The Grandfathers
Vol.I, The Hall and Overstreet Families
Carrol Carman Hall, Springfield, IL, 1981

Section V
Chapter 18, Page 190

… they contributed mightily
    to the war effort …..

Halls' in the Civil War +
1861 - 1865

James Wesley Hall, 1815 - 1870, the Grandfather of the Civil War, had the following family members in the Union Service:

Two sons
One brother
Two brother-in-laws
Five son-in-laws
One grand son-in-law
Several cousins
Several nephews
One grand nephew
and many distant cousins in the Confederate Army

The section of the family history that follows tells of the family's contribution to the war effort. There were deaths, imprisonments, wounds and, of course, hardships on the families of those serving who were left at home. Included is one captain, two lieutenants, two corporals and many privates.

A total of twenty-one family members are discussed in this section.

Descendant, Abner Hall
A son….among the first to volunteer….
William Henry Hall

William Henry Hall, oldest son of Jas. W. Hall, served two enlistments during the Civil War. At the age of 19 years this Athens, Illinois brickmason, who followed the trade of his father, enlisted as a private in Captain Weaver's company, 71st Regiment Illinois Infantry. The date was July 11, 1862. The period of service was for three months and the place of enlistment was Springfield, Illinois. (It was actually organized at nearby Camp Butler.

Captain Weaver's company later came to be officially known as Co. G., 71st Regiment, Illinois Infantry was first organized in Chicago. This was an unusual regiment as it was never reorganized into a three-year unit, as most of the three-month groups were.

In the confused, early days of the War, the records of the company were never in good order, and William Henry Hall was listed variously as William Hall and William A. Hall. This confusion carried over into the pay records for the soldier and also caused much correspondence years later when he applied for a pension.


The company served its ninety days and was mustered out at Chicago, Illinois on October 29, 1862. As noted, it was never re-activated.

In his pension application of 1914 under the Act of May 11, 1912, Wm Henry Hall in the section on previous service stated:

'that he had served as a private in
Capt. Weaver's Co. G 71st Ill. Inf.
Vols. for about 3 months as near as
he can remember. That his enlistment
was at Springfield, Ill., and he served
with his Regt. in Kentucky and
discharged at Chicago.' ++

One can only imagine what a unit this three-month group of volunteers formed. Farm and small-town boys thrown in with city men and serving in a southern state with virtually no military training and with little or no previous military experience.


Following this three month's expedition, young Hall returned to his home community of Athens, Ill., where he presumably followed his trade and when there was no construction, did some farming.

On the 16th day of November, 1864 he re-enlisted. This time with his brother, Charles Wesley Hall, and they were assigned to Co. A, 10th Regt. Ill. Cav. Volunteers. Perhaps at this date he faced the possibility of being drafted.

Thus, at the age of twenty-one, he began his second round of service and again he started from Camp Butler. At this date the Services were much better organized. The so-called Volunteers were drawn from a pool and given their assignments. The area from which they listed was by this time known as the 9th Illinois District.

These young recruits were sent to join their company. They were actually replacements to a veteran combat unit to keep up its combat strength. This time in the war, substantial bounties were being paid and the muster-rolls indicate the receipt of the bounty money. The bounty was paid in installments to discourage bounty jumping. The Halls' bounty was $300, paid in $60 installments.


The service records also show the charges made against the men for equipment for the equipment lost or damaged.

The 10th Cavalry in 1864 and 1865 was serving in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. William Henry Hall's second service record was not very distinguished. He spent a great deal of time in the hospitals at Little Rock, Ark., and New Orleans, La. The surgeon general's record shows that he was being treated for a venereal disease.+++

His record also shows hasseling over the bounty payments and the equipment and clothing allowance discrepancies - all of which we hope was finally solved.

The unit was mustered out September 13, 1865 and William Henry Hall did not have to complete his three-year enlistment. After later pioneering in Kansas, he finally settled in Missouri. He lived to be over 90 years old and collected a pension as did his widow. He fathered nine sons and three daughters. It is doubtful if any of his family ever knew of the surgeon general's record.

Descendant, Abner Hall
A son …. he joined as soon as he could
Charles W. Hall

On the day of his 18th birthdate, Charles W. Hall, son of James W. Hall, enlisted in the Union army. This was February 15, 1864 and on the same day his older brother, William Henry Hall re-enlisted with him.

The enlistments were at Springfield, Illinois and were for three years. The two brothers were mustered in at Camp Butler on March 17, 1964 and were assigned to Co. A. 10th Illinois Cavalry.

The Regiment had seen hard service early in the war and the two recruits were replacements, coming in, as it proved to be, near the end of the conflict. They were assigned from the recruits pool. Unlike the original volunteers, these young men were paid substantial bounties for enlisting. The day they were mustered in, they received $60 of the total $300 they were to get. By this time bounties were paid on the installment plan, as many bounty-jumpers were to be found among the end-of-the war recruits. Also, by this stage of the war, cavalrymen no longer furnished their own mounts, as was done to some extent earlier.++++


The records show that the recruit (Charles W. Hall) was put into service with his outfit in Arkansas. This young farmer was continually on scouting duty from August, 1864 until August, 1865. By the end of the summer 1865 the war was over and the regiment was mustered out of service at San Antonio, Texas in November, 1865. Charles W. Hall's service was within two months of two years.

His records show how he was charged for his equipment and held responsible for its loss. Also, there is a good record of his bill to the Sutler which followed him from station to station for a period of several months. It was for $6.70. ++++++

Following service, he returned to Illinois, thence to Kansas, to Missouri, to Oklahoma, ending his years in Colorado. Twice married, he fathered eight children. He was in his 92nd year at death in 1938. He received a military burial at Palasaides, Colorado.

a Brother… death at Andersonville
Andrew J. Hall

Andrew J. Hall was the youngest son of Abner Hall and a brother of James Wesley Hall. Born in 1831, he was thirty-one years of age at the time of his enlistment for service in the Civil War. He was unmarried and the 1850 census showed him living with his mother at Athens, Illinois. She was Jane Overstreet Hall and by 1850, a widow.

Andrew's war record started when he enrolled for duty in Capt. Steele's Company, 115th Regiment, Illinois Infantry. This was on August 4, 1862 and he joined as second corporal. This organization subsequently became Co. K., 115th Regt. Ill. Vol. Infantry. Company K, was the Athens company of the regiment and the regiment known as the Menard county regiment. The official mustering-in of the company occured on September 13, 1862 at Camp Butler. Throughout the remainder of 1862, during 1863 and until April, 1864 Andrew was consistently reported 'present' on the company's muster roll.

On the report for April, 1864 the following curt notation appears: 'captured by the Enemy April 19, 1864, near Blue Springs, Tennessee.' Subsequent Muster Roll reports extending over 1864 and into 1865 carried the notation: 'captured by the Enemy while outside the lines without leave.' In addition, he was reduced to the rank of private on the rolls.


This information was carried until the 'muster-out' roll for the company was made up at Camp Harker, Tennessee on June 11, 1865, at which time both the war and the three-year enlistment period for the company was over.

It was eventually learned that he had died 'of disease on or about January 1, 1865 at Andersonville, Georgia while a prisoner of war.'

Then began a series of entries in his record in which the phrase 'outside the lines of the army by unauthorized permission by his company commander' was finally stricken. This was done in 1867.

In the final report, dated November 3, 1884, when the wounds of war were finally being healed, Andrew J. Hall, was restored to his rank as Corporal of Co. K, 115th Illinois Infantry.

Andrew J. Hall is supposedly buried in the National Cemetery at Andersonville. The writer, however, has been unable to establish a grave number for him.

In the section of this history on: Our Southern Cousins, an interesting co-incidental story is given on a distant cousin also named Andrew J. Hall who served in the CSA from Bedford Co. Va.

Descendant (wife), Abner Hall
Brother-in-law …. discharged to go home and die
Tillman H. Clark
1822 - 1864

Tillman H. Clark, husband of Amanda Hall, * enlisted as a Private in Co. K, 115th Illinois Infantry. In so doing he left at home in Athens, Illinois, his wife and two daughters ages 9 and 2. This was August 15, 1862. Before the year was out on November 3, 1862 his wife died. Clark, still in the service, was now a widower with two small daughters.

From the very start of his service Clark was hospitalized. The medical records show him treated as follows: 'Oct. 24, 1862 (no diagnosis); Dec. 18 to 28, 1862, Anemia, returned to duty. Febr. 16, 1863, Rheumatism; Febr. 17 to April 3, 1863, Febris Intermittant; April 4 to May 2, 1863, Chronic Rheumatism; and May 3 to June 20, 1863, Chronic inflammation of the liver. He was discharged from the Service June 19, 1863 at Chicago, Illinois.

During this time he was in the hospitals at Covington, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., and possibly Cincinnati as well as Chicago.


Perhaps the words of the Surgeon at Chicago who filled on the Certificate of Disability for Discharge states the situation best:

He found Clark incapbable of performing the
duties of a soldier because of: 'Rheumatic
Carditis with slight regurgitation by the
Mitral valve, and Ascites, undoubtedly disease
existed to some extent when enlisted
which has been greatly aggravated by exposure
caused by the weather and climatic elements
of the area.'

Clark was a prize example of two things that showed up among the Civil War volunteers; one, no physical examinations on enlistments and, two, these early Illinoisans were plagued by ailments caused by the weather and the climatic conditions of the area. In addition, he was too old at enlistment, age 40.

Back Home

Clark returned to his home at Athens, Illinois where on the third day of November, 1863 he married Almira Tabor. By the 9th of May, 1864 he was dead. The army surgeons had diagnosed his condition accurately. The new wife, now a widow, had the responsibility of two step-daughters, still pre-teenagers.

Our account now shifts to the year 1890. In March of that year, Almira Clark (nee Tabor), now Almira Hunt applies for a pension as a widow by former marriage - to Tillman H. Clark. By 1890 she had been widowed a second time and she is looking for the security of a pension. That year she was 56 years old.

From the records furnished by the National Archives, it cannot be determined if her application was honored. What is evident, however, is that she is using the services of a professional Washington D.C. attorney, who had a business of servicing Civil War pensions. It is suspected that by 1890, the pension business was a brisk one!


Tillman H. Clark was a native of Athens, Illinois and a descendant of a pioneer family of the area. He likely lived the life of a farmer in his earlier years. In the period just before the Civil War, Clark with his brother Corydon, operated a brick and tile yard at Athens.

The Clark brothers had married sisters, Amanda and Matilda Jane Hall. These were daughters of Abner Hall the writer's great-great grandfather and were sisters of my great-grandfather, James Wesley Hall. By his marriage to Amanda, Clark had become a brother-in-law of my great grandfather. **

Descendant (wife), Abner Hall
A- - brother-in-law- - wounded came home to die . .
Hugh A.P. Trent
1827 - 1867

Hugh Trent enlisted in Co. E, 85th Regt. Ill. Vol. Inf., July 17, 1862; he was mustered into service August 27 of the same year. He enlisted from Petersburg, Illinois and the Regt. entered service from Peoria, Illinois. The enlistment was for three years. From the first he was a sergeant in the company.

On January 21, 1863 he became First Lieutenant of the Company and served in that rank until he left the service.

As is case of many volunteer groups, the records were poorly kept and the outfit was a 'rough and ready' one. Trent's record was a good one until his being wounded at the Battle of Peach Tree Creek (Georgia) on July 19, 1864.

His wounds were severe. According to an account furnished by a member of his family, he had 'one wound in the thigh, one in the back of the neck and one in his side and one in his arm.' Other records indicate that in the two years prior to his death in 1867, he had lost use of his right arm and had no way to support himself.


The official records of his service show that during the year 1864 he had been 'absent without leave' and at one time 'under arrest.' Be that as it may, after July, 1864 he is noted as being 'absent wounded.' Apparently, Trent following his injuries returned to his home area without the formal dismissal from the service. Consequently, as of the muster-out roll for his company in 1865, he was listed as absent without leave and received a dishonorable discharge.

Such records were not unusual in the Civil War, and if he had lived, he would have been restored in rank, given an honorable discharge and he or his widow eligible for a pension.

This, of course, was not the case. He died without any knowledge of what the official records contained.


All these facts were revealed when in 1880, his widow, Mary Hall (Trent)***, who had re-married and widowed again, applied for a pension.

It is very likely that neither the widow nor any of those who signed depositions for the application knew of the official status of the veteran.

Among those testifying to his service, was P.S. Scott, who had been captain of the company. Scott said that the reported 'absence without leave' had been entered into the records at the command of the Colonel of the Regiment. Scott also said that in his contacts with Trent following the War, Trent told him he was not 'able to join the regiment.' Scott also noted the severity of the wounds.


Among those sending information to Washington about Lt. Hugh Trent was Corydon Clark another brother-in-law. Clark said he had known Trent from 1864 to 1866 and that he had 'lost the use of his right arm.' W.T. Trent, a brother, with whom the deceased had lived in his final days, also testified to the severity of the wounds.

It is likely that in the normal course of events and had enough time elapses, that Mary Trent would have received a widow's pension. However in 1882 she died.

In 1884 a son, Hugh D. Trent, attempted to revive the case on the basis that he was a minor child at the time of his father's death was entitled to compensation. Nothing came of this claim.

In 1902 Trent's record was changed to read 'discharged' with no further comment. This was in compliance with an Act of Congress clarifying all questionable cases in the Civil War personnel files. This is the status of Trent's record in the National Archives. In recent years, there has been some interest in his descendants for the complete vindication of this Civil War Lieutenant in the official records.


The reader will note a similarity of Trent's case to that of Andrew J. Hall who died in Andersonville prison. Likewise in the instance of James Cline - another family Civil War veteran - the records were inaccurate and were later corrected. Trent was likely at fault by not getting his record cleared before leaving the service or shortly thereafter. But - wounded and as ill as he was, he is not to be condemned for this failure.

Hugh Trent's sufferings were soon over, but the problems of his widow continued until the family was raised. His death had left her a widow with four minor children. ****

Descendant (wife), Abner
Son-in-law …killed at Chickamauga
William B. England

James W. Hall's oldest daughter, Martha Frances, married William B. England. England was a grandson of Stephen England the first Christian Church preacher in central Illinois.

On the 13th of September, 1862, William B. England was mustered in at Camp Butler as fourth Corporal in Captain Steele's Company of the 115th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. This organization became Co. K of the 115th Illinois Infantry. The 115th was known as the Menard county regiment and Co. K as the Athens, Illinois company.

At the time of his enlistment, England was twenty-eight years of age and in addition to leaving a wife behind him, he left a family of three small children.


His record followed that of his company, until in July, 1863 when he was promoted to 3rd Corporal of the company. A senior officer vacancy had occurred and there was a general promotion throughout the staff.

England's final record appears on the muster-out roll of his company which was at Camp Harker, Tennessee, June 11, 1865.

The record states:
'William B. England, killed September 20, 1863
in action at Chickamauga, Georgia.
He was corporal from enrollment until his death.'

Martha Frances (Hall) England was left a young widow with three small children. The remainder of her story is in part in the record of another son-in-law of James W. Hall which is the next to be related.

For more information on Martha Frances Hall, 1837 - 1902 read the section on: The Children of James Wesley and Catherine Claypool Hall.

Descendant (wife), Abner Hall
Son-in-law the highest ranking officer
Thomas Swearinguin
1834 - 1908

In 1868 the widow, Martha Hall England, married Thomas Swearinguin. This name is spelled in several different ways in the various records. In the Hall family they used to speak of 'Uncle Tom Swanneygun!'

This marriage gave James W. Hall his most distinguished son-in-law as far as military rank is concerned and also proves that it pays to start your military career with as high a rank as possible.

Thomas Swearinguin joined for service and was enrolled as 2nd Lieutenant in Company F. 28th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry on August 2, 1861. He was commissioned August 19, 1861 and assigned his rank on August 15, 1861.

Swearinguin was a Menard county native about 30 years of age. The company was raised at Petersburg, Illinois.


He became Captain, Co. F., 28th Regt., September 15, 1863 - commissioned October 21, 1863 and to the rank, June 10, 1864.

Due to the excessive losses the regiment had experienced during its first two years service, it was consolidated with the remnants of another regiment under the same company letter and regimental number.

During this confused period Swearinguin was promoted to Major of the 28th Regiment as consolidated, date not given. He was commissioned but not mustered. He acted in that rank to December 26, 1865.

He was mustered out as Captain, March 15, 1866. It is noted that he served over a period of five years; practically the entire period of the war.


The 28th Regt. Ill. Vol. Inf., experienced some of the ruggedest fighting in the Civil War. The regiment lost 19 of its officers and had 52 men killed in action, along with many others wounded and missing in action.

In 1867 Swearinguin applied for an invalid pension with the statement:

'that on the 6th day of April, 1862, he was wounded
while engaged in the Battle of Shiloh by musket ball
in the upper third of his right thigh which has never entirely
healed. He was treated in the 4th street field hospital
dismissed and joined the Regiment June 10th, 1862.
The wound continued to trouble him and
he made application to resign, the Col.
did not forward the papers.'

His subsequent record shows periods of 'absence without leave'; or railroad guard duty and other special assignments. Swearinguin was actually in command of the entire regiment in its final days following the further consolidation of several companies of it. At one time he was in charge of a group furloughed back to Illinois for a short period of time.


His first wife died in July, 1866. He married the widow of William B. England, Martha Hall England in 1868. She lived until 1902. His only child was a son by the first marriage. He out-lived his second wife to marry a third time.

Following the war he made his home at Athens, Illinois where he became prominent in business. At various time he dealt in property; farming; operating a small factory; owning a lumberyard, and having an agency for farm machinery. Of course, he was always prominent in the various veterans' groups during the post-war years. He died on May 21, 1908 at the age of 74. *****

Descendant (wife) Abner Hall
Son - in - law …. a prisoner at Andersonville
James Cline

Like many of the Civil War soldiers, James Cline was a married man at the time of his enlistment. His wife was Eliza Jane Hall, daughter of James W. Hall. Twenty-four years old, he had one child at the time of his entering the service.

Briefly summarized his record was as follows:
After enlisting as a private in Co. K. 115th Ill. Inf., at Athens, Cline while at Camp Butler was received by transfer and on order of the post commander Col. Feander of Company C. of the 114th Ill. Vol. Inf. On this transfer he became a sergeant. The 114th was a Sangamon county regiment. Clines shift of regiments was a natural one as he farmed in Sangamon county just blow the Menard county line.


James Cline was taken prisoner at Guntown, Mississippi June 10, 1864. He became a prisoner at Andersonville, Georgia and was returned to his company May 21, 1865. In settling for his pay during the time he was a prisoner of war, he was charged for transportation from Andersonville, a sum of $23.22. He was also charged for his musket and other equipment lost while a prisoner, a total of $5. He was mustered out at Vicksburg, Mississippi August 3, 1865.

Years later a serious mix-up was found in his military record. Through a typical army snafu, he was listed as a deserter by Co. K. of the 115th and as a non-commissioned officer in Co. C. of the 114th.

The mix-up came to light when he applied for a pension. It took a bit of doing to straighten the matter out!


A farmer and a man of high personal repute, he died in 1897 at the age of 59. Family tradition has it that his prison experience caused him to bothered with ill health in his final years. His widow who was born in 1840 lived until 1934. Her entire 93 years had been spent in Athens and the immediate area. They had four children and were the guardians of three minor children of James W. Hall, left by his death in 1870 and that of his wife, Catherine in 1872.
See: section on the Children of James Wesley and Catherine (Claypool) Hall.

Descendant (wife), Abner Hall
Son - in - law ….he became a Lieutenant
Samuel C. Alexander

Starting from the humble rank of third sergeant, Sam Alexander, husband of Amanda Elizabeth Hall --- finished his Civil War career as First Lieutenant Co. K. 115th Illinois Infantry.

Sam was twenty-three years old at the time of his enlistment. His term of service was from August 7, 1862 to June 23, 1865. He was a non-com from the time of enlistment in 1862. He was promoted to First Sergeant October 31, 1863 and finally to First Lieutenant in November, 1864. Each time he was promoted he was discharged at the lower rank and re-enlisted at the next higher.

Although his medical record for the service shows only one hospitalization and that for a siege of the mumps, his declaration for an invalid's pension in 1897 stated that:

'he is partially unable to a support
by manual labor by reason of
Rheumatism, nearly all over his
person and resulting heart disease
and general disability.'

At the time of this declaration his home was at Cantrall, Illinois.

Married in 1871, he had a family of five children. He died in 1904 at age 67. His widow received her pension that year and lived on until 1920. At the time of her death she was receiving $90 a month.

Although Samuel C. Alexander became a son-in-law of James Wesley Hall, Hall never knew of the marriage as he died in 1870. He no doubt knew Alexander but not as a family member.

Sam Alexander was to have descendants and collateral kin that served in the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. For many years his sword was on exhibit in his widow's home.

Descendant (wife), Abner Hall
Son-in-law…another he never knew
Francis H. Cover ^
1843 - 1916

It would have been impossible for James W. Hall to have known all his son-in-laws that served in the Civil War, since some of them came into the family after his death in 1870. One of these was Francis H. Cover of Sangamon county, who in 1882 married Hall's daughter, Rosa Belle, who was born just prior to the war.

Cover, with his brother Addison Cover, enlisted in Company C. 114th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Cover was a Sangamon county resident living in the Williamsville neighborhood. The Covers had migrated to Illinois from Maryland. He was enlisting at the time his wife was still an infant and he was nearly twenty years older than his wife at the time of the marriage.


Francis H. Cover served as a private for three full years and was discharged in 1865. Late 1864 he was detailed to the Pioneer Company 1, Division of the Army of Virginia, prior to his discharge in 1865. This may have been an arrangement made to facilitate Sherman's 'March to the Sea.' The Pioneers were used in bridging streams and road making.

The writer was denied access to Cover's pension record (because of the 1974, Privacy of Information Act) so little is known of his later life. It is probable that he was divorced or separated from his wife; or, that her second marriage invalidate her pension if she received one. He is known to have worked at the Illinois State Reformatory at Pontiac, Illinois and that the family made its home in that city. Cover is buried in the Pontiac City Cemetery. ^^

Descendant (wife), Abner Hall
a grand-son-in-law from private to corporal
Washington B. Prather
1839 - 1931

In addition to have five son-in-laws in the Union army, James W. Hall had a grand son-in-law. (We hope this is the proper terminology!)

Marietta 'Etta' Cline was the daughter of James and Eliza Jane (Hall) Cline. In 1860 Marietta was one year of age. Thus, when James Cline, her father, enlisted she was three years of age.

The man she married was Washington B. Prather who was born in 1839. He was twenty-three years old when he enlisted in Company C., 114th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1862. From the mustering in of the regiment at Camp butler, he participated in the adventures of this unit. However, in late 1864 he was given detached duty when he was detailed to guard the Division's Commissary at Montgomery, Alabama.

Very late in his military career he was promoted to Corporal.

He was mustered-out at Vicksburg, Mississippi, August 3, 1865.


'Wash' Prather did not marry until 1880. Obviously, James W. Hall never knew of Prather as a family member. (The writer has no record of a previous marriage for Prather.) His bride was 21 and he was 41. He lived until 1931 living to the age of 92; his widow followed him in death ten years later. They had a family of two daughters. ^^^

Prather made his home at Athens, Illinois where he served in a number of local offices. He was a carpenter by trade.

….A nephew … a 90-day veteran
William B. Ayers ^^^^
1841 - 1915

The story of the 90-day units in the Civil War is to be found in the record of W.B. Ayers, nephew of James W. Hall. These units came about as the result of Lincoln's first call for 75,000 men to put down the Rebellion. Illinois furnished several such regiments. After serving their 90 days, many of them were re-organized and became three-year regiments. The 71st Illinois Volunteer Infantry never had more than its three month's existence.

Ayers in his declaration for a pension made on the 23rd of February, 1907, under the Act of February 6, 1907, said:

'that he enlisted in the 71st Regiment,
Illinois Volunteers Infantry at Athens,
Illinois on the 11th day of July, 1862
and that he was honorably discharged at
Chicago, Illinois on the 29th day of
October, 1862.'

He did not state where his unit served.

The company muster-in roll dated July 21, 1862 at Chicago states that Ayers joined for duty and enrolled on July 11, 1862 at Camp Butler, Illinois. Presumably, he was sent South from Camp Butler, as the 71st was divided into various detachments to guard railroad bridges, etc., in Kentucky and Tennessee.


An interesting sidelight comes to the reader's attention on the Company's muster-out roll at Chicago on October 29, 1862 which states that Ayers:
'was elected seventh corporal of the
company on July 20, 1862.'

It was also noted that he was 'never paid' during the three months tour of duty.

Ayers along with many thousands of other veterans, filed his statement of marital status and family with the Bureau of Pension in the Department of the Interior on January 15, 1898, at which time he stated that he had been married to Mary Rines in February, 1868 at Havana, Illinois, 'but couldn't remember the name of the party who married them.'

His file for 1907 indicated that he was a pensioner under Certificate No. 903178. His declaration was for the purpose of being placed under the Act of 1907. One of the witnesses to his signature was S.B.Shepherd (Sebastian B. Shepherd, who married into the Overstreet family) and also a veteran - the relationship Ayers may not have been aware of. Likewise, W. B. Prather, the Notary Public, was an even closer relative! Applying for pensions at Athens, Ill. was indeed a family affair.

Soon after his death in 1915, Ayer's widow applied for a pension. This application revealed that his first wife had died in 1874 and that he re-married in 1881. You can bet his widow remembered the party that married them!


The pension application revealed that it was a second marriage for the both of them and that two of his three children were by the first marriage. ^^^^^

While it is not known what the amount of pension received by the widow was, (from 1915 until 1937), Ayers for a very short time prior to his death received $18 per month for his three month's service.

Ayers, who doing his life was a very active in the business and civic life at Athens, was also in farming. He was very fortunate. For only three month's service, he was always to be regarded by his contemporaries and descendants as a Civil War veteran. In addition, he had been awarded handsomely by his government.

Descendant (wife), Abner Hall
A…grand nephew called but did not serve
Dr. William F. Roberts >
1834 - 1902

Among many of his descendants and other family members there is the assumption that Dr. William F. Roberts was a Surgeon in the Union Army during the Civil War. There is some ground for this thinking, but the fact is; he was not in the Union Service.

A search through the National Archives reveals no record. The regimental records of the Adjutant General's Office in Illinois for the Civil War states the following.

'Dr. William F. Roberts was offered
his rank as First Assistant Surgeon
in the 106th Illinois Volunteer In-
fantry on October 10, 1864. He was not
mustered and the record states, he
declined the commission.'

On March 28, 1865 he was given rank of First Assistant Surgeon in the 28th Consolidated Regiment, IVI, but according to the official record 'was not mustered.' In other words he was not enlisted. The 28th was a war-battered outfit, re-organized toward the end of the war. The war ended April, 1865 and at that time Roberts would have no reason to enter the service.

Both the 106th and the 28th Regiments had a large number of Athens and other Menard county men in their ranks.


There is a possibility that Dr. Roberts had strong Southern feelings. He was born in the South and attended a medical school heavily populated with men from the South. In addition there may have been a shortage of doctors in the Athens community. In addition, he was a mature married man with family and perhaps a widowed mother to support. Officially, he was not a Class I man, subject to service and in no sense can be considered 'unpatriotic.' Many men did not rush to arms for a variety of reasons. For example, it was not 'unpatriotic' but perfectly legal for a draftee to 'hire a substitute' in his place. >>

Relatives of James Wesley Hall in the Civil War. Those that are discussed so far are directly in the Hall's line. They were descendants of Abner Hall. 1795 - 1843.

In the group that follows, are the descendants of Elisha Hall 1783 - 1838, brother of Abner Hall and an uncle of James Wesley Hall.

Descendant, Elisha Hall
A cousin….he furnished his own horse!
Dabney Hall
1830 - 1874

Dabney Hall, son of Elisha Hall, was a cousin of my great grandfather J.W. Hall. His name is an excellent example of the preservation of a family name. His grandmother was a Virginia Dabney - Nancy Dabney Overstreet. The Dabneys were an old and well-known Virginia family.

A farmer in the Athens area, he was one of Elisha's fifteen children. He enlisted as a private in Co. A. 10th Regt. Ill. Cav., at age 32. He was single at time of enlistment.

The regiment was formally mustered in at Jefferson Barracks, No., March 26, 1862, although the men had reported for duty at Camp Butler, Illinois February 12, 1862.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about his enlistment is that he furnished his own horse and some of the equipment, some of the harness. On each pay day he was given, 'pay due for use & risk of horse and horse equipment at $29.00.' As near as can be determined, the total allowance was $5.90 per month. On one occasion he received 82 cents for replacement of some equipment.


Dabney was mustered out February 21, 1865 at Little Rock, Ark. During service he was hospitalized at Helena, Ark. and at St. Louis. In May, 1864 his rating was changed from private to farrier (blacksmith). He remained in Co. A after the re-organization of the regiment in 1865.

Dabney's illness in service was used by his widow in applying for a pension in 1883, claiming 'he had contracted disease of the kidneys while in the service - of which disease he died.' He died April 18, 1874. Three minor children were left by his death.

Of unusual interest is the National Archives record of an order made out at Cairo, Ill., Mar. 5, 1865 (Order No. 807) that is honoring the requisition of Dabney Hall, Co. A., etc., 'for self and one (1) man (transportation) from Cairo to Springfield, Ill.'

The interpretation of this strange order is that the ex-cavalryman was bringing his horse back with him and Uncle Sam was allowing the same amount for transporting the horse as they were the veteran who had been 'discharged by reason of expiration of term of service.'

Descendant, Elisha Hall
a first cousin, once removed
death for an 18-year old

Elisha Hall
1844 - 1862

Elisha Hall enlisted as a private in Co. A., 10th Regt. Ill. Volunteer Cav., at Springfield, Illinois on February 12, 1862 at age 18. The detachment was mustered-in at Benton Barracks, Missouri (St. Louis) March 26th, having been sent there from Camp Butler.

Under remarks for the muster-in roll is the statement; 'Sick' in hospital at Benton Barracks since mustering - in.'

The company muster-roll for March - April, 1862 notes that he is absent with the comment: 'Absent, sick at St. Louis since April 5, 1862.'


The May-June muster roll bears the statement:
'Died in Hospital at St. Louis, Mo., April 15, 1862.'

The same remark appears on the company's muster-out roll at Brownsville, Ark., Jan. 4, 1865. The three-year enlistment period was over, but Elisha was not present, he had died with less than three months service.

The surgeon who signed the death certificate gave as cause of death: 'Pleuritis.' This is an inflammation of the membrane lining of the chest cavity and enveloping the lungs. This was a common ailment of the times, brought on by exposure.

Comment: For a long period of time the writer was at a loss to place this family member in his proper family group. The name Elisha was one frequently given Hall family sons from the Virginia days and was carried down through the pioneer Illinois period.

After careful study of the data, it is now established that this Elisha Hall, 1884 - 1862, was the son of Joel Wesley Hall, 1814- 1853, who married Mary Ferguson in 1840. Joel W. Hall was the son of Elisha Hall, 1783 - 1838, the Athens pioneer and an uncle of James Wesley Hall, the Civil War Grandfather in this family.

Joel Hall in the census of 1850 was not given as a married man and was living with his mother. Apparently, his wife had died. So, by the time young Elisha had enlisted in 1862, both his father and mother were dead.

The Civil War Elisha would have this family line: William, d. 1757 (1); Hezekiah, d. 1811 (2); Elisha, d. 1838 (3); Joel, d. 1853 (4); and, Elisha, d. 1862 (5).

This young man entered the service with his uncle Dabney Hall. Death at this early age is one of the tragedies of war.

Descendant, Elisha Hall
Another first cousin, once removed
an army musician!

Abram Hall
1846 - 1917

Abram Hall was just four months and ten days past the age of 16 when he enlisted in Co. K. 106th Regt. Ill. Inf. at Athens, Ill., on August 14, 1862. One month later he was mustered-in at Lincoln, Ill., and his age was entered on the rolls as 17. He was the second musician of the company.

For enlisting, he received a $100 bonus of which $25 was paid on the mustering-in date. Under remarks we find the statement: 'Premium paid $2.00.' You figure that one out!

On the muster rolls for the succeeding months we find Abram listed either as a private or a "fifer." He apparently was a good soldier as he was marked 'present' at all musters.


However, beginning with the muster roll dated November-December, 1864 we find him marked 'absent.' Yet, he is accounted for. Under remarks, it is stated: 'Detailed in Regimental Drum Corps.' He had been advanced from the post of a company musician.

After not quite three years service he was mustered out of service with his company on July 12, 1865 at Pine Bluffs, Ark. In the last accounting he hadn't settled his accounts since August 31, 1864 and had drawn since that date $38.39 worth of clothing. He came out alright as $75.00 of his bonus was still owing him. Better - the war was over!

Abram Hall was fortunate. The 106th Illinois Infantry saw little rugged service. Their sphere of action was in the Missouri-Arkansas areas where action after the early days of the war was limited. It is suspected that the musicians had plenty of time for practicing and marching.


Abram was the son of John Nelson Hall, who in turn was the son of Elisha Hall, the Athens pioneer. John Nelson Hall was a cousin of James W. Hall, making Abram a first cousin, once removed. There is no pension record for Abram. He lived to be 71 years of age, dying at Emmett, Idaho in 1917.

His father, John Nelson Hall, was a life-long Democrat and sympathetic to the South. He named his new-born son (1867) Robert Lee Hall and his first-born son was named Thomas Jefferson Hall. There is a fine family monument to him in the Old West Cemetery at Athens. He was an extensive land owner and had a large family. >>>

The family line: William, d. 1757 (1); Hezekiah, d. 1811 (2); Elisha, d. 1838 (3); John-Nelson, d. 1902 (4); Abram, d. 1917 (5).

Descendant, Elisha Hall
discharged on disability
Pembroke J. Patterson

Pembroke J. Patterson, son of Sarah Hall Patterson, was a grandson of Elisha Hall. He was a first cousin, once-removed of James W. Hall. Patterson enlisted for three years as a Corporal in Co. A, 18th Illinois Infantry. He enlisted from Springfield, Ill., and entered the service at Camp Butler. The enlistment was July 15, 1861 and he was mustered-in on Aug. 19, 1861. He did not serve his three years, he was discharged on a disability, Nov. 19, 1861

Descendant, Sarah Hall Smith
..killed in action..
Augustus Miles
1842 - 1863

The writer has no line on Hall relatives that served from Ohio or nearby West Virginia, during the Civil War. However, a son of Sarah Hall Smith, sister of Abner, Elisha and James Hall had a daughter, Betsy Smith, 1804 - 1879, who married Martin Miles. The Miles family in about 1840 migrated to western Illinois, settling in Eldorado Township, McDonough county. Their son, Augustus, enlisted July 31, 1862 in Co. B. 84th Illinois Infantry which was mustered-in at Quincy, Ill.

In the same battle that James W. Hall's son-in-law William B. England was killed - the Battle of Chickamauga - his cousin Augustus Miles died. The 84th lost heavily in this battle. Records show McDonough county furnished 205 men in five companies in the 84th regiment. During the war, fifty of them were killed or died from their wounds. This was twenty-five percent of their group. In total the regiment lost 172 men during the war.

Augustus received his given name from Augustine Smith, his maternal grandfather. (see: Augustus Hall, this section).


While many Overstreets were serving and dying for the Confederacy, descendants of the Overstreet family in Illinois were serving in the Union armies. These were the descendants of Dabney Overstreet. Since he had a number of daughters, the Overstreet name does not appear in the central Illinois military rolls. Those living in the Oakford-Petersburg area were identified with the Lounsbery and other families. For example:

Sebastian B. Shepherd, who married Elizabeth Overstreet a grand-daughter of John Overstreet, Sr., of Revolutionary War fame, was a member of Co. K, 115th Illinois Infantry (the Athens company); he served his full three years.

South and Border States

While the northern Halls were serving the Union, their cousins, descendants of family members who remained in Virginia or other southern states and those who had gone West below the Ohio River and lived in the Border States served the Confederacy. Some of these CSA members will be discussed in the section: Our Southern Cousins.

Descendant, James, Hall
a cousin … a deserter….
(Note: this is the only member of the family of James Hall, brother of Abner and Elisha Hall, who pioneered at Athens, Illinois with them, listed as a Civil War participant.)
James Hall
1840 -

Not all of James W. Hall's relatives conducted themselves with honor in the Civil War. His cousin, James Hall, son of his uncle of the same name who had pioneered at Athens with his father, Abner and another brother Elisha, was a deserter.

James Hall, age 22 years, was mustered in at Camp Butler, Illinois on September 18, 1862 as a drummer or musician in Capt. Mallory's Co., 114th Illinois Infantry. This company subsequently became Co. C of the 1145h Regiment and was known as the Sangamon county company.

He is reported as 'absent without leave' from November 13, 1862 as noted on the muster-roll covering September to December, 1862.

On the roll for January - February, 1863, he is marked absent with the following notation:
'absent without leave from Nov. 13. Received $25.00 bounty and $25.00 on county premium.'

For March - April, 1863, the muster-roll states:
'Deserted. Left at Camp Butler sick
with furlough of 5 days from Nov. 8, 1862.
Now in Sangamon county, Illinois.'

On April 10, 1863, the muster-roll records:
'Absent without leave since Nov. 13.
Supposed to be in or near Galena.' >>>>

From April 9, 1863 on his name appears on the 'Descriptive List of Deserters.' He is described as follows: 'Age, 22 years. Height, five feet nine inches. Complexion, dark, eyes Black, hair, black. Where born - Illinois, Menard Co. Occupation - Farmer. When enlisted - Aug. 12, 1862, for three years. When deserted - Nov. 16, 1862. Where deserted - Camp Butler. No entry for having been apprehended.

On the Company muster-out roll at Vicksburg, Miss., Aug. 3, 1865 his pay and clothing record was not settled; he had failed to collect $75.00 of his bounty. Under remarks:
'Musician from date of Muster.
Deserted Dec. 1, 1862 from
Camp Butler, Illinois.'

James Hall's name was never mentioned in family circles. There is no record of his having ever returned to the home area. At the time of his enlistment, his father was dead. His mother, older brother, and sisters lived out their lives at Athens highly regarded and respected citizens.

Descendent Thomas Hall
a nephew…..victim Civil War medicine
Augustus Hall
1838 - 1886

Augustus Hall was a grandson of Thomas Hall who died in Virginia in 1815. >>>>>

It is very likely that he had cousins (step-relatives) serving in the CSA. A native of Sweetwater a small Menard Co., Ill., community close to Athens, he was a farmer and enlisted as a private in the 106th Ill. Vol. Inf. He was a member of Co. K along with some of his other kin. He was 24 at enlistment.

His pension application made in 1880 is an excellent record of the exposure experienced by men in the Civil War that led to ill health in their post-war years. Augustus, ill with measles while on detached duty at Rutherford Station, Tenn. (1863) was subjected to over two days of soaking rain without shelter and was shuttled by box car to their permanent camp and given casual medical treatment. He suffered from chronic lung ailment the remainder of his life.


Married in 1865 to Jane O. Graham, c. 1840 - 1895, he fathered a daughter, Eliza A., 1871 - , the Hall name did not survive in his line.

Of especial interest in the service and pension papers of Augustus Hall, are the signatures of various Hall family members, affording a wonderful record of their various civic responsibilities. His name Augustus was likely derived from that of Augustine Smith who married Sarah Hall, the sister of Thomas Hall, his grandfather.

His line: William Hall, d. 1757 (1); Hezekiah Hall, d. 1811 (2); Thomas Hall, d. 1815 (3); Wesley Hall, m. 1. d. 1893 (4) and, Augustus Hall, d. 1886 (5).

+Portions of this material formed a talk given by the author before the Springfield, Illinois Civil War Roundtable in May, 1974. Also, before the Shriners' Retirees Club, May 13, 1981. Springfield, Ill.
++see: discussion on W.B. Ayers in this same section.
+++This information obtained prior to the 'Privacy of Information Act of 1974.'
++++The Hall brothers were to join a relative serving in Co. A, 10th Illinois Cavalry, who had been in service since 1862.
See: Dabney Hall, this section.
++++++The Sutler was a Civil War equivalent of the modern PX (Post Exchange) where the soldiers purchased their personal items, etc.
* Amanda Hall (Lloyd) (Clark), 1833 - 1862, was a sister of James Wesley Hall who is characterized as the Grandfather of the Civil War.
**These relationships are discussed in the section of the Grandfathers titled: The Children of Abner and Jane (Overstreet) Hall.
***Mary Hall (Trent) (Tyler), 1835 - 1882, was a sister of James Wesley Hall, 1815 - 1870. She was the youngest of the family of Abner and Jane (Overstreet) Hall, Athens pioneers.
****See section: Children of Abner and Jane (Overstreet) Hall
*****Swearinguin may have been the highest ranking soldier of the Civil War to make Athens, Illinois his home. (not verified)
^Pronounced - Ko - ver. A name of English derivation.
^^See: section on Children of James Wesley and Catherine (Claypool) Hall.
^^^Maude Prather (Vasconcellos) and Iva Lou Prather (Smith).
++addendum (+above) life dates:
MP (V). 1885 - 1962
ILP (S). 1881 - 1964
^^^^Ayers was a son of Catherine Hall Ayers, J.W. Hall's sister.
^^^^^The use of a Pension Agent at Springfield is noted in the papers of the widow of W.B. Ayers. This practice was widely followed in the post-Civil War years.
>He was an in-law of James W. Hall. Roberts married a daughter of Hall's sister, Catherine Hall Ayers.
>>Dr. Roberts possibly contributed generously to the various fund-raising activites at home during the war; i.e., the raising of funds to give the recruits extra 'bounty' money.
>>>Fourteen children.
>>>>Galena, a city in the extreme north-west corner of Illinois. Another musician deserted with him.
Co. C. of the 114th is now a re-activated, ceremonial military unit.
>>>>>See: section on Children of Hezekiah and Keziah Hall also, Pioneering in Ill.



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Illinois Ancestors