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Saturday, October 10, 2009



A Texas Historical Marker at the Hall Cemetery in Houston County, Texas indicates that the earliest marked grave is that of "MARY A. SHARP (1843-1876)." The marker is located on FM 229, 10.9 miles NW of Crockett and contains the following text . . .

Hall Cemetery. Joshua James HALL (1790-1871) gave a portion of his land on this site about a mile from his homestead to be used as a burial ground. Hall Cemetery was already in use when freedmen French TAYLOR (1842-1937), Bob DENBY, & Alf WARFIELD petitioned HALL for permission to bury their dead in the graveyard. HALL agreed, & the cemetery was used by both Anglo & African American Settlers. The earliest marked grave is that of Mary A. SHARP (1843-1876). Hall Cemetery had several owners during the 20th century. A 1997 count revealed 29 marked & more than 105 unmarked graves. Descendants of early settlers continue to care for & maintain the land. (1998).

This Mary A. SHARP is a maternal great-grandma of the mother of the Keeper of this family history blog. Given the name "Mary Alexandrien LEMAIRE" . . . sometimes referred to as Alex . . . but more frequently called Nellie . . . she was born in Liberty County, Republic of Texas . . . on the 24th day of May in the year 1843.

Nellie's mother -- Elizabeth A. LEMAIRE BEALE nee WARING -- was born ca.1824-1827 in Maryland. She is the daughter of Edward Gantt WARING & his wife (and 2nd cousin), Catherine Ann (Kitty) WARING nee WARING.

The father of Mary Alexandrien SHARP nee LEMAIRE is said to have been a Frenchman who might have died under suspicious circumstances on a voyage to or from France. 

The following info regarding a man by the name of Alexander / Alexandre LEMAIRE is a "fit" with the few bits and pieces we have on Nellie's father.

France is the first European power to recognize the independence of the Texas Republic. A treaty is proclaimed between France and the Republic of Texas in 1840, and continues until 1846. A French chargé or minister is sent to the Republic, and plans are made for sending French colonists to Texas.
  • Google Books. The Living Age (1845). Shipwreck of the Delphine. Regarding the captain of the ship that A. LEMAIRE last sailed on . . . translated from the French. . . . We sailed from Havre for Valparaiso on the 30th March, 1840, in the ship Delphine, CAPTAIN COISY, with a crew of sixteen sailors and four passengers. . . . Those on board of her were not strangers; they were CAPTAIN COISY, Lieutenant Lepine, our sailors and companions, who came to deliver us and bring us provisions. . . .
  • Google Books. Annual Report of the American Historical Association (1911) . . . 26 April 1842. A. de SALIGNY, Legation de France au Texas, to Hon. Anson JONES, Secretary of State. [Announcing the appointment of ALEXANDER LEMAIRE consular agent of France at Liberty, and asking orders for his recognition by the Texan authorities.] . . . 2 June 1842. Hon. Anson JONES, Secretary of State to SALIGNY. [Transmitting exequatur of ALEXANDER LAMAR, consular agent of France for "Liberty County," and of F. GUILBEAU, consular agent of France for San Antonio.]
  • Google Books. The French Legation in Texas (1971). Vol. 1 contains chiefly the diplomatic and private correspondence, between 1839 and 1842, of A. Dubois de SALIGNY, ChargĂ© d'affaires of the French Legation in Texas. . . . MR. ALEXANDER LEMAIRE, former student at the Agricultural Institute at . . . with necessary information on events taking place in various parts of Texas . . . and ALEXANDER LEMAIRE for the new agencies at San Antonio, Matagorda . . . Ten or eleven months ago MR. LEMAIRE, who had been named for the post at Liberty on the Trinity, embarked at Galveston on the brig Amanda (under CAPTAIN COISY from Havre) for France to look after his affairs. It was learned that the Amanda was forced to put into port at Bermuda for repairs. However, since she put to sea again she has not . . .
  • Found online . . . regarding the ship that A. LEMAIRE last sailed on . . . Google Books. History of Thomaston, Rockland, and South Thomaston, Maine . . . Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost. John 6,12. (1865) . . . Nathan ROBINSON, lost at sea in BRIG AMANDA, 1843.
  • Found online . . . regarding the ship that A. LEMAIRE last sailed on . . . Google Books. Annals of the Town of Warren; With the Early History of St. George's, Broad Bay, and the Neighboring Settlements on the Waldo Patent. (1851). The town of Warren, in the county of Lincoln, State of Maine, . . . Capt. William James LERMOND, b. July 18, 1813; sailed in THE BRIG AMANDA from N.O., in March, 1843, and with his vessel was never heard from. . . .
  • Google Books. The French in Texas: History, Migration and Culture . . . Upon the death of LEMAIRE, the French consul of the town of Liberty, CRAMAYEL chose not to replace him, declaring: "Liberty is only a hamlet in the interior of a region that has no direct commerce with foreign countries. In the surrounding area there are only about thirty French residents, widely scattered, & living in a situation close to destitution." . . .

  • 1840 :: there is a Samuel F. LUNIER on the Liberty County tax list
  • 24 May 1843 :: Mary Alexandrien LEMAIRE is born in Liberty County, Texas
  • 1846 :: there is a Lamiel (Samuel?) LANIER on the Liberty County tax list
  • 27 March 1848 :: there is a Samuel LAIMER (b. 1826) who arrives in New York from Le Havre, France
  • 1850 :: Mr. LEMAIRE is NOT listed on the Liberty County, Census with his wife and daughter.
  • ca. 1852 :: The "widow" LEMAIRE marries John S. BEALE. According to family lore, Mr. BEALE was suspected of having some involvement in Mr. LEMAIRE's disappearance.

  • 1850 Liberty County Census :: looks like Mary A. LEMARRE (indexed as LAMANE)
  • 1860 Liberty County Census :: enumerated as Mary A. LAMIRE
  • 11 July 1861 :: listed as Mary Alexandrien LAMIER in the Journal of James Madison HALL when he writes about her marriage to his step-brother / brother-in-law, Samuel H. SHARP
  • 13 March 1862 :: JMH refers to her as Alexandrien
  • 20 & 22 March 1862 :: JMH refers to her as Alex
  • 17 & 30 April 1862 & thereafter :: JMH refers to her as Nellie
  • 7 October 1862 :: Nellie SHARP is a witness for the will of J. M. HALL
  • 15 January 1863 :: JMH refers to her as Mary A. SHARP familiarally called Nellie . . . thereafter he calls her simply Nellie . . .
  • 1870 Houston County Census :: enumerated as Mary A. SHARP
  • 10 October 1876 :: Mary A. SHARP dies, and is buried in the Hall Cemetery in Houston County, Texas. She is survived by her mother, her husband and six children, and her mother-in-law, Mahala Lee SHARP HALL nee ROBERTS.

Lamarre :: French: habitational name from any of the places in Normandy called La Mare, from Old Northern French mare ‘pool’, ‘pond’ (Old Norse marr).

Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

Mary Alexandrien Lemaire
Lamane (on census /index)/
Mary A. /Lamaire/
LaMire /LaMar/, Lemarre, LeMire
Mary A. /Lamar/
Mary Alexandrien /Lamar/
Nellie /Lamar/
Mary Alexandrien /Lamier/
Nellie /Lamier/
Mary A. /Lamire/
Alex /LeMire/
Mary Alexandrien /LeMire/
Mary A. /Sharp/

* Born on 24 May 1843 - Liberty County, Texas
* Died on 10 October 1876 - Houston County, Texas
* Buried after 10 October 1876 - Hall Family Cemetery, Houston County, Texas
* Age at death: 33 years old


* Alexander ? Lemaire +ca 1843
* Elizabeth A. Waring ca 1824-1871/

Marriages and children

* Married on 11 July 1861, Liberty, Liberty County, Texas, to Samuel Houston Sharp ca 1839-ca 1885, with
o James Hall 1863-1936
o Infant 1864-1864
o Samuel Houston 1867-1921
o Margaret Elizabeth 1869-1935
o Ida Mae 1871-1964
o Berta Mary 1873-1955
o Willie /1876-ca 1885

Notes -- Aunt Ida (Sharp) Halyard :: My mother, Mary Alexandren Lamar Sharp, was born in France [sic] & was of French extraction, but I know nothing about her family history, except that she owned land on the Robeson Survey, Liberty County, Texas, & I still own my inherited interest in this land. My mother died when I was four years old, & is buried in the Hall Cemetery on the old Hall Plantation on Elkhart Creek, where I was born. There is a marker at her grave.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Horace Oscar (Toby) Hall (1854-1934)

The Crockett Courier
Volume XIV. Number 13.
Crockett, Texas
April 12, 1934

Mr. Horace O. Hall, citizen of Crockett for nearly 80 years, died at his home at 9:10 Monday night. Mr. Hall was born Sept. 22, 1854 and he would soon be eighty years old. He was a native of Houston Co. His father was the lamented Captain J.J. Hall, one of Houston County's pioneer citizens and planters. The plantation of the elder Hall was at Hall's Bluff on the Trinity River which location bears the Hall's name until this day. The wife of Horace O. Hall died a number of years ago [i.e., Florine Annie Kirkpatrick (1861-1900)].

Mr. Horace Hall was a good citizen and neighbor. Unobtrusive in his disposition, he retired early to the privacy of farm life and by his own seeking was never in the limelight. In the quiet of his country home just outside the city limits he reared and educated his children, who are ::

Most of these, including a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Felix Hall [i.e., Susie Beatrice Loring (1885-1961)] and her two children [i.e., Robert Loring Hall (1914-1981) and Mary Sue Deen nee Hall (1916-2001)] of Tyler, were here for the funeral. Felix Hall (1884-1926) died several years ago.

Funeral services were held in the Glenwood cemetery Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock. Rev. B.L. Pool, the Methodist pastor conducting the services. Mr. Hall was a member of the Methodist Church. Interment in charge was T.J. Waller funeral director followed by a religious service.

Active pallbearers were ::

  • C.W. Moore
  • H. Long
  • J.L. Arledge
  • R.J. Spence
  • T.R. DewPree
  • D.D. Dishough
  • J.C. Goolsby
  • N.W. Boo...

Honorary pallbearers were ::

  • J.R. Foster
  • J.W. Shivers
  • Dr. T.S. Wootters
  • J.E. Monk
  • Chas. Hassell
  • J.W. Arledge
  • Senator Nat Patton
  • A.W. Phillips
  • J.L. Monk

The Courier wishes to join in extending condolences to the bereaved.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Major James C. Wootters

Throughout the pages of the Hall Journal are multiple mentions of a family by the name of WOOTTERS . . . the first appearance of a WOOTERS occurs on Saturday, March 10th, 1860 when J.M. Hall records the following . . . To day we commenced to plant corn in the old ground with two plows running. In the evening Sam Sharp & John WOOTTERS came out from Crockett; Weather clear but cold. I paid Bill HICKS in cash $1. on a/c of rails. . . . the following information from Google Books describes some of the WOOTTERS individuals . . .

James C. Wootters. Any piece of biographical writing should be both an impression and an interpretation, quite as much as a mere summary of facts. Facts, to be sure, are of use as a wholesome corrective of prejudice or whimsey; but in the condensed narrative of a life there is danger that they may tyrannize. In studying a clean-cut, sane, distinct character like that of the late Major James C. Wootters, interpretation follows fact in a straight line of derivation. There is small need for indirection or puzzling. His character was the positive expression of a strong and loyal nature, and his strength was as the number of his days. His name looms large in connection with the civic and industrial development and upbuilding of the Lone Star state, where he established his home fully sixty years ago and where he made his influence definitely felt during the pioneer era of formative policies and activities, as did he also during the latter days of magnificent and opulent advancement. In a work of the province assigned to the one at hand it is imperative, as a matter of consistency, that an outline of his career be given, marked, as it was, by splendid achievement, and guided and governed by the highest principles of integrity and honor.

Major James C. Wootters was born in Queen Anne county, on the east shore of the state of Maryland, and the date of his nativity was April 20, 1830, so that he was seventy-four years of age when he was summoned from the stage of his mortal endeavors, at his home in the city of Crockett, Houston county, Texas, on the 12th of July, 1904, after a life replete with usefulness and honor. He was a son of Ezekiel C. and Mary (Downs) Wootters, both of whom were likewise natives of Maryland, where the respective families were founded in the colonial era and where the parents continued to reside until their death. In his native commonwealth Major Wootters was accorded excellent educational advantages, and during all the years of his long and prolific life he was a student of books, of men and of affairs, — a man of broad mental ken and mature judgment. A dominating personality was his and he could not long remain obscure or dependent, for action was as the breath of his life in his youth as well as in later years of prodigious achievement. In 1853 he joined the vast concourse of argonauts who were making their way to the newly discovered gold fields of California, and he made the voyage down the Atlantic coast, through the Gulf of Mexico and thence proceeded across the Isthmus of Panama, and secured passage on one of the early vessels transporting the gold-seekers to the New Eldorado. He encountered his quota of dangerous and novel experiences in the wilds and the rude mining camps, but his quest for the precious metal in the placer mines proved of negative order, with the result that he soon set forth for the east. He continued his eastward journey only as far as Texas and arrived at Crockett, Houston county, on the 8th of October, 1853. Little could he have anticipated at the time how great success he was destined to achieve in the great state to which he came as a youth with but meager resources of financial order, but with a full equipment of energy, determination and ambition. For several years he was employed in a clerical capacity by Colonel Long, one of the pioneer business men and influential citizens of Crockett, and in the meanwhile he made careful survey of the situation, manifested great circumspection in his sizing up of resources and opportunities, and finally engaged in the mercantile business on his own responsibility. He soon gained secure status as one of the foremost merchants of the progressive little city, and with its rapid growth and development he not only kept pace but also proved a leader in the forward movements along both industrial and civic lines. He built up a large and important retail mercantile business and with the same he continued to be actively identified until the time of his death, this enterprise having been established by him shortly after the close of the Civil war. Through the business noted Major Wootters formed the nucleus of his really great fortune, but his greatest financial advancement was gained through his extensive and judicious investments in real estate. At the time of his death he was the largest landholder and individual taxpayer in Houston county, as well as one of the largest in the entire state. His estate at the time of his demise included more than thirty-three thousand acres of land, besides much city realty, stock and personal property. The greater part of his land was in Houston coimty, but he also had holdings of valuable order in the counties of Trinity, Henderson, Leon, Galveston, Young, Hall, San Augustine, Jack, Haskell, Wise, Anderson, Montgomery, Angelina and others, — a statement that in a measure indicates the wide scope of his operations and the important part taken by him in the development of the resources of the state. He conducted extensive farming and stock-growing operations and was known and honored as one of the most liberal, loyal and public-spirited citizens of his home county. He had at all times a deep and abiding faith in the great future of the Lone Star state, and he was an influential factor in virtually every progressive movement and enterprise projected in his home county along the line of social and industrial advancement. He was never self-centered but in all of his business activities he had due appreciation of his stewardship and sought to make them definite conservators of general prosperity in the community. He served for a number of years as president of the First National Bank of Crockett, and in a quiet and absolutely unostentatious way he gave liberal support to charitable and benevolent objects and movements, the while his private benefactions were many and timely, even as they were generally known only to himself and the recipients of his sympathetic largess.

Major Wootters had the instinction of being elected the first mayor of Crockett and about a score of years after his original administration, when the old corporation was revived, he was again made the popular choice for the office of chief executive of the municipal government, the affairs of which he administered with discrimination, and with the business-like policies which he had made potent in his private affairs. He was in no sense a politician, but he gave unqualified allegiance to the Democratic party, and he served at one time as representative of Houston county in the state legislature, in response to insistent popular demands. He was most loyal in the supporting of the cause of the Confederacy during the progress of the Civil war and in the latter period of the same he served as a soldier in a Texas regiment, with which he saw arduous service and with which he continued until the close of the war. He and his wife were most zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and he was chairman of the building committee that had supervision of the erection of the present fine edifice of the First Church of this denomination in Crockett.

One of the dominating interests in the life of Major Wootters was his deep and appreciative love for the time-honored Masonic fraternity, of whose history and teachings he was an earnest student and whose exalted precepts he followed in his daily life. For more than half a century he was actively affiliated with Lothrop Lodge, No. 21, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, and of Trinity Chapter, No. 4, Royal Arch Masons. He filled every office in each of these bodies and to many of the official chairs he was elected several times. He was a most regular attendant of the meetings of the lodge and chapter, and his noble character and generous sympathy gained to him a peculiarly intimate place in the regard of the fraternity. This was most effectually shown in the beautiful memorial tribute paid to him by his lodge at the time of his death, — a tribute of appreciation and honor and affection that could have been accorded to none who was not worthy of the same. He was an influential figure in the affairs of Masonry in Texas and received the unique distinction of being made a life member of the Texas grand lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons by the unanimous resolution of that body. This honor has had no precedent or subsequent repetition in Texas and probably in no other state in the Union. This splendid tribute was accorded to Major Wootters as a token of fraternal appreciation of his long and zealous service as a member of the grand lodge, and his liberal and earnest work in promoting and establishing at Fort Worth the splendid home for widows and orphans of Masons. He attended the sessions of the Texas grand lodge and grand chapter with regularity for more than thirty years and for twenty years he served as a member of the finance committee of the latter, having been chairman of this committee at the time of his death. He was lovingly referred to as the corner-stone of the Masonic grand lodge of the state which he signally honored and dignified by his exalted character and services.

On the 7th of June, 1860, was solemnized the marriage of Major Wootters to Mrs. Emily Mildred Long, widow of Col. L. Long, of Crockett. She was born in Louisiana and her maiden name was Emily Mildred Cash. Mrs. Wootters was a woman of most gentle and gracious personality and her memory is revered by all who came within the compass of her influence. She was summoned to eternal rest on the 8th of November, 1898, at the age of fifty-seven years, and her remains rest beside those of her honored husband, Major Wootters, in the beautiful cemetery at Crockett. Of the six children only two are now living — Andrew H. and Robert H., both of whom are associated in the management of the vast estate left by their father. Two of the children, Annie Eliza and Eva, died in infancy. Nannie became the wife of Dr. John Markham, of Decatur, this 'state, and after her death one of her children, John, was reared in the home of his grandparents. Major and Mrs. Wootters. James C. Wootters, Jr., was about twenty-nine years of age at the time of his death; and Mary B. died at the age of about forty years.

Google Books. Bibliographic information. Title -- A history of Texas and Texans, Volume 3. A History of Texas and Texans, Eugene Campbell Barker. Authors -- Francis White Johnson, Ernest William Winkler. Editors -- Eugene Campbell Barker, Ernest William Winkler. Publisher -- American Historical Society, 1914. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Jul 29, 2005

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Samuel Houston Sharp

Samuel Houston Sharp, Sr. . . . aka Sam Sharp . . . is a 2nd great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . and is the step-brother . . . as well as the brother-in-law . . . of the Keeper of this Journal (aka James Madison Hall) . . .

Samuel Houston Sharp
Samuel H. /Sharp/
Sam Sharp

* Born about 1839 - Texas (probably San Augustine County)
* Died about 1885 - Houston County, Texas
* Age at death: possibly 46 years old
* Buried about 1885 - Hall Cemetery, Houston County, Texas


* John M. Sharp 1800/1815-/1846
* Mahala Lee Roberts 1816-1885

Marriage, non-defined relationship, and children --

* Married on 11 July 1861, Liberty, Liberty County, Texas, to Mary Alexandrien Lemaire 1843-1876, with

o James Hall 1863-1936; findagrave
o Infant 1864-1864
o Samuel Houston 1867-1921; findagrave
o Margaret Elizabeth 1869-1935
o Ida Mae 1871-1964
o Berta Mary 1873-1955
o Willie /1876-ca 1885

In the year 1881, a baby boy is born to Fannie Bass, who, in 1880, was listed as a servant in the household of Mahala (Sam's mother). DNA testing has indicated that there is a connection between descendants of this baby boy and other descendants of Sam and Nellie.

Ida Mae's Rememberings. 1962. My father, Samuel H. Sharp, was the son of Mahala Lee Roberts Sharp Hall. . . . My father never married again again after my mother's death, & died when I was above fourteen years old. He is buried next to & on the right side of my mother, but there is no marker at his grave. Hall Cemetery, Houston County, Texas.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

1859 :: Death of Isaac Peacock

The Weekly Telegraph, March 23, 1859. TEXAS ITEMS. The East. The Crockett Printer has the details of the killing of Mr. Isaac Peacock by Jas. M. Hall, Esq., in that town. According to the account of the Printer it is a bad affair, and we hope when the other side is heard some palliating circumstance may be found. We have known Mr. Hall for some years and have been in the habit of looking upon him as anything but a desperate man, and we feel sure there must have been great provocation, to have lead him to commit the awful deed now laid to him. The funeral of Mr. Peacock was attended by a large concourse of people. He was buried by the Odd Fellows.

The Crockett Argus has the following concerning the killing of Peacock by Hall, in that town the other day: --

The material facts, and such as may be stated without prejudice to any one, are, that Mr. Isaac Peacock, an enterprising, industrious and much esteemed gentleman of this town, one who had long been on the most intimate and friendly terms with Maj. Hall, the proprietor and publisher of this paper, had inconsiderately interfered in a domestic matter, and in a manner to exasperate the feelings of that gentleman, already wrought up to a very high tension. The interference consisted in aiding a much beloved child to carry out an act of insubordination and to place herself in opposition to the wishes of her parent. We accord to the memory of Mr. Peacock the justice of believing that he did not think he was transgressing the bounds of friendship, and that he thought Maj. Hall unreasonable and prejudiced in his opposition to the marriage which he assisted in bringing about. This marriage had taken place in a clandestine manner, on the morning of Tuesday of last week. Immediately after supper that afternoon, Maj. Hall was standing, in conversation with another gentleman, on the gallery of Hall's hotel, when Mr. Peacock drew near, and, apparently under the impression that a remark had been addressed to him, began to participate. Maj. Hall applied some abusive epithet to him, and bade him begone. Mr. Peacock replied, not violently nor in denunciatory terms, but denying the right of any one to drive him away. A very few words, and an almost inappreciable short space of time sufficed to bring the parties into collision, in the course of which Mr. Peacock received the stab of which he died on Friday night succeeding.

We would "nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice;" but believing that no controversy can arise as to the material facts, so much may be said without prejudice to truth, or to the interests of any one. We cannot, therefore, expect them to accompany us into a full contemplation of the processes through which the mind of a gentleman of education, liberal fortune, enlarged views, and essentially philanthropic purposes, such as characterize Maj. Hall in a high degree, must have passed, before he could be induced to deal a fatal stab to one of his long tried and most intimate friends. Our intimate knowledge of the facts of the case, enables us to say in the most positive manner, that the act which caused Mr. Peacock's death, was not of a moment's premeditation. The instrument with which the fatal stab was inflicted was a pocket knife, the blade of which was about three inches long. Whether Maj. Hall had it in his hand at the commencement of the difficulty, as some suppose, or found time to draw it in the course of the brief struggle, is not known, and the darkness was such as not to enable those who stood nearest speak positively.

We have only further to say, for the information of Major Hall's numerous friends and acquaintances, that he is at present a fugitive, wandering, we know not where. We know enough of the character and disposition of the man, to satisfy us that he is as an unhappy as his most inveterate enemy could desire; and that, whatever may be the future course of events, the balance of his life will be one of continued scene of suffering. The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 1, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 23, 1859

Dreadful Affair! The following is an account of a homicide, which occurred in Crockett. -- The narrative of the unfortunate tragedy, is related with evidence of a strong bias against Hall; yet the facts may be strictly correct.

ANOTHER HORRID MURDER. -- We have again the painful task imposed upon us of chronicling another of the horrid events too common, alas, in our town of late. The circumstances, as briefly as we can relate them, are that on yesterday week, (March 8th) a difficulty occurred between James M. Hall, owner of the "Argus" and Isaac Peacock, architect, at or near Hall's Hotel, the boarding place of both. The causes which led to the difficulty need not be made a public matter, but events had occurred, not, however, sufficient to endanger the life of a peaceable, quiet citizen, yet it caused a bad feeling with Jim Hall against several persons, Peacock among the number. Some words passed when the two met, Jim Hall struck at Peacock, who acted on the defensive solely, retreating the while, when Hall stabbed him in the side, some say once, others that two stabs were made. The affidavit made asserts that Peacock acted solely on the defensive, compels us to class this as the most cold blooded murder, with not even the palliation of intoxication or passion, that ever occurred in own town. Jim Hall immediately fled, although efforts were made to arrest him., he eluded pursuit and escaped. Parties have been in constant pursuit of him and once twice he narrowly escaped.

Jim Hall is the publisher and controller of the Argus newspaper, was once head of the Masonic Order in the state, an Odd Fellow (suspended); held the office of district clerk until last election, when he only received a few votes. James M. Hall is a short thick set man, gray hair, red beard and florid complexion. We learn a reward will be offered by both societies of which he is a member, and another from the citizens, for his arrest. -- Crocket Printer. The Southern Intelligencer. (Austin City, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 31, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 23, 1859

J.M. Hall, of the Crockett "Argus," killed Isaac Peacock, in Crockett, a short time since. The "Printer" says Hall immediately fled and escaped, and classes it as a cold blooded murder. Hall was well and favorably known over the State. Dallas Herald. (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 7, No. 38, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 23, 1859

The Crockett Printer gives the details of the killing, and funeral of Isaac Peacock, in that place. He was killed by J.M. Hall, proprietor of the Argus. Mr. Peacock is represented as being a very worthy man, and his death is greatly regretted by the citizens. Hall has fled. The Colorado Citizen (Columbus, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 30, Ed. 1 Saturday, March 26, 1859

James M. Hall, publisher of the Crockett Argus, killed Isaac Peacock, an architect, at or near the former's hotel in Crockett, and the boarding place of both, by stabbing the latter with a knife, on the 8th March inst. The Eastern Texian (San Augustine, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 45, Ed. 1 Saturday, March 26, 1859

From the "Argus" we learn that the difficulty between Maj. J.M. Hall and Isaac Peacock of Crockett, resulting in the death of the latter, was caused by Peacock's aiding in the clandestine marriage of a daughter of Maj. Hall against his consent. The latter is still a fugitive. Dallas Herald. (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 7, No. 39, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 30, 1859

The Killing of Peacock. -- The Rusk Enquirer is rather hard on the Printer for his persecution of Maj. Hall, who killed Peacock in Crockett, not long since. We think the Enquirer is right. There may be causes which led to the commission of the deed; but the Printer mentions none, and goes on to denounce Hall in the most bitter manner. The following particulars of the transaction are taken from the Rusk paper, as related by an unprejudiced witness:

"Mr. Hall had an only child -- a lovely daughter, just entering her sixteenth summer -- upon whom he lavished all his wealth of affection -- she was his idol. This daughter had eloped with and married a young gentleman of Crockett. The deceased was one of the parties who accompanied the eloping couple. Shortly after, and while Mr. Hall was smarting under the affliction, the deceased approached him, in perhaps a friendly manner, and offered the common salutations of the day. Mr. Hall desired the deceased to leave him, as he wanted to have no communication with him. The deceased left him, but shortly returned and attempted to force himself upon Hall. Hall again telling him, the deceased, that he believed him to be a d____d scoundrel. The deceased then struck Hall, and they closed in a fight. Hall had a small pocket knife in his hand, with which he had been cutting tobacco. He struck the deceased several times with his fist, without using the knife, and finally stabbed him in the side, inflicting the wound from which he died."

These, then, seem to be the circumstances attending the difficulty. We, with the Enquirer, would not be the apologist of Mr. Hall, or of any transgressor of the law, yet we think that Justice should be the motive power of the Press; but in this instance, we think, justice has been overleaped, and perhaps private malice and rival ambition are its usurpers! In all cases, crime should be looked upon with a degree of abhorrence; yet, when a man in a moment of passion so far forgets himself as to commit a deed of violence which, when reason is again in the ascendance, is calculated to make him miserable, we think it is within the teachings of Christianity, to say nothing of humanity, to look upon it with a lenient eye, "nothing extenuating, nor setting down aught in malice." The Colorado Citizen (Columbus, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 31, Ed. 1 Saturday, April 2, 1859

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD. -- We see from the Crockett Printer that Gov. Runnels has issued a proclamation offering a reward of three hundred dollars for the apprehension of Jas. M. Hall, who killed Peacock in that place. The citizens offer an additional reward of seven hundred dollars, making one thousand dollars as a compensation for his apprehension and delivery up to the Sheriff of Houston county. The Colorado Citizen (Columbus, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 33, Ed. 1 Saturday, April 16, 1859

ARRESTED. -- By the Crockett Printer we learn that Jim Hall, charged with the murder of Isaac Peacock in that place some time ago, and for whose arrest a reward of one thousand dollars had been offered, was arrested and brought in by the sheriff W.E. Hail, assisted by Clint Allen and Isaac Adair. The Eastern Texian (San Augustine, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 6, Ed. 1 Saturday, July 2, 1859

The East. The Liberty Gazette learns that Jas. M. Hall was tried at Sumpter last week, for killing Peacock, and the result was a mistrial, the jury being unable to agree. It stood between murder in the second degree and acquittal. The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 34, Ed. 1 Wednesday, November 9, 1859

As a sidenote . . . J.M. Hall was tried a second time in regards to the death of Isaac Peacock . . . and was found not guilty . . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Joshua James Hall

Around 1835, Joshua James Hall (1790-1871) came to Houston County, Texas. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1790. In 1812 he volunteered for military service for the defense of America against the British. February 19, 1819, he and his first wife Elizabeth had a son, who was named James Madison Hall.

From Baltimore, Joshua went to Natchez, Mississippi. On the rolls there of the Andrew Jackson Masonic Lodge, in 1820, he is found as a member.

Sometime in 1823, he moved to Vicksburg. There he went into a General Store business, and he married his second wife. Vicksburg was his home about ten years.

His son James Madison Hall moved with his father to New Orleans in 1833. At this time, there was a Yellow Fever epidemic, and Joshua being a fine wood craftsman, opened a business in making coffins for the many dead of the fever.

With a nice sum of money from this business, he moved with James Madison to Conroe, Texas in 1834. In Conroe, he had a General Retail Store.

While there, he began to make land investments. One of these investments was the purchase of the "Ramon de Garza" grant which was located in the northwestern part of Houston County. This grant had 24,000 acres of land. The Elkhart Creek ran through this land, and the Trinity River to one side.

This is where Joshua had a large story and one half house built. There were two large fireplaces on each side of this house with a long 'dog trot' running down the middle of the house.

He built near the Trinity River, a General Store and a Post Office. While Joshua had been in Mississippi, he had also been in the steam boat business. So, he went into the steam boat business again on the Trinity River. A dock was built on some high bluffs over the river and it was there that river steamers began to go up and down the river carrying the cotton and goods of the citizens of Houston County to Galveston.

This became a thriving place, and became known as the Hall's Bluff. Hall's Bluff was very busy in those early days, until the coming of the railroad to Crockett.

James Madison Hall would help with the family business, and he traveled to Liberty, Texas many times by horse over muddy roads from Crockett to Liberty.

Joshua was the gentleman type settler. He wore store bought clothes from New York. He wore the tall beaver hat that was the style of a gentleman of that day. Each year he went to Maryland and to New York for a visit.

In 1850, he married his third [sic] wife, Mahala Roberts Sharp, a widow who came to Houston County before 1835. She was the daughter of Elisha Roberts, an early Spanish Alcalde, of San Augustine, Texas.

To this union were born two children, a daughter Roberta, born May 25, 1852, and a son, Horace was born September 22, 1854. Both of these children were born on the Elkhart Creek Plantation. Horace was called "Toby" by the slaves. He was very close to these people and he always included them as his friends.

Joshua and Mahala were very fond of dancing. They went into Crockett to dancing school. At their Plantation, they had balls for the benefit of the Confederacy. They were active Methodists in the early Methodist church of Crockett.

In 1861, he is shown as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Soule University, a Methodist School at Chappel Hill. He had been elected to this post by the East Texas Methodist Conference. Throughout his life he was an active Mason.

In 1871, he died at his home at Elkhart Creek, where he was buried in the family cemetery.

Esther M. Biggers nee Hall
great-granddaughter of Joshua & Mahala


The above information was sent to the Keeper of this family history blog in November of 1998 from Pat Stephenson of Madisonville, Texas. In response to my Internet query, Pat wrote . . . "The Halls from Houston County are not my line but I live in Madison County, a Houston County neighbor. I looked at the Houston County history book, published 1979, in the Madison County Library and there is a story in it on Joshua James Hall. . . ." 


Virginia Ann Hall was Joshua Hall's third wife. He divorced her soon after marrying her because she would not come to Texas with him in 1850.

He married his second wife in Baltimore, Maryland. I will have to get his records out again to tell you this wife's name. She died in Vicksburg. This marriage was performed by a Rev. Duncan. I have the record for this marriage.

Joshua's first wife was Elizabeth Ann Hall, the mother to James Madison Hall. Not much is known about her. Joshua married her it seems at a very young age.

James Madison came to New Orleans with his father around 1820. Joshua made a lot of money in New Orleans during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1832-1833, as he was a cabinet maker. He had his business in the French Quarters which means that he could speak French. The cabinet maker made coffins in the early days.

When he made his fortune at this time, and he made a trip to his home city Baltimore, and that is when he married his second wife. She came back to New Orleans with him, then went to Vicksburg, Miss., where Joshua had a store and a Ferry across the Mississippi River.

The "Hall's Ferry" road is still there today. I have the land deed of just where his business was. It was on the River. It seems that Joshua used the same business principal he had in Vicksburg when he set up Hall's Bluff.

James Madison came to Texas first with his cousin John L. Hall. They fought the Mexicans, General Cos at San Antonia in the year 1835 of which the Mexicans were sent back to Mexico. For this battle the men received some Texas Land. James Madison and John L. Hall got theirs in Houston, County (Journal records this).

Joshua still lived in New Orleans then to Vicksburg. Joshua was a citizen of two areas -- Miss. and new Texas. He traveled back and forth between Vicksburg and Houston County.

He paid for the 24,000 acres of a Mexican Land Grant (I have that record) for $39,000 which was a very large amount of money for that day in 1839. His son James, and nephew John were his managers. He came to Texas in the very early 1850's for keeps.

He married Elisha Roberts' daughter, Mahala, a widow of Sam Sharp [John M. Sharp]. Mahala had lived in the northern west part of Houston county with Sam [John] when they came there as a young bride and groom from San Augustine.

The above info was originally shared by Esther Biggers on the 11th of January in 2001. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Review of Hall's Journal - Part Nine

The Houston County Courier
Crockett, Texas
Thursday, February 2, 1967

Hall's Journal of 60's
Reviewed For Readers

By H. B. Milburn

Deaf Smith Dies

"Thursday, July 22, 1862," HALL wrote "Today I rode my horse "Rat" down the river in company with CLAY STONE to the residence of Dick COLE, where I remained for dinner, and spent a very agreeable time. The remains of Old Deaf SMITH were buried with Masonic Honors. The boys were engaged all day in digging the grave for the old man and with assisting at his burial. Weather hot. Thermometer 99 degrees.

Note this: A recent biography of "The Nine Lives of Death Smith" speaks of "Deaf" Smith as: "a leader in the Battle of San Antonio, and one who was admired by General Burleson, Jim Bowie, and Will Travis. He was later a private spy and scout for Sam Houston." [sic -- the "Deaf" Smith who died in 1862 is not the well-known "Deaf" Smith (1787-1837).]

"Thursday, July 24, 1862" HALL entered this: "Today Charley LUND and I, at the request of Mrs. WRIGLEY, examined the papers belonging to deaf SMITH and among them we found his last will and testament by which he bequeathed everything he had to Mrs. James WRIGLEY. I am engaged in the office." (county tax collector-accessor office) "Captain BOLLING left on the cars for Houston."

The Journal is a powerhouse for information. To get the full enjoyment of all that it contains of interest, you will have to read it for yourself. It is on the shelves of our Houston County Library, and you can see it there. We are indeed grateful to Mrs. BROWNLOW and Robert L. HALL for presenting our Houston County Library such a treasure-house of information found in the Journal. 

Review of Hall's Journal - Part Eight

The Houston County Courier
Crockett, Texas
Thursday, February 2, 1967

Hall's Journal of 60's
Reviewed For Readers

By H. B. Milburn

War Items

The pages vividly give the recruiting of the citizens to serve in the Civil War; and other incidences pertaining to the war prove most interesting. HALL writes of Captain TURNER and artillery company, Capt. WRIGLEY, and his company of "Liberty Guards," Capt. Leon SMITH, Capt. John REDMAN, Capt. STOVALL and his company from Jasper County, Capt. STUBBLEFIELD, Capt. James A. SCRUGGS and company from Polk County; Capt. E. B. PICKETT with his cavalry corps, E. L. JONES, a recruiter; and Dr. CORLEY.

There were others mentioned, too, such as Capt. J. T. SMITH, Lt. BARLOW, Mr. BOON, a soldier belonging to Gen. I. WHARTON's headquarters who came out to the Mill with 10 bushels of wheat to be ground; and there was also mention of Capt. Frank HARDIN, John SMITH. HARDEMAN's Brigade "that camped on the Elk Hart for the past six or seven weeks and left for Tennessee Colony in Anderson County" and there was mention of Capt. ROSE and Capt. O'DELE.

Capt. John S. HALL was commander of the company of the 2nd Regiment, First Brigade of Texas Mounted Volunteer Riflemen, the militia commanded by Col. George P. WOOD and this record with the muster roll appears in James Madison HALL's Journal.

The record discloses that the militia, commanded by Col. George P. WOOD was ordered into service the 31st day of August, 1846. The names of commissioned, non-commissioned, musicians and enlistees were named in the Muster Roll as follows:

  • John S. HALL, Captain
  • George ENGLISH, 1st Lieutenant
  • William B. YOUNG, 2nd Lt.
  • James M. HALL, 1st Sgt.
  • Samuel A. BURTON, 2nd Sgt.
  • John A. MONCRIEF, 3rd Sgt.
  • John P. SANDERS, 1st Sgt.
  • Robert DICKSON, 1st Cpt.
  • Thomas HAYS, 2nd Cpt.
  • Joseph BURNAM, 3rd Cpl.
  • George B. LACY, 4th Cpl.


  • Thomas A. ADAMS
  • Wm. F. ALLISON
  • Wm. A. BROWN
  • Benj. H. BRACKEN
  • Jefferson G. BROWN
  • Thompson BROWN
  • Presides O. BEALL
  • Henry C. CONNER
  • Alexander F. DANIELS
  • James M. DANIELS
  • Daniel N. DAILEY
  • John ENGLISH
  • Jessee B. EVANS
  • Adolphus H. ELLINGTON
  • Henry R. GREEN
  • William H. GILLISPIE
  • John S. HOWELL
  • Samuel S. HINTON
  • Benjamin H. HODGES
  • William V. HALL
  • John HENRY
  • John A. HARPER
  • Benjamin B. LIKENS
  • John P. LIKENS
  • Joseph C. LOPEZ
  • Joseph A. MILLER
  • William H. MORSE
  • Truman S. NEWMAN
  • Jessie R. PARKER
  • Nathaniel PARKER
  • John A. RHOADES
  • Elinton A. RICE
  • James F. RENEAU
  • George SHORTT
  • James M. TEAGUE
  • Thomas WILLIAMS
  • Samuel WINGATE
  • Robert A. WALKER
  • Erwin WEBB, and
  • Levi WHITE

It has been my pleasure to give our readers a brief review of this Journal. It is actually with regret that I must bring this to a close. But first, there are seven additional items that just must be mentioned to make this, in a manner, complete:

As we turned the pages, we noticed that on "Sunday, June 29th, 1863" HALL wrote "Today the Steamer Ruthven came up from Galveston. Frank HITCHCOCK arrived and brought me a find present.-- we had some fine music ON THE BANDOLINE, the first instrument of this kind that I ever saw!"

"Monday, June 30, 1862:"-- Capt. FRANKLIN returned from Smith's point, on my horse "Rat," he seemed somewhat jaded from his travel. Weather clear and hot. This being the hottest day of the summer.

To be continued . . .

Review of Hall's Journal - Part Seven

The Houston County Courier
Crockett, Texas
Thursday, February 2, 1967

Hall's Journal of 60's
Reviewed For Readers

By H. B. Milburn

Through the Journal you will be 'introduced' to many Houston County people of those former days, such as

  • D. M. COLEMAN (Daniel COLEMAN)
  • Reuben MATTHEWS
  • Frank STEWART
  • Joe WRIGHT
  • Sam SHARP
  • Mr. TANNER
  • Isaac TANNER
  • Capt. John H. WOOTTERS
  • S. A. MILLER
  • W. F. WALL
  • Bill HICKS
  • Dan DAILEY
  • Madison H. B. BRACKEN
  • James COLLINS
  • John LONG
  • Cousin Sally DILLARD
  • John L. HARVELL
  • Mr. and Mrs. PEACOCK
  • Mr. BROWN
  • Dr. Abner G. KING
  • Joseph KEEN
  • Mrs. L. A. BIRD
  • Charley HALL
  • Wm. B. LACY
  • Robert GEORGE
  • Col. John M. MURCHISON
  • John J. SMITH
  • Silas KEEN


  • Edward L. JONES
  • William JOHNSON
  • D. L. BURTON
  • Wm. TURNER
  • Grandma GAYLE
  • W. H. FARISH
  • Sam SHARP and his wife
  • Mary A. SHARP
  • Miss BRASHEARS, sister of Dr. BRASHEARS
  • B. L. TAYLOR
  • Mrs. C. C. NALL
  • Capt. John W. REDMOND
  • Mrs. BALDWIN
  • Henry E. PERKINS
  • Capt. B. L. TAYLOR
  • W. B. STOKES
  • Robert STEWART
  • Mrs. BEASLEY
  • Dr. CORLEY
  • Thomas DAILEY
  • Elisha TUBBS
  • Jesse TUBBS
  • Mr. RENFRO
  • Joseph A. WRIGHT and his wife

Others mentioned were

  • Captain Leon SMITH
  • James WRIGLEY
  • Thomas P. OCHILTREE
  • Capt. John REDMAN
  • John HOWELL
  • Capt. STOVALL with his company from Jasper County, and
  • George GORDON,
    and many, many more.

To be continued . . .

Review of Hall's Journal - Part Six

The Houston County Courier
Crockett, Texas
Thursday, February 2, 1967

Hall's Journal of 60's
Reviewed For Readers

By H. B. Milburn

Worry and Sweat

At this time -- 'we pause for a commercial'!! Well -- NOT REALLY! But, at this time we DO PAUSE to think of how, through the many, many years of destruction that Old Man Trinity River has wrought to SO MANY FARM OWNERS, Land Owners, up and down the Trinity River -- as know that there has been enough worry and sweat, enough to make a fellow 'just lay down and die'! So -- at this time we might just as well, put in a sort of 'commercial' for all Texans who have shared the worries and tribulations of farms -- and business dealings in connection with the overflows of the Trinity River -- and of the Thousands of Texans who have been interested in harnessing the Trinity River to better serve TEXANS as a whole.

The mythical 'Arabella' of The White Heron's who knew of the troubles of mankind, all along the banks of the Trinity River -- troubles caused by heavy rains and floods, comes vividly to mind, even as one reads of the overflows back in the days of James Madison HALL. Businessmen and friends of the Trinity River Authority projects will readily call to mind 'the Voice of Arabella 'calling to' fellow Texans 'to rise and follow' the flock -- of white Heron's' to Anahuac to partake of FISH and then settle down to discuss matters regarding the Trinity River, that the Trinity could BETTER SERVE ALL TEXAS, AND TEXANS. Today -- the harnessing of waters at the Little Elkhart Creek Damsite is but one of the major steps on the projects along the Trinity River. It is going to help, tremendously, for all Texans. But let's get back to the Journal and SEE what was taking place at Elk Hart Creek, just 106 years ago.

"Monday, January 14, 1861", James Madison HALL wrote "Today, it rained torrents, swelling the Elk Hart to the utmost capacity, and putting us in fear that the Mill Levy would 'again' be washed away. Towards evening, however, the wind hauled around to the north and the rain ceased."

And, on "April 7th, 1861 -- HALL entered this: "Today, the steamer Ruthven arrived, and James Wrigley returned home from Galveston. The river rose 7 feet plumb water, and the steamer Col. Stell started for the upper river with a large freight -- --."

"Monday, April 8th, 1861", HALL entered this: "the steamer Alamo passed down ladened with 900 bales of cotton. The river still rising, and in fine boating condition."

"Wednesday, April 11, 1861," HALL wrote this: "The steamer Lucy Guin passed down with little freight. The river is very high, and still rising with every appearance of an overflow."

HALL entered the following on: "Friday, April 19th, 1861 -- "today the river attained the greatest height, coming within about two feet of the warehouse sills, and overflowing a large scope of country below and above the point. But little business doing in the way of selling goods."

And so, reports of the overflow continued, and HALL's accounts of the damage done to the Mill, and to his fields, and to life in general along the river were told in a most interesting manner.

To be continued . . .

Review of Hall's Journal - Part Five

The Houston County Courier
Crockett, Texas
Thursday, February 2, 1967

Hall's Journal of 60's
Reviewed For Readers

By H. B. Milburn

Steamboats Arrive

The chronicling of events transpiring in connection with the various steamboats playing up and down the Trinity (during times that the water was high enough to make it navigable) also makes interesting accounts to read. Hall's Bluff did a thriving business on these days, for instance, take this account which James Madison [HALL] entered in his Journal: February 27th, 1890 -- Today, the steamer Queen passed Hall's Bluff, bound up the river. The steamer Lone Star passed down.

Other steamers plying up and down the Trinity River were named in HALL's Journal. He wrote accounts of the steamers each time they appeared at the Bluff, and whether going up or down the river. Here is a fair example of the names of the steamers --

  • The Mary Hill,
  • the G. H. Bell,
  • the Kate,
  • the Swan,
  • the Lucy Guin,
  • the Alice,
  • the Ruthven,
  • the Alamo,
  • the Sunflower,
  • the Oricaba,
  • the Royal Arch,
  • the Mary Lenard,
  • the T. J. Emery,
  • the government steamer Col. Stell,
  • the Indian No. 2,
    and the sloops
  • Grey Hound, and
  • Luna.

There were, no doubt, others.


The cargo varied with each shipment from Galveston up the river. Household articles, store supplies, furniture, matting for carpeting of floors, salt, nails and many various items were brought up the river on steamers. Beef, hides, wood, bales of cotton and other varied supplies were transported down the river.

Old Man River

When torrents of rain descended for several days, and perhaps lengthened into weeks of rain, Ole Man Trinity River would go on a rampage. As it rained, the river would RISE, and, as it rose it would bring destruction, to crops, cattle, horses, the mill that the HALL's owned, and barns and everything in the river's wide path of destruction.

To be continued . . .