hy Goldberg, a very good friend of your grandfather [Dr. Charles George Hall]. A coke was five cents, an ice cream was eight cents. It was Kerwin, Ferrick, Short, Sheehan, O’Keefe, Dean, Skelton, Winchell, Keough, Hall, Murphy, Nugent, etc.

The guys all went to Malden High or the trade school. Most were in the high school with me and played sports of some kind.  Pat and I went to most of the games.

Your father played football and baseball.  The guys on the football team dated the cheerleaders.  Your dad dated a girl named Alice.  She would take the bus home from school, pass the drug store, see Pat and me there with other girls and the guys, and accuse Bob of cheating on her. She didn’t like us.  We probably weren’t even paying attention to Bob with so many kids hanging out there.  All just friends.

When your dad joined the Air Force with Kerwin and several other guys and was sent overseas Alice would write to him often.  He hated writing letters so he gave her letter to a friend to answer.  The friend typed a reply and your dad signed.  He said he very often didn’t even bother to read it.  What a brat! When he got home she had moved on and was seeing someone else.  His friends kept fixing him up with different girls. He said it was usually just the one date.

One night, in 1961, I got a phone call from Bob’s friend Woody Short aka Lloyd Short.  He was calling from the Kernwood Restaurant and Bar.  I don’t think either one of them were entirely sober.  Woody asked me if I’d go out with Bob on Saturday night.  Thinking he was drunk and it was a joke, I said, “sure why not”.  Saturday came, I was sitting around reading a book or watching TV, when the door bell rang.  I was shocked to find Bob standing there.  I did go out with him.  It was the middle of May.  We went to a drive-in-movie to see “Rally Around the Flag Boys”.


We talked through most of the movie.  When he took me home, he said he never noticed how cute I was and what a good sense of humor I had, and then kissed me goodnight.  I figured it was one date and dismissed it.

He was a neighborhood friend!  Low and behold he called me again and again.

I did date a guy before your father, for seven years.  He was a Lithuanian guy from Salem, Massachusetts, named Eddie Piecewick.  I wasn’t seeing much of Eddie, with him working and going to school and living so far away, so I went out with Bob. We were not exclusive as you kids today put it.  That’s why I started dating your dad at the same time.  Bob and Eddie did not get along, the few times that they met.  Only because your father was rude to him or maybe just jealous. Bob and I went to Pat’s (she was married by then), out to dinner, movies, walking the length of Revere Beach, etc.  Pat was happy I was dating him, but my other friends were kind of cool toward him, because they were all friends with Eddie.

After your father got home from the hospital in Germany and recovered at home he got a an infection in the same stomach area and had to go into Chelsea Navel Hospital for medical attention.  Nana [Bob’s mother, Edith], who I had never met, called me and asked me to take her to visit him.  I had been invited to their house, because they knew we were dating, but thought “rich doctor, stuffy wife”, no way was I going there.  Much to my surprise, she was very down to earth and a lovely person.  Through a good part of her life she introduced me as her “daughter in love”.  We got along great.  Grampa [Bob’s father] told Bob that he made a good choice and he liked my sense of humor.  We all got along great.  I worried for nothing.


By August he asked me to marry him.  I said no, that was not for me.  He asked me again in September and then I said yes.  For my birthday he gave me an engagement ring.

IMG_2393 IMG_2392
We planned a small wedding because I had little money, having spent it on funerals for my father and mother.  Also I had no family to speak of.  I wanted to wait a year to get married, he didn’t, so we picked 18 February 1962.


Pat was my maid of honor, Janice [Bob’s niece] my flower girl, who hated having to wear a dress.  She looked adorable in the dress, Helen, her mother, made for her.  Joanne [Bob’s first cousin] took care of the guest book and did a wonderful job.  Also looked so cute.  Back then a person took the book around for the guests to sign.  Because my godfather [maternal uncle, Edmond Sylvio Roy] could not make it up from Florida to give me away, I asked Tom O’Keefe [Betty’s foster brother]. Joking, he said he’d be happy to get rid of me!  By then he was married to Liz.  I asked Aunt Margaret [Betty’s foster mother] to stand in for my mother. She did and looked lovely.


We were married at Sacred Heart Church in Malden by Father Hart later to become Bishop Hart.  We were not allowed inside the alter as most brides were, because Bob was not Catholic. I had to get permission from the bishop to marry outside my faith. My bans, an announcement in the bulletin, was not allowed. Bob had to attend a meeting with the priest on the Catholic religion.  He met with Father Hart and said they mostly talked about the greyhounds [Bob and his dad and grandfather raised and raced dogs], after Bob promised to bring any children up Catholic.

The reception was at the American Legion Hall on Pleasant Street, because Aunt Margaret’s husband was a member, and she was too, so she got us a deal. We had a band. An old boyfriend’s brother in law.  I forget his name.  No special song.  Maybe fifty people or less.  I forget.  Mostly Bob’s friends, mine from Malden and work. Some of Aunt Margaret’s friends and relatives and Nana’s friends and her knitting club. A couple of doctors that were friends of Grampa. Grampa’s only request was that he not wear a Tux.
wedding party
Betty wedding
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After the reception we stopped to see Georgiana [Bob’s paternal grandmother], because for reasons I never heard, she did not attend the wedding.


We went to Pennsylvania for a week.  I remember staying the first night in New York and leaving my only pair of heels there. I had to buy shoes in Pennsylvania but the hotel did mail my shoes to me.  We met a lot of nice people. We went to a place called Mount Airy Resort in the Pocono Mountains. It’s still there but looking at it on line it’s been updated after fifty two years. It is or was a honeymoon resort with a hotel and outlying cottages.  Lots of things going on and most of the people there were our age. It had it’s own restaurant and night club.  You could ski, sled, hike, etc.  Dancing and entertainment in the club.


After the honeymoon we went to our apartment at 64 James Street in Malden, returning home in a miserable snow storm.  It was a nice surprise that your grandparents [Bob’s parents], went food shopping and left us food in the house.  We forgot to do that before we left!  Also we came back on a Sunday when the stores were closed. Would you believe I still have the giant sized can of Spaghetti O’s they left!!!


We planned to work for a few years before having children, but come April, I found out I was having a baby!!!  I worked until September [at John Hancock].  Back then you could not work beyond five months.  On December 29, 1962 we had a baby girl. The rest of that story is yours!!!

This is a reminder to document your own courtship and that of your ancestors to preserve your story for future generations!!

A French pen pal?

As part of your ancestor search, have you considered that parents or grandparents may have had a pen pal? Someone who might have preserved their letters?

As a “tween”, in the early 1970’s, I acquired two pen pals, by responding to an advertisement in the Boston Globe or Herald.



My first, Donna, grew up in Bondsville, Massachusetts.  I don’t recall the content of our letters – just that I was excited to receive mail. We corresponded until we departed for college,  and although we only lived 82 miles apart, lost touch and never met. The second (who’s name I can not recall), lived in Trinidad and Tobago.  The relationship was short lived; after several letters, she asked me to send money.

I was suprised to find that my dad may have also had a pen pal when he was 17.  He saved the initial letter of introduction, dated 26 Feb 1953, addressed to him at his childhood home, from Mademoiselle Solange Poncelet of the College Modern de Jeunes Filles at Thionville.  I haven’t had time to get this to a french speaking friend, but using “Google Translate” the jiste seemes to be: She has waited a long time for a pen pal. Miss Lawrence, an American was her teacher of English.  She is 17, small, with brown hair and dark skin.  She speaks of her father’s occupation and says that she doen’t see her parents much, other than holidays; she is boarding at school. She speaks of french examanations, perhaps related to college acceptance? She asks about his interests and schooling and whether they should correspond in Fench or English.  She asks that he send his photo first, before she sends hers. She thinks that Americans are friendly based on their apperance and gaiety.

Did dad write back? If he did, how long did they correspond?  My dad had a longtime girlfriend, Alice, during that time period (he didn’t start dating my mother until 1961) would she have tolerated a french pen pal? Where is Solange today? Although her initial letter is a bit commonplace, it would be interesting to track her down to locate further correspondence and to share the letter with her family.

Will our grandchildren know the meaning of the phrase “pen pal”?  Back in the day, it exposed us to other cultures in an era before the global economy, home computers, email, Internet and social media. Did you, your parents or grandparents have a pen pal?  Were the letters preserved? of what did you/they write?

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Genealogy Do-Over – My Dad


This week, I started over. My whole genealogy, from scratch.

I started with “me” (offline) and have moved to my dad – Robert Hall – known as Bob or Bobby – with no given middle name.  Dad was born on 18 July 1935 at Melrose Hospital in Melrose, Massachusetts to Charles George Hall, age 30, a veterinarian, born in Malden, Massachusetts and Edith (Haines) Hall, a 27 year old housewife (who took care of kids, acted as a vet tech and hand fed the greyhound pups our family raised), born in Boston, Massachusetts. They resided at 228 Main Street, Malden.  Bob was the second of two children.  He was 2 1/2 when he got his first hair cut; in the orchestra at Beebe Junior High School;  J V Football Captain and track member at Malden High School and a baseball player for the Belmont Hill Teenage Club. When he graduated in 1953,  the “blonde hair, blue eyed very good looking” Bob had hopes to join the Army, wear bell bottoms and have a girl in every port. He was a “cool” guy with a ’55 green and white Chevy [likely purchased after he got out of the Air Force].

c22ee2f1-5405-4f52-a11b-1a0937c49344c7a2d363-e9d6-45b1-a5d7-f67ec3840e50bobs car

ba9ae133-4fd3-4f7a-b583-7aceaf126c4f a80423ad-868c-4cac-a741-9391fe23269d ad8ca35d-e0a9-4bb3-977a-d04cc57c2207

43162e56-4b94-41b5-8612-a4d195a832f2 7f39ebac-7e4d-4530-a71d-120df178b8c9 7acd5014-0286-4d1a-afb6-5dd3c660569c 6f05766a-9c74-474d-83cd-819aa4e0e0df

My mother briefly documented my dad’s life:

  • Belmont School – Cross St.
  • Beebe Jr. High – Pleasant St.
  • Malden High – Salem St.
  • Wentworth Inst. (electronics)
  • Indiana State
  • U.S. Air Force
  • Lowell Univ.
  • Bentley College
  • worked – from 1958 at Honeywell (in 1973 they were called Lorall/Lockheed Martin – same company changed hands he continued to work there – 35 years, until two weeks before his death – was electronic engineer, working on space program, top secret clearance.

Sadly, Dad died, after a two year fight with Melanoma, on 12 December 1993, age 58.

BUT, he almost died before marrying my mom, when he was in the Air Force.  I don’t know much about this time is his life. He told me that he recovered because he refused to take the pain medicine they gave him, he would pretend to take it, then spit it out. He lost most of his teeth as part of the ordeal.  I never thought anything of him having false teeth when I was a child, I thought it was just “normal” for “old people” to lose teeth. Although he led a “normal” life, he spent most of it in pain; he collected a small disability pension.

As part of the “do-over”, I have crafted a research plan to discover more of the 4 years, 3 months and 28 days of his military career.

My mother writes:

“Bob was in the United States Air Force. He was in Morocco when he got sick. They sent him to Germany. They sent for his parents because they did not think he would live. His mother went.  They took out part of his intestines. He lost all of his teeth because of all the medications. He did survive to get home to Chelsea Naval Hospital in Chelsea, MA. He had a scar the size of an 8 inch dinner plate. He did get better, but all his life had stomach problems if he ate the wrong thing (spicy/salads, etc.).  In 1960/1 he had more problems, a cyst. Dr. Auld lanced it and sent him back to Chelsea.  They put a drain in, after several weeks he came home.  He learned to endure a lot of pain for the remainder of his life”.

My grandmother’s journal, dated July 1958, which describes her trip to Germany, to see Bob in the hospital,  offers few clues:

“Vaccinated Sat. July 5th and applied for my passport Mon. July 7. The passport was rushed through. Thanks to Hy Goldberg [the neighborhood druggist, and friend of my grandfather] I had a ticket “economy” to fly to Frankfurt. The round trip ticket cost $513.20. The flight left Logan on Tuesday at 1:00 PM. My seat companions were an Austrian woman of 80 and a negress, 30. They were both very sociable.”

The journal goes on to describe my 50 year old grandmother’s “adventure” through Gander, Newfoundland; Shannon, Ireland; London, England; Dusseldorf, Germany – finally arriving in Frankfort, Germany at 8:25 AM Wednesday EST (1:20 PM German time). She was paged at the arrival airport and recounts “I was sure Bob was gone when told to see the Red Cross – I was so rattled I couldn’t remember a thing”.

She arrived at the Airforce Hospital in Weisbaden at 2:00 PM German time to Ward 2A and Bob.  He was glad to see her  “His breathing was shallow, he felt very cold to the touch and his nails were blue. I rubbed his arms for over an hour before he got warm… While I was there he got out of bed and walked with difficulty but without anyone holding him down the corridor, about 70 of my steps”.

The next day she writes”…Bob was very worried today, they found another abscess in the last incision and took 200 cc of pus from it. The doctor took out all the stitches, put the scissors into the incision [which she later describes as 5 or 6 inches long and 3 inches wide] and opened it all up again.  No anesthetic either…” She speaks of him having dysentery, pains on the right side of the waist, having to wear a “Nelsonbinder” (used to bind him tight to keep his incision together), “fixing the colostomy himself” and weighing 117 pounds. Although she remains positive, on July 24th she writes, “The Doctor says he won’t go back to the States”.

She visited twice daily, bringing ice cream, cake, candy, and other goodies, noting his increased hunger and weight gain. They celebrated Bob’s 23rd birthday, also her 28th anniversary – she writes “Miss Charlie something terrible”.  In August, she says that Bob is feeling better and told her about Morocco; “I had no idea what a mess it is nor how he happened to go there”.

Others mentioned in the journal: Miss Graham (who seemed to be a coordinator who assigned her to a hotel); Colonel Crouch; Dahl and his wife; Captain Chaplain Benjamin J. Shinn and two blond sons; Chaplain H. W. Wicker; Mrs Dempsey who had been in Morocco the “past two years”; Doctor Jernigan; Mrs. Thornton a Naturalized American from Australia her husband is a Colonel stationed in a “hell hole” in Turkey south of Istanbul; Mrs. Kinsley who’s birthday is August 3rd and who’s husband is dying of cancer; Colonial Thornton (army); Mrs Sweeny a friend of Mrs Nicolls from Arlington Virginia, Mary Calkins neighbor at the hotel.

She stayed at: First an unnamed hotel with a loud sidewalk cafe then after the first week Amelia Earhart Hotel. 

Finally on Monday, August 11th she writes: “I am so excited I can’t bear it!!!!! Bob is leaving Thursday (if the weather and conditions are right). He will be flown to the Azores then to Maguire in New Jersey where he will stay from 24 hours to four or five days depending on customs. He will then be flown to Chelsea Naval Hospital. I can hardly believe it.”

Nana stayed in Europe another several weeks to tour, on Bob’s insistence.  She agrees, only because his final operation will be scheduled after her return.  On August 18th, she notes that Bob has arrived at Chelsea Naval Hospital [Side note: In 1999 I purchased a 3 level town home at Admiral Hall in Chelsea, MA – this complex was the Chelsea Naval Hospital converted into condos/town homes – at the time, I had no idea that my dad was there recovering!] She had a fabulous sightseeing trip, but cheered with the others as her plane touched down in New York on 3 Sept 1958. She says “I called Charlie and he is to meet me at Logan”. Then, “Arrived at 3:30 PM and am beginning to live again”.

There is a 1957 article on Mocavo written by the Chaplain Benjamin J. Shinn of whom my grandmother writes:

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What I Have

A photo of Dad at basic training dated November 1954 and naming Jim D’Eon [died 2004], Fred Kerwin [an usher at my parents wedding] and Carl Notorangile [Notarangeli?], according to my mother at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.


A newspaper article:

Bob operated on

Dad’s “DD Form 214 (Report of Separation)” – this is a free record which can be ordered here:

I submitted a request and received the document (image below) within 3 weeks.  My neighbor was informed that her dad’s record was destroyed in the fire and could not be recreated:

The document arrived 4 or 5 years ago, I looked at it quickly, thought “cool” and put it in his genealogy file.  “Check” – I have his military record.  I never transcribed it or did any type of search on its contents to determine what my dad might have done in the Air Force, where he was stationed or why he was discharged.



Personal data
Name: Robert Hall; Service Number: AF 11 293 532; Grade/Rank: A/2C; Date of Rank: 1 Sep 55
Dept: Air Force Reg/AF; Place of Birth: Melrose, MA; Date: 18 July 35
Race: Caucassion; Sex: Male; Color Hair: Brown; Color Eyes: Blue; Height: 5’8″; Weight: 148
US Citizen: Y; Marital Status: Single; Civilian Education: High School 4; Course or Field: Academic

Transfer or Discharge Data
Type of transfer of discharge: Retirement (T)
Station/Installment at which Effected: Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
Reason: SDN 270 Par 8 SO C-98 Hq DAF, 18 Feb 59,
Sections 1202 & 1372 Title 10 US Code, Par 88c AFM 35-4
Effective date: 2 Mar 59
Last Duty Assignment: 357 FINTCPRON APO 30 (USAFE)
Character of Service: Honorable
Type of Certificate Issued: DD Form 217AF [The DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge issued to these members did not authorize retirement benefits. In the past, these honorary members were issued a DD Form 217]

Selective Service Data
Selective Service Number: 19 20 35 61
Selective Service Local Board: LB #20 Malden (Middlesex) Massachusetts
Date Inducted: N/A
District Transferred: N/A

Service Data
Date of Reserve Obligation: N/A
Current Active Service: Enlisted
Prior Enlistments: None
Grade Rate or Rank at time of Entry: A/B
Place of Entry into Active Service: Boston, Massachusetts
Home Recorded at time of Entry: 228 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts
Specialty Number and Title: Flt Simulator Sp 34230H
Related Civilian Occupation: Radio Rpam 0-83,411
Net Service this period: 4 years, 3 months, 28 days
Total Active Service: 4 years, 3 months, 28 days
Foreign and/or Sea Service: 1 year, 6 months, 5 days
Decorations, Medals, Badges, Citations, Ribbons: GCMDL, AFLSA
Wounds received as a result of Action: None
School or Course: Chanute AFB Ill: Dates Jan-Sept 1955
Major Courses: Apr Elec Instr Rpmn
Other Service Training Courses: None
Gov’t Life Insurance: No
Amount of Allotment: N/A

No time lost under Section 6a Appendix 2b MCM 1951
60 days unused leave credit and rations paid on final pay.
Blood Group “O Pos”; FSSD: 15 Aug 58. Paid 300.00 MOP. IP $100.
AQE Cluster: Mech 7 Cler 7 Eqp 7 Rad Opr 6 Tech Sp 5 Svc 2 Cft 6 Elect 7
Secret Clearance NAC 5 Apr 56 4th OSI Dist (ADC). SSN 021-28-0603
Placed on Temporary Disability Retired List. VA Code: 7328
Permanent Address for Mailing:228 Maine Street, Malden, MA
Name Authorizing Officer: Joseph R. Dillehay Capt USAF (MSC)
Asst Pers Off USAF Hosp W-P-W-PAFB Ohio

Evidence that Dad perhaps joined the Air Force Reserves and was discharged effective 4 November 1962. It mentions a form 256AF.

letter (1)

And certificate of Honorable Discharge, form 256AF.


My “To Do” List

(1) Locate the men in the basic training photo and Earl Wiedner mentioned in the journal, if living, to determine if they have any memories of my dad. Locate fellow servicemen who were stationed with my dad at Basic Training, Chanute AFB and in Morocco. Locate nurses/doctors who might have worked at the same German and Massachusetts Hospitals.

I believe I found an address for Carl Notarangeli and have drafted/sent him a letter via snail mail [today]. My mother gave me some clues to help locate Fred Kerwin.

(2) Find out more about the Unit.

Google Search –

357 FINTCPRON is perhaps: Redesignated as 357 Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 11 Sep 1952. Activated on 1 Nov 1952. Discontinued on 8 Mar 1960.

Assignments – 316 Air Division, 18 Sep 1953-8 Mar 1960
Stations: French Morocco (later, Morocco), 28 May 1953-8 Mar 1960.
Commanders:  Maj William G. Dilley Jr., 28 Oct 1955; Maj Lyle E. Mann, 4 Dec 1956; Maj Raymond F. Farrington Jr., 22 Jun 1958; Lt Col Leonidas C. Bradley Jr., 1 Jun 1959-8 Mar 1960.
Aircraft: F-86, 1952-196

Wikipedia Reads:

The squadron was reactivated as the 357th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron under Air Defense Command ADC at Portland International Airport, Oregon in November 1952. The squadron took over the personnel, mission and F-86F Sabres of the federalized 123d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard which was returned to state control. A little more than three months later, ADC formed Air Defense Groups at its dispersed fighter bases and the squadron became the operational element of the new 503d Air Defense Group. However, the 503d soon converted to Lockheed F-94 Starfires with the activation of the 497th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and the 357th deployed to Nouasseur Air Base, French Morocco and assigned to the 316th Air Division of United States Air Forces Europe in May, where it provided air defense mission for Strategic Air Command forward bases used by Boeing B-47 Stratojet aircraft on Reflex deployment to Morocco. The unit received new HVAR rocket armed and airborne interceptradar equipped F-86D Sabre interceptors in early 1955. The unit remained in North Africa until 1960 when it was inactivated as SAC withdrew from its Morocco bases.

357 Fighter Squadron Emblem

(3) There are a bunch of abbreviations – what are they?

Rank at time of Entry: A/B – Airman basic (AB) is the lowest enlisted rank in the United States Air Force (USAF), immediately below airman. The pay grade for airman basic is E-1.

School or Course: Chanute AFB Illinois: Dates Jan-Sept 1955; Major Courses: Apprentice Electronic Instrument Repairman, Flight Simulator Tech School at Chanute AFB

Job: 34230H-Apprentice Flight Simulator Specialist

Related Civilian Occupation: Radio Rpam 0-83,411 – ?????

Rank: A/2C – Airman Second Class (there is no such rank anymore); but essentially an E2 with one stripe.


What are the awards listed?

GCMDL- Good Conduct Medal is awarded to any active-duty enlisted member of the United States military who completes three consecutive years of “honorable and faithful service”. Such service implies that a standard enlistment was completed without any non-judicial punishment, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses.

AFLSA – Air Force Longevity Service Award is awarded for completing four years of Active, Air Force Reserve, or Air National Guard service.

If he was discharged 18 Feb 1959 after 4 years, 3 months, 28 days, then he joined 21 Oct 1954.

(4) What are the discharge reason codes? SDN 270 Par 8 SO C-98 Hq DAF, 18 Feb 59, Sections 1202 & 1372 Title 10 US Code, Par 88c AFM 35-4

(5) Find out what other medical or military records are available. Would my dad’s Secret Clearance paperwork be accessible? I believe my dad had a small pension – is there a pension file available?

Thanks to FB readers at the Genealogy Do-Over page, I just requested my father’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) from NARA National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.  The FB post read:

“Here’s the form:  For next of kin, there is usually no charge (that may have changed though – double check). There is such a wealth of information contained in those records (including medical records)!”

If they’ve responded with the “there was a fire and the file was destroyed” letter, all hope is not lost. There are other records (and some are more informative) that are not necessarily kept with the standard military records. Morning reports, change of duty station, final pay vouchers, and other documents. I have a guy who occasionally pulls those records for me. His fees are quite reasonable and he is very thorough. Let me know if you’d like his contact information.

Also – if you need help with other aspects of the records (deciphering abbreviations, etc.), Jennifer Holik specializes in military research and has a WWII toolbox ( that will be helpful, even though your records are after WWII. She’s also here on Facebook and you can reach out to her that way as well.

(6) Learn what was going on in Morocco late 1957 to early 1959. Did he spend 1 year, 6 months, 5 days there and Germany or was he stationed elsewhere during his time abroad? Where was he stationed during the remaining 3 years? Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio?

(7) Scan and transcribe Nana’s entire journal of her time in Germany, for future generations to enjoy.

(8) Last, using the information collected, craft a narrative of Dad’s time in the Air Force and Military Hospitals.

I am enrolled in Military Records II at IGHR at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama this coming June. It is not on the syllabus, but I am hoping one of the course coordinators Craig Scott, Michael Hall, J. Mark Lowe and/or Richard Sayre can advise where additional information might be found. I plan to bring the DD Form 214 to see if they notice something that I may have missed.

Another Facebook poster suggested this site – – The Air Force Historical Research Agency – just 90 minutes from Birmingham! I may have to make a side trip.

If you are reading and have suggestions/advice, please comment here or email me at gmail – LindaHalLittle

52 Ancestors, week #16 – Boston Strong!

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year’s Challenge: “Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

I ran and finished the Boston Marathon in 2009 with a time of 5:13.


I have watched the runners on Boylston Street (near the finish line) and in Copley after the Sox game, every year, for as long as I can remember.  “Marathon Monday”(Patriot’s Day) is one of my favorite holidays.  So much so, that in 2010 it led to my departure from a well paid finance position in Corporate America due to the boss’s refusal to let me take “Marathon Monday” as a vacation day. She deemed it “too close to quarter end”. Boss lady was not a Bostonian.  I was a telecommuter; I took the day anyway.

I missed the Marathon on 15 April 2013, for the first time in my adult life.  I was headed to the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) in Manchester, NH  on the 17th and was commuting with a friend from my new hometown of Jackson, New Hampshire. I decided to skip Boston versus driving an extra 6 hours and leaving my cats alone for two days.  However, I encouraged my husband (who had just returned from a business trip, and was in Boston)  to go watch the Marathon without me; he was busy with work, we bickered a bit,”work isn’t everything”, I said, “you should go” –  he didn’t listen; he drove back to his office in North Conway, NH that morning.  None of my many friends who attended annually were there – everyone, miraculously, had another commitment.

Today is the first anniversary of that horrific and tragic event that occurred in our city, a city often known for it’s accent where the “r” is “ah”.  Home to the Boston Tea Party, the precursor that sparked the American Revolution and eventually the birth of the nation. A place, where everyone, regardless of age, knows the names Yaz, Williams, Bird, Brady and Orr.  A society that came together to show the world that even one fatality is too much, “We Will Find You”. I am honored to be from this great, proud and STRONG city – God Bless Boston – I love my city and am proud of it’s protectors!  For that reason, I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to one of my family’s protectors.

The Malden Fire Department was established in 1820 when a bucket engine, Alert No. 1 was purchased and a company organized. In 1833 the Volunteer Engine Company was organized, and a new Hunneman engine was purchased. In 1848 the General Taylor Engine Company was organized at South Malden (now Everett) and in 1854 the Daniel Webster Engine Company was organized at Edgeworth.

In 1849 the City voted to pay it’s firemen $10 per annum and was one of the first  Cities in this Country to pay firemen for their services.

In 1864 the first steam fire engine was purchased, the Wanalancet No. 1, which was made by J.B. Johnson at Portland, ME.. the Thomas W. Hough steam fire engine was purchased in 1881.

In 1882 the Daniel P. Wise Hose Company was organized at Maplewood. That same year the John M. Devir Hose Company was organized at Edgeworth.


This week’s ancestor is Thomas Whitehead Hough, my 2nd great grand uncle through his marriage to Abby Frances Hall.   Abby was a sister to my paternal g-g-grandfather Ephraim Augustus Hall; daughter of Horatio Hall and Elizabeth Pinder (and sister to aunt Ellen Sophia Hall read of Ellen and the city of Malden, in that era, by clicking here).


Family Timeline

Thomas was likely born 14 Jan 1837 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire to John Hough (a carpenter/pattern maker) and Lurana(h) Young.

His mother Lurana(h) Young first married Nathaniel Hobbs on 14 July 1833 in Dover.  They had one known child, Nathaniel Hobbs jr. b. 1834.

Then on 21 March 1836, Mr. John Hough and Miss Lurania Hobbs, both of Dover were married by Benj. Brierly.

Thomas had six known full siblings: John b. 14 Nov 1838; Joseph b. 20 Oct 1840; Lurana(h) (Lorraine) Young, b. 27 April 1842; George Henry, b. 1844; Mary E., b. 27 Feb 1855; and Anna, b. 1857.

Siblings John (age 3) and Joseph (age 6 mons) died within four days of one another in April 1841 in Malden, Massachusetts, cause unknown

In 1850, John, Luranah and children,Thomas, Luranah & George, are found in Lawrence, Massachusetts living with John, Deborah & Charlotte Naylor (relation, if any, unknown). They were also enumerated in Malden, Massachusetts residing with John and Harriet Warren (relation, if any, unknown) [newspaper accounts mention homes in Dover, Lawrence, Malden and Providence, Rhode Island].

In 1855, John, Luranah and children,Thomas, Luranah & George, and Mary E., are residing in Malden; there is a 21 year old Bathiel Hough with the family (likely Thomas’s half brother Nathaniel Hobbs, jr.).

On 11 Mar 1857 Nathaniel Hobbs, jr. married Harriett E Turner in Malden.

Thomas married Abby Frances Hall 11 June 1858 in Malden and became a prominent Malden citizen.

Mary E. died 08 Aug 1858 in Malden, age 3, of hooking cough (likely whooping cough).

In 1860, Thomas and Abby are residing in Malden; Lorraine (who married Isaac Sawyer Evans, on 24 November 1859, in Amesbury, Massachusetts) has relocated to Charlestown, Massachusetts and Thomas’ parents are living in Andover, Massachusetts with their children George and AnnaNathaniel Hobbs, jr. and his wife, also reside in Malden.

On 8 Jul 1863, Nathaniel Hobbs, jr’s., death from apoplexy (the sudden loss of the ability to feel or move parts of the body caused by too little blood going to the brain) was reported in Malden.  He was a gunman in the US Navy and died aboard his ship.

By 1865, Thomas’s parents, George, Anna and daughter Lurana(h)/Lorraine with Isaac and their 4 year old child were residing in one household in Malden. Thomas and Abby are nearby, in a separate household (addresses are not given, but they are enumerated as families #209 & #214 on the same census page).

In 1867 George married in Lowell, Massachusetts, Mary A Sampson, daughter of Eden and Mary A. (Tufts) Sampson.

In 1870 & 1880, Thomas and Abby are residing in Malden; his parents are also in Malden, with Anna.  George is enumerated as “G H S Huff” in 1870 and is residing with his in-laws, wife and newborn baby in Malden, by 1880 he is residing in Chelsea, Massachusetts with his wife and four children. Lorraine is residing in  Irwin, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Anna married in Malden, on 22 Nov 1882, Francis O Bacon.

Thomas’s father John died in Malden on 12 Sep 1896 age age 82, 11 months and 2 days of “senile gangrene”.

John Hough obit

Thomas’s sister Anna passed away, 19 Oct 1887, age 30, of phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis or a similar progressive systemic disease), in Malden.

In 1897, Thomas’ mother, a widowed Lurana(h) was living at 20 Russell Street, Malden.

Thomas’s sister Lorraine Young (Hough) Evans, passed away on 5 February 1900 in  Irwin, Pennsylvania a week after her husband’s death.


By 1900, Thomas’s widowed mother, Lurana(h) moved to Chicago and was residing with her grandson Harry’s family (George’s son).  George is  residing with them and  listed as “widowed” (? his wife Mary died, from cancer, in Malden, 7 years later on 12 Feb 1907 – perhaps he left her?).

Thomas’s wife Abby died suddenly of pleuro pneumonia at age 61, in 1901. Her eulogy was touching.  The reverend described her as “a type of sunny brave and noble womanhood, a sturdy friend when days were dark and lowry”.  Much of the town, including the mayor, attended the services. The obituary declares, “few woman in this city were better known and will be more widely missed than the kindly wife of the man who for so many years [has] been at the head of the fire department matters in this city… In her home life, Mrs Hough was devoted and lovable. She entered into the ambitions of her husband with true womanly affection and maintained the deepest interest in everything that pertained to his business and political life…In the many societies with which she was identified, Mrs Hough was an active and zealous worker. She was a general favorite with all and her kind, genial ways will be missed by a large circle.”

On 27 November 1907,  brother George married, Charlotte Kalkofen,  a German woman (30 years his junior) in Grand Rapids, MI, where they resided in 1910.

A widowed Thomas Hough resided in Malden in 1910, with his Bermudian housekeeper, Eveyln Bean [who is named in his will], age 30.  He passed away in 1912, at age 75. Thomas and Abby had no known children.

death cert

Death records have not been located for Thomas’s mother Lurana(h) (she likely died before 1910 in Chicago) or brother George [who likely died between 1910 and 1920; by 1920, his wife, 46 year old Charlotte, is residing in Malden, and listed as widowed].


Much of Thomas Hough’s life was documented in the Malden newspapers:

Malden News, Saturday, March 14, 1885


Our Portrait Gallery

No. 4 – Thomas Hough, Chief Engineer of the Malden Fire Department

Chief Engineer Thomas W. Hough, of the Malden Fire Department, is one of our best known citizens, and a gentleman of high standing in the community.  He was born at Dover, NH, January 14, 1836 and is consequently 49 years of age. He was educated in the public schools of Dover and Malden removing to this place with his parents at an early age.

Upon attaining the age of seventeen years he learned the machinist’s trade, serving his time with the Mattapan Company, at Edgeworth, where the Nitre Works are now located. Since 1865 he has been in the sewing machine business as a member of the firm Hough & Rumney, 576 Washington and 16 South streets, Boston and also in Lynn. He has also recently taken charge of the business of the New Home Sewing Machine Company at 576 Washington street, Boston.

Mr. Hough is best known in Malden, however, as a member of many years’ standing of the Fire Department now standing at its head. At the age of sixteen years he joined the department (in the old volunteer days) as “torch boy”. Next he became a regular member, and was for many years foreman of the old “Wannalancett”.  For the past sixteen years  he has served as Chief Engineer of the department, having (until last January) been re-elected under town and city government year after year by a unanimous vote.

He is ably assisted by a corps of four associate engineers, and under their management during the last sixteen years the department has never lost the second building at a fire but twice, – one notable occasion being the great conflagration at the rubber works at Edgeworth, in December, 1875.

When Chief Hough first assumed his present duties, the department was in no such well-equipped condition as it is today. There was but one steamer, and the horses used on it were worked for the town, often occasioning much trouble and delay in responding to alarms.  Chief Hough’s first move was to secure a hose carriage and a permanent horse.

The  new Central Engine House was completed in 1874, the Hook & Ladder truck obtained about the same time, the fire alarm telegraph a few years later, and in 1881 the splendid steam fire engine now in use and so appropriately named the “T. W. Hough, No. 2” – the old “Wannalancett” ranking as No. 1, by virtue of priority in the service.

Chief Hough has under him an able and well-trained department of 47 men, divided as follows:

Four assistant engineers
12 steamer men
10 H. & L. truck-men
16 men (8 in each) in 2-hose companies
3 permanent drivers
1 steamer engine
1 stoker

The chief is a member of the Malden Lodge No. 352, Knights of Honor, Mount Vernon Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and all the Melrose organizations, including Hugh de Payens Commandery, Knights Templars, Wyoming. He belongs to all the Scotch rights, having attained the 32d degree.

In politics he is a Republican. He is a married man, and has a pleasant home on Linden Avenue.  He is a man of genial appearance and social inclinations, having a wide acquaintance and many warm friends.

Malden Mirror, April 11, 1891

Close of the Mirror Piano Contest
Thomas W. Hough, Chief Engineer, M.F.D., Secures the Elegant Everett Piano
Offered to the Most Popular City Employee.


Chief Engineer T.W. Hough of the Malden fire department is to be the fortunate possessor of the elegant piano, which the MALDEN MIRROR offered to the person in the employ of the city who should receive the largest number of votes.

At the time of our last publication, the vote of the three leading ones in the contest stood as follows: T.W. Hough, 11,650; Geo. W. Stiles, 10,842; Leverett D. Holden 10,420.  During the past week considerable work has been done or else a good many votes have been held back, for large bundles of coupons for the leaders were deposited with us, quite a number arriving just before the close of the polls. The polls closed, as advertised, precisely at 6 P M on Tuesday of this week, when it was found that the friends of Chief Hough had increased his number by 2968 since the last quotation , making a total of 14,634: for Geo. W. Stiles 2886 new votes had been received, swelling his total to 13,728; City Clerk Holden received 2305 additional votes, making a total for him of 12,725.

The piano will duly be presented to Chief Hough, with the compliments of the MIRROR, and his host of friends are all anxious to hear him play a tune on it. The piano has been on exhibition at the rooms of the agent, S. A. Hawke, Pleasant street, opposite the post office, during the weeks of the contest, and a description of it seems quite unnecessary, further than to say it is the latest style Everett cabinet grand piano , an elegant piece of workmanship and a very superior instrument.

Thomas W. Hough, the successful candidate in the contest, an excellent portrait of whom is above given, was born in Dover, NH and is 53 years of age. In his youth he also lived in Providence, R.I. and Lawrence, Mass. He came to Malden to reside when he was about 13 and at 16 he entered the fire department as a torch boy in the Volunteer engine company, which all old residents will remember.  He has been connected in some capacity with the department ever since, being the oldest in service, except one, in the city, and that one is Lewis B. Wilkinson, the genial fireman of the center steamer.

Chief Hough was for several years foreman of the Wannalancet steam fire engine, and was assistant engineer for some time. He was subsequently elected chief of the department, a position that he has held for more than twenty years, and rendered most excellent and valuable service. Since he became head of the department, the system of management and the apparatus used in controlling and subduing fires has undergone a complete change, and many great improvements have been made, necessitated by the rapid growth of the place, and made possible by the progress of mechanical invention and the development of scientific knowledge; and, today the Malden fire department stands second to none in the state for discipline and efficiency.

In social life,  Chief Hough  has always held a prominent place, and has made a host of friends. He is a member of the Converse Lodge. A. F. A. M., Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle, Melrose Couneu; Beaumont Commandery , K. T.; a thirty second degree member of the Scottish Rites in Masonry,   Malden Lodge, I. O. O. F., Knights of Honor, Malden Club and Kernwood Club. He is president of the Malden Fireman’s Relief Association, of which organization he was the originator and is also a member of the National Association of Fire Engineers.

In business, he is a member of the firm of Hough & Rumney, 16 South street, Boston, sewing machines, the firm having carried on business for upwards of 21 years. His residence is at 64 Linden Avenue where his friends have found him always hospitable and fraternal these many years.

As an employee of the city, through which position he was an eligible candidate for the MIRROR piano, it may be properly stated in this connection that he has seen the longest service of an official now in the city’s employ. The MIRROR extends to him, in company with his numerous friends, its congratulations on his success in securing the elegant piano, and hopes it may be to him a source of great pleasure on account of its intrinsic worth as an instrument of concord as well as a beautiful souvenir of the attachment of his friends.

The final result of voting is shown in the following table:

T. W. Hough, chief engineer fire dept., 14,634
George W. Stiles, supt. Almshouse 13,729
Leverett D. Holden, city clerk 12,723
Arthur L. Doe, principal of Maplewood school 90
George E. Gay. Principal High school 60
Ida F. Lewis, teacher Belmont school 60
Miss Laura Leonard, principal of West school 41
John H. Hannon, captain fire dept. 23
Ella P. Payson, principal of Greenwood school 20
Eliza A Brand, teacher Linden school 16
Alice M Crane, teacher in Maplewood school 15
Marvin Lincoln, truant officer 14
Daniel W. Sullivan, deputy police chief 10
John L. H. Staples, clerk Steamer Co. 9
Sylvester Butler, janitor of Maplewood school 9
Annie K. Bragdon, teacher Center school 6
L.H. Richards, chief of police 4
G. A. Weatherbee, city engineer 4
O.J. Whitney, teacher Center school 3
M. D. Carr, police officer 2
C. A. Daniels, supt. of schools 1
Lillian A. Sinnott, teacher in Maplewood school 1
George A Gardner, clerk of common council 1
Frank Turner, driver hose No. 2 1
Vesta H. Sawtelle, teacher West school 1
Frank Vaughan, clerk board engineers 1
P. McShane, janitor Emerson school 1
Tristram Griffin, architect 1
A.K. Cox, street commissioner 1
Mary Ann Russell, Converse school 1

Generous Malden Firemen

Date: Tuesday, June 28, 1892  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Volume: LIX  Issue: 19345  Page: 3

generous fireman


Date: Tuesday, January 29, 1889  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Volume: LVI  Issue: 18277  Page: 1

annual report

John H. Hannan, Probable Malden Fire Commissioner

Date: Saturday, January 22, 1910  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Issue: 24923  Page: 2


Malden Fire Causes Loss of $200,000

Date: Friday, February 3, 1911  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Issue: 25285  Page: 1

Converse fire story

Declares Malden Fire Engine Fit. Commissioner Hough to Issue Statement on Converse Blaze

Date:Saturday, February 11, 1911, Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA), Issue:25293, Page:3
converse fire

Date: Thursday, March 9, 1911  Paper: Boston Herald (Boston, MA)  Page: 2

no likey

Burgess to Resent Act of Fire Commissioner Hough

Date: Friday, July 21, 1911  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA) Volume: LXXVIII  Issue: 25453  Page: 6

man fired


No Bonfires for Malden Boys on June 17 or July 4

Date: Tuesday, June 13, 1911  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Volume: LXXVIII  Issue: 25415 Page: 9



Date: Wednesday, July 12, 1911  Paper: Boston Herald (Boston, MA)  Page: 3



The history of the Malden fire department, written in the 1920’s by former fire chief, John Hannan, describes a horrific fire at Edgerley’s Bakery in May 1864, the year after Thomas was named foreman. While the men were fighting flames on the first floor, the second floor gave way and collapsed on three on them; namely Thomas W. Hough, George E. Fredericks and James Pagan who died from his injuries.

On Saturday evening, 9 November 1872 word reached Malden of the “Big Fire in Boston”. The Wannalancet responded and did valiant duty.  A Maldonian, Walter Twombly, lost his life.

In 1882 a steam fire engine was purchased by the city and named in honor of Chief Thomas W. Hough. The steamer was in service 35 or more years before it was sold for junk.

The final paragraph of the history reads:


His obituary reads:

Tolling Bells for TW Hough
Veteran Former Head of Fire Department Succumbed Last Evening to long illness of Kidney Trouble At His Home on Linden Ave.
Was in Sewing Machine Business. Prominent in Masonic Circles. Head of Fireman’s Relief. Funeral to be at Universalist Church Monday.


The striking of 75 blows on the fire alarm system about 8 o’clock last night announced to the public the passing away of the former fire commissioner of Thomas W. Hough at his home, 64 Linden Ave, age 75. The end came peacefully at 7:45 o’clock after a long and tedious illness. His brother George and his wife, J. H. Hannon and the nurse Miss Freeman were at his bedside. Mr. Hough had been at the point of death for the past few days and kidney trouble and general breaking up was the cause [his death certificate indicates the cause was prostate cancer]. Dr. C. D. McCarthy was the atending physician and was amazed at the patient’s vitality.

He had been indoors for several months and his last appearance upon the street was just after new year. An only brother, George, of Grand Rapids, Mich. who came on from the West last Saturday survives him. The plans for the funeral were made by Mr. Hough several days ago and left in the hands of his former clerk J. H. Hannan. The body may be viewed by friends at the homestead on Sunday afternoon and the funeral will be held Monday afternoon at the First Universalist Church.

Fire Fighter for Half a Century

Mr. Hough had been at the head of the fire dept. for over half a century as engineer, chief and commissioner, and the fire dept. was part of his life, growing with his years. He retired about a year ago, but still continued an active interest in its affairs and its members. He was born in Dover, N.H. on Jan 14th, 1837 and was the son of John and Luranah Young Hough.  He received his education in Dover and this city, coming here to live at the age of 11.

His first employment was at Mattapan Iron Works in Edgeworth as a machinist after which he he associated himself with the Leavitt Machine Co. in Bowdoin sq. Boston, opposite the old Revere House, being in charge of the assembling room in the sewing machine dept. which was the largest branch of the concern’s business.

Hough and Rumney

He then went with Elias Howe manufacturer of the Howe sewing machine and later formed a partnership  with Isaac Rumney of Somerville as Hough and Rumney, sewing machines manufacturers, taking quarters on old Spring lane. The business grew and  they opened a shop in Lynn with offices in the Moore block in Central sq. Lynn. They also took larger quarters on South st. Boston.

For over 25 years he continued in the sewing machine business retiring some 15 years ago, since which time he has been in the stock and mining business until quite recently.

Thirty-Second Degree Mason

Mr. Hough was a 32nd degree mason, a member of the Converse lodge, Beauseant commandery, Melrose council, Tabernacle chapter and the Consistory. He was also a member of the Crystil chapter, Eastern Star, Middlesex lodge of Odd Fellows and other fraternal orders. He had been president of the Fireman’s Relief ass’n since it’s inception in 1885 and took great pride in its fine financial standing.  He was for years a member of the Malden club and one of its most influential directors.

He was always affectionately termed “chief” “T. W.” or “Major” by the members of the department. His wife passed away about 11 years ago and this was a severe blow to him.

In fire department circles, Mr. Hough was well known throughout New England having attended fire conventions as far West as Chicago. He entered the fire dept. at the age of 16 as a torch boy in the Volunteer Engine Co. of this city. He then became pres of the Wannalancet steam fire engine and later became asst engineer. For 20 years he was chief of the dept.

Mr. Hough was for years a political storm center. His rugged, positive personality made him a picturesque figure in local politics. He was a stalwart republican and never wavered in his allegiance to the G O P. For a generation he was a delegate to the congressional conventions and was a Barrett man in the great Barrett-Hayes contest. He belonged to the old school politicians most of whom are now dead and who ran Malden from the Malden Club in its early days Jas Pierre, A. H. Davenport, F. H. Odiorne, Benj Faulkner, S K Abbott and others.

During the Pierce administration in 1892 the city went to the legislator and had a fire commission of three authorized.  Mr. Hough of course was to be one of the three. But Mayor Pierce was defeated by Mayor Winn and Mr. Hough for the first time was left out in the cold for a year.  Spaulding, Scott and Newville were appointed. In 1894 Mayor Stevens came in an Mr. Hough was made commissioner.

“Brave and Gallant”

It  was during this fight that at a banquet of the old Faulkner Citizens association Winslow True Perkins, then supt, of the Eastern division, referred to the grim old fire fighter as “brave and gallant Tom Hough” an epithet that brought down the house and which stuck to Mr. Hough for years.

After he became commissioner he rarely interfered with the fighting of fires. Once, however, the old spirit was too strong for him and he broke through lines entering the thickest of the flames to lead his men.  A young policeman, not knowing who he was grabbed him by the collar and threw him out. He magnanimously complimented the policeman for doing his duty.

The boys in the department always found in him s warm friend. They would have to go pretty far astray before he would discharge them. He was a connecting link between the days of hand tubs and motor apparatus.

The Fireman’s Relief was his particular pride. He handled its funds judiciously and never misinvested a dollar. He was often under fire but held his own in all his fights and was strongly supported.

Date: Saturday, May 25, 1912, Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)

 Volume: LXXIX, Issue: 25732, Page: 7

obit boston


Funeral Services at Universalist Church Largely Attended. City Hall Closed and Bells Toll. Rev Drs W H Rider and R E Sykes Officiate.

Former Fire commissioner Thomas Whitehead Hough was laid at rest beside his good wife at the family lot at Forestdale yesterday afternoon. Full fire dept hnors were paid the brave and gallant fire fighter who for over 50 years gave his time and attention to the local dept and is mourned in death by legions of friends. The body lay in state yesterday afternoon at the family home and hundreds came to view the remains.

The funeral services were held yesterday at 2:30 o’clock at the First Universalist church and the Rev Wm H Rider DD of Gloucester formerly pastor of the church and a close friend of the deceased officiated, assisted by present pastor Rev. Richard Eddy Sykes, DD. The Franklin male quartet rendered “The Eternal Goodness”  “Crossing the Bar” and “Nearer to Thee” after which the masonic ritual was conducted by the officers and members of Converse lodge of Masons. Wor Willis I Foss, presiding, assisted by E S Wellington as acting chaplain, Alvin F Pease senior warden and Arthur F Pease junior warden. During the reading of the ritual the quartet rendered “Gathering Home”.

Rev Mr. Rider pronounced a touching eulogy. He said that the “two blows” – all out- had been sounded for the deceased. He dwelt on the long and useful life of Mr. Hough and of his sterling qualities and kindly heart. He told of the unselfishness and devotion to duty, and other strong points in the character of the deceased. Rev Dr Rider also officiated at Mrs hough’s funeral 12 years ago.

By order of Mayor Farrell the City hall was closed durning the afternoon and the flags at half staff on City hall, the fire stations and at the Malden club.  Mayor Farrell and members of the city council were among the friends which gathered at his bier. Capt Brophy and other friends from the Boston fire dept, the chiefs of the neighboring cities a delegation from the Fire Chiefs club, ex mayors Fall, Richards and Warren. Hon A E Cox and delegations from Converse lodge, Beauseant commandery, Melrose council. Royal Arch chapter, Crystal Eastern Star, Middlsex lodge of Odd Fellows, the Workman, Malden club and other organizations.

The remains were escorted to Forestdale by a delegation of fireman in full uniform under the command of Capt John T Nicholls of Engine Co 1. They were hoseman Wm Moran of the Auto Co, Wm Prindall, H O Rounds and Peter Kelliher, Engine Co 1, Arthur B Stephenson, James Coombes, A S Smith, Richard Trapp, August Magnuson, Hose 2; John F Tracy, Thos Magner, Hose 3, Driver Goddin, Chemical 6.

As the funeral cortege passed through Central sq the bell on the Central sta tolled. The pall bearers were Wor Joseph W Sander, past master of the Converse lodge and Wm W Lee of Beauseant commandery, representing the Masons; pres John M Keen and Edw G. Wise of the Malden club. Capts J J Connell of Hose 3 and J L Stephenson of Hose 2 representing the fire dept; N G Laforest H Sargent and VG, N A Kendall from Middlesex lodge of Odd Fellows. Col Harry E Converse, a close friend of the deceased and an associate on the late board of fire commissioners was unable to attend the funeral and he sent a floral blanket, six feet long containing 75 red roses, which covered the casket. Other floral tributes were official emblems from Beauseant commandery, Converse lodge and Consistory of Masons, Melrose coucil. Royal Arch chapter, Crystal chapter Eastern Star, Middlesex lodge of Odd Fellows; standing wreath from Fire Chiefs club of Mass, pillow roses , Malden relief ass’n;  standing wreath of roses, Malden Fire dept; large wreath of sweat peas aroses, Malden club; Mr and Mrs Geo H. Hough, pillow of roses and carnations marked brother; Mr and Mrs J H Hannan, large spray roses; other pieces from Rep and Mrs A E Bliss, Mrs Blanche Chandler, H W Greene, C L Brett, Henry M Corliss, H M Crosby, H H Schenes, Miss Clara Preanen, Mrs Fred Fellows, Miss Elise Creme, Mrs C O Junkins, Mrs L F Gayton, Horatio Hall [his wife Abby’s brother], Mrs A F Howell, Ellen S Nichols [his wife Abby’s sister], Mary E Patten [his wife Abby’s sister], E A Hall [his wife Abby’s brother and my g-g-grandfather], C L Davenport, Mr and Mrs D D Hall, Mr. and Mrs. C M Hall [my g-grandparents], J F Vaughan, Mrs M E Tilson, Mr and Mrs C K Parker, Mr and Mrs H S Abbott, Mr and Mrs C F Shute, Hon and Mrs A E Cox, Mr and Mrs Robt L Stone, Mr snd Mrs H A Morse, Mr and Mrs E A Brooks, Geo A Metcalf, L D Holden, Mr and Mrs W A Keddie, Mrs Lovejoy, A W Latham and family, Ada K Cummings, Mr and Mrs Turner, R R Robinson, Mr and Mrs W H Brackett, Mr and Mrs J H Hadley, Mrs T H Buck and family, Mrs A H Davenport and family, Geo H Fall, Mr and Mrs Wm Ord, E D and F R Kaulback, Mr and Mrs Fred Chesley, Miss E S Tebbetts, Horace R Brown, and Miss Brown, Geo T Whitman.

[Note: Thomas’s death certificate says that he is buried at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge – Abby’s death certificate does not specify a cemetery – both obituaries indicate they are buried at Forestdale in Malden]


In 1912, Thomas’s estate was valued at $33,855.22 which included an interesting array of mining and sewing machine stocks and 1/14 interest in the estate of Elizabeth Hanson, late of Dover NH [$100 value]. In a will dated 1908, he left small sums and items to a number of friends.  These included: Mrs. Alice Woods Howell, wife of Augustus Howell of Dorchester $500;  Mrs. Nancy Ella (Linett) Buck, wife of Theodore H. Buck, now of Malden $1,000; Mrs. Mary E. Tilson, widow of Julius W. Tilson, $1,000; Mrs. Hattie E. Morse wife of Herman A. Morse of Malden, “my china dinner and tea set”; Mrs John Hannan, wife of John H Hannon of Malden, “my piano”; Miss Evelyn M. Bean, “my colored housekeeper”, $300.

He bequeathed $1,000 to his sister-in-law Mary (Hall) Patten; $500 to his nephew Charles M. Hall [my g-grandfather]; $5,000 and his residence consisting of house and its contents, stable and land located at 64 Linden Ave (total of 6580 square feet) to his brother George Hough of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The remainder of the estate was split 50/50 between his brother George Hough and the First Parish Universalist Church of Malden.  George Hough of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Harry E. Converse of Marion, Massachusetts were named as co-Executors.



History of Malden FD:

Dover Marriages recorded in the Old Books, 1816-1838 –

“Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Isaac S. Evans and Luranah Y. Hough, 24 Nov 1859; citing item 1, Andover, County of Esex, Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1433017.

“Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah Hough in entry for John H. Hough, 14 Nov 1838; citing Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, p 42; FHL microfilm 14774.

“Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Mary E. I. Hough, 27 Feb 1855; citing Malden, Massachusetts, 124, Massachusetts Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1428235.

“Massachusetts, Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah Hough in entry for John H. Hough, 07 Apr 1841; citing Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, reference p 353; FHL microfilm 14774.

John Hough Obituary – Saturday, 12 Sept 1896, Boston Journal, Vol LXIII, Issue 20741, pg 3

“Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah Hough in entry for Joseph Y. Hough, 20 Oct 1840; citing Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, p 42; FHL microfilm 14774.

“United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Lurana Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing family 93, NARA microfilm publication M432.

“Massachusetts, State Census, 1855,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 000953951.

“United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough, The Town Of Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,”; p. 112, household ID 918, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803506.

“Massachusetts, State Census, 1865,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah W Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 0954570.

“Massachusetts, State Census, 1865,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thos W Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 0954570.

“United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), G H S Huff in household of Eden Sampson, Massachusetts, United States; citing p. 62, family 501, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552128.

“United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Lurana Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 427B, NARA microfilm publication T9.

“United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 378C, NARA microfilm publication T9.

“United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Abbie F Hough in household of Thomas W Hough, Malden city Ward 4, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 5B, family 72, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1240662.

“United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough, Malden Ward 4, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 897, sheet 9A, family 173, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1374614.

“United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Charlotte F Hough in household of Mary E Newhall, Malden Ward 4, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 5A, family 69, NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1820713.

Mason membership:


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