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George Hall of Taunton: Halls of New England excerpt

By Kathryn Hall | June 11, 2013

The following is an excerpt from The Halls of New England compiled by David Brainard Hall and published in 1883.


George Hall and his wife Mary [Family i), were the ancestors of the Halls of Taunton. They emigrated, it is said, from Devonshire County, England, in 1636-7. George Hall is recorded as proprietor of land in Duxbury, Mass., in 1637, about the date of his settlement in ” Cohannet,” — Taunton ; he was one of the forty-six original proprietors of the first territorial ” purchase ” of the Indian Sachem Massasoit, including a tract of eight miles, (an oblong, square, being the present territory of Taunton, Berkley, Raynham, extending to Mansfield) ; he had a twelve acre share, in connection with Richard Williams, John and Walter Dean and others, who had similar shares, spanning Taunton river, on the banks of which they erected their first humble dwellings and were neighbors and friends for lifetime. The selection of their homesteads included the most eligible land of the purchase, on what is now Dean street ; the land skirting the banks of the river had been cultivated by the Indians for years ; and these homesteads have been successively transmitted from ancestors to descendants nearly two hundred years, of whom the sixth, seventh and eighth generations are now owners and residents.

George Hall was one of the founders of the town of Taunton in 1639, was propounded as a freeman in 1643, enrolled to bear arms that year ; admitted as a freeman in 1645, and was constable of the town the same year ; he was a member of the board of the supervising council, of which William Pole was chairman, in 1657, and was chairman of the board of selectmen (established by the colonial court in 1662), from 1666 to 1669, the time of his decease; he was one of the founders of the Pilgrim Congregational church and society of Taunton, and contributed liberally to its support ; also one of the stock proprietors of the first iron ” bloomery ” established in this region by the Leonards and other citizens of Taunton, upon the site of the present “old forge ” how in Raynham; he was its first clerk in 1656, continuing several years in that capacity, and was succeeded after his death bv his son John. In October, 1669, he was taken seriously ill ; he called his friends, Deacons Richard Williams and Walter Dean, and made his will on the i6th, witnessed by them, and died on the 30th of that month, aged about 69 years ; his widow Mary was appointed executrix ; the will was probated in March, 1670. After his death, his widow and sons John, Joseph and Samuel were shareholders in the iron works ; these works have been continued until recently, over two hundred years. Soon after they were started, bar iron manufactured there from native ore dug in the vicinity, was made a “circulating medium ” in business transactions and on account of the scarcity of specie ; orders to that effect drawn by Rev. Samuel Danforth, the fourth minister of Taunton, for a portion of his salary, a few years later, and by others for business purposes, are now in careful preservation.

George Hall was one of the largest landholders in Taunton, and divided it among his sons. They were also among the proprietors of the large tract, called ” Taunton North Purchase,” which included the territory of the present towns of Norton, Easton and portions of Mansfield and Raynham, upon which, many of their descendants settled as farmers and business men ; more than a thousand descendants now bear the ancestral name. The children mentioned in the will of George Hall were :

I. John, b. in 1640 (Family 2). 2. Joseph, b. in 1642 (Family
3). 3. Samuel, b. in 1644 (Family 4). 4. Charity. 5. Sarah.
6. Mary

The town records were burned in 1838, hence the loss of many valuable clues.

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