Lee County Biography


Joseph G. Hall was born in England, March 9, 1843, but the most of his life has been passed in the United States, which has no more loyal citizen than he, as was proven by his course during the late war, when he enlisted in the opening year of that great civil conflict, although scarcely more than a boy, and fought for the country of his adoption with all the ardor and patriotism of one native to the soil. And his record is equally good since those trying days, as, by his enterprise as a farmer and stock-raiser, he has contributed to the wealth of this county, where he has made his home for thirty-five years. His farm, lying on section 3, May Township, is a model in many respects, so well is it managed, and its improvements are of a high order.

The parents of our subject were Joseph and Elizabeth (Hayden) Hall. Soon after the birth of their son of whom we write, the father came to this country, and took up his residence in Philadelphia, where he introduced a new industry, which was the art of tinning cast-iron by means of melting block tin and then rubbing it onto the iron with a cork. While in that business he was with the firm of Creston, Stewart & Peterson. In May, 1846, the remainder of his family came to the United States, and dwelt in the Quaker City until May 28, 1857, the mother dying there in the year 1853, leaving six children, as follows: William, a retired butcher, living near Birmingham, Eng.; Sarah, who married William Lockheart, of Philadelphia; Aaron, a brave soldier during the Civil War, who volunteered, became a member of Company A, Eighth Missoun Infantry, under command of Gen. Morgan L. Smith, and after four years of hard service, mysteriously disappeared and has not been heard from since; Joseph G.; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Perkins, of Red Bank,N. J.; and Samuel, a resident of Clinton, 111., where he is engaged as a shoemaker.

On the date last mentioned, the Hall famity left Philadelphia for this State, and settled on section 20, May Township, the father purchasing the northeastern quarter of said section. In 1862 he removed to Clinton, and subsequently to Logan County, near Lincoln,and there he died in 1876. He had married a second time after the death of the mother of our subject, Miss Sarah Wallace becoming his wife, and to them were born two children, Emma, now Mrs. Abbott, of Kansas, and Ida, who died in 1880.

Our subject came to Illinois with the family in the spring of 1857, and was living quietty in this county when the rebellion broke out. He was then a stalwart, active youth of eighteen years. He had been educated in the public schools of this land, and having grown up under the stars and stripes, he was attached to the Government represented by the grand old flag, and, as soon as possible, offered his* services in its defense. He enlisted with Company A, Fifty-Seventh Illinois Infantry, in November, 1861, and in the trying years that followed, fought heroically on many a battlefield, until his honorable discharge. December 26, 1846, with a noble record for fidelity and efficiency during his career as a soldier. Ho took part in the battles of Fort Donelson and Pittsburg Landing; was present and rendered good service at the siege of Corinth, at the battles of La Grange, Holly Springs, Pound Creek, and Tuscumbia; wintered at Pulaski, and then with his regiment accompanied Sherman on his Atlanta campaign, assisting in routing the enemy in the various engagements along the route, and he and his comrades showed the value of their soldiership during the siege and capture of Atlanta, whence they proceeded with their gallant leader on his famous "March to the Sea."

After the war, Mr. Hall began his career as a farmer by renting land in Lamoille Township, Bureau County, IL, his capital at the outset being but $400. He wTorked hard, sparing neither time nor labor to accomplish his undertakings, and he was prosperous accordingly. In 1873 he settled where he now resides on section 3, May Township, and has three hundred and sixty-two acres of land in his farm, which is admirally tilled, an neat and ordered buildings adorn the place.

Our subject was married October 10, 1867, to Miss Mary Ash. She is a native of Pennsylvania born February 11, 1850, and a daughter of George and Maria (Elliott) Ash. Her marriage with our subject has been a felicitous union, and has brought them three children, Maria Elizabeth Georgia, and Joseph G.

Mr. Hall is frank, manly and obliging in his bearing, and his fellow-townsmen regard him highly. Politically, he is a Republican, and no man in the county is more stanch in his adherence to the party than he. In public life he has been School Director, and he is at present Commissioner of Highways. He is a firm believer in the Christian religion, and his life is guided by principles of right-doing and justice.

Mingled with the bitter recollections of what he had to endure while in the army, our subject has some remembrances associated with the gloomy days of the war which are dear to him, and among them are those of the many warm and lasting friendships with the brave men with whom he marched shoulder to shoulder to victory or defeat in many a hard-fought battle, and it lias ever been his delight to meet his old comrades and talk with them of their experiences in camp, on the march, or in their encounters with the foe. One of the most delightful meetings of the kind, and one which will ever hold a sacred place in the memory of the participators, occurred at Mr. Hall's own residence in the month of August, in the summer of 1891 just passed, when he and his wife threw open their home to severaly of his old fellow-soldiers of Company A, Fifty-Seventh Illinois, and for three days held them together by their charming and bounteous hospitalities in a happy reunion. We append a pleasant notice of the affair clipped from a local paper:


Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday, there assembled at the hospitable mansion of Joseph Hall, in May, some of his comrades of the Fifty-Seventh regiment of Illinois volunteers and made him a gloriousand jolly visit. Refreshments of all kinds, both solid and otherwise, were in abundance, and a good time was enjoyed by all present, as they rested in the shade and rehearsed stories of their trials while in Uncle Sam's service. Those present from a distance were George Wheeler and wife, William Clueitt and wife, Joseph Turner and wife and C. W. Gindele and wife, of Chicago; Charles Prentice and wife, of Paw Paw; John Mitchell, of Maiden; Joe Rodmeyer, of Freeport; George Ash and wife, the father and mother of J. Hall and wife; and Conductor Fred Reed and wife, of Amboy.

"Ere the guests took theif departure they gave Comrade Hall a good caning, just such a one as he deserved; one that will help to make a good man of him—if not one already; one that will be a stay and a staff for him when in need of a support - a fine gold-headed cane."

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 410

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