Last week I went with my son Sean over to Jefferson County, Ohio in search of information on my fourth great-grandfather, John N. Hall, Sr. We knew that John was born in Maryland in 1772, married Elizabeth Stevens in 1796, and moved with six children to Ohio in 1807. There, on their homestead in Wells Township, they had six more children, including Benoni, the one who became my third great-grandfather.
There wasn’t much information on John in the Steubenville Library, but there was a deed, transferring a small parcel of land for the sum of twenty-five cents, to the trustees of Lloyd’s Methodist Episcopal Church, “to preach and expound God’s holy word.” John Hall was one of the trustees. We learned the church had closed long ago, but it had a burying ground, and if we could find it, we might find a tombstone with John’s name.
We did find the little graveyard, but most of the stones were broken or unreadable.
At one end of the graveyard, hidden among tall weeds, was the foundation of the little church.
Sean and I kept talking about, in two hundred years, how little will be left to tell our descendants about who we were and the lives we lived.
But we did find one more thing of John Hall, Sr., his Last Will and Testament. Written a month before his death, he said he was “of weak body, but sound and perfect mind and memory.” For this, he was “humbly thankful to the great author of all our blessing.”
That’s about all I know about my fourth great-grandfather. He was a pioneer and a farmer, and he raised 12 children. But I know the most important thing: he was a follower of Jesus Christ, and one day, the bones in that little cemetery will come to life, and I will meet him face-to-face.