Monday, October 20, 2008

Joseph Hall 1865 - 1928

Joseph Hall was born on March 29, 1865 in Pike county, Kentucky.  His parents were Enoch Mahlon Hall and Nancy Hampton.  In the 1870 census Mahlon, 27,  and Nancy, 26, had four children:  Richard, 8, Joseph, 6, Mary A., 3, and William, 1.

On September 16, 1879 Joe married Sarah Caudill  when Joe was 14 and Sarah was 23.  Mary Ellen was born October 4, 1880.  Minnie was born April 25, 1882.  Anzie was born October 29, 1883.  Isabella was born July 30, 1885.  Alvin was born August 8, 1887.

When Alvin was two years old Sarah died on August 8, 1889.  On August 30th Joe married Lettie Craft, the daughter of Chunk Craft and Polly Ann Caudill.  He was 24 and she was 17.  Their first child was Polly Ann Hall who was born September 20, 1890.  Leonard was born December 16, 1891.  Rachel Virginia was born June 10, 1894.  Enoch Mahlon was born August 10, 1896.  Nancy Alice was born March 5, 1899. 

Joe Hall and Lettie Craft

The 1900 census Joe and Lettie were:

Joseph, 36, married 10 years
Lettie E. 28, had 5 children, 5 living
Minnie E., 18
Anzie, 16
Isabella, 14
Alven, 12
Polly A., 9
Leonard B. 8
Rachel V., 5
Enoch M., 3
Nancy A., 1

William Basil was born June 18, 1900.  Pricy was born January 21, 1904.

When I met Joe's daughter, Hazel Hall Hughes, the first thing she said about her father was, "My daddy loved women."  I don't know what he was like during his marriage  to Sarah, but apparentley when he was married to Lettie, there were other women.  He at one point operated a store.  He sometimes was gone overnight on  "buying trips".  On one of the trips he came home with someone's stockings in his pocket.  Lettie hated being cheated upon.  She watched and finally caught him cheating.  On March 27, 1905 she went to the barn and hung herself.

My first thought was why didn't she leave him, divorce him or shoot him?  It had to do with the way women were in that society.  I saw it in my grandmother.  I saw in my mother.  I have seen it over and over in the family history.  It's certainly not how every woman lived, but many of the women married and that was for life. It would have been a failure in their character to leave or admit that they had anything but a successful marriage.  For Lettie to committ suicide was a great humilation to Joe.  This is how she meant it and he was very disturbed that she had done this "to him." 

On April 22, 1905 he married Lettie's first cousin, Druscilla "Siller" Craft.  She was the widow of Miles Mayo Adams who had died in 1905, too.  She had two daughters with Mayo:  Louisia Jane (aka Eliza Jane) and Lettie.  She had no children with Joe.

Joe Hall and Cillar Craft Adams

Leonard married a Profitt girl.  He was 16.  Despondant because his new wife would not sleep with him, he shot and killed himself.

In the 1910 census Joseph is listed as being in his second marriage, this one 5 years long.  Cillar is also listed as being in her second marriage and that she had 2 children, both living.  Also in the household:  Enoch Maylan, 13, Nancy Alice 11 and Basil 8.

In 1914 Joe had a daughter, Atta May, with Dianah Cornelia Webb.  They marry on May 20, 1916.  Josephine is born on August 11, 1917.  Atta May died in 1918.

In the 1920 census Joseph is 55. Cornelia is 35.  Living with them is her son Hugh Cashion 15, Josephine 2 and Russell and Charles Webb, two more of Dianah's children. 

In January 1918 Joe married Martha Ann Tackett.  Hazel was born May 28, 1919.  She lives in Cleveland now.

Hazel Hall, Lettie Hall and Martha Tackett Hall

He married Dianah a second time on August 19, 1919.  Henrietta "Ritter" Hall was born November 12, 1920.  Apparentley Joe was still seeing other women.  His daughter, Lettie, was born to Martha Tackett Hall on February 22, 1924.

There was no love lost between Dianah and Martha. Here is a story Hazel told me about her mother and Dianah:

Mommy lived on the same branch as Diana and Joe. She had to pass their home many times. Once when Mommy was passing Diana ran out of her house and tried to throw scalding water on her. Mommy called her a “B.” Diana took her to court. Sandy Adams was judging. He found Mommy innocent, but he had to charge her something so he made the fine three cents. Mommy refused to pay. Mr. Adams said, “You mean you would rather go to jail than pay three cents?” Mommy said she wouldn’t pay a penny to that woman. The judge paid the three cents out of his pocket so she wouldn’t go to jail.

Joe took care of Martha and the girls.  They lived in a small building by the store owned by Mary Bentley.  Hazel went on to tell this story about what was going on in the time before Joe's death:

When Dad died we lived in the feed house. We had a Yale lock on it. Mom said that someone was rattling the lock like they were trying to get in. She kept an ax by the door. She went to Joe and told him somebody was trying to break in. She asked him to get her a shotgun. He told Marthy he didn’t have the money to buy a shotgun, but he said he had a pearl handled pistol and he would go and get it. It hung behind the door. Daddy said it was gone. Daddy was killed by that gun.

I was in Diana’s house and that same gun lay on her mantle. I had the strongest urge to take it, but I didn’t. I just felt like I should pick it up and take it home. Daddy told Mommy he couldn’t find the gun. If Daddy shot himself, there should have been powder burns on him. The coroner told everyone there were no powder burns on him.

Myrtle’s Dad, Arthur Johnson, was under the porch playing with Charlie and there was a washtub full of bloody clothes. Then they were gone.

We lived in that house after Elzie and I were married. Back then you just lived wherever you could. Josephine said when our Dad died it sounded like someone was throwing rocks against the house. He was killed on the porch. They scrubbed up the blood, but you could still see the stains. I scrubbed and scrubbed them, but I could never get it out.

Opal Hall Holbrook also reported that Joe had told her parents, Alvin and Mary Hall, that the gun which he kept in the store was gone about a week before his death.

Joe Hall killed himself on October 20, 1928.  The Mountain Eagle ran the following obituary on October 25th:

Late Baptist Preacher and Post Master Kills Self

Word from Millstine (sic) reached town Saturday morning stating Joe Hall, about sixty years of age and for about forty years occasionally a minister of the old Baptist Church had on the night before shot himself, dying instantly. Why he had committed this act no one seems to know. His wife says that for some days he had been unwell and had been acting strange. About two o'clock in the morning he arose from a fitful sleep, walked from the room to the outside and fired the fatal shot. Before she could reach him life was extinct. The ball entered his right temple and passed through his brain.

Joe Hall had been Postmaster at Millstone for a great number of years. A nupright and strict business man, there was none better. He had been married as many as six times and leaves two or three still living wives. He also leaves a number of children.

Joe Hall belonged to an excellent family. Worry and broken health lead ( sic) to his taking his own life. We extend sympathies to those left behind.

His daughter Nancy Alice Hall Bentley  said he didn't do it. His daughter, Hazel Hall Hughes, says he didn't do it. Opal Hall Holbrook, his granddaughter, says he didn't do it. I have never talked with anyone in the family who believed that his had killed himself.
The newspaper article said he went outside and shot himself.  When the bullet was removed from the body by the undertaker when he was preparing the body for burial at the home in Millstone, it was lodged in his arm.  It made more sense that Joe had been lying on his side with his arm resting under his head as if he had been sleeping instead of putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger.

Hazel said

Daddy was killed. He was living with Diana at the time. The coroner said he was laying in the bed sleeping and the shot went in one ear and out the other then to his arm and he took the bullet out of Dad’s wrist.
Opal said the undertaker, Mr. Swisher, came to the home on Millstone and prepared the body for burial.  He removed the bullet and gave it to Basil Hall, Joe's son.  It was consistent with bullets used in the gun which had been missing.  Basil had it in his pocket when he went to the graveyard.  He did not have it when he came down from the burial.

Hazel remembers going to his funeral. 

As soon as we heard that he was shot, Mommy took us right to the house to see Dad. I know I did, but I don’t remember what he looked like laying there

I remember it (the funeral) well. My sister-in-law made me a pink dress for the funeral. It had a collar attached which went down the back of the dress. Lettie didn’t go to the funeral. She was too little.
I suppose we will never know what really happened.  Different people spin different versions of what they think happened and who pulled the trigger on that gun.  I tend to believe that he did not kill himself, but I do not know who pulled the trigger.

No comments:

Post a Comment