While working the last few months on bringing down and documenting the descendants of Seth and Diadamia (Leach) Hall, Seth being a sibling of our 3rd great grandfather, Silas Leonard Hall, I requested photos on Find A Grave for Gaius Hall, a son of Seth’s and for Edwin Hall, a grandson of Seth’s, and son of Joshua and Anna (Brockway) Hall, buried in North Cemetery, Westmoreland, Cheshire, New Hampshire.
A few days ago I received an email letting me know that the photo request had been fulfilled and that same message also gave me important information on other Hall burials that were all together in that particular row. All of the names on the headstones were familiar and belonged in this particular Hall family, as buried in the row along with Seth and Diadamia were two of their sons and their wives: Gaius and his first wife Esther and second wife, Lucinda; Elijah and his wife Chloe; Edwin mentioned above and 2 Hall infants. Three burials were not familiar at all: Romeo Hall (died 1872) and his wife, Mary (1819-1870) and Eliza Hall (died 1864). Who in the world are Romeo and Eliza Hall? I didn’t have either one in my database. Curiosity, of course, got me searching for information.
There are no birth, marriage or death records for Romeo E. Hall and no birth or death records for Eliza Hall. Unfortunately, there are a lot of early 1800 births in Westmoreland, New Hampshire that there are no records for and death and marriage records are spotty at best. I searched for family trees on Ancestry, as well as on FamilySearch and I found 3 public trees on Ancestry for which two have Romeo’s father as unknown and his mother as the Eliza Hall mentioned above, born abt. 1802. Based on Romeo’s birth year this would mean that Eliza would have been about 15 years old when he was born, not unheard of, but I wasn’t buying it. The family trees also had that Romeo E. Hall married Mary Wyman (1819-1870) and they had 2 sons, Elton Augustus Hall (1842-1922) and John Wesley Hall b. 1854, this information seems to be accurate based on documents.
Next I went to the census. The 1850 census for Westmoreland has Romeo E. Hall, 33; Mrs. R.E., 30; Elton, 7; Chloe, 74; Eliza, 48; all born in NH except Chloe who is born in Mass. Romeo is living in between Seth Chandler Hall and Gaius K. Hall. Seth C. and Gaius K. are sons of Gaius and Lucinda (Balch) Hall.
Chloe, age 74, in the home; that caught my eye. She certainly fits as the widow of Elijah Augustus Hall (son of Seth and Diadiama) who died in 1847. Could Romeo have been the son of Elijah Augustus and Chloe (he did name a son Elton Augustus) and his widowed mother is now living in his home? Could Eliza be, instead of Romeo’s mother, an older sister and daughter of Elijah and Chloe? Possible since Elijah and Chloe were married in 1795.
I went to my database and checked marriage dates and the birth years of children for Gaius Hall and Joshua Hall, in addition to Elijah Augustus Hall and found that either Romeo or Eliza could fit with one but not with the other family for Gaius and Joshua, but both could fit with Elijah Augustus and Chloe as the parents, so then I went to the 1800 through 1840 census for Elijah A. Hall and what I found is that several children are missing from the vital records for Elijah Augustus and Chloe (Keith) Hall; two sons, one that I can now confidently claim to be Romeo E. Hall and at least 3 or 4 daughters, one that I am now comfortable naming as Eliza, born 1801/02, died 1864. The other daughters and one son continue to remain a mystery.
I then started looking at Elton Augustus Hall. Other than being able to document him as the son of Romeo E. Hall, I hadn’t found anything that gave his ancestry beyond his father, until yesterday when I found a bio for Elton A. Hall in the Biographical Review: biographical sketches of leading citizens of Cumberland County, Maine, published 1896, p.587. Elton was the assistant superintendent of the Maine Central Railroad. The bio went on to give some ancestral clues and it fortunately contained what I was so hoping to find:
Mr. Hall’s paternal grandfather, Elijah A. Hall, was a pioneer settler of Westmoreland, N.H., where he was industriously engaged for many years as a tiller of the soil, and where his children,including Romeo E. Hall, the father of Elton, was born.
Generally when using secondary sources, I take the information with a grain of salt until I can prove the statements with primary sources. In this case, there are no primary sources and this book is the only source that I have found so far that identifies Romeo E. Hall as the son of Elijah A. Hall of Westmoreland, New Hampshire. Being the immediate family of Elton A. Hall, I would trust that he knew who his grandfather was.
So what we have learned is that in addition to Elijah A. and Chloe (Keith) Hall’s already documented sons, Horatio Nelson and Camillus, we can add a third son, Romeo E. Hall, and even though there is no documentation other than the fact that a daughter of her age existed in the censuses, and that she is buried in the same plot as Romeo and his wife, and Elijah and Chloe, I am confident that we can also add Eliza as a daughter.
Had it not been for a very thoughtful person who photographed the headstones in North Cemetery in Westmoreland, Cheshire County, New Hampshire and went above and beyond by adding the additional information, it is hard to know how much longer it might have taken to even begin to identify additional children of Elijah Augustus and Chloe (Keith) Hall, for which there apparently are no vital records.