A recent posting by my fellow Wolcott historian and the president of the Wolcott Historical Society, Florence Goodman, on the Wolcott History website (www.wolcotthistory.org) detailed their receiving of an old Bible that had belonged to Nancy Hall, a Wolcott resident from nearly 200 years ago. There were a number of points in that article that got my interest, and which related to many of my previous blogs on Wolcott History, so I thought I’d write this as a supplement to that article.
Nancy [Minor] Hall was the wife of Deacon Orrin Hall. She was born in 1798 and he in 1797. Since Wolcott had only been incorporated in 1796, they were two of the earliest babies born in Wolcott after it had been renamed from Farmingbury. As I noted in an earlier blog (*1), Wolcott was not a very large place back then as the population was only 948 people in 1800. Nancy’s family of her parents and eight children would have been over 1% of the entire population of the town!
Because of the size of the town, many people in town were related to each other (and to me) (*2). Nancy was my 3rd cousin (5 times removed) (*3) as she is the great-great-granddaughter of Stephen Upson, my great*7 grandfather (*2). Orrin was also my 3rd cousin (5 times removed) (*4), being the great-great-grandson of Samuel Beecher, another of my great*7 grandfathers (*2). The Upson, Minor, Beecher, and Hall families were all prominent families in the town.
I’ll let you read the article yourself for further details, but the end of the article had two “mysteries” that I’d like to explore further.
The first “mystery” is where Nancy and Orrin attended church. Since the only church in town was the Congregational Church that had been started in 1773 (*1), it would be tempting to give a simple answer. But I always like to have proof for the answers I give. In Samuel Orcutt’s seminal work, The History of Wolcott, one can find the answer. On page 114, Orrin Hall is listed among the small group of men who subscribed to a fund in 1836 to hire a new pastor for the Congregational Church. So Orrin and Nancy would certainly have been members of this church.
The second “mystery” is a little more involved and asks how the Bible ended up in a yard sale in Rhode Island where it was purchased about 40 years ago. Since Nancy’s son, Heman, died six years before Nancy and her daughter, Harriet, never married, this may be a difficult one to solve. However, if the names/dates which are in the Bible can be researched, then we might be able to find who might have made those entries and get a better idea of where it might have gone initially. But without that further information, this will have to remain a mystery for now.