Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lyman Hall

                    Lyman Hall, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in 1721 in Connecticut to a father who "possessed" a "competent fortune."  Lyman received the opportunity to acquire "a good education" and entered Yale College at sixteen years of age.  He graduated four years later and then began a study of medicine.  He embarked on his medical studies with "great ardor" and "pursued them with perseverance."

                    Upon the completion of his studies and the receipt of the title of medical doctor, Lyman married Abigail Burr in May 1752.  Abigail died in July 1753.  Lyman married Mary Osborne about 1757 and moved to Dorchester, South Carolina; the Hall family moved to Georgia a few months later where Lyman opened a medical practice in Sunbury, St. John's Parish.  Lyman "purchased and cultivated a rice plantation" on the Savannah Road a "few miles from Midway."  He became one of the "leading physicians" in the area as well as "highly prosperous."  Because of his successful medical practice and his "superior intelligence, probity, and consistency of character," Lyman "won the unbounded esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens." 

                    Lyman was also "a close observer" of what was happening in the Colonies and became one of the first Southern men to voice his feelings about the "oppression and misrule" carried out by the British against the Americans.  He was not alone in his feelings due to the fact that "forty New England families" had accompanied him to Georgia and still "cherished" the "principles of the Pilgrim Fathers."  When the patriot cause of liberty began to sound, it appeared that all the Georgia patriots lived in St. John's Parish; this was due to the fact that most of the older settlers in Georgia came directly from Europe and did not have the "principles of freedom in woven with their character" as did the settlers from New England.

                    In early 1774 Lyman joined other Georgia patriots in trying to "arouse" their fellow Georgians to join the cause of liberty, but they did not have much success.  In July 1774 a meeting was held in Savannah, but there were no real commitments made.  Lyman was very discouraged about the possibility of Georgia being represented at the General Congress meeting in Philadelphia in September and "returned to his constituents with a heavy heart." 

The people living in St. John's Parish were so disgusted with their fellow Georgians and so fired up with "zeal" for the cause of liberty as well as deep sympathy with the New England patriots that they resolved to declare independence from the rest of Georgia.  They elected Lyman in March 1775 to represent them as a delegate to the Continental Congress.  He took his credentials and reported at the Congress on May 13, 1775.  Congress didn't quite know what to do with Doctor Hall until he proposed that he be allowed to debate and listen to the other delegates but not to vote for his colony.

Georgia woke up during the summer of 1775 and decided to join the patriot cause of liberty.  They held a convention in Savannah in July and elected five delegates to Congress with Lyman being one of the five.  He returned to the Continental Congress in May 1776 with his new credentials where he joined the debate about independence.  He was a strong supporter for independence and voted for it on July 4, 1776; he signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776, and soon returned home for a time.

Lyman continued as a delegate to the Continental Congress until the British invaded Georgia in 1780.  He returned home just in time to move his family to safety but had to leave his property exposed to the enemy.  While he was away from home, his property was confiscated.

Just prior to the British leaving Savannah in 1782, Lyman returned to Georgia and was elected to be the Governor of Georgia the next year.  He held that office for only one term before he retired from public service and returned to domestic life.  He was not allowed to enjoy his private life for very long before his only son died in his youth.  Lyman did not live long after the death of his son and died in 1784 at age 63.

Lyman was "greatly loved and widely lamented."  The 1848 the Georgia Legislature appropriated $1500.00 to erect "a lead monument to the memory of Lyman Hall, and George Walton, two delegates from Georgia, who signed the Declaration of Independence.  Their remains [were] to be removed to Augusta, where the monument [was] to be reared."

Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp 230-233.

No comments:

Post a Comment