By Kathryn Hall | January 12, 2009
The above simple, very old gravestone has in the past been the subject of much debate between various researchers of the families descended from Edward Hall of Rehoboth and from George Hall of Taunton. Why this has been debated is a mystery when the facts are set forth, but since so much time has been spent in this circular dialogue and many words (and implications) now stand that the review of this debate deserves, indeed, requires a deeper intelligent look. This particular headstone stands in the Pleasant Street Cemetery in Raynham, Bristol County, Massachusetts.
While the stone is very old and weathered what is not disputed is that the stone bears the name Samuel Hall and the date of his death, 1716. What is in dispute is whether the stone reads “died in his 53d yr.” or “died in his 59th yr.” It would appear that reseachers who held sway that this particular Samuel Hall was a descendant of George Hall want that number to be a “3.” Those who are clear this Samuel Hall was a descendant of Edward Hall subscribe to the number being a “9”. The Number Three people obviously did not take into account Marsha Hoffman Rising’s deed sleuthing. Nevertheless. Here are the facts regarding our Samuel Hall in question.
Samuel Hall, Jun., maried to Abigaill Prat of Plimouth, 3 Jan. 1683. Jonathan, son of Samuel, borne 22 Aug. 1686. (Both entries from the Proprietor’s Records by E.H. Reed, Esq. of Taunton.) Note! It is wise to recall that in 1683 there are three Samuel Halls in Taunton, thus the ensuing debate, being:
Samuel b. 1644 (son of George)
Samuel b. 1656 (son of Edward)
Samuel b. 1664 (son of Samuel, grandson of George)
And big reminder:
Samuel b. 1644 was called Sr. due to his being the elder in town
Samuel b. 1656 was called Jr. as he was next in age
Samuel b. 1664 was called “son of Samuel”
The titles Jr. and Sr. in the 1600’s were not family-specific as it is today; it was town-specific. Without this piece of knowledge the research of these three Samuels becomes immediately murky and confusing.
7 Feb. 1686 Samuel Hall, son of Edward Hall of Rehoboth deceased, and his wife Abigail entered into a contract to sell 8 acres of land (Documentation is the copy of the deed, which was mysteriously filed ten years after the purchase.)
Will of SAMUEL HALL of Taunton, dated 21 August 1716, recorded 26 November 1716. Wife Abigail. Sons Jonathan (eldest) & Samuel (youngest). Daughters: Esther Blake & Hannah Hall (youngest). “The lad who lives with me, namely Ebenezer Pratt (under 21). “The girl who lives with me Elizabeth Pratt” (under 17). Witnesses” Abraham Jones, Samuel White & Jabez Prat (3:307/8/9) (Bristol County, MA Probate Records, Book 1)
Inventory of Estate of Samuel Hall of Taunton, who died 30 August 1716, dated 27 September 1716, presented by Jonathan Hall, eldest son & Abigail Hall, his widow. Apprs.: Henry Hodges, Samuel Leonard & Stephen Leonard (3:309/10)
Jonathan Sr. Hall, son of Samuel Sr. Hall and Abigail Pratt, was born on 22 Aug 1686 in Taunton, Bristol, MA, died on 19 Apr 1750 in Raynham, Bristol, MA at age 63, and was buried in Town Cemetery at Raynham Center (Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, Taunton Births.
Ironically it would appear from all of the above that this documentation would appear not in the family records of the descendants of George Hall, but in the family records of the descendants of Edward Hall of Rehoboth. And I am certain they will. Unfortunately, there are researchers of the descendants of George Hall who in the past have labored over that single digit, throwing a shadow over the subjective interpretation of the 53 (or 59), thus finding further “evidence” to tangle these two families.
Note, it is my sole intention to seek only the truth of this matter. If you have further information that might shed more light on this decades old controversy, your comments will be welcomed.