Born in the CSA

Papa Hall's father,  Newton Jasper Hall, was not born in the United States. At the time of his birth, in May of 1861, Gilmer County, Georgia had been  part of the Confederate States of America since 4 February. His early years were hard, and probably terrifying. By the time he was 1, his father, James Madison “Matt” Hall, had enlisted in the Confederate Army and he would see little of him for the next three years. His mother, Susan, nearing 40, was left alone to care for Jasper and his two brothers and three sisters, all under 14.

During the war (and for years after), Gilmer, like other Northwest Georgia counties, was in chaos. Civil authority broke down, and ordinary citizens were at the mercy of roving gangs made up of Confederate deserters and Union loyalists, Confederate militias called the “home guards,” and regular Union Army forces during Sherman’s "March to the Sea." The gangs of deserters, groups of as many as 80 men, roamed the countryside, leaving devastation in their wake. They would descend upon a farm house, assault family members and in some cases kill them, and steal everything of value. But the home guards were worse, especially for deserters, and Gilmer County was beset by one of the worst of all, the Pickens Home Guards of Capt. Benjamin F. Jordan.

The Halls probably didn’t suffer from Jordan’s rampages, however, since they may have been friends with his parents, the Rev. Robert Harrison and Susannah Thomas Jordan. After the war, Newton Jasper’s brother James Allen Hall was Susannah Jordan’s next-door neighbor in Pickens County, and his widowed mother Susan was a next-door neighbor of Robert and Susannah’s daughter Elizabeth Jordan Allen in 1880. However, the Halls may have suffered at the hands of the "Feds," or Federal troops. The Rev. Jordan was taken prisoner by Union troops 14 July1864 and held at Calhoun, Georgia. According to family tradition, he was hanged by Federal soldiers.

Ben Jordan and his brother Bob killed over one hundred deserters, and stole their families’ livestock and other possessions. They were acting under the authority of Gov. Joe Brown, although no official records survived the war. But it is clear that after the war at least, the Pickens Home Guards were viewed as outlaws and thugs. Ben Jordan and several gang members were indicted by post-war Grand Juries in Pickens County for murder and robbery, although they were never captured.

But the Halls may have suffered in other ways. The Civil War divided not only the nation, it divided states, counties, and even families, including the Halls. The firing on Fort Sumter a month before Newton Jasper was born was the culmination of long-festering animosity between those who favored slavery and states’ rights, and those opposed to them. In Walker County, the family of Seaborn Hall split, with Newton Jasper’s father Matt leaving the family to move to Gilmer County and join the Confederates. Matt's brother Robert, and their sister’s son, James Asbury “Berry” Ramsey,  joined the Union Army. The Civil War service of a third brother, Seaborn Jasper Hall, is uncertain. One family record says he fought for the Union, but his tombstone says he fought for the Confederacy (see “Our family in wartime”). 

Matt and Allen were at the Battle of Chickamauga on 19-20 September 1863, and, along with Robert and Berry, took part in the Battle of Nashville, in which the Army of Tennessee was virtually destroyed. Allen was captured at Knoxville on 23 September 1863 and spent the rest of the war as a POW. Seaborn Jasper may have fought in the Atlanta Campaign as well, along with Robert and Berry, who  took part in the siege of Atlanta in late July and early August 1865, although there were several detachments sent elsewhere.

Matt, Robert, and Seaborn Jasper's father, Seaborn Hall, was a carpenter and a farmer of modest means, with no real estate and a personal wealth of $150 in 1860. He and his family  farmed land at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Georgia and on the shores of the Tennessee River in Hamilton County, Tennessee. Moccasin Bend in the Tennessee River is just a mile above the Georgia line.

The family’s farm was undoubtedly devastated in the Battle of Chickamauga. There is a Hall’s Ford on Chickamauga Creek that might be named after them, and it is between the Confederate and Union lines.

One account says that Berry was wounded and reported as missing in action 31 July 1864 during the siege of Atlanta. While missing, he led Newton Jasper Hall’s grandfather and grandmother, Seaborn and Nancy Smith Hall, and many members of the family north. They packed their worldly goods in a single wagon, with Nancy, nearly 70, sitting in a rocking chair atop the load. The rocking chair is still in the family, owned by a great granddaughter of Matt Hall’s sister, Theresa, who lives in Harrisburg, Illinois. By 1865, many members of the family are in Pope County, Illinois, where they lived out their lives.

It is natural to wonder if Matt and his son Allen, and Jasper, Robert, and Berry saw each other or their kinfolks during the “Battle Above the Clouds,” as Chickamauga was called. If Berry Ramsey did not take the family to Illinois until 1864, the family was at their farm during the battle. The Halls had lived in the area for decades, and the Hall brothers must have had mixed feelings. No letters have yet been found to indicate how the two branches of the Halls felt about each other, and it is not known if Matt ever saw his brothers again after the war. But the family divisions could not have been too deep, since both Robert and Seaborn Jasper moved to Pope County, Illinois with their father after the war, along with Berry, and Matt named at least three of his children after his brothers and sisters.

Why the family split along Union-Rebel lines is not known. The family's roots were definitely Southern. Matt’s father Seaborn was born in 1797 in South Carolina, probably in the “Golden Corner” (Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee Counties) and died after 1870 in Pope County. Nancy Smith was born in 1799 in Georgia. She died after 1870 according to the census records. Seaborn, Nancy and most of the family are buried at Grand Pier Cemetery about five miles north of Golconda, Illinois.

Seaborn and Nancy first appear in any records in Franklin County, Georgia when they got married on 15 March 1818. Both their parents are unknown, but there is a John Hall in Franklin County, Georgia in 1790. Seaborn is in the census records in 1830 and 1840 in Hamilton County (Chattanooga), Tennessee, in the West Chickamauga District of Walker County in 1850, and in the Chattanooga District of Walker County in 1860. The two districts in Walker may include some of the same area, which is between Rossville and Lookout Mountain on the Tennessee line. Walker County, Georgia, and Hamilton County, Tennessee are adjacent to each other.

Seaborn Hall and Nancy Smith had 11 or 12 children. The following list is an attempt to reconcile family and census records:

1. Clark Hall, apparently born about 1825, probably in Georgia, died unknown. He is listed in family records, but I could not find him in any census. I think it is because Clark is his middle name. As will become clear, the Hall men had a propensity for using different names on different census records. There is a William C. Hall, born about 1816, living in District 22, Davidson County (Nashville), Tennessee in 1850. He would have been born, of course, two years before Seaborn and Nancy got married. I mention him because he has children named Elizabeth, John, and “Puss.” Clark Hall had a sister named Elizabeth, and his brother Matt named three of his children William C., John, and “Puss,” or Priscilla. In any case, William C. is married to Caroline, 26, born in Tennessee and is quite wealthy, with real estate valued at $6,900. That alone, might disqualify him, of course, since everyone else in the family is fairly poor.

2. James Madison “Matt” Hall, born 1815-1825 in Georgia, probably Franklin County, and died between 1870 and 1880 in either Gordon or Pickens County, Georgia, most likely the latter. He is Newton Jasper Hall’s father, and Gladys Hall's great grandfather. Gladys once said  he is buried in or near Hinton in Pickens County, but I have found no record of his burial.
3. Theresa Ellen Hall, born 1820 in Georgia. She married James Ramsey, and they either divorced or he died sometime between 1845 and 1850. She is living with the family from 1850 on. She had two children: Nancy Oleana Ramsey born 1841, and Asbury “Berry” Ramsey born 1844. She is living with Seaborn and Nancy in 1850 and 1860, and with her son Berry in 1870 in Pope County. Berry Ramsey is married to Cyntha Ann Davis, 23, and they have two children, Sarah L. Hall 2, and William J. Hall 1. Nancy Orlena Ramsey, 26, is in the household.

4. Elizabeth Hall, born about 1823 in Georgia, She is not with the family in 1850 and 1860, so she apparently married, but is living with her father in Pope County in 1870, using her maiden name, and has no children. There are three Elizabeths in Walker County in 1860 that are about her age, but all of them have children, including young ones who should be with her in 1870.

5. Susan Ann Hall, born 1824-1833. She could be Nancy Ann or Polly Ann listed below (the records are in conflict). A female her age is listed in Seaborn's household in 1840, but she is not with the family in any later census. An Ann, 37, born in Tennessee about 1833, wife of Benjamin Smith, is the next door neighbor to Seaborn senior, Seaborn Jasper, and Berry Ramsey in Pope County in 1870.

6. Tabitha Hall, born 1824-1825. A female her age is in Seaborn's household in 1840, and she married James C. Farrell, born 1829 in North Carolina. They lived in District 8 (Rock Spring), Walker County in 1860 and moved to Pope County by 1865. Their children included Mary I. Farrell born 1850, Mahalah Farrell born 1852, Nancy Farrell born 1856, Hardy Farrell born 1859, Hensley Farrell born 1860 and America M. Farrell born 1870.

7. Hester Hall, born 1832-1834 in Tennessee. She is living with Seaborn and Nancy in 1840, 1850, 1860, and 1870, and with her nephew John, son of Seaborn Jasper, in 1880. She apparently never married.

8. Francis Adarine Hall, born 1837-1840 in Tennessee according to the census records. She is with Seaborn and Nancy in 1840, 1850, 1860, and 1870, and apparently never married.

9. Robert Marion Hall, born in 1834 in Tennessee. He is with Seaborn in 1840 and 1850, living nearby in 1860, and is in the 1880 Pope County, Illinois census, listed as R. M. He is married to Isophrona, born in Alabama in 1831, and they have a son, William, born in Tennessee in 1861.

10. Seaborn Jasper Hall, born 30 May 1835 in Tennessee and died in 27 June 1898 in Illinois. He is buried in the Concord Church Cemetery in Pope County; his grave has a CSA tombstone. He is in his father’s household in 1840 and 1850, and is living with Bethena (Rhodes) Hall in 1860 in the Mountain District, Walker County. He is living in Pope County, Illinois, in 1870 with Atta M. (Alta Maria Davis), next door to Seaborn and Nancy, and in Pope County in 1880. Alta Maria’s sister is Cynthia Ann Davis, who married Berry Ramsey. Alta Maria Davis died after 1930, probably in Pope County.

11. Nancy Ann Hall born 1838-40 in Tennessee. She is with the family in 1840, 1850, and 1860, but is not with the family afterwards. As noted above, an Ann, 37, born in Tennessee about 1833, wife of Benjamin Smith, is the next door neighbor to Seaborn senior, Seaborn Jasper, and Asbury Ramsey in Pope County in 1870.

12. Polly Ann Hall. No further information. She may be Nancy Ann or Susan Ann.

The mystery of Jasper Hall

The identity of Jasper Hall, Gladys Hall’s grandfather, was difficult to determine even though he was hiding in plain sight. There were two reasons for this. One, Jasper only definitely appears in one census record, in 1900 for the Talking Rock District of Pickens County. He is also mentioned, although not by given name, in the “Reeves” correspondent’s notes for the week on the front page of the 11 August 1904 issue of the Calhoun Times: “Mr. Hall, who lived near here, died last Sunday afternoon. He leaves a wife and large family.”

I feel sure this is Jasper because the story of how he died has been confirmed by two of his grandchildren, and because his widow, Annie Rosinda Gipson, is living in the Oostanaula District of Gordon County in 1910 with her children on Everett Springs Road. The community of Oostanaula is less than two miles north of Reeves Station, but the old road between them, which crossed the river, has been abandoned. Newton Jasper and his wife, Anna Rosinda Gipson, are buried in the Land Cemetery, which is across the Oostanaula River from the community of Oostanaual on Harris Beamer Road. I believe the old route of Everett Springs Road went through Oostanaula and became the Oostanaula-Calhoun Road, a portion of which is now called Harris Beamer Road (see Notes on geography).

The second reason Jasper proved difficult to find is that, as noted earlier, people in this branch of the Hall family had a tendency to use one name in one census and another name in another. Gladys Hall always said her grandfather was Robert Jasper Hall, Sr., but after an exhaustive search of information on, Mormon records, and the Internet of census and family records, I could find no Robert Jasper Hall or any variant of that name born in Georgia in 1861. In the Northwest Georgia area, there is only one Robert Hall born in 1861, but he is living in Murray County in 1900 with his mother. In the 1870 Georgia census, I searched for all Hall males born in Georgia in 1861 plus or minus 2 years and found 16, none named Jasper and only one named Robert. He is Robert L. Z. Hall, son of William A. P. Hall, but he is living in Murray County in 1900 with his wife Georgia.

Family records were no help either. In Jasper’s son Sherman Marion Hall’s obituary in 1975, his father is said to be Jasper, but in his daughter Lula Campbell’s obituary in 1966, he is listed as Joseph. Meanwhile, in Robert Jasper Hall Jr.’s obituary in 1977, he is listed as Robert Jasper Sr. (it was probably written by Gladys Hall).

In the 1870 Georgia census, there were only two white Hall males with the initial J. in their names who were born in 1861: Sheppard J. Hall of Jefferson County, and Newton J. Hall of Gordon County.

It was only after investigating the ancestry of Newton J. Hall that I discovered this tendency to use different names in different census records. His father is listed both as James M. and Madison, his mother as Susan and Susannah, his brother as James A. and Allen, one sister as Puss and Prescilla, another as Jane and Arminda, his aunt as Francis A. and Adarine, possibly another as Nancy and Ann, and his uncle as Seaborn J. and Jasper.

Of course, the fact that Newton J. Hall had an uncle named Jasper is a clue. But there is another major clue that the Newton J. Hall in the 1870 Gordon County census is the Jasper Hall in the 1900 Pickens County census. Gladys Hall said that Jasper Hall had brothers named Allen, Frank, George Washington, and John Shepherd or John and Shepherd. Newton J. Hall had a brother named Allen, as noted, but he also had brothers named John and Adolphus F. Newton J. Hall did not have a brother named John Sheppard, but Anna Rosinda had a brother named Amos Shepard Gipson, born 4 February 1864 in Gilmer County.

Moreover, a G. W. Hall married Elizabeth Gipson on 10 February 1883 in Gilmer County. Elizabeth Gipson is Eda Elizabeth Gipson, Anna Rosinda Gipson’s aunt on her father’s side. In 1910, they are living in the Oostanaula District, Gordon County on Everett Springs Road, although not very near Annie and her children.

And finally, Newton J. Hall’s brother Allen married Eliza Ann Sheppard. Eliza was Anna Rosinda Gipson’s aunt, sister of her mother Mary Stephens Hickman.  In 1870, they are living next door to Anna Stephens, Anna Rosinda Gipson’s grandmother, in the Truck Wheel district of Pickens County.

As a result, I have come to believe that the “F” in Adolphus F. Hall’s name was an initial for Frank. A Frank Hall married Margaret Young on 19 September 1899 in Gilmer County, and  Adolphus F. Hall would have been 20-22 years old.
Make a Free Website with Yola.