Karen notes “Oh those Common Names” regarding Thomas Hall & Family

First one to admit this, but I sometimes avoid common names when I’m searching a subject for an article, but I’ve been avoiding this fella’ and his wife for quite awhile now. So, it’s time!

Thomas Hall I expected right away was going to be a challenge and certainly I was not disappointed in that aspect. In and around Crawfordsville there were three of the same name at the same time. My chosen one’s wife was Nancy (Swearingen) and one of the other ones wife was Nancy, as well. Both Thomases and Nancys passed away close in time and I was definitely down the wrong Nancy path awhile, but in the end, here is what developed!

I actually became interested in Nancy prior to Thomas himself, but both are fascinating folks and together they were quite nifty. I had written a note to myself that Nancy would be a good subject because she had worked for many years at the Yountsville Woolen Mill. Oddly, I never refound that and unusual for me, hadn’t left a source on the note. Other than she had quite a bit of money in the 1870 census of her own which is quite rare for a woman to be tallied with that much (perhaps she had saved her earnings), it could also have been a mistake and it was meant for Thomas, and they moved around so much (Wayne Township, Monitor in Tippecanoe County, Troy in Fountain) I don’t see how she could have worked plus she had several children to raise. However, they had ties to Yountsville and at one point lived not far from there so perhaps. Or, perhaps it was the other Nancy Hall or one I didn’t find – oh those common names!

Both Thomas and Nancy were born in Ohio, she in Butler County (1819) and he in Warren (1816). She came to Montgomery County early in age with her parents, he on horseback alone, bringing a large amount of money to purchase his father’s farm – he was just 18. His father, Thomas was born the year of America’s Independence in Shenandoah, Virginia, his mother Elizabeth Williamson born there as well. This couple parented 14 children, one of which was Eleanor Hall wife of Abijah O’Neall who has been written about by many. Thomas and Elizabeth Hall are buried in the O’Neall Cemetery (Yountsville) with two of their grandchildren, Thomas and Nancy’s oldest son, John K. (1842-1862) and youngest and only other son, Paris James (1849-1854). Nancy’s parents were John and Mary Ann Swearingen and had at least Matilda (Tillie Austin her husband, Samuel Wilson Austin mentioned here) and James G. Swearingen. Suspicion more but that’d be another quest.

Nancy and Thomas and most of the rest of their children (Mary Billingsley, Martha Clark, Druzella, Sarah Hawkins and Eleanor Sanders – still trying to find their one daughter, Annie Smith) are buried in Oak Hill (thanks to Kim Hancock for the tombstone photo) with only Eleanor (named for his sister and sister in turn named one of her sons Thomas O’Neall for him) and Mary surviving their father. Thomas Hall died in July 1902, from being overheated, Nancy passing in February 1895, of old age complications, leaving “her fond and loving husband and five children.” Most of their girls died between their parents. Did find it interesting their oldest, Mary lived the longest (14 Jan 1841 – 11 June 1923).

Thomas was a farmer mainly but was touted as being a fine businessman in one article, so perhaps had a small shop or whatnot, nothing I could confirm anyhow. It is sad they lost their two sons, but the gals were all wonderful and loved their parents. They made sure “Uncle Tommy” as he was called by many in the area and Nancy had a wonderful 50th wedding anniversary party on Christmas Day (married Christmas Eve in Crawfordsville, 1839 by Justice of the Peace, Conrad Smith) in 1889, a quiet day with close family, eating, talking and fellowship. Sam Austin (his brother-in-law) was present to represent their son, John K., he said. Their granddaughter, Mary Sanders, complete with a wonderful speech regarding her grandparents’ lives and love presented them with $50 from the family, most in gold, but they of course had to wait a day or two to put it in the bank.

Tommy and Nancy’s children were well-educated, some at the Ladoga Seminary and all lead a beautiful Christian life, as far as I could tell! Tommy Hall seemed to be well-loved by all who knew him and starting with such a large family, involved in the community and Baptist Church, having lived in several places, he was certainly widely and well known. He was strictly honest in all his dealings, his obituary stated, along with: “A man of a large fund of experience, his tales of the early days of the county were always entertaining!”

Sometimes when I’m finished with an article, it’s done, but I don’t know, may have to keep finding goodies on dear Uncle Tommy and his sweet wife, Nancy! At any rate, hope you enjoyed!!

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach her at Karen@