John Hall and Margaret Ann Henning were married in Newry, County
Down, Ireland in 1830. They sailed to America from Dublin, Ireland just after
their marriage. Naturalization records show that John Hall arrived
in New York in 1830.
John and Margaret Ann Hall first lived in New Brunswick, New Jersey and in Newark, New Jersey. John Hall was a carpenter there. He first arrived in Scott County, Indiana about 1837, but his family did not come until later. Their first five children, Francis, Eliza, James, Robert and Rachel were born in New Jersey. Two other children, William H. and John, Jr. were born in Indiana.
Life in Indiana
Mary Wilson, the great granddaughter of Nancy Henning, related the following:
Matthew Henning sailed for America via Liverpool, arriving in New York in 1832. After working for a year in a store, he moved to Indiana via the Ohio River to New London (a now vanished town on the Ohio River 10 miles below Madison, Indiana). He bought land east of Lexington and sent back to Ireland for several families to move to the new found frontier land. (From the 1730s waves of Scots-Irish immigrants, numbering perhaps 250,000 by the time of the Revolution, swelled the ranks of the non-English group. Forming dense settlements in Pennsylvania, as well as in New York's Hudson Valley and in the back-country South, they brought with them the Presbyterian church, which was to become widely prominent in American life.) As the rest of his family moved to America (including his parents), he would sell them a farm, on a winding, rolling, picturesque hill road south of Lexington which was later named the "Irish road". He later moved to a large farm near Wooster, Indiana and traveled 10-12 miles each Sunday to attend church at the Lexington Presbyterian Church. He made the original survey of Indiana State Road 256. He is buried at New Liberty or Mt. Carmel in Jefferson County, Indiana.
The Scotch-Irish, who came to this country together via Nova Scotia, settled together along this two-mile wide radius. Some of these families were the Middletons, Halls, Blairs, Kennedys, Perkinsons, Spires, Hennings, Ashes, McCullochs and McClanahans. Most of them had been neighbors in the Emerald Isle and they brought very few personal belongings other than children, clothing and bare necessities to build a home. But each had the rugged determination to build a richer and more free way of life. Most of these early settlers farmed their fertile land, but later their children became carpenters and school teachers. Most of the children received what little amount of education they had in the Old Irish School which was located on the Middleton farm. Mary relates that the Irish kids were pranksters. Some of the kids were supposed to have filled the chimney of the school with rags to cause the building to fill with smoke, but the school burned down instead. Matthew Henning was a surveyor and the Irish built the road that is today a part of State Road 203. Back then it was known as the Irish Road. The first home was a log cabin on the Marjorie Middleton farm. This log cabin was later part of the barn on that farm.
The real estate records of Scott County shows many transactions for this group of Irishmen, among them are these:
In Deed Book H, page 549, a United States Patent signed by President Martin Van Buren to William Henning, dated August 15, 1838 for 159.42 acres in Section 9, Township 2 North, Range 8 East. (This section is located a mile and a half south of Lexington.)
A United States Patent signed by the President to James Middleton for 240 acres in Section 9.
In Deed Book H, page 554 a deed from Robert Henning to Matthew Henning dated March 1, 1844 for 119.42 acres in Section 9.
In Deed Book H, page 550 a deed from James Middleton to Matthew Henning, dated March 1, 1844 for 18 acres in Section 9.
In Deed Book H, page 551 a deed from James Middleton to John Hall, dated March 15, 1844 for 99 acres in Section 9. (It is noted that this deed was not recorded until December 15, 1844, after John Hall had died.) The deed shows that John Hall paid $500.00 for the land. The deed was acknowledged before A. Amick, Justice of the Peace.
The "Brand Book" in the Scott County Recorder's Office shows that John Hall entered his mark for cattle as follows on May 15th, 1837: "A crop off the right ear."
The Irish and Scotch people who settled around Lexington were all Presbyterians by faith. There was an early Presbyterian Church about three miles east of Lexington at a place named Greenbrier. They held services in their school house. A split developed in the church. One group of the pioneers wanted to use the old Scotch rules for Presbyterian churches. Another wanted to have a free church which followed American rules. Some wanted the church moved from Greenbrier to a more central location in Lexington.
The Greenbrier congregation acquired a 3/4 acre lot in the town of Lexington for a new Presbyterian Church on the lot on which the present building stands. This was done in 1838. The trustees of the church were William Wilson, Samuel Hamacher, and Matthew Henning.
The large limestone rocks were moved from the lot in Greenbrier community to the new lot in Lexington and laid the second time for a Presbyterian Church. On the day that work started a "Log Rolling" with a basket dinner was held on the church lot. John Hall, Sr., the main carpenter, was injured at the log rolling and died a few weeks later on October 1, 1844 at the age of about 37 years.
The church was a frame building with weather boarding on the outside painted white. The belfry was built on the top of a little Porch that extended about eight feet in front of the church. The bell was rung from the outside. The interior of the church was plastered and papered. Green blinds hung at the windows. Five large pillar posts from the floor to the ceiling supported the roof. The chimney for the wood stove was built at the west end. Oil lamps were used for lights. Very straight-backed seats were placed in the auditorium for the congregation to sit on. A black settee for the minister was on a small platform back of the pulpit. An organ stood in the front of the auditorium. The church was completed in 1844. There is no record of a dedication service.
The book entitled, "Persons of Foreign Birth in 19th Century Scott County, Indiana" indicates that John Halls brother, Francis Hall arrived in the United States in 1847 and was in Lexington Township at the time of the 1850 census. Margaret Ann Hennings mother, father , and siblings also came to America at some point. They lived in New Jersey for five or six years before moving to Lexington, Indiana.
See John Hall's Estate
See Margaret Ann Henning Hall