I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to make a trip to Raynham, Massachusetts to view the Hall headstones in the Pleasant Street Cemetery, originally the Town Cemetery at Raynham Center, myself. I’d been wanting to go over there for the last two years, ever since we had learned through DNA testing that we were descendants of Edward Hall of Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Our Samuel Hall, son of Edward Hall, the immigrant ancestor, had lived in that part of Taunton, Massachusetts that became Raynham in 1731. He is buried in the town cemetery in Raynham Center, along with many of his descendants. It was his headstone that I was driven to see before any more time went by. But would I be able to read any of the 1700 headstones, particularly the headstone of Samuel Hall? His son, Jonathan Hall, Sr., in 1737, deeded 1 acre, 8 rods of land to the town of Raynham for a burying place for the inhabitants of Raynham. That 1 acre, 8 rods of land made up the original part of the current Pleasant Street Cemetery and without question, included the Hall family burying ground.
I had two days to learn as much as I could about the Hall burials in Pleasant Street Cemetery. The first day, it rained. I walked through the cemetery in the rain reading and recording as many headstones as I could. I found Samuel’s headstone but reading a headstone that was dirty from 292 years of being exposed to the elements, and wet on top of that, proved to be impossible. The following day was to be sunny and warm; perhaps it would be easier to read!
The following day I was back to the cemetery fairly early. As I am standing there getting my bearings on what to do first, I noticed a man walking toward me. He comes up to me and asks who I am looking for. I told him the Hall burials in the old section but in particular I am trying to read the inscription on the Samuel Hall headstone. He says give me a minute to get my kit and we’ll find out what is on it. I couldn’t believe it! Mr. Bousquin spent nearly 3 hours working on Sam’s headstone cleaning it and chalking it so that we could read the inscription. I will be forever grateful to Mr. Bousquin for his kind assistance so that I can now put this one to rest.
I can now say, without a doubt, that the Samuel Hall headstone is inscribed:
Here Lyes the body
Hall who Dyed
In Y[e] 60 Year of
his age August
I am also grateful to my friend, Johnna Armstrong, for quickly thinking to invert the image, so that there are two different ways to look at the photo. The inverted image helps to bring out some letters (or placement) that are faint in the original image.