Hall, Lyman (1724-1790)

Lyman Hall was born in 1724 to John and Mary Street Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut. After his graduation from Yale University he became a Congregational minister and was pastor of the Fairfield Consociation. His wife, Abigail Burr, died shortly after their marriage, and he later married Mary Osborne.


Hall soon gave up the ministry and followed the early Puritans to Dorchester, South Carolina, where they had come in 1695 from Dorchester, Massachusetts; he later followed those who migrated to the Midway District in Georgia.


While in South Carolina Hall began the practice of medicine, which he continued after settling in St. John’s Parish. He also became a planter and owned a large rice plantation known as Hall’s Knoll, located on the Savannah-Darien road, a few miles north of the Midway Congregational meetinghouse. He also owned lots in the town of Sunbury.


Lyman Hall was the leader of the revolu­tionary movement in St. John’s Parish. It was only natural that the Puritans in the parish should be among the first in the colony of Georgia to take an active stand against the British, for their ancestors had rebelled against the landed English aristocracy before coming to America a century and a half earlier. Their ties with New England had remained strong, and they were determined to follow the course of their Puritan kindred in Massachusetts. It was also natural that Hall should have been allowed to attend the First Continental Congress without being elected. Being a native of New England, he was among friends. Those elected to the Second Continental Congress from Georgia were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton.


When Hall went to Philadelphia, it is said that he took 160 barrels of rice and 50 pounds sterling to be given to the suffering people of Boston after their port had been closed.


John Adams was certain of his statement when he said, “The Georgia delegates are spirited, intelligent men, and they will be a powerful addition to our phalanx.” The signa­tures of Lyman Hall, Button Gwinnett, and George Walton appear on that important histori­cal document, the Declaration of Independence.


The British army, when it invaded Georgia, devastated the country. Hall’s property, along with that of the other citizens of St. John’s Parish, was confiscated, and he and his family fled to Connecticut, where he remained until the British troops had withdrawn from Savannah. He soon returned to Georgia and settled for a time in Savannah, where he resumed his practice of medicine, and again became active in politics.


In 1783 Hall was elected governor of Georgia, during which time he advocated religion and education as the best way to rehabilitate the people from the ravages of war. He served the first full term as governor of the independent state of Georgia, free of British rule.


Hall’s last years were spent in Burke County, where he died October 19, 1790. He was buried on his plantation at Shell Bluff on the Savannah River. His remains were later removed to Augusta and placed with those of George Walton beneath the monument of the signers. Following the removal of Hall’s remains to Augusta, William D’ Antignac, who then owned the Hall plantation, forwarded to the corporate authorities of Wallingford, Connecticut, Hall’s native town, the marble marker which his wife had erected at the brick vault. Impressive ceremonies marked the removal of the marker July 5, 1858. A large procession of men wearing tri-cornered hats received the sacred marker at the station and placed it in the town’s ancient burial ground. A festive banquet followed the ceremonies, and one of the toasts given was: “To Georgia, Connec­ticut sends grateful thanks for the honor paid the memory of a patriot son; his monument in his adopted state and his tombstone in his native state, are memorials of lasting friendship between sister states.”