Chapter 12, Page 110
.. they and their descendants created a
Children of Abner and Jane (Overstreet) Hall
||James Wesley Hall (Claypool), 1815 - 1870|
(Catherine Hall (Ayers, 1818 - 1900
( Abner Banks Hall (Francis), 1820 - 1896
(Nancy Hall (Moran), 1824 - 1851
|Children born in Illinois
||Maltilda Jane Hall (Clark), 1828 - 1916|
Andrew J. Hall, 1829 - 1865
Amanda Hall (Lloyd) (Clark), 1833 - 1862
Mary Hall (Trent) (Tyler), 1835 - 1882
James Wesley Hall, 1815 - 1870, the oldest son of Abner and Jane Hall, the great- grandfather of the author, is discussed in the section: The Grandfather of the Civil War.
Andrew J. Hall, 1829 - 1865, is discussed in the section The Halls and the Civil War.
They lived in the period when
log cabins became frame houses
and the passions of the people
over slavery led to the Civil War.
Note: it is thought that this is
the first complete study of
of the family of Abner and
Jane (Overstreet) Hall, a
pioneer group at Athens,
a distinguished branch of the family
Catherine Hall (Ayers)
1818 - 1900
The first marriage in Abner Hall's family was that of his daughter, Catherine. She was married February 22, 1832 to Joseph B. Ayers, 1808 - 1880. Ayers was the son-in-law who participated with Abner in the sale of town lots in 1836.
Catherine, one of the children born in Ohio married very young, a check of the dates given for her birth and marriage, indicates that she was only fourteen years of age. If these dares are correct, this was in keeping with pioneer times when maturity arrived early. Young women were considered adults at age 16; boys when they reached 18. Ayers was twenty-four at the time of the marriage.
Not only did Abner Hall receive a real estate partner, but the marriage of Catherine started a rather important line of descendants. For purposes of convenience, it shall be referred to as the Hall - Ayers - Roberts line, although there were many other family names to become eventually included in it.
The older spelling of this name was sometimes given an 'Ayars.' The old county histories give adequate accounts of this family, generally referring to their farming and business interests. Apparently they were willing to take chances for business success in the early history of Menard county.
There is some indication that they arrived in Illinois from Virginia by way of Ohio, the same path as the Hall family. The report of the wedding indicates that it was performed in Springfield by Rev. John G. Bergen. Bergen was an early Presbyterian minister. The Halls, as near as can be determined were Methodists. Methodism were an early frontier religion; the Presbyterians had an older background and their membership usually had a higher socio-economic background.
During his lifetime, J.B. Ayers acquired both city and farm property in and around Athens. The Petersburg Observer, in its issue of January 24, 1880 said his, 'funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Athens.' This was an indication of his prominence. It was further stated that he had lived for over fifty years in Menard county.
On October 17, 1856 Elizabeth Ann Ayers, daughter of Joseph and Catherine Ayers, was married to Dr. William F. Roberts. Roberts, 1834 - 1902, was Virginia born and by his efforts as a cabinet maker was able to attend the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, graduating as an M.D. in 1860. (Elizabeth Ann Ayers (Roberts), 1840 - 1879.
Roberts returned to Athens, where he practiced medicine and in common with other physicians of his time, he later owned and operated a drug store there, (1879). Roberts, of course, was of age to be in the Civil War and his record is discussed in the section: The Halls in the Civil War.
W.B. Ayers, brother of Elizabeth Ann Ayers (Roberts) served in the War. Ayers received a good education for the time. He attended the North Sangamon Academy at Indian Point, highly regarded in those days. After some business experience in Indiana, he returned to Athens to manage a livery stable, and to operate a lumber yard. He ran the family farm - an inheritance from J.B. and Catherine Ayers. He served the community in several ways, helping organize a bank and serving on the first school board. In 1868 he married Mary Pines, d. 1879, and had three children: Etta M., Lou and Fred. Fred W. Ayers followed in his father's footsteps serving the community in several public offices.
Most important for the family history, the Ayers-Roberts branch, until very recent times furnished the best educated and most professional persons among the Abner Hall descendants. Over the years they produced druggists, doctors, lawyers, etc. Of interest in 1976, Mark O. Roberts, Springfield, is a well-known attorney and along with his brother, Frank, was founder and president of the Standard Mutual Insurance Company of that city. +
Considerable interest has been shown by various members of this branch in their family history. This is especially as regards memberships in the DAR - tracing their lines to John Overstreet, Sr. Others have become members of the Daughters of 1812.
It will be noted that Elizabeth Ann Ayers married at 16 years of age; her mother married at 14. In their day, education for women was not yet making its demands and delaying marriage for women.
the family's Lincoln associations
Abner Banks Hall
1820 - 1896
Abner Banks Hall, second son of Abner Hall, was born in Ohio and came with his family when they migrated to Illinois. He lived out his life at Athens, Illinois a total of over seventy years. His life covered the span of the laying out and naming of the town, through the Mexican and Civil War; he witnessed the coming of the railroad and the end of pioneer times. Athens was a collection of log cabins during his youth. At the time of his death it was a small city, filled with frame houses made of dressed lumber and among the more prosperous some homes were made of brick.
Perhaps the most important event of his life, and likewise a most significant event in the history of the Abner Hall family is recorded in an item which appeared in the Sangamo Journal, January 8, 1844, it read:
'Married in Athens, this county, on the 4th inst. by Rev. G. L. Roberts, Mr. A. Banks Hall, to Miss Helen Jennett, eldest dau. of Mr. Calvin Francis.'
This marriage placed the Hall family as part of what was to become one of the most distinguished groups in the early history of central Illinois.
Helen Jennett Francis, 1824 - 1899, was a niece of Simeon Francis co-founder and editor of the Sangamo Journal, an important newspaper in the rise of Abraham Lincoln to fame and power. Simeon Francis and his wife, Eliza Rumsey Francis, were to play a dramatic role in the romance of Lincoln and Mary Todd. The Lincoln's, both husband and wife, were closely associated with the Francis family.
Years later, after Lincoln's election to the presidency, Francis was given an important military position in Oregon --- a tribute to their earlier Illinois years and to the events that transpired in Springfield during the pre-Civil War years.
Francis' paper, the Sangamo Journal, continues today as the State Journal-Register and is Illinois' oldest surviving newspaper.++
Calvin Francis, 1802 - 1886, father of Jennett and brother of Simeon, was an outstanding man in his own right. He spent a greater portion of his adult life at Athens. He was a true community leader and man of responsibility. He served as Justic of Peace and as a city official. At his death, the newspaper at the county seat, Petersburg, made considerable note of his good life.
The fact that Calvin (also a brother Josiah) lived at Athens, and Simeon published the newspaper at Springfield and the Halls being related by marriage, gave the family considerable newspaper coverage. These factors added up and the task of gathering material for The Grandfathers was made considerably easier.
In addition to owning some property in Athens, which had come through his father, Abner Banks Hall, entered the construction business, - a logical step for the son of a town planner. Somewhere along the line he learned the trade of a brickmason, as did his older brother, James Wesley Hall.
These two brothers fathered in turn, several generations of masons, who did most of such work in Athens and vicinity. A large number of the older masonry structures in the community that have withstood the years are of their handiwork.
From the Petersburg Democrat of January 30, 1875 under the heading Athens Letter the following incident is told involving Abner Banks Hall:
A.B. Hall vs. Peter Coady was the title of a suit tried here one day last week before the J.P. The material facts are about as follows.
'Early last autumn Hall did a piece of brick work and plastering for Coady. After the work was finished Coady paid Hall a part of the money due for the work. The remainder, after waiting till the present time, he refused to pay, alleging that the work was not according to contract and he was under no obligation to pay for it. But it was held that by part payment he accepted the work and he was ordered to pay the balance.'
Abner Banks Hall was part and parcel of the story of Athens during his lifetime. A recognized citizen, he was active in community affairs and held several town offices. We find him serving on the jury, speaking at a Democrat rally on issues of the day, buying and selling real estate and having family problems, such as the death of an infant son age six months in 1851 (he was named for his father) and a daughter Mary Eliza in 1854 at age of fifteen months.
However, he did have children who survived and in the Petersburg Observer, October 2, 1865 is the record of the marriage of his oldest daughter, Ida. +++ He apparently lived a good and respected life. He was honored, along with other deceased old timers, at the Menard county Old Settlers Picnic in 1897, the year following his death.
At the time of the Civil War he was a mature man with a family, he was forty years of age. Men of that age, with families did not usually serve. There is some evidence that he was in a volunteer or militia unit at the start of the war but was not 'mustered' into the service.
Earlier in life he had militia service.
In doing The Grandfathers, no record could be found of a family member being in the Mexican War (1848). Abner Banks Hall saved the day!
In looking through the Illinois State Archives, the following entry was found ---
'Hall, A.B. Commissioned 3rd Lt. Menard Artillery, 79th reg 7 - 7 - 48.'
There it was. Abner Banks Hall, a militiaman in the Mexican War - not called into service.
During their years at Athens, Abner and Jennett Hall kept a Tavern (recorded in the 1850 census). This could have been in their home. A tavern in those days was a place to eat and sleep, not solely for the sale of liquor. To sell liquor a license had to be had and Athens was a 'dry' town. The record of the tavern, the taxes paid, etc., is available. Their kept this business through the 1860s.
This Tavern brings in the best Hall story for Lincoln associations. Tradition has it that Lincoln stopped at the Hall Tavern many times during his early career. This story has credibility as Lincoln did do law work and earlier Surveying at Athens. He had many contacts in the community. As a source of food, the Tavern was his best bet!
John Clark Harris in his family history, tells of knowing Jennett Francis Hall in her later years. He makes a great deal out of the Hall family connections with the Francis group. He characterizes Abner Bank's wife "as an exceptionally intelligent women."
Harris also tells of Abner Banks Hall hunting squirrels with Lincoln. Another story tells of him setting stakes for Lincoln during the surveying work. Harris likely got these stories from Mrs. Hall. ++++
We can follow Abner Bank's voting during the critical war years. +++++ Suffice it to say, that he was a member of the 'Republican' or 'Union' party and voted for Lincoln in 1864. During the War he was in his forties and he did not qualify for Class I military service. Consequently, we do not find him registered or enrolled in 1862, nor any subsequent dates. +++++
He did not contribute to the extra 'bounty' raised in the community for enlistees from Athens in 1865. * He may not have had the needed $25.00.. In order to make their quotas, the town was paying an extra bonus to the $300 the government was giving each new recruit. This would make a total of $325 - quite a sum in those days!
Still existing in the records is his account at the Rogers Store for the year 1848 --- it totaled $12.94. Flour and lumber seem to be the principal purchases - the account was paid for by his brother-in-law, W.L. Moran. They must have had a deal between them!
Like any good neighbor, Abner Banks Hall gave assistance when it was needed. On the seventh day of March, 1890, Almira Hunt (nee Almira Tabor) of Athens sought as widow from her first husband Tillman H. Clark, a widow's pension based on Clark's service in the Civil War. She could only make her mark. Two witnesses were needed to make her 'mark' legal. A.B. Hall was one of the two witnesses. He gave his signature as A.B. Hall.
The Clarks and the Halls, as well as the Tabor family were longtime Athens residents. We shall hear more of them in discussing two of his sisters.
Abner Banks and Jennett (Francis) Hall are buried in Old West Cemetery at Athens.
(That Lived to be Adults)
| Ida Francis Hall,|| 1856 - 1925 || m. 1875|
| Thos. L. Croft,|| 1853 - 1934|
| Abigail Jane Hall|| 1859 - 1914|| m. 1886|
| Jas. H. Parrish|| 1854 - 1928|
| Calvin Francis Hall|| 1861 - 1955|| m. 1882|
| Carrie Elizabeth Whitehurst,|| 1863 - 1950|
Of Their Family, one member will be discussed in detail ----
Calvin Francis Hall
1861 - 1955
No accounting of the Abner Hall branch of the family would be complete without referring to Calvin Francis Hall, his grandson and son of Abner Banks Hall. To Athenians he was known as 'Cal" Hall. He spent his entire life in the village founded by his grandfather.
Following the footsteps of his father, he was a brick mason by trade and in the tradition of his grandfathers, Calvin Francis and Abner Hall; he was a true pillar of the community, serving in many public offices.
From the issue of the Athens Cyclone - a short-lived newspaper - published Saturday, October 31, 1885 is taken an advertisement:
'C.F. Hall, brick mason, plasterer and cistern builder.'
A simple, honest workman's statement.
Half - Century
A half-century later, the Athens Free Press, in its issue of December 2, 1937 stated:
'Of all the business firms advertised in the Cyclone, as far as we are able to learn, just one man survives and that is C.F. Hall.
'Mr. Hall occasionally does some light job pertaining to his old vocation.'
As the Athens Methodist Church neared its centennial in 1931, Cal Hall was called on to make minor repairs in the brick structure, which he had attended over the years.
All his married life was spent in a modest brick cottage that he built for his bride and into which they moved after their marriage in 1882. It was in this home that his children were reared and where over the years many a family dinner was held.
When Athens became a city in 1892, he was elected to the first city council. In its issue of May 10, 1935 the Athens Free Press reported that 'C.F. Hall was at that time the only living member of the first city council.'
We find his name listed in 1920 as President of the Athens West Cemetery Association --- the burial ground given by his grandfather to the community in 1843. If not serving as the head, he was always one of the trustees of the property. From his home in west Athens it was but a short walk to this burying ground in which many of his ancestors rested. It was here that he and his wife would be buried.
As times changed, and he became older, the trade of a small city mason and handy man dwindled. Faced with these changes, he turned to other ways of making a living. From 1926 through 1937 he and his good wife ran a cottage grocery in their home --- giving the neighbors a handy commissary. He took nursery orders - as did his grandfather Francis many years before; he sold grave markers, he believed in self-sufficiency.
Death came to Calvin Francis Hall on the New Year's Day, 1955 a little over 125 years after Abner Hall platted out the village of Athens. At the time of his death, 'Cal' Hall was noted as the 'oldest citizen of the city and a life-long resident.' Five of the seven children born to Cal and Carrie were living in 1955. At that time he had six grandchildren, and fourteen great grand-children. The Hall name would survive in the male children of his sons.
The Best Tribute
Formal tributes are fine, but the best are those that come from memories and the heart. In 1955 from an old friend from a far-off city was published in the Athens newspaper - a letter.
The writer asked: 'Do you remember Cal Hall and his accordion, playing at our dances?'
What a wonderful way to be remembered!
Family of Calvin Francis and Carrie E. Hall
Maryetta Hall (Killion), 1883-1964
Earl Abner Hall, 1889-1909 **
Everette Raymond Hall, 1892-1962
Harold Allen Hall, 1895-1972
Lester Banks Hall, 1898 - 1960
Leona Margurite Hall (Dallman), 1901-1974
Carl Alexander Hall, 1905 - 1906
tragedy in the family
Nancy Hall (Moran)
1824 - 1851
On April 20, 1845, Abner's daughter Nancy married William Moran. Nancy was the youngest of the four children born in Ohio. She would have no memory of her Ohio years, being a baby when the family came to Illinois. She was dead before thirty years of age.
Near the farm of my grandfather, south and west of Athens, in the bottom land along the Sangamon River was an old Moran Cemetery. Several of the older Menard county maps show its location. It was long neglected, perhaps now plowed over.
Farm cemeteries are not unusual in rural Illinois, they were the products of pioneer times. But in this case, the cemetery came into existence under sad conditions. It was associated with a family tragedy.
Cholera was a dread disease of pioneer Illinois. The Athens community seemed to have more than its share of it. It was re-current over the years. The Sangamo Journal printed at Springfield, on August 7, 1833, under the heading: Athens, Deaths from Cholera, reported that 'there have been ten deaths of Cholera in this place, eight whites and two blacks.' (One of the rare instances of referring to Negroes in the community.)
Cholera, most prevalent in the summer months, struck Athens in June, 1851; within days many deaths were reported and the town took the appearance of a plague-ridden city of the Middle Ages. People dare not to venture from their homes and travelers were told to avoid the town. 'Grass began to grow in Main Street.' and only the venturesome, the doctors and those who were to bury the dead were seen about the town.'***
The story of this plague, long in the folk-history of the community and Hall family is generally reported as occurring in 1848. Possibly there was cholera that year, but not as severe in 1851.
In attempting to tell how the plague came to Athens, the story was widely circulated that a box of merchandise shipped to Athens from St. Louis to Salzenstein's store. (Cholera was rampant in St. Louis.) The box was set in front of the store, but was unopened until late afternoon. In addition to those employed at the store, several volunteer workers helped open the box and place the merchandise inside the store. An activity of this nature was an attraction and a number of townspeople gathered around.
It is true that nearly all those who handled the merchandise succumbed to Cholera with hours. Taking hold, the epidemic swept through the community, reaching into nearly every household.
The heroics of the local and nearby doctors are well recorded as well as those who went from house to house giving assistance or helping to bury those who died. (Old West Cemetery given to the town by Abner Hall in 1843 was the final resting place for many - in unmarked graves!)
Among those at the store was Thomas Moran, a clerk, who within hours died. The plague then started in the Moran family took in it paths, the mother, William Moran, Jr., and his wife, two children John and Charles Moran, and a daughter of William Moran, Sr.
The panic-stricken family, spirited the bodies out of the town and buried them as the account recalls, 'two miles west of the city,' this would be in the approximate area of the Moran cemetery previously referred to.
William Moran, Jr., and wife, would be Nancy Hall and her husband. **** The two children their family. Thus, the Moran line of Abner Hall descendants was extinguished six years after Nancy's marriage. *****
comments: At this time the notation of contagious diseases carried by insects contaminated drinking water, etc. was not general knowledge. The disease likely did not come from the merchandise, but rather from drinking water. The store personnel and the others on a hot day were drinking water copiously. There was a nearby 'privy' feeding into the water supply - this is the possible source of infection.
The Cholera epidemic of 1851 was a blow that took the community over five years to recover from. It was not until 1856 that Athens' business and industries experience a revival.
There had been thirty deaths in the city in a matter of a few weeks - about ten percent of the population. The fact that the local water supply was contaminated, is supported by the fact that no deaths were reported from the farm houses in the nearby countryside.
Note: The Matthew Roger's Scrapbook of 1832 (a surviving store ledger used as a scrap book in later generations) give the purchases (including whiskey!) of the Hall-Overstreet pioneers during that year. It may be viewed at the Public Library in Athens, Ill.
they married brothers
Mathilda Jane Hall (Clark)
1828 - 1916
Amanda Hall (Lloyd) (Clark)
1833 - 1862
Two daughters of Abner and Jane Overstreet Hall will be discussed together. This is because they married brothers. Matilda Jane and Amanda were among the four younger children who were born in Illinois. Of the two, the history of Matilda Jan is best known. This is due to the work of John Clark Harris, one of her descendants. Harris, a family historian, developed his family history through eight generations erroneously assigning Hezekiah Hall, 1741 - 1811, to the role of a son of John Hall, d. 1794, whereas the men were brothers. Harris had no information on William Hall, d. 1757, their father.
Matilda Jane Hall was born October 12, 1828 in Athens and died March 7, 1916 still a resident of the same community. She was married to Corydon Clark, 1820-1890, November 2, 1843, the same year her father died. She was to live to be 88 years old. From the marriage of Matilda and Corydon fourteen children were born. Of the fourteen, five failed to reach adulthood. Four of the five failed to reach two years of age, one was 15 years old at time of death. This is one of the most complete records on infant mortality we have among the pioneers of the family.
The oldest daughter, Arminda Jane Clark, 1845-1932, from her marriage to Abram Smith Harris, 1836-1894, had eight children, two of which died in childhood. In the succeeding generations, it appears that there was a tendency to fewer children and more childless adults. An inspection of family names to be found in this wing of the Abner Hall family shows many familiar Athens names, such as: Myers - Graham - Bennett - Wildman - Kincaid - Gudgel - Hopwood and others. The Hall name, of course, disappears as the Hall women married adopting their husband's surnames and the possibilities of distant cousins marrying increases, particularly if there is a tendency for the group to remain in one community.
Very little is known of the family of Matilda's sister Amanda. It is possible that this line of the family has died out although such occrence would be difficult to prove. We can only surmise about Amanda, working back so to speak from what is known of her husband, Tillman H. Clark, 1822 - 1864.
From the pension application papers of Tillman's second wife, Almira Hunt, we learn that his first marriage was on January 13, 1852. The marriage was to Amanda Lloyd (Loyd). There seemed to be only one interpretation to this information. Amanda Hall had been married to a Lloyd prior to her marriage to Clark. Apparently she had married at 16, been widowed and re-married before she was 20.
In studying the 1850 census for Menard county the following information was found:
Francis Lloyd, age 25 and born in Michigan had as his wife, Amanda, age 17, who was born in Illinois. This would make Amanda's birth year 1833 and fit well into the pattern of births for Abner and Jane Hall's children. Amanda would be next to the youngest child.
In the Lloyd household was listed Wm F. age six months, possibly Francis' and Amanda's' child. Amanda had married at 16. In the same household was A.J. Lloyd, male age 20, also born in Michigan, probably a brother of Francis.
The clincher for this genealogical detective work is that Francis Lloyd was listed as a brick maker. Amanda's second husband, Tillman H. Clark was associated with his brother, Corydon, in the Athens brickyard. Amanda was married to Clark in 1852 at age 19. Amanda's first husband and child may have died in the Cholera epidemic of 1851, which wiped out her sister Nancy and family.
From the papers involved in Almira Hunt's application, Tillman and Amanda had two daughters, Silva born 1853 and Ada born in 1860. Since Tillman was in uniform from 1862 through 1863 and re-married, this time to Almira in late 1863, we can then establish the approximate year in which Amanda Lloyd Clark (nee Hall) died. (Fortunately, the exact date of her death was in the Hunt papers; November 3, 1862.) Nothing is known of the daughters other than names and birthdates.
Almira's application for a pension as a widow of a Civil War veteran presents an interesting story. She made her application in 1890 at the age of 56. By that time she was a widow of her second husband, Mr. Hunt.
She was making the pension application as a 'former' widow. The records show that she married Tillman H. Clark, a widower with two young daughters, on November 3, 1863, just one year after Amanda's death. Tillman had received a disability discharge from the Union army June 19 of that year. Clark lived only to May 9, 1864 - his war services hastening his death. His widow then re-married later. (see: Halls in the Civil War.)
By 1890 getting pensions for Civil War veterans and their wives was a big business and Almira may have been encouraged in this by a pro - pensions took the place of Social Security in those days.
Almira Hunt (nee Tabor) could not sign her name and she had to have two witnesses. As previously told, Abner Banks Hall was one of the witnesses. Since he was a brother of Amanda, this strengthens the clain that Amanda Lloyd had been his sister. Kind of involved, but convincing to the searcher.
The Tabor family was long-time neighbors of the Halls in Athens - the original family member was the city's blacksmith. It is hoped that Almira was a good mother to her step-daughters, who were ten and three years of age at the time of her marriage to their father.
In the search for anedotal material to be included in The Grandfathers, the following unhappy incident came to light in the April 20, 1860 issue of the Menard County Axis a newspaper then published at Petersburg. The incident is rather unusual as it involves the two Hall women and the two Clark husbands:
'Geo. Power, assignee of Nicholas Perrin and of Ira A. Brown, Sr., vs. Corydon Clark, Matilda Clark, Tilman H. Clark, Amanda Clark.'
The follows the legal descriptions of the properties involved: two tracts, one of 120 acres and another of 23 acres, located in the Athens area.
In the announcement it was stated that the court decrees the sale, at 9 a.m. at Athens on May 19, 1860.
On May 25, 1860 evidently Myer Myers & Lewis Myers were in suit with the Clarks.
The final record is that of the Foreclosure of the Mortgage at Petersburg, June 23, 1860.
It appears that the Clarks had over-extended themselves as they were in business at Athens.
The Clark men, Corydon and Tillman were descendants of Athens pioneers as were the women they married. From the writings of George W. Boyd, a later-day Athens historian we learn about the brothers.
'It was west of the old cemetery, and was a horse and handpower mill. Corydon was the kiln-man and Tilman the yard-man. The advent of machine-made bricks ended the enterprise.'
According to the History of Menard county (1879), the Clarks were children of Elisha and Sarah (Gard) Clark and came from near Cincinnati to Illinois in 1824 and to Menard county in 1846. Corydon Clark was listed as a farmer and tile manufacturer. 'His yards are the largest and best arranged in the county, and he manufactures upon a large scale.' After describing his tile (tile for farming) the reference to Clark concludes: 'Mr. Clark is one of the enterprising, industrious and well-do-do citizens of Menard County.'
Evidently Corydon Clark was held in high esteem by his family. Many of his male descendants were given the name Corydon. For example: Ray Corydon Clark, 1886-1950 and Corydon Clark Fisher, 1880-1958.
During his time, Corydon Clark was prominent in Athens affairs participating in many community events. Like most men of his time he mixed various business enterprises with farming. For many years he was in the contracting business. He gave land to enlarge Old West Cemetery, founded by his father-in-law. This was possibly land from the brick making operations.
With the marriage of the two Hall sisters to the two Clark brothers, a repeat incident occurred in the Hall family. Back in Virginia their father Abner Hall and married Jane Overstreet and his brother, Elisha had married Jane's sister, Nancy. No wonder, then, that farther down the line the cousins were a little unsure of their kinship to each other!
Had the reader lived in Athens in the 1860's and for a long period thereafter, he would have had his bricks made by relatives of the Halls and the bricks laid by the Halls; there would scarcely be a service in the town that the Halls couldn't have provided, including the burial ground.
victim of the Civil War
Mary Hall (Trent) (Tyler)
1835 - 1882
The first record we have of Mary Hall, youngest child of Abner and Jane Overstreet is in the census of 1840. By that date their family is completed and Mary is just a notation as a female in the 0 to 5 year old group. ^
Mary was eight years old when her father, Abner Hall, passed away.
The census of 1850 tells us more. By then Jane Overstreet Hall - or 'Jenny' as she is listed, heads the household in which there remain only two children. They are: Mary and her bachelor brother Andrew J. Her name is given in this record as is her age. She is fifteen, and this fixes for us her birth year - 1835. (The state census of 1855 shows essentially the same information.)
1850 proved to be an important year for Mary, on November 14 she married Hugh A.P. Trent. It is likely that she became sixteen years of age a month or so after the Census taker had made his rounds. Hugh Trent, 1827 - 1867, was also in the 1850 census the oldest child at home in his family. He was twenty-three years old, born in Illinois, as was Mary, and no trade, nor occupation and no property of value.
Hugh was the son of Alexander and High Trent. Alexander in 1850 was 52 years old, born in Virginia; Highland, 49, was born in Illinois. Alexander Trent was listed as a Carpenter and had appreciable taxable property to the amount of $1.000.
Alexander Trent more commonly called 'Alex' in the old records, was an early arrival in Sangamon county and settled in the New Salem area. In 1839 this area became a portion of Menard county. Alex was a member of Abe Lincoln's Black Hawk War company and for a time operated the Lincoln-Berry store in New Salem.
In the uncataloged papers of Sangamon county at the Illinois State Historical Library is the record of the sale of the New Salem Ferry by John Ferguson to Alex Trent. Since ferries were regulated by the County Commissioners, they were limited in the charges and other matters. Trent's operation had to be approved. At the July, 1832 term of the county court, acting as a witness for the transactions (semi-legal status) was a gentleman known as A. Lincoln.
One hundred years later, John C. Harris discussing 'The True Lincoln Trail' was concerned that present-day history students would confuse the present roads leading in and out New Salem would be confused with the trails used in the 1830s. According to Harris, 'Lincoln would cross the Sangamon at New Salem, either by fording or ferrying across the Sangamon River and travel almost due east to Athens. Turning South the trail led to Sangamo Town where the River could be forded are ferried and thence to Springfield.' Modern markers for the 'Lincoln Post Road' can only in part used the trail of the pioneers.
From the foregoing the importance of Trent's Ferry at New Salem can be determined.
Hugh Trent was First Lt. of Company E, 85th Regt. Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served from 1861 through 1864. In the 1864 Georgia campaign he suffered severe wounds, incapacitating him for the remainder of his life. ^^ According to the National Archives, he died at the home of a brother in Iowa in April, 1867.
Until her re-marriage in 1875 (Gaston M. Tyler) she was faced with a hard life. Her family reflected these conditions in the kind of lives they led. Due to the irregularities of Trent's leaving service without formal discharge, it was impossible for her to receive assistance for her family.
An attempt was made in the 1880s, after she had been widowed a second time, to obtain a government pension for her. The pension application suffered considerably from legal delays and it is questionably if she ever received one. Later, a family member attempted to obtain restitution for the children after her death, but this attempt was also unsuccessful.
Mary's children by Trent were: Lewis C. b. 1852; Hugh D., b. 1854; Emma J. b. 1856 and Luella, b. 1857. The birthdates of these children indicate that Hugh Trent went off to war leaving his wife and four children all under the age of ten.
Descendants of this family live in Illinois and in the Dakotas.
As will be noted in the section on The Halls and the Civil War, the disruptions and hardships caused to families by the conflict, was present both in the North and the South. Women left at home with small children not only had the difficult war years to live through but in the post-war years were often left without support for rearing their children to maturity.
+ A recent summary of the life of Mark O. Roberts may be found on p. 705, Illinois Lives, published by the Historical Record Association of Hopkinsville, Ky., 1969.
++ as of November, 1981, the newspaper has been published 150 years.
+++ Ida Francis (Croft), 1856 - 1925. Married Thos. L. Croft. They had 14 children.
++++ After Lincoln became famous, families tried to remember about him
+++++ Election records Athens precint; also Civil War service records
* Bounty subscription record, Athens - 23 Jan 1865.
** killed learning his father's trade
*** See: the account --- A Family Mystery Story, later in text.
**** census of 1850
***** There is in existence a record showing W.L. Moran, Jr., paying up his brother-in-law's (Abner Banks Hall) account at the Rogers store (1848) for $12.94. A hundred pounds of flour cost $2.25 (between 2 and 3 cents a pound.) In the Fall of that year, Abner was evidently weatherboarding his cabin-house. Four dollars and fifty five cents was paid to saw over 900 ft of weather boards. By September of that year he purchased 388 pounds of flour. This was for other Hall families as well as his own.
^ In later years she called herself Mary Jane. The older records show only Mary. This naming may have been of her own efforts.
^^Technically, the war-wounded Trent was a 'deserter.' Members of the family presently are trying to clear his record. This can be done if processed through the proper governmental channels.
Officially the word 'deserter' had been removed from the records, but no comment of honorable service or other recognition made, merely indicating that he was in the service.