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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two Wives for Hall

                    Lyman Hall, signer of the Declaration of Independence, married twice.  He was well educated and had earned medical doctor status prior to his first marriage.

                    Dr. Hall married Abigail Burr, daughter of Thaddeus Burr, Esq., of Wallingford, Connecticut, in May 1752.  Abigail was described as being "beautiful and accomplished."  She died in July 1753, about fourteen months after her marriage.

                    Approximately four years after the death of his first wife, Dr. Hall married Mary Osborne (1757).  The Halls moved to Dorchester, South Carolina, and lived there only a few months before moving to Georgia.  Dr. Hall established a medical practice in Sunbury, St. John's Parish, and purchased a rice plantation on the Savannah road a few miles from Midway.  Dr. Hall became a "leading physician" in Georgia and thus "highly prosperous."

                    Lyman achieved a high level of influence in his new area and was the leader in the local patriotic movement.  The cause of liberty movement in St. John's Parish eventually pressured Georgia to join the other Colonies in the fight for independence.  Georgia elected five delegates to the Continental Congress, but only three delegates actually attended the Congress.  One of the delegates opposed the movement for independence and therefore did not take his seat in the Congress.  Another delegate, Archibald Bulloch, was a patriot but couldn't leave Georgia at the time.  The three delegates representing Georgia at the Continental Congress and signing the Declaration of Independence were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton.

                    Lyman returned from Congress just in time to move his family north to safety, leaving his home unprotected from the invading British army.  The British confiscated his property.  Lyman returned to Georgia and was elected Governor in 1782.  After his term as Governor, he retired to a home in Burke County where he passed away.  Lyman's only son passed away a few years previous to his own death, but his widow survived him several years and died childless. 

                    Wallingford, Connecticut, the native town of Lyman Hall, erected a monument to his memory.  "Upon a mound of earth, handsomely turfed, is a large flat freestone, nearly nine feet long by six feet wide.  Upon this rests a block of freestone, nearly three feet high, with rounded corners and handsome mouldings; on the fourth side of which is this inscription:  `The State of Georgia having removed to Augusta, the remains of Lyman Hall, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and there erected a monument to his memory, the original tablet covering his grave was, in 1857, presented by William D'Antignac to this State, by whose order it is deposited in his native town.'"
                    The white marble tablet, about three inches thick, is inscribed with the following information:  "Beneath this stone rest the remains of the Hon. Lyman Hall, Formerly Governor of this State, who departed this life the 19th of Oct., 1790, in the 67th year of his age.  [There is some confusion about Lyman's death date.  One source about him listed his death at age 63 in 1784.  The source from which this article is taken listed his death as occurring at age 60 in 1790.  His tombstone listed his death as 1790 at age 67.]
                    "In the cause of America he was uniformly a patriot.  In the incumbent duties of a husband and a father he acquitted himself with affection and tenderness.  But, reader, above all, know from this inscription that he left the probationary scene as a true Christian and an honest man."

                    The following poem written by his widow was also included: 
                                        To those so mourned in death, so loved in life,
                                        The childless parent, the widowed wife,
                                        With tears inscribes this monumental stone
                                        That holds his ashes and expects her own.

                    Facts and quotes for this article are from Wives of the Signers - The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 275-278.  Another article by Lyman Hall can be accessed here.  

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