The Mystery

of Henry, Reuben

and Juniper Hall


The mystery is basically how three (probable) brothers can show up in different places, with no indication of parentage, and still be closely related.  Descendants of all three have had their DNA sequenced and the match is so close there is somewhere around a 75% chance they are related within 6 generations.  To add some spice, there is a fourth Hall, a cousin to these three men.  If you would like to read how it happened, see the DNA Story.  To explain the dilemma of the four Halls, let's take them individually:

Henry Hall - My g-g-g-grandfather supposedly came from "near Hagerstown" in Maryland and was born around 1774, according to family lore.  (A prior researcher had access to two of Henry's daughters, yet was unable to garner more information; so we are left with the likelihood that Henry was either unwilling or unable to tell more.  This was my first hint that Henry might have either been an orphan or lost his parents.)

Actual recorded evidence of him begins in 1793, when he appears on the tax roles in Loudoun County, Virginia, living with a man named George Shively.  There are records of the Shively's taking in other orphans, but no record for Henry.  Mr. Shively served as an "overseer" at a large farm in Virginia owned by the Lee family and it is likely Henry worked there, since he must have been about nineteen in 1793.  Nearby on the tax roles is Thomas Harper, whose daughter Sarah marries Henry in 1800. ( Henry had been listed as living alone on the tax roles since 1796.)  Thomas Harper moved to Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1801 and bought over 1,000 acres in one year.  Henry and Sarah must have followed him to far southern Virginia, because Henry bought 470 acres there in 1805 (50 of it from his father-in-law).  Henry and Sarah already have three children by then - Nancy, Aaron and Thomas.  In 1806, Henry sells 219 acres to a Reuben Hall and the two families begin farming on adjoining land.  Later, in 1816, the Henry Hall family moved to Indiana; and finally to Sangamon County, Illinois in 1828, where the family settled for good.

Questions:  If Henry was orphaned, how did he get the money to buy 420 acres in 1806?  Henry married Sarah Harper at the approximate age of 27.  Was he previously married?  If he married the daughter of a wealthy man, does that mean he came from a similar family?  The names of Reuben's children differ from those of Henry.  Why?

Reuben Hall - No record has been found of Reuben's early life.  In fact, the first record of him is his marriage to Nancy Bradley in December of 1804 in Pittsylvania County, where her family had lived for some time.  Their first child, James, was born about 1805.  The second record is the aforementioned deed where he buys 219 acres (for $200) from Henry Hall in 1806.  Based on later census documents, he was born around 1775 in Maryland.  Reuben and Nancy raise thirteen children and he continued to farm this land till his death in 1853, long after the Henry Hall family moved on.

Questions: Where was Reuben before 1804?  Was his marriage to Nancy Bradley his first?  If Henry and Reuben were brothers, why did Henry move on while Reuben stayed in Virginia?  Reuben's will mentions slaves bequeathed to his daughters.  Was slavery an issue between the brothers?  The names of Reuben's children differ from those of Henry.  Why?

Juniper Hall - This Hall ancestor's story really complicates those of the other two.  Juniper (or Geneper), thought to be born in 1769, first appears on the records of Montgomery County, Georgia in 1790, where he witnessed Robert Braswell's will in September of that year.  He is thought to have married Elizabeth Braswell about 1790; and definitely married Martha Thigpen in 1811.  He also served as constable, or sheriff, of Montgomery County, then Emanuel County, Ga. In 1798, he served in Captain Higdon's Company, of the Washington Co, Ga. Militia.

Juniper eventually had extensive land  holdings, partly because of his draws in the Georgia land lotteries early in the 19th century.  He is thought to have been born in Georgia, but the DNA evidence questions that belief.  Some of Juniper Hall's children migrated south to Florida - some to Thomas County (Tallahasee area), and some to Alachua/Bradford/Clay Counties (Gainesville area).

Questions:  Where was Reuben before 1790?  If he was born in Maryland, with Reuben and Henry, how did he get to North Carolina and/or Georgia?  The names of Juniper's children differ from those of Reuben and Henry.  Why?

William Hall - Finally, there is this ancestor, who was born February 5, 1804 in Maryland, according to research by his descendants.  He is thought to have been born in Calvert County, probably because the first children of his older sister Ann were born there.  William married  Margaret King(?) in Maryland and apparently began to move west.  Several of their children are listed as born in various counties in Indiana, as were those of his sister and her husband Jacob Baker.  Assuming these families traveled together, they must have been in Indiana by 1837, because William's oldest child William D. Hall was born there.  Most of this family went on to settle in Harrison County, Missouri where William died in 1880.

Questions:  Did William, Henry, Reuben and Juniper have a common ancestor in Calvert County?  Where is the connection?

Final question:  Which family did these three men come from?

    This one? - This large family, headed by Reverend Henry Hall, settled in Anne Arundel County, but moved all over Maryland, including Washington County, from which Henry Hall is supposed to have come.

    Or this one? - This (also) large family began in Calvert County and it's progenitor, Richard Hall, was a Quaker.

    Or maybe this one? - These descendants of Instant Hall have several unexplored Hall men with names that appear in our Hall lines.

    Please write and tell me.

For those of you looking for my entire family listing, click here: GedHTree Listing.  This is a family-based listing of almost 4,000 individuals, mostly folks who settled in southwestern Sangamon County, Illinois.  It also includes early folks from Maryland and all along the eastern seaboard (to whom I MAY be related) that are the subject of this page.

[Note: While much of the information in my gedcom is sourced, some is not and the reader should be wary of accepting this information as fact.  As with any research, you should confirm this data with your own research before using it in any way.  While we're on the topic, original research here is copyright and may not be posted elsewhere without permission.]

Introduction to my genealogy - Why and how I've created these pages and some acknowledgements.

Links to other genealogy sites I've used in my search.


Will of Thomas Harper - from Abstracts of Pittsylvania, Virginia Wills

Will of Reuben Hall - From Pittsylvania County Will Books

My visit (in 2006) with James Harper, who farms the same land bought by Thomas Harper, in 1804.


Pittsylvania County, Virginia, showing the North Carolina border

Maryland - showing the counties and some in Virginia

Georgia - showing all georgia counties


"GENEALOGY, n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own."  -Ambrose Bierce

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