Abner Hall

Abner Hall (1795-1843) was born to Hezekiah and Keziah Banks Hall in Bedford County, Virginia. Abner married Jane "Jenny" Overstreet in 1814, the daughter of Revolutionary War Veteran, John Overstreet. Jenny's brother, Rev. John Overstreet and his family arrived in Athens in 1819, but a larger family group including Abner and his brother James, along with their wives and children arrived in 1822 from Lawrence County, Ohio, where Abner and Jane had lived since 1815, and had borne four children. Jenny Overstreet's brother Dabney, Wesley Hall (a nephew of the Hall brothers), and Peter Perkins (a cousin of the Halls) were in Athens by 1827. Abner Hall’s other four children were born in Menard County, Illinois. Their children were: James Wesley (Catherine Claypool), Catherine (Joseph Banks Ayers), Abner Banks (Helen Jennet Francis), Nancy (William Moran), Matilda Jane (Corydon Clark), Andrew (Mary Moran), Amanda (Tilman Clark), Mary Jane (Hugh Trent, then Gaston Tyler). The Elisha Hall family was the last to arrive in Athens, Sangamon (later Menard) County, Illinois, probably bringing “Old John” Overstreet and his wife, Nancy, with them in 1827.

Abner Hall was one of the first merchants in Athens, forming a partnership with his brother, Elisha, in 1833. On July 24th, 1834, Abner and his son-in-law, Joseph B. Ayers, bought acreage on the Sangamon River about two miles southwest of the village of Athens. Hall acquired a considerable amount of farm land around Athens before his death. He ran a cabinet shop, operated a saw mill, and at one time owned a fifth interest in a carding mill. Abner’s saw mill and the tan yard operated by Turner Holland were located near the corner of Jefferson and Mill Streets (now a parking lot for the Athens Methodist Church). The frame home which Abner Hall built, across from the sawmill, was later operated as a “tavern” (actually an inn) by his son, Abner Banks Hall. The inn was incorporated into a residence which is still occupied on the northwest corner of Mill and Jefferson Streets.

Abner died on April 10, 1843, and is assumed to be buried in the Hall family plot in West Cemetery in Athens, Illinois, as he donated the land for the cemetery while on his death bed, but there is no marked grave.

Submitted by Barbara Shannon Cox

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