Cemeteries, no. 2: the William Hall family.

Eliza Hall was a free woman of color born about 1820, probably in what was then the heel of southwest Edgecombe County. How she met James Bullock Woodard, a prosperous white farmer and slaveowner, is unknown, but by Eliza’s early 20s they had begun a relationship that would last at least a decade. A sympathetic relative of Woodard’s recorded the births of James and Eliza’s children William Henry (1844), Patrick (1845), Margaret Ann (1847), Louisa (1849), and Balaam Hall (1851) in his family’s Bible.

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County: Eliza Hall, 26, “free,” with children Wm., 6, Patrick, 4, Martha, 3, and “girl,” 1. Judging by their proximity to the listing of Orpha Applewhite, the family lived close to Stantonsburg.

In the 1860 census of Wilson County, Eliza Hall and her children are enumerated in the household of Joseph Peacock, who had been her neighbor in 1850: Jos. B. Peacock, 25, Sarah C. Peacock, 18, Sarah Peacock, 68, with William, 15, Patrick, 14, Margaret, 13, Lou, 12, Balum, 11, and Eliza Hall, 45.

Patrick Hall married Mary Ann Farmer in 1867 in Wilson County. They had at least six children: Alice (1869), Cora (1870), Dora (1874),  Frank (1873), Maggie (1875), and Frederick Hall (1878).

Balaam Hall married Mary Edmundson in Wilson County in 1871, Chelsey Hodge in Wayne County in 1876, and Mary Ann Herring in Wayne County in 1895.

William H. Hall lived and farmed near Stantonsburg, Wilson County, most of his life. He was married three times — to Lucy Barnes, Annie E. Smith and Mamie Artis — and had at least nine children with them and at least one other woman, Sarah Jane Artis. In 1890, William Hall sold to trustees the quarter-acre of land upon which Stantonsburg’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was founded. More than a hundred years later, the Hall family remain at the core of Bethel’s membership. William H. Hall spent his last years living in his son Robert Hall’s household and died 23 June 1925.

The William H. Hall family plot lies in the Bethel A.M.E. Zion church cemetery on the west side of Peacock Bridge Road between Stantonsburg and the Greene County line.


“Beloved father, farewell.”


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