BIOGRAPHY - James D. Hall

JAMES D. HALL is an honored pioneer of what is now Ford County and resides in Paxton. He came to the county in February, 1852, and soon after his settlement here, the Tax Collector called at his house and told him that there were then but eighteen settlers' cabins in the region now embraced in Ford County, that was set off from Vermilion.

Mr. Hall was born in the town of Adelphi, Ross County, Ohio, April 10, 1821, and is a son of James and Hester (Hillery) Hall. His parents were from Cumberland County, Md.,and settled in Ohio prior to the War of 1812, in which his father and uncles took part. In his youth, our subject learned the blacksmith's trade and in 1839 worked in Indiana, locating near Attica, where he engaged in farm work and teaming, receiving for one year's services only $100. Two years later, he removed to Warren County of the same State, where he rented a farm for two years. In the summer of 1844, in company with nine others, he entered eleven hundred acres of Government land on the prairie by pre-emption, and the first year a part of this was broken and planted in crops. The following year, Mr. Hall had his share separated and afterward added to his farm by subsequent purchase. In a small way, he began dealing in cattle and continued buying, raising and selling until he did an extensive business in that line. In 1851, he took a drove of cows through to Northern Wisconsin, selling them in Oshkosh, that State. On his return, he prospected for a location in Illinois, and in February, 1852, settled in what was known as Henderson's Grove, then in Vermilion but now in Ford County. There he engaged in farming and stock-raising.

Mr. Hall was married in Fountain County, Ind., in 1841, the lady of his choice being Miss Eliza A. Wisman, a native of Virginia, and a daughter of John Wisman. Five children were born of their union, but only two are now living. Henry C., the eldest, wedded Miss Mary Pierpont and is engaged in the grain business in Paxton; Hester died in infancy; William F. was drowned in the Mississippi River when eighteen years of age; and Rebecca, widow of David H. Snyder, resides in Paxton.

Mr. Hall made his home in Henderson's Grove until the spring of 1854, when he bought a tract of land on section 33, Patton Township. He is said to have built the first frame house north of the Vermilion River, in what is now Ford County. His farm contained two hundred and eighty-six acres and was one of the best in the county. In 1860, he was elected Sheriff of Ford County and served a term of two years in that office. On his election to the position, he removed to Paxton, returning to his farm at the close of his term of service and in 1865 again came to Paxton, where, in company with his son, Henry C., he engaged in the grain trade. In 1869, we again find him upon the farm but he also continued business as a grain dealer. Since 1885, he has resided in the city. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, and in his views on the subject of religion is an avowed atheist. Mr. Hall is one of the oldest surviving pioneers of Ford County and well deserves mention among her early settlers.

Extracted 04 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 236-237.

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