A Simple Gift Proves Very Important
We recently received a simple donation of a cemetery lot deed for Whitehouse Cemetery. The purchaser in 1928 was one James R. Hall. Since Waterville had two, seemingly unrelated, pioneer Hall families, we wondered if the name on this deed had a Waterville connection.
Some diligent internet research revealed that James Romaine Hall, born 1880, was the son of James M. Hall of Whitehouse and more interestingly he had two younger brothers, Newell born 1887 and Joseph Emmons Hall born 1892. Now those of you who are expert at Waterville history know that Joseph Emmons (J.E.) Hall was an early Waterville pioneer, well known as proprietor of the J.E. Hall Canal Store (located where Pray Park is now) and was also the first Mayor of Waterville in 1882. So what is the connection with James M. Hall and his two youngest sons? Waterville historians write that J.E. Hall and his brother Newell Hall came to Waterville in 1836 as young men and opened a taylor shop. Both soon became involved in other enterprises. Newell, we read, was the supervisor of a work gang doing canal construction and his young wife, who didn’t like to stay home alone in our wilderness, cooked for them. Newell later worked for the railroad and had a farm near Whitehouse. Joseph E. was involved in many enterprises besides his canal store and was a partner with John Lansing Pray at one time, operating the Whitehouse stone quarry.
Census records show that Newell Hall is the father of James M. Hall and that James M. Hall is the father of James Romaine Hall who bought the cemetery lot and also the two young brothers who were named after their grandfather and great-uncle respectively. James M. Hall is buried in the Whitehouse cemetery but the original Hall brothers, Joseph Emmons and Newell, are both in the Wakeman Cemetery. The simple gift of a cemetery deed has given us a three or more generation link to our prominent pioneer Hall families and also illustrates the strong historical link between our neighboring communities of Waterville and Whitehouse.