Family Genealogy - Hall Family Genealogy

Asa Hall, A Revolutionary War Soldier

Our Hall Family Genealogy begins with Asa Hall, the earliest documented ancestor of the Hall line, although family tradition is that his father was named Benajah. It is also tradition that Benajah moved from Rhode Island to Dutchess County New York when Asa and his brother Jesse were small children.

Some researchers state, without any positive documentation that the author is aware of, that Asa and Benajah are from a prominent Connecticut Hall family that dates back to an immigrant, John Hall (1605-1676) of the Manchester district of England. The family settled in the Wallingford Connecticut area. There was a Benajah Hall, born 12 Feb. 1734 to David and Alice Hale Hall of this family. But this Benajah was a doctor and apparently died 21 Mar. 1760 and left no family. The search for our Benajah must begin in Dutchess County NY and in Rhode Island. The author spent a day researching in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County Seat, and found nothing of either Asa or Benajah.

A line of research by Wanda DeGidio leads us to a Rhode Family of Halls, specifically John Hall of Westerly Rhode Island. Visit her Web Site. She also has a book  on this line of research - Hall Family History.

Asa was a Revolutionary War soldier. There is a grave marker for him by the Daughters of the American Revolution at Hall’s church. This church, near Ironto in Montgomery County, along the North Fork of the Roanoke River, was apparently named for Asa. According to his pension application, he enlisted in the army in Dutchess County 3 March 1776, served in several campaigns, enlisted again 1 July 1777 and served until 15 December 1777. It states he was at the capture of Burgoyne.

Asa married twice, the first time in New York State to Sarah Adams, by whom he had 10 children. He came to Montgomery County Virginia about 1795, preceded by his brother Jesse, also a Revolutionary soldier. Sarah died in Virginia, after which Asa married Mary Vanover, daughter of Henry Vanover, in Montgomery County. Mary bore him three daughters, Martha, Mary, and Christina. Mary married William Jewel, and Christina married William’s brother John Jewel. There are some published references to a son, Benjamin, of Asa’s second marriage, but Iva Geary (Asa's great-granddaughter) apparently knew nothing of such a person.

Frederick Bittle Kegley in Kegley’s Virginia Frontier has this to say about Asa and Jesse:

Asa Hall and Jesse, his brother, came from New York to Roanoke Valley in Virginia about 1790. They acquired land on the North Fork of Roanoke by purchase and by grant Asa Hall 253 acres from James Bryan and Mary, 250 acres from Robert Foster and Hannah, 70, 250 and 45 acres on Keeney’s Run by entry; Jesse 253 acres from Thomas Wilson. Jesse Hall moved to South Fork and lived near Allegheny Springs. Asa Hall was twice married, first to Sarah Adams and second to Mary Vanover; and although the owner of extensive lands and the father of a number of children he died a poor man. He was 72 in January, 1831, when he made a declaration applying for a pension for services in the Revolution. He was in Captain Nathan Pearce’s Company in Duchess County, New York and served in Long Island, White Plains and Stoney Point, and aided in taking Burgoyne. He had received nothing from the government and had no income except that he derived from his own labor on a poor bit of land on and amid the steep mountains which but for the improvements in houses and fences would sell for scarcely more than fifty dollars. The schedule of his personal estate was one mare and colt, $55; three cows and two calves, $24; seven head of sheep, $5; seven head of hogs, $5. The management of the mountain land devolved upon his sons, Asa Hall Jr and Jesse C. Hall.

Asa had other land transactions in addition to the ones named by Kegley.

Asa and two other men of the neighborhood appear to have been the moving forces behind the establishment of Hall’s Methodist Church, which is still in existence near Ironto as Hall’s United Methodist Church. One of the men, Ewen Thomas Watterson, provided the land, along with a log cabin, for the church in 1817. However, it is believed there was a church organization in existence before that date. The third man was Henry Vanover, a former circuit riding preacher out of Bedford, who settled in the area. Vanover was Asa’s father-in-law. Henry is believed to have served Hall’s church as its minister in the church’s early days. It appears quite likely that one or more of these men met Francis Asbury, founder of the Methodist Church in America, on one of three trips he made into Southwest Virginia in the opening years of the 19th century.

"Present day members of Hall’s Church," writes Mary Hamlin in the Roanoke Times and World-News, 2 Sep 1989, "describe Asa Hall as a kind and generous man and say those traits were why the church was named for him."

A strong family tradition holds that Asa constructed the stone crypt in the side of the mountain on the Fotheringay estate near Elliston. It was built for the Hancock family and a persistent but apocryphal story was that the head of the household was buried standing up to keep watch over the slaves in the fields below.

Asa and Sarah Adams had the following children:

  • David Hall who married Elizabeth Pate - This line of descent is continued.
  • William C. Hall who married Sarah Vanover. This line of descent is continued.
  • Amy Hall married Enoch Matson Vanover - This line of descent is continued.
  • Asa Hall Jr. married Martha Crandall - This line of descent is continued.
  • Susannah Hall married Thomas Beavers. This line of descent is continued through one child.
  • Sarah Hall married James Pratt - No additional info available on this line.
  • Jesse C. Hall married Joanna Pratt - no additional info available on this line.
  • Lucinda Hall married Archibald Graham - additional information available on this line.
  • Elizabeth Hall married Jeremiah Bell - no additional info available on this line.
  • Jonathan Hall married Margaret Bell - no additional information available on this line.

Asa Hall and Mary Vanover had the following children:

  • Christina Hall married John Jewell - additional information available on this line.
  • Mary Hall married Thomas Jewell - main line of descent of this database.
  • Martha Hall married James M. Graham - additional information available on this line.

If you are researching Asa's brother, Jesse Hall, the following sites may be helpful: