Posts Tagged ‘Norton’

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(Massachusetts) Records 1700–1835 (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Handwritten unpublished transcription, transcriber unknown, “First Book of Raynham Records,” donated to NEHGS in 1897) lists: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



Help Solve My Mystery! (#52 Weeks)

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.”

This week’s focus is a “brick wall”…. Perhaps someone in cyberspace knows of a source that could solve my mystery!

My 3rd great grand uncle, Brian Hall, was born to Brian Hall and Polly Lane in Norton, Massachusetts on 24 May 1797. He was one of eight children who lived to adulthood.  Siblings included Polly, Isaac, Sophia, Marcia, Milton, Horatio and Ephraim Lane.

Around 1821, the family relocated to Rhode Island.

In 1830 & 1832, Brian a junior laborer, was living on Hope Street, in Providence, with his parents1.

Between 1832 and 1835, Brian married Henrietta Hutchins of Providence, daughter of Richard Hutchins and Henrietta Woodward. She is mentioned as his wife, giving up rights of dower in numerous land transactions between Brian and his brothers on a piece of land called India Point in Seekonk, which today is part of Providence, RI2.

485654da-b87d-48c9-b4f2-fbda1ba89079India Point about 1840,

They had one known child in February 1835, who died at the age of two weeks. Henrietta died 11 March 1838 at the age of 433.

About a year later, on 23 March 1839, a marriage intention was filed in Seekonk between Brian Hall and Lucy Mason4. Five days later, Brian died on 28 March 1839 at age 425.  No marriage record has been found.

marriage intention Brian and Lucy

Brian, a Yeoman, died intestate, his assets which were valued at $1,369.45 ($345.73 after debts were paid), included one hundred acres of land (he was holding the mortgage), buildings, furnishings, farm animals and equipment and a half a pew in the Baptist Meeting House. Seven siblings are mentioned in the probate documents, each receiving $49.39; Lucy is not named.

The land is described as follows: “…the real estate of said deceased consists of two parcels of land which are under separated mortgages the first of which contains seventy acres more or less is bounded Northerly by a road and Westerly by land of Jm (?) Mason & land which the said deceased purchased of William Hill – the second of which contains thirty acres more or less and is bounded Northerly by a road easterly by the first above mentioned lot, Southerly by the land of Jm (?) Mason and Westerly by land of Josiah Kent and Thomas L. Peck…” [In 1840, Josiah Kent, Thomas Peck and James Mason are enumerated within a few names of one another in Seekonk, Bristol, Massachusetts].

Brian Hall deeds Bristol

Grantee Index (Brian is the buyer)

Brian Hall grantor

Grantor Index (Brian is the seller)

Brian Hall cancel

April 15, 1840, James Smith cancels the mortgage given to him by Brian Hall.

Brian’s brother, my 3rd g-grandfather, Horatio Hall, later named two of his daughter’s Lucy Mason Hall:

 Lucy Mason Hall [#1], born 2 February 1840, daughter of Horatio and Elizabeth, died of dropsy at age 5 on 4 November 1844 in Malden, Massachusetts6.

A portion of the obituary of the Lucy #2 reads: “Miss Lucy Mason Hall of 29 Richardson Street died at her home Saturday noon of heart failure after an illness of less than half an hour.  Miss Hall was at work in the kitchen when first taken ill and had suffered heart attacks before. She was born in this city and was the daughter of Horatio and Elizabeth Pindar Hall7.

Brian’s Lucy Mason went on to marry Abel Cooper in 18428and lived in Rhode Island until her death on 7 Jan 18839. Abel died in 1857 of Typhoid Fever; for a time Lucy resided with her sister Martha Mason and became a Tailoress10. By 1880 she resided in a home with her brother-in-law William Cooper and was reported to have consumption (likely pulmonary tuberculosis)11.

So many questions, but what I really want to know:

– How did Brian die?  Was it a tragic/sudden death or was he sick? If he was ill, did he expect to recover or did he file the marriage intention knowing his days were numbered?

– Why did Horatio name his daughter(s) Lucy Mason Hall? Were they close? Did Lucy stay in touch with the Hall family after Brian’s death?

I thought maybe Lucy was pregnant and Horatio raised the child as his own, but the dates don’t work; Lucy Mason #1’s birth was recorded ten months after Brian’s death.

(1) U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Providence, Rhode Island, City Directory, 1830, pg 76
(2) History of Providence County, Rhode Island , Edited by Richard M. Bayles. In two volumes, illustrated. Vol. I. New York:  W. W. Preston & Co., 1891.
(3) North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island, Plot: section BB. Note: infant age 2 weeks Henrietta Hall in 43rd year; recorded by Frank Williamson c.1860 but not found by F.T. Calef in 1923 or John E. Sterling in 1994; info from Sterling’s book North Burial Ground, Providence, RI, Old Section 1700-1848.
(4) Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, by James N. Arnold, Vol 1, pg 202.
(5)  “Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Database Index”, entry for Brian Hall 1988c – 28 Mar 1839; Transcriptions by volunteers of Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project; index compiled by John Sterling, digital image, New England Historic Genealogical Society (  :  accessed 26 July 2009)
(6) Malden, Massachusetts, Births ,marriages and deaths in the town of Malden, Massachusetts (Printed at the University press for the city of Malden, 1903), 349.
(7) Malden Evening News, 6 May 1907, p. 4, col. 5, Hall Family Papers, privately held by Linda Hall-Little, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,],  2010.
(8) MASON Lucy and Abel Cooper both of Seekonk, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, by James N. Arnold
(9) Rhode Island, Deaths, 1630-1930 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
(10) Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Rhode Island State Census, 1865. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
(11) Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Seekonk, Bristol, Massachusetts; Roll: 523; Family History Film: 1254523; Page: 199A; Enumeration District: 072; Image: 0179.

A Life Changing Aunt

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.”

Ellen Maria Sophia (Hall) Nichols’ estate was valued at $71,363.60, when she passed in 1923; about the same buying power as $970,000 in 2014.  On the Hall side of the family, four nieces, one nephew and one brother, Horatio, survived her. The majority of her estate was left to her 42 year old nephew, my g-grandfather, Charles Milton “Garrie” Hall.

My 18 year old grandfather, Charles G. Hall,  was bequeathed $500 (about $6,800 in 2014 buying power), a small fortune for a teenager. It would cover the $27 -$32 quarterly tuition, and much of his living expenses, during his four years at Ohio State Veterinary School (

Grampa and Aunt Ellen must have been close; but I knew nothing of Ellen or her husband Levi.

Ellen Maria Sophia Hall was the fifth of nine children born to Horatio Hall (born Norton, Massachusetts and moved to Providence, Rhode Island at the age of 19) and Elizabeth Pinder (born Ipswich, Massachusetts and moved to Malden, Massachusetts, after her father, a mariner, drowned when she was 5). Ellen was the first born in Malden, on 17 Apr 1842 (her siblings were born at India Point a section of Providence, Rhode Island and Seekonk, Massachusetts). Her father had a sister Sophia for whom she was perhaps named.

Ellen was born at home, on Barrett Lane in Malden, a picturesque town, five miles from Boston, a farming community, population 2,500. Nearby Salem Street, now a main thoroughfare, was a country road lined with thick barberry bushes, sumac, blackberry vines, broad burdocks and sweet wild roses with species of tiny turtles, bullfrogs and mosquitoes. Ellen’s siblings included Mary Elizabeth (b. 1832), David Brian Pinder (b. 1827), Abby Frances (b. 1838), Lucy Mason (b. 1844 and died at age 4 of dropsy), Horatio (b. 1844 and died of consumption at age 2), Lucy Mason #2 (b. 1846), Horatio #2 (b. 1850) [in that time period, a common naming custom involved parents giving a subsequent child the same name as their deceased offspring] and Ephraim Augustus (b. 1853), my 2nd g-grandfather.

Ellen lived through many innovations and developments. In 1844, the Boston and Maine Railroad, Andover line, expanded eastward, with stops at North Malden, Malden and Boston, resulting in industry and population growth. By 1850, population had grown to 3,500, despite North Malden being set off under the name of Melrose. An 8 year old Ellen was living with her parents, siblings and 64 year old maternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Jones) Pinder.  Her dad was not working. The town was divided into 5 school districts with 11 schools. Ellen attended “the old school house” on Pleasant Street, a short walk.

Her grandmother, the only grandparent that she had known, passed away in March 1853 of cancer in the bowels. By 1855, her father had a job as a dyer at William Barrett’s Dye Mills (Malden Dye House), a silk-dyeing business, the largest employer in Malden through the first half of the 19th century.


Malden 1857

In 1858, the same year the first horse street railway arrived (essentially a train car pulled by a horse), connecting Malden to Haymarket Square in Boston, sisters Mary and Abby married. Neither had children.

In May, Mary married David Marsden Patten, the son of John Patten and Nancy Ames. They were united by Rev. Wm. F. Stubbert of the First Baptist Church. He was a baker, who for many years ran a cracker and biscuit route for Warren Mansur of Charlestown. They initially settled in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Abby wed, a month later, Thomas Whitehead Hough son of John Hough and Laura Young.  Abby’s husband was a machinist for Mattapan Iron Works in the Edgeworth section of Malden, when they married. He  became a well known and popular citizen, who among other things, acquired the status of Malden Fire Chief and Commissioner and was a partner in Hough & Rummy Sewing Machine Manufacturers of Somerville.


By the start of the Civil War, Malden’s population had grown to almost 6,000.  Ellen, her parents and unmarried siblings, except David, had moved to Richardson Court, Malden, where all, excluding Ellen, remained for their lifetime. Horatio continued employment as a dyer and by 1860 a 17 year old Ellen had joined him working for the dye house.  The whereabouts of Ellen’s brother David is unknown from 1856 until 1871 when he appears in Quebec, Canada.

By 1865, Mary and her husband  had moved from Danvers back to the homestead on Richardson Court, where they remained until their deaths.  That year, Ellen was unemployed, Horatio was a laborer and the family had a 19 year old German boarder, Charles Weigel, a dyer.


By 1868, Ellen’s dad, Horatio, became a farmer.  In 1870, 2,200 Maldonians established a new town, named Everett, leaving Malden’s population at 7,300, albeit tripled since Ellen’s birth.  Horatio is listed in the census as a laborer (likely working on a local farm), Issac Butler, a 23 year old painter resides with the family.  A 28 year old Ellen is unemployed.

On Monday, 26 June 1871, Ellen, age 29,  married 36 year old Levi Farnham Nichols.  Levi, born in the area of Malden which later became Everett, resided on Cross Street in Malden with his mom. He was a trader, the son of George Nichols (deceased) and Mary Farnham.  Prior to becoming a trader, he was engaged in the leather business in Lynn, Massachusetts as a hide finisher and huckster and then worked as a milk dealer.  Levi was second of six; his siblings included George Jr. (blind from disease), Mary, Adeline, Lucy Ann and Benjamin Harris. The nuptials were  solemnized by Rev. Samuel W. Foljambe of the First Baptist Church.  The weather was a fair 68 degrees with light winds.

The newlyweds resided on 95 Cross Street on two acres of land, east of Henry Street near Levi’s mom, who was at 92 Cross. The adjoining property was owned by Levi’s siblings George and Mary (Mrs. Thomas Balcom).  Years later the houses were renumbered – Levi and Ellen to 283 Cross and Levi’s mom 276 Cross.

map  levi

Nine months after marriage, on 29 March 1872, Ellen gave birth to her only child, Gertrude May Nichols, who sadly passed away a day later; due to “severe labor and a diseased heart”.  A devastating loss.

In 1872, Ellen’s brother David, also a Baptist married Elizabeth Meline Lavery, a Catholic, daughter of Joseph Lavery and Elizabeth Allaire in Montréal, Québec.  Later that year, Ellen’s niece, Ida Loiser Hall was born, one of five who lived to adulthood. In 1876, David’s wife died during childbirth. In 1878, he married second, Sofrine Allard, daughter of Michel Allard and Appoline Guérard. A year later he was baptized a Catholic. They had seven children, three who lived to adulthood – Stella Amelia, Levina and Dorothy.

During the active years of her life, Ellen was a member of the Old and New woman’s club.  The Old and New was founded in Malden in October 1878 by Harriette Shattuck who had just returned from the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Women.  The time was ripe for women to band themselves together for literary and educational purposes. The primary objective was declared to be “to secure all women better moral, mental, physical and social conditions with a more through understanding of the question of the day and a confidence to utter their own thoughts”. The club started with 12 members, but by 1898 had 150 members and a waiting list.  They were the first to petition the State Legislator to ask that the age of consent for girls be raised from 12 to 18. When the law was passed in 1879 allowing women to vote, a member of the club was the first in the state to register as a voter (, pg 652).

By 1880, Ellen and Levi had a boarder named Willard Sears, a carpenter from Brewster, Massachusetts, who would reside with Ellen for close to 40 years, until his death in 1919. The couple still lived on Cross, near Levi’s widowed mother, blind brother George, widowed sister Lucy (her husband died of heart disease at age 39) and her two year old son Charles Adams Sanborn.

Ellen’s brother Ephraim Augustus (my g-grandfather) on 7 September 1880 married Roxanna Aurelia Wilson, daughter of David M. Wilson and Elizabeth Long.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. Dr. Lewis Benton Bates, a Methodist of East Boston.  Six months after their marriage, Roxanne gave birth to Ellen’s only nephew, Charles Milton Hall. They resided on Richardson Court, with the family, until 1891, when Roxanne’s brother-in-law, George Ira Pratt,  gave them a home on Forest Street in Malden for $1.

In 1881, an act of legislator granted Malden a city charter and Elisha S. Converse (founder of Boston Rubber Shoe Company, a large Malden employer) was elected as the city’s first mayor, a city of 12,000.

Ellen’s father died on 11 May 1884, age 81, from pneumonia.  The funeral was held at his home.  The Baptist Rev. Samuel W. Foljambe conducted the services. Two years later, she lost her mom on 22 July 1886 to brain disease, at 76.  They were  buried together at the Salem Street Cemetery.

Electricity came to Malden in 1886, the same era when the 8 room brick Lincoln School and Baptist Chapel were erected next door to the Nichols. The school was built on land donated to the city by Levi.

American Architect and Architecture published the following :
mayor blodgett

levi land3

school deed

Levi and his boarder/friend Sears had purchased an adjoining property together.   Ellen and Levi’s acreage in 1897 was one of the largest tracts of personally owned land in the area.

map  levi2

They were a block from the Suffolk Square shops (at the intersection of Cross & Bryant).  The area surrounding Suffolk Square had been predominantly Protestant, lower middle class. By 1912, over 50% of the residents were Jewish and by 1928, almost 75% of the ward was Jewish.  The Lincoln School was demolished several years ago and today the Nichols property is known as Suffolk Park in the Faulkner section of the city. There are dense 3-family houses with suburban-like low-income and senior public housing, in the area where Levi’s mother resided.


cross street

Photo: Malden Historical Society, 1920/30’s 

Ellen belonged to the Ladies Aid Association of the Malden Hospital organized Dec. 3, 1892. The members not only relieved the sick and suffering, but they gave material help toward the maintenance of the Malden Hospital.

By 1898, Malden’s population had grown 12 fold since Ellen’s birth to 32,000 and the city was very prosperous. Its firms manufactured shoe lasts, coal tar, and linen fire hose, among many other products. By 1899, Ellen’s brother David had relocated from Canada to Lowell, Massachusetts another booming city, with his wife and four daughters. He was employed first as a tanner, then a foreman in the leather industry. David lived in the Lowell/Dracut area until his death in 1915 at the age of 78 (cause was a strangulated hernia).

Ellen’s remaining siblings lived within a mile. In 1901, sister Abby passed away of pleuro pneumonia at age 61. 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.

Another sibling, Lucy Mason Hall, who had never married, died suddenly at home at age 58, in 1907 from Miocaritisis, she had had previous heart attacks. Ellen is listed as the informant on her death certificate. For nearly 25 years, Lucy was the birth census taker for the city clerk. She is buried at the Salem Street Cemetery.

Ellen’s brother-in-law David Patten passed away the following year. He was 80 and the oldest member of the Mt Vernon Mason Lodge in Malden.

On June 30, 1910, Ellen lost her husband Levi of arteriosclerosis after a long illness of heart and kidney troubles. He was 75. Some time prior to Levi’s death, they had become Methodists. Levi was a well known resident who had been retired about 20 years.  In his last will and testament, signed in 1888, he named Ellen as executrix.  His estate was valued at about $58,000. His assets included $16,800 in real estate (283 Cross St., 276 Cross St., 278-280 Cross St., 16 Henry St. and 3 Dana St.) and $42,864 in personal assets which included about $5,500 in deposits in six different banks.  Secured mortgages and notes, extended to 25 individuals, made up the remainder. It appears that during his retirement he became a mortgagee.

levi landlevi land2

He left a sum of $3,000 to his sister, Lucy Sanborn [now Lucy Adams] ; $1,000 to his nephew Charles A. Sanborn,   $1,000 each to his wife’s sisters Mary Elizabeth and Lucy Mason [Lucy predeceased him]; and the remainder to his wife. His brother Benjamin and nieces Lucy Mills and Mary Greenwood (his sister, Mary Balcolm’s children) were living, but not named in the will.

A few months later, Ellen’s sister-in-law Roxanne Aurelie (Wilson) Hall passed away.  Ellen’s boarder Williard Sears was named as one of the estate appraisers, an estate valued at $2,350 which included the Forest Street home.

By 1911, Ellen had relocated to her home at 3 Dana St., Malden. Their boarder, Willard Sears, still employed as a carpenter, joined her.

7c348ced-d3ed-4d41-93a7-7adf0d3efa3c a5134424-ebe8-4f07-859c-fd35f0e68fd7

Malden 1910/11

Abby’s husband Thomas Hough passed away in 1912, at age 75, of prostate cancer. His estate was valued at $33,855.22; he left small sums and a piano to a number of friends, $1,000 to his sister-in-law Mary (Hall) Patten, $500 to his nephew Charles M. Hall and the remainder was split between his brother George Hough of Grand Rapids, Michigan  and the First Parish Universalist Church of Malden. Ellen was not named. Abby and Thomas are buried together at Mt Auburn in Cambridge.

Ellen’s brother Ephraim Augustus (my 2nd g-grandfather) was committed to the insane asylum at Danvers State Hospital (Massachusetts) in 1916.  His son Charles Milton Hall filed for guardianship of the $2,807 estate, which included the Forest Street home.  Ellen signed along with Kittie Shipman (Charles’ mother-in-law). Less than a year later, Ephraim died from septicemia following gangrene of the foot. Ephraim and Roxanna are buried together in Forestdale Cemetery.

Williard Sears, Ellen’s longtime boarder, and likely close friend, died in 1919.  She was the informant listed on his death certificate and both still resided at 3 Dana.  He was 79 and cause of demise was uraemia from chronic brights disease and chronic cystitis. He was buried at Quivet Neck Cemetery in East Dennis, Massachusetts, likely with his ancestors.

Ellen’s sister, Mary Elizabeth (Hall) Patten, died in 1920, of chronic endocarditis, while sitting in a chair at home, she was almost 88. Her estate was valued at $1,400 which was split equally between her heirs. She and her husband are buried at  the Salem Street Cemetery.

Ellen passed away at 6AM, after a week of sickness, on 13 Aug 1923, of apoplexy. at the age of 81 years, 3 months, 23 days. At the time of her death, she was the “oldest, native born, Malden woman”.  Her nephew, Charles Hall of 17 Dale Street, Malden, was the informant listed on her death certificate.  He got her name wrong, listing her as Ellen Sarah Nichols.  He correctly named her parents, but incorrectly listed their places of birth. Ellen was buried at Forestdale Cemetery in a grave with her husband, his parents, his siblings George and Mary and Mary’s husband Thomas Balcom.



In Ellen’s lifetime, the Malden population had grown almost 20 times larger (2,500 at birth to 49,103 at death).  Besides the changes in her own city, she had seen an amazing array of inventions. Besides the obvious (cars, telephones, production lines and airplanes), some of my favorites include, the stop sign and traffic light, zippers,  the teddy bear, American baseball and football, donuts, jellybeans and potato chips.

Ellen’s last will and testament is undated, it was likely written prior to Mary Patten’s death in 1920, since she is named.  After Ellen’s debts are paid, she asked that her assets be distributed as follows:

  • A trust of $5,000 to her trustees (Charles M. Hall and Dudley Bailey of Everett or Ernest Fall of Everett should Dudley be deceased) to hold and manage, collect interest and income, pay taxes, insurance and otherwise and to pay over the net income remaining monthly to her brother Horatio for the term of his natural life, if he should require more for sickness or comfortable support, the trustees are authorized to dispense a portion of the principle
  • $5,000 to  sister Mary Patten [deceased, not paid]
  • A total of $10,000 divided to the widow of her brother David and his daughters Ida Blaine, Amelia Thibeault [Amelia Guy], Levina Gagne and Dorothy Hall [Dorothy Jaques] of Lowell – $2,000 each
  • $500 to Charles G. Hall of Malden
  • $1,000 to Sarah C. Mentzer* wife of William A. Mentzer of Hudson, Massachusetts [died before estate settled, paid to her estate]
  • the residue to her nephew Charles M. Hall of Malden ($48,549.68 after all debts were paid, or about the same buying power as $660,000 in 2014 dollars)

*Sarah Mentzer was likely a longtime friend.  She was born Sarah Carter Robinson, in 1844, in Malden, to Samuel Robinson and Abigail Wheeler;  in 1860 at age 16, she worked at the Malden Dye House with Ellen. She married William, a retired farmer, in 1862. Both died in Revere, Massachusetts –  William in 1918 and Sara in 1924.

Ellen owned land and buildings at 3 Dana Street, Malden, 3,274 square feet, valued at $3,400 and had $500 in furniture and personal effects. After Levi’s death, she continued as a mortgagee. Ellen had managed (likely with her nephew’s assistance) 19 mortgages and notes; which at the time of her death were valued at $28,000.

ellen land 1

The remainder was invested in 17 deposit and trust companies, first and second Liberty Loans (government bonds) and shares in American Telephone and Telegraph, Boston Edison Light and Massachusetts Gas.

By 1924, Ellen’s brother Horatio, a retired Malden firefighter, who gave 34 years of service and never married,  had relocated to the home at 3 Dana. A year later and until his death in 1930 he resided at 335 Forest St., a home formerly owned by his brother Ephraim and nephew Charles Milton Hall. He resided with the Littlefield and Ross families (no known relation).

Historically, the Hall’s had been successful businessmen and large land owners in the United States as early as 1727.  But Ellen’s generosity, changed the course of the financial life of my g-grandfather, Charles Milton Hall, which had significant impact on future generations of the Hall family.


Identifying the Parents of Horatio Hall

Halls of Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Identifying the Parents of Horatio Hall

By Linda Hall-Little


Hall family researcher Rev. David B. Hall in his book The Halls of New England makes the claim that  Horatio Hall was born 18 June 1802 in Norton, Massachusetts; died 11 May 1884 in Malden, Massachusetts and was the child of Major Brian Hall and Polly Lane prominent citizens of Norton, Massachusetts. He says: “Brian was a farmer and landholder who volunteered at an early age on the Revolutionary rolls and was subsequently major of artillery in the old 4th Regiment. He took a leading position among his townsmen, was a member of the board of assessors and selectman for about twenty years and was a member of the old Congregational Society”.  No sources are given, most of Rev. Hall’s data was collected by writing letters of inquiry to Hall families.

Rev. Hall lists this Hall family as follows

View original post 4,361 more words

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