The Halls


    Any one of three counties in central

Tennessee could have been home to the Hall

family. Near Murfreesboro in Rutherford

County are Hall Road, Hall’s Hill and Old

Hall’s Hill. But Theodore Hall was born in

England. He came to America with Jacob

and settled near Philadelphia. In 1729

Theodore married Gertrude Gordon (1710-

1805). They lived on the east bank of the

Delaware River. Theodore was crossing to

the west bank where he worked in the

“milling business” when drowned in a

“freshet.” His five children were sons Joseph,

Isaac, Samuel, Jacob and Jesse.

    A tenuous thread spins out: ... Jacob Hall

in Wake County, North Carolina, married

Elizabeth Davis, the daughter of a land owner

on New Light Creek. (A map dated 1785 is referenced.) The will of Jacob Hall in North Carolina was recorded May 7, 1844. This Jacob had at least six children: Charity, Prudence, Glaslony, Drura (or Drury), William and Jacob.

    Drura Hall (1789-1877) was born in North Carolina. In the War of 1812 he was inducted in May 1814 and moved from fort to fort fighting Creek Indians until discharged in Mobile, Alabama, on March 9, 1815. For this service he received several land grants. On December 25, 1816 Drura married Sarah Thrower (1793- 1857) in Wilson County, Tennessee. She was the mother of all his children: (Isaac, a son? b. 1817), Jonathan (1818), William (1819), Sion (1820), Drura, Jr. (1822), Elizabeth (1824), Thomas (1828), Nancy (1829), Lydia (1830), Sarah (?) and Jacob (1833). Drura’s sons, William and Sion, married sisters, America and Syrena McDaniel.

    William was killed by two sons of America’s youngest sister Betty, who had married Si Traylor. The Traylor family, “living on the old Charley Percy place,” packed up in the night and left for Texas. It was thought the “two boys” took the McDaniel name after they got to Fannin County. In later years, Lelia Hall of Mulberry occasionally mentioned her friend in the south part of the Fannin county, Emma Traylor. 

    Sion, suffering a broken back in childhood, was a small, hunchbacked man. He served in the “home guard” during the Civil War and had a bad temper. On one occasion his son John brought home a prized ram; but the ram butted Sion, who soon washed bloody hands:  “... no such offspring on my place.” But John recovered his loss; of nine children born to Sion and Syrena, he will come to hold most of their 1,800 acre farm.

    Elizabeth married Uriah Cluck and had ten children. Two were captured at Missionary Ridge and died in the Union prison at Rock Island, Illinois: George (1841-64) and John (1842-63).

    Thomas was rescued from a jail in Murfreesboro by the Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest on a night before he was to be hanged as a spy.

    Jonathan Hall (1818-1903) married Roxanna Bond (1830-1904) of Wilson County. Her father was James Bond (1799-1872). Men in the Bond family were influential as justices and judges. Ten children were Parilee (born 1848), James (1850), Josephine (1851), Sarah (1853), Attossa (1855), Luella (1858), Margaret (1860), John Forrest (1864), Charles (1870) and Dealy. They lived on Snow’s Hill in DeKalb County. Charles

married Mary Palestine, a

daughter of James Madison



“Fiddler” (detail of Lockhart family home)

Jonathan and Roxanna Hall at home

In 1900 DeKalb County census,

unmarried daughters, Jossie and Tennie,

46 and 41, and daughter, Margaret Bryan,

33, were living in his household.


Jonathan and Roxanna Hall Family

(before 1903)

back: John Lockhart, Minnie (Lockhart) Johnson, Louella (Hall) Hollis, Jossie, Tennie, Helen Hall and William Lockhart; front: Roxanna and Jonathan, with Mary Palestine and son Charles

    John Forrest Hall (1864-1936) For Nathan Bedford Forrest (1822-77), the Confederate general who saved uncle Tom from hanging. (The general became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan which was founded in Tennessee in 1866 with the aim of destroying “radical political power”.) As a young man John Forrest, accompanied by James Gay, went looking for work in Texas. He returned and married Bettie Frazier (1867-1935) on January 12, 1888.

     In Bettie’s album, “To My Friends” her friends were saying good-bye, for later in

1891, John, Bettie and son Allie, aged three, left Tennessee by wagon. At night they chained their horses to trees with locks. In Arkansas John did some logging. Bettie and Allie made the remainder of the journey by train, to Paris in Lamar County. 

“Warranted Good”

A Seth Thomas mantel clock was wrapped in a quilt at the bottom of a traveling trunk.

Its glass front shows a bird, wings spread wide, amid flowers and berries.

Its pendulum still swings and hours crash in my bedroom as I sleep soundly on.

Four more children were born on a prairie farm near Paris:

Lelia (1893), Vera (1896), Willie (1899) and Clayton (1904).

Bettie’s letter to her sister in Tennessee, March 13, 1903:

“...bad dreams about home...”

Jonathan Hall died at home in Tennessee, March 24, 1903

    After the Red River’s Great Flood in 1908 John Forrest and Bettie Hall moved again to Mulberry bottom in Fannin County.

    1911 February 15: Mrs. Sallie McCrummen deeded 350 acres to J. F. Hall, “the tract of land deeded by H. W. Lightfoot to J. S. McCrummen...up the river with its meanders....” The last Hall child, Clarence (for a long time they called him “John”), was born that year.    

    A descendant of Sion and Syrena, (yet another) William Hall, has worked in Houston to uncover the
family genealogy. He believes he has been promised the gun the Trailor brothers used to kill their William, and he found a farmer on Snow’s Hill breaking up the tombstone of Jonathan’s daughter Josephine for whom John Forrest and Bettie’s daughter, Lelia Josie, was named in 1893. Officials in DeKalb County (1992) did not encourage my efforts to save the graves of Jonathan and Roxanna Hall.

I am Gregory.

photo montage:

Fannin County courthouse

My father Clayton Hall and his mules

Grandmother Roxanna Hall

below: J. F. and Bettie Hall

Aunts Lelia and Vera revisit the clock (1966)