Friday, December 3, 2010

The Mysterious Samuel Halls and his More Mysterious Son Samuel Halls

The family of Samuel Halls is one of the most interesting, if not the most interesting, branch of the family that I have found.

Samuel Snr. was an observer for the British government during the American Civil War. He lived a long time, 85 years. His brothers were well known in the area where they all lived. And then this is where it starts to get odd. I have only found one reference to him in the local papers, besides his obituary, and that is a brief mention of him being an MC for the local Orange Lodge. I cannot find any marriage record for him and his wife. I cannot find any death record or place of burial for his wife. He died in the local House of Refuge (a combination of old age home and home for the unwell). His Ontario death record lists his nationality as Irish! He had no will, or at least none that I could find.

For the most part his children moved to the United States, in and around Chicago. His son Samuel Jnr. became a mover in high society in Chicago, living in the right neighbourhoods, being socially active. He was a highly successful builder. Sometime between 1910 and 1920 it all came apart. He appears to have been estranged from his wife and children. The 1920 census lists both of them, each claiming to be widowed. She was in Portland living with their son Allen Samuel Halls, he was in Chicago, apparently living in an apartment or boarding house. He died in 1930 in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Samuel has a will, but it has been misfiled, so like his father, we have no record of the final disposition of his effects.

There are no pictures that I have been able to find of either Samuel Snr. or Samuel Jnr.

All in all, very frustrating. Why can I not find pictures? How likely is it that the wills of both father and son would be un-findable? What happened to Samuel Jnr. that made it all fall apart? Why would Samuel Jnr. and his wife and son be estranged from each other? If Samuel and his wife were estranged from each other, why are they buried next to each other in Chicago?

Lots of questions and no answers. Stay tuned for more.

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