Matt, Susan, and missing children

James Madison “Matt” Hall is listed in three census records, and is said to be 35 in 1850, 35 in 1860, and 50 in 1870. In the 1850 census for the West Chicamauga District, Walker County, he is listed as Madison, but in 1860 in Gilmer County and 1870 in Gordon County, he is listed as James M. Hall. He was a farmer, wheelwright, and probably a police officer (the census simply says “copper,” which was a common term for them in the 19th century).

His wife Susannah, maiden name unknown, was born in Tennessee in 1822-27 according to the census records. In 1850, she is listed as Susan, but is Susannah in all subsequent censuses. There is no record of their marriage, but they probably wed about 1841 in Hamilton County, Tennessee, and moved to Walker County in 1847-49. Hamilton County has no marriage records before 1857.

Since census records before 1880 did not list the states in which a person’s parents were born, there is no confirmation of where Matt’s parents were born, and in the 1880 Pickens County census, Susan’s parent’s states of origin are listed as “unknown,” so her parents are probably lost to history.

But, in 1840, a male Matt’s age is living with Seaborn and Nancy Smith Hall's family in Hamilton County, Tennessee. In 1850, Matt and Susan live one house away from Seaborn and Nancy just across the state line in the West Chickamauga District, Walker County. Matt possesses no real estate or personal wealth, according to the census, but in the 1860 Gilmer census, he has accumulated $100. In that census, Matt could read and write, but Susan couldn’t.

In1860, Matt and Susan lived in the Leaches District, Georgia Militia District 1035, Gilmer County, a district southwest of Ellijay along Highway 382 and including Flat Creek Baptist Church. In 1870, they are in the old 24th District of Gordon County, which is today, at least in part, GMDs 1235 and 1057. It included the communities of Oakman and Petersburg, and probably Ranger. Just one district away across the county line in Pickens is the Talking Rock District (GMD 794), where their son Newton Jasper Hall lived in 1900, and just east of that is the Truck Wheel District (GMD 1086), which includes the town of Talking Rock, where Susannah Hall lived in 1880.

In 1860, the census record notes that their children James Allen (called Allen), Arminda, Priscilla, and John C. all attended school in the last year, apparently the first members of the Hall family to obtain any formal education. This may have been in Ellijay. William Franklin Hill, elected Gilmer County’s first school commissioner in 1877, taught school there before the Civil War (Source: <>).

It is not known if Matt Hall died in Gordon or Pickens County, but it was probably the latter. He died sometime between 1870 and 1880, and in 1880 his widow Susannah is living, as said, in the Truck Wheel District. She is living next door to Hugh Allen, who married the Rev. Robert and Susannah Jordan’s daughter Elizabeth. My feeling is that Matt was alive when Susan moved to Pickens County since it was common in this time for a widow to move close to her children on the death of her husband. Instead, Susan is a widow living with one son, Adolphus F. (Frank?), and has no known biological relationship with her neighbors, the aforementioned family of Hugh Allen, and that of Eli Sumner. Hugh and Eli are neighbors in both 1870 and 1880, but they are unrelated as well.

There was apparently some connection between the Halls and the Jordans, however.
In 1870, Allen Hall, a cobbler or shoemaker, is living next door to Susannah Jordan, the Rev. Robert Jordan’s widow, in the Truck Wheel District, which includes the town of Talking Rock.

Robert Jordan was an itinerant Baptist preacher in the “Scared Corn Circuit,” a region that centers on Hinton, in  Pickens County on Highway 53, on the boundary between the Truck Wheel and Talking Rock Districts. He was the first pastor of the Talking Rock Baptist Church in 1839, a founder and minister of the Ball Creek Baptist Church in the Talking Rock District on Georgia Highway 136 near the Gilmer County line, and a founding trustee of Town Creek Baptist Church, which sits north-northwest of Talking Rock on the boundary between the two Pickens districts near the Gilmer County line. In 1860, he was one of the richest men in Pickens County.

The Rev. Jordan was the father of the notorious Capt. Benjamin F. Jordan, commander of the Pickens County Home Guards, and is said to have been hanged during the Civil War by Union soldiers, probably in Calhoun, Georgia and probably for providing support for his son (see the page on Newton Jasper Hall as well as the Scared Corn-Ryo murders).

Newton Jasper Hall met Anna Rosinda Gipson in the Truck Wheel/Talking Rock area, probably through his brother Allen. Allen married Anna Rosinda Gipson’s aunt on her mother’s side, Eliza Ann Sheppard, born about 1834 in North Carolina. In the 1870 census for the Truck Wheel District, Pickens County, Allen and Eliza Ann Hall's other neighbors are Anna Stephens, Anna Rosinda Gipson’s grandmother. They are also living only four houses from Anna Rosinda’s family.

Interestingly, Anna Rosinda Gipson’s maternal grandfather, Harrison Gipson, married her maternal grandmother, Anna Sheppard Stephens late in life. In 1880, Harrison and Anna are living next door to Anna Rosinda’s family in the Talking Rock District. Newton Jasper’s mother Susannah, in the Truck Wheel District, is 49 houses away, but that may not be as far as it sounds since the Truck Wheel District includes Talking Rock itself.

Susannah died sometime after 1880, but I do not know where she is buried. As said, her surname is unknown. Sometimes relationships can be determined by families living next to each other, as is the case in 1850 in Walker County, but I could not find any indication that Susan, or Matt for that matter, are related to any of their neighbors in the 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. In fact, as noted earlier, I believe Matt was alive when Susan moved to Pickens County in 1880 because she is not related to either of her neighbors or their spouses.

Another mystery is just where Newton Jasper Hall and several of his brothers and sisters are in 1880. I have searched for years for them in the census and other records, and simply cannot find them.

Matt and Susan had nine or 10 children:

1. James Allen “Allen” Hall was born 23 January 1843 in Tennessee, according to his Civil War record. During the war, he was captured at Knoxville, Tennessee on 22 September 1863, and held as a prisoner-of-war until February of 1865. He was hospitalized after the war in Richmond, Virginia (See Our family in wartime).

Allen is with the family in 1850 and 1860, and as said, in 1870, he is a shoemaker living in the Truck Wheel District, Pickens County with his wife  Eliza Ann Sheppard 36, born 1933-34 in North Carolina. As previously noted, Eliza is Anna Rosinda Gipson’s aunt, sister of her mother Mary Stephens Hickman.

In the household in 1870 is Sarah Ann 14, born in Georgia. I think Sarah Ann may be Allen’s sister, but she is also living with her family in 1870 somewhere near Oakman in Gordon County. Sarah Ann is 9 in the 1860 census and in the 1870 Gordon County census is 16. But the Gordon census was taken on what looks like 12 June (it is a very poor copy), and the Pickens census was taken on 13 July, so she could have moved from one household to the other. The Oakman district and the Truck Wheel District are only a few miles apart.

Unfortunately, the 1870 censuses did not list family relationships. But, as indicated above, the ages of Matt and Susan and Sarah Ann varied widely decade to decade, and the same is true for several others of their children, including Allen. The Halls were generally illiterate, and the veracity of census information varied depending upon the source of the information and the census taker's abilities.

I searched for Sarah Ann in Gilmer, Pickens, and surrounding counties in 1880 and 1900, but could find none with a mother born in Tennessee.

Allen and Eliza had at least one child, May A., born in 1873. In their household in 1880 in the Town Creek District of Gilmer County, a nephew, Allen Hall, is also in the household. The census record says his father was born in Georgia, which, if true, means he is the son of William C. Hall below. I could not find him in the 1900 census.

Also, I could not find a May A. with a father born in Tennessee and a mother born in North Carolina in the 1900 census.

2. Arminta or Arminda Jane Hall was born about 1842-1845 in Tennessee. She is with the family in 1850, 1860, and 1870. I could not find her in any later census.

3. Priscilla C. Hall, born about 1847-49 in Tennessee. She is with the family in 1850, where she is called “Puss,” and in 1860 and 1870, but there is no one in the 1880 census that fits her profile.

4. John C. Hall, born about 1849-50 in Tennessee. He is with the family in 1850 and 1860. A search of the 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 census records produced no John or John C. or Clark, Calvin, Charles or Carter Hall who matched.

5. Sarah A. Hall, born about 1851-56 in Georgia. She is with the family in 1860 and, I believe, living with her brother James A. in 1870 as well as with her family. As noted, I could find no one who matched her in the 1880 census.

6. William C. (Clark?) Hall, born about 1855 in Georgia. He appears only in the 1860 census and I could not locate him in any other household in Georgia or Tennessee in 1870. If the nephew, Allen, 6, living with his uncle Allen, above, in 1880, truly had a father born in Georgia, then William C. Hall is his father and he may have died after 1873. But there is a William Hall, born about 1856 in Georgia, living in the Eighth District, Gordon County, in 1880. This district no longer exists, but I believe it included GMD 1063 (Resaca, Nicklesville and Fidele). He says his father was born in South Carolina and his mother in Georgia, but in 1880 James Allen’s father is said to have been born in South Carolina, too. This William and his wife Louzia, 25, have two boys, Hiram R. 3, and William J. 1.

I suggest that the initial C may stand for Clark because Matt had a brother named Clark.

7. Nancy A. and/or M. Hall, born about 1858-59 in Georgia. She is with the family in 1860 and 1870. In 1880, there is a Nancy A. “Halt,” 20, working as a servant in the Seventh District, Gordon County, but her parents are said to have been born in North Carolina. I could not find any Nancys living in Georgia with a mother born in Tennessee in 1880 or 1900.

8. Newton Jasper Hall, born in 1861 in Georgia,  Gladys Hall’s grandfather.

9. George W. Hall?, born 1862-1866. (See section on him below).

10. Adolphus F. (Frank or Franklin?) Hall, born 1868-70, is with the family in 1870 at four months old and is with Susannah in Pickens in 1880 as a 12-year-old. Frank Hall married Margaret L. Young on 19 September 1899 in Gilmer County, but I could not find him in 1900 or later.

Strangely enough, it is as if Arminta J., Priscilla C., John C., and Sarah A. just disappear, and there is no record of George W. ever living with the family. I have searched for them every way I can think of, including Arminda, Arminta, Amanda, Mindy, Jane, Priscilla, Percilla, Puss, John, Calvin, Carter, Clark, Sarah Ann, Ann, William, and Bill Hall, Hale, Haolt, Hull, Hill, etc, with no luck.

I literally examined every page in the 1880 Pickens, Gordon, and Gilmer censuses in case their was a transcription error, and still could not find them.

The mystery of George Washington Hall

My mother Gladys Hall said that her grandfather had brothers named  George Washington, Allen, Frank, and John Sheppard Hall. Newton Jasper Hall had brothers named Allen, John, and Adolphus F., and his wife Anna Rosinda had a brother named Sheppard, which, given the limits of memory and understanding, seems conclusive. But Gladys and two of her brothers said at different times that he had a brother named George Washington Hall, yet there is no record of a George Washington Hall ever being a part of Newton Jasper’s family.

There is a George W. Hall in Gordon County who appears to be related, however. He was born 1862-1866 in Georgia in all census records, and died after 1930. His mother was said to have been born in Georgia in the 1900 census for the Calhoun District, Gordon County, but born in Tennessee in the 1910 census for the Oostanaula District and in the 1920 and 1930 censuses for Plainville. In 1900, his father was said to have been born in Georgia, in 1910 and 1920 he was born in South Carolina, and in 1930 he was born in England (the word “Georgia” was erased and written over).

If George W. Hall was Newton J. Hall's brother, his father would have been born in Georgia and his mother in Tennessee, but in the 1880 Gilmer census, his brother Allen's father is said to be born in South Carolina. Such variations, especially in the Hall census records, are common.

There is two key pieces of evidence that this George W. Hall is related. One, he married Eda Elizabeth Gipson, Anna Rosinda Gipson’s aunt on her father’s side, on 10 February 1883 in Gilmer County. Two, in 1910, they are living in the Oostanaula District, Gordon County, along with Jasper’s widow Annie and her family on Everett Springs Road, although they are 83 houses apart. In 1920 and 1930, George is living in the Plainville District (GMD 1055), Gordon County, as are several members of Jasper’s family.

They had three known children: Robert A. born 1887-88, John W. born 1891 (he is not with the family in 1900, but is in 1910), and Amanda Octavia M. born 1895-96, all in Georgia, plus one child whose name is unknown. In the 1910 census, Edith has had four children, all of whom are living, but their fourth child is never listed with the family. Amanda married Charles W. Ray, and George is a widower living in their household in 1920 with their children Paul R. Ray, 6, and James A. Ray, five months.

In 1930, George W. Hall, 64, is married to Pearl A., 24, and living in Plainville, Georgia. They married about 1823 when he was 57 and she was 17. There are two Pearls about her age in 1920 in Gordon County, and a dozen in 1910, so without other records it is impossible to tell just who she is. There is a Pearl Hall, born in 1907 and died in 1982, buried in the Franklin Cemetery on Highway 53 north of Plainville where other members of the Hall family are buried.

If this George W. Hall is Jasper’s brother, he was born during or right after the Civil War, so it is possible he was raised by another family. With her husband Matt fighting in the war from 1862-1865, Susan had six children to take care of. The terrible plight of the wives of soldiers, especially in places such as the North Georgia, is well documented. There is also the slight possibility that George W. Hall might have been illegitimate, since he was born while Matt Hall was fighting in the war (although soldiers did occasionally get to go on leave or just went AWOL).

I welcome additions and corrections. Please email me at Thanks.

Last updated 3 July 2013

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