Monday, March 8, 2010

Madness Monday: My mystery grandpa, part two, or "Eating an elephant."

Note: This post continues my "Madness Monday" post from last week about my "mystery grandpa," Robert Bunyan Hall.

Robert Bunyan Hall and Jerome Guidry, Sabine or Neches River, Texas, abt 1918.  Scan of original photo owned by the Hall family, La., cropped and edited for fading.

Robert listed “George C. Hall and Georgia Burnaman" [Could it be Burnham? Burnam? It's hard to read] as his parents on the application for a marriage license to my grandmother, Elia Legere, in 1918. This is the only George and Georgia Hall with a son named Robert of approximately correct age in the 1880 U.S. Census I’ve found--so far:

1880 U.S. Census, Georgia—Baker Co., ED 2, p. 36, lines 37-39
Hall, George, W, M, 35, farmer, b. GA, father b. SC, mother b. GA
------ Georgia Ann, W, F, 30, wife, keeping house, b. SC? [strike-through and correction], parents b. SC
------ Robert, W, M, 3, son, b. GA, father b. GA, mother b. SC

Following this family in the census, Robert’s POSSIBLE (unproven) parents would be:

George C. HALL. Born in Feb 1843 in GA. George C. died prob. in Quitman, Brooks, GA after 1910.

  • 1850, Lee Co., GA
  • 1860-1880+, Newton area, Baker Co., GA
  • 1900, Cairo, Thomas [now Grady Co.], GA
  • 1910, Quitman, Brooks, GA

Occupation: Farmer [1864-1880+]; woods rider [probably turpentine industry], 1900; church sexton, 1910.  Civil War veteran [?? listed as disabled on the GA militia list of 1864, but can't find him in pension indexes]

Bef 1868 George C. married Georgia [C? Ann? BURNAMAN?], who was b. May 1850 in SC. Georgia prob. died in Quitman, Brooks, GA after 1910, possibly in 1928 [I have a death record for a possible Georgia who died in a poor house, and who had no relatives listed].

They had the following children:
    2    i.    William (b. c.1867 [in 1870 census] - d. bef 1880 census?)
    3    ii.    Robert (b. c. 1877, shows up with parents only in 1880 census)

George/Georgia HALL census sources [some ages/places vary.  Still, I think it is the same couple throughout]:
  • 1870 GA—Baker Co., Newton p.o., p. 68, line 6
  • 1880 GA—Baker Co., ED 2, p. 36, line 37
  • 1900 GA--Thomas Co., Cairo [now part of Grady Co.], ED 89, Sheet 5A, line 3
  • 1910 GA--Brooks Co., Quitman, ED 16, Sheet 2A, line 47.  [A Tom Hall, listed as black, is living next to them.  Who is this?]

As far as George’s parents, he is included in the 1850 Census in Lee Co., GA, in the household of Lucinda [HALL] Millican [with his probable sister, Amanda Hall] and in the 1860 Census in Baker Co., GA in the household of H.H. Hall.  The book “History of Baker Co.” lists Lucy & Henry Holcomb Hall as siblings. George is not listed in the book.  I think he may be a nephew or cousin of these Halls, but have no proof yet.  I've looked at microfilm of Baker Co. estate records and haven't found anything.

 Elia and Robert Hall, Oct. 1946, Sulphur, La.  Grandpa, I think, is looking smugly at me from this photo, chomping on his cigar and thinking, "You'll never find me!"  Just you wait, Grandpa, just you wait!

Interestingly, my parents visited Newton, GA, on vacation once and someone told Dad he looked like the Halls who owned a local grocery.  Why they didn't run right over there and question them immediately, I don't know!  But they didn't, and struck out in local records.

George and Georgia do not seem to have had property.  Perhaps there are poor house records.  

And our DNA is loosely grouped with other Halls whose ancestors were mostly from Virginia.  Should I start over there?  There are no George & Georgias there in 1880, though maybe one of them is there and widowed or remarried with a son Robert age 2 or 3.

As far as Robert, I've scoured city directories, but need to scour more.  There are few Robert B. Halls, but many Robert Halls to rule out, perhaps by following them in census records.  With many Southern states and counties he could have married in (see last week's post for his previous wives Carrie or Corrie Williams and Jessie), I'm not sure where to start again.  I've already chased down and ruled out a couple of other possible wives.  I think I've ruled out the only real Spanish-American War record lead I had.  Sigh.

I need to pull back, examine what I've already done, re-focus, and make a to-do list.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

If you've heard of any of these families or have research ideas for me, leave a comment or drop me a line at hallroots (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

Copyright 2010 by Liz Hall Morgan


  1. You eat that elephant, sweetie. I've got some Tabasco around here somewhere...

  2. There are many ways to tame an elephant and I am sure the approach you have is working and will one day work in providing you with the information you need. Keep at it and keep up your good work.