E. C. Hall has made his township one of the most noted farming localities in the State. His farm is on Section 21, and as it has taken so many premiums at county and State fairs, it has earned the wide reputation of Illinois' model farm. Its grand avenues leading to it of stately pines are inviting to the visitor. The orchard, the clean and smooth meadow, lawns and blue-grass pastures, and the elegant residence, standing nearly in the center of the tract of land, is truly a model of beauty, convenience and utility that is pleasant to the beholder and leaves a picture upon the mind that will be slow to fade. This splendid property contains 200 acres, and now belongs to John Weber.?
Edward C. Hall, son of Ransom Hall, like all that noted family, was one of our best citizens. A very full account of the Hall family may be found in another chapter.
The most prominent man of today in Hall Township is Henry J. Miller. He is known far and wide for his enterprise, thrift and energy, and as one of the few valuable men upon whose broad and strong shoulders are carried those large enterprises that build up and keep in the advance the prosperity of large communities. To Mr. Miller is due the organization, development and future great promise of the Spring Valley Coal Company of this township. He organized the company a few years ago and, as its agent, contracted for 5,000 acres of coal lands. Most of the original parties failed when the time came to make the final payment on these lands, and after much negotiation Mr. Miller, in company with Mr. A. Campbell, arranged and took the lands and paid for them. One splendid shaft, costing, $30,000 is now in operation, and soon others will be opened. There is here the finest article of bituminous coal found in the West.
A railroad is contemplated in connection with these mines, called the Spring Valley & Northwestern Railroad. Its contemplated route is toward the northwest, and if Mr. Miller's life is spared a few years, he will be able to add one of the largest industries, not only to Bureau County, but to the great Northwest, yet given the county.
In the business life of Henry J. Miller are the evidences of the great value a single life may be to a people in bettering the condition of all, in advancing the general material interests, and at the same time so conducting his vast and generous enterprises that none are oppressed, none wronged, no one impoverished, but all are aided, assisted and advanced along the great struggling line of life. Always just, generous and liberal, there will come to those who have felt his good acts and impulses, no sting with his name or memory. Such a life is worth living. Its pathway here is, as will be its memory in the long future, lit up with warm rays of sweetest sunshine.
Rufus Lumry, a noted early preacher of whom much is said elsewhere, settled in this township. He was drowned in Colorado. In 1844 he was a candidate of the Abolitionists, for the Legislature. It was Lumry who found the body of J. Dunlap at Lost Grove, in 1837. The Methodist Episcopal preachers who came after Lumry were Steven R. Beggs, John Sinclair and J. J. Cole. It was this township that furnished ready-made, Judge William Hoskins, whose name figures so prominently in the general county history. Here also figured Curtis Williams, and William Hall and his two girls. He was killed, and his girls taken captive by the Indians. Reason Hall settled on Section 34, afterward owned by J. Wasson, as early as 1828. Then in 1833 Henry Miller settled on Section 33, and William Miller on 27, and in the fall of the same year Edward Hall settled on 29, afterward occupied by H. W. Munson; William Swan on 19, where J. Whitehead afterward resided; Robert Scott, A. Wixam, Alexander Holbrook and Martin Thompson. The two last made improvements on Section 36. These farms were afterward owned by the great Daniel Webster. Islam Wilhite settled on Section 18. C. W. Combs, Samuel J. Williams and Moses Tichenor were among the settlers here prior to 1840. Also Noah Sapp, Dr. Whitehead and James G. Swan were among the prominent early settlers.
James Murray, the geologist, lives in Hall Township. He is a native of Perthshire, Scotland, born January 23, 1820. He was educated in his native country, and trained to his father's business - flower gardening - and lived there with the Earls of Hopeton, Murray, and other distinguished families. He went from Scotland to England, and for six years lived with Viscount Sidney, near London. He came to America in 1852, and married Sarah Olcott, September 11, 1864, of which union were five children.
Mr. Murray looked over the country and selected a place for a home that had more interest for a landscape gardener and geologist's eye than for a practical farmer, and for the past thirty years he had devoted himself to the study of geology of northern Illinois and the collection of rare and interesting geological specimens. As a consequence he is now the possessor of one of the rarest and most extensive collection of specimens in the State. He has been much visited by scientific investigators of late years and several attempts have been made to secure for the State his collection.