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Israel Hall


Posted By: Annette Lucas (email)
Date: 7/15/2021 at 11:10:35

SOURCE: Biographical History and Portrait Gallery of Scott County, Iowa. American Biographical Publishing Company, H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co. Proprietors. 1895

ISRAEL HALL, a native of Halifax, Windham County, Vermont, was born on the eleventh of September, 1813. His father was a native of Connecticut, where his grandfather and great- grandfather also resided . His parents owned a small farm and were in very moderate circumstances ; they had a family of four sons and three daughters, whose opportunities for gaining an education were very meager. Israel received about five months' schooling during the year in early life and assisted his father the remainder of his time.

When he was eleven years old his mother died, making the maintenance of the family doubly hard for the father, who afterward married again.

He remained on the farm until 1830, and at that time was apprenticed to learn the carpenter's trade at Guilford, Vermont. His employer, however, soon afterward failed, and young Hall went next to work for a Mr. Gregory, a fine mechanic, with whom he remained one year. He continued at his trade with different builders until 1835, when he engaged in business for himself, and continued with good success until 1837. During the financial revulsion that swept over the country in that year his business was greatly interrupted and he lost most of his previous earnings.

Mr. Hall had long had a desire to remove to the West. Even while a boy at school, in studying the geography of our country, he had thought that somewhere near the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers would some day in the near future be the center of commerce, industry and population, and resolved that he would be one of the early settlers of that region.

In 1837 he was married to Miss Rachel Brown, then living in Brattleboro, Vermont. She was a native of Baltimore, Maryland, but her parents dying when she was quite young her home had been with friends in Vermont. Mr. Hall's responsibilities having now become greatly augmented, and his means of gaining a livelihood having been greatly reduced by the continued hard times resulting from the panic of 1837, he decided that he would realize his long-cherished hope and become one of the pioneers of that country of which he had dreamed in his youth. Accordingly in 1839 he started with his family, but finding that fever and ague were very prevalent in that region which he had previously selected he went northward, and on the thirtieth day of April of that year reached Davenport.

There were then a few scattered houses and not many residents in the place, and one can hardly realize the progress that has been working while it has developed into one of the foremost cities of the State, with its thirty thousand or more inhabitants. Soon after his arrival Mr. Hall found employment with Mr. Asa Green, well known among the " old settlers of Davenport. Subsequently he located his home and place of business on the ground still owned by him on Brady Street, between Third and Fourth Streets.

Here he steadily pursued his vocation, helping by every means in his power to build up and advance the interests of his adopted home. The trials and anxieties and privations of those days were many and grievous. These we need not enumerate, as they can be fully appreciated only by those who have experienced the hardships of pioneer life. Suffice it to say that sorest among these trials was the laying away in the grave of four loved ones. Three daughters sickened and died and a son who fought bravely in defense of his country - Lieutenant George F. Hall died from causes growing out of that bloody strife.

Notwithstanding all his discouragements Mr. Hall advanced with the development of the city, and at the earnest solicitation of friends and citizens generally he began the business of undertaking, keeping up with the demands of the times, so that Davenport in this line was not at all behind her sister cities of the East.

In 1866, having secured a competency, he discontinued his business and retired to private life, content to give room for others and to live in the enjoyment of what he had accumulated. He owns a fine block on Brady Street besides farms and other lands in the West, to which he has devoted his attention for a great many years.

From its organization Mr. Hall has been a leading member of the Scott County Pioneer Settlers' Association. He was its president in 1867, and from 1869 to 1894 he has been its treasurer. He has also been connected with the Oakdale Cemetery Company since its organization and is now secretary of it .

He has always been an outspoken friend of temperance, and has heartily encouraged every movement tending to lead men into ways of sobriety.

In religious belief he is a Methodist and united with that church in 1852. He has been an active worker in the Sunday school, and in times of need has given generously of his time and means to the support of this cause, which, under the blessing of God, has resulted in great good .

He has never sought, nor has he ever desired, political honors, preferring the quiet and peace of his legitimate business to the turmoil and excitement of political strife ; and having found in that the opportunities for the employment of his best powers, he has always deemed it the highest honor to be recognized as an honest American citizen.

Mr. Hall's personal and social qualities are of the highest type. Cordial, sympathetic and generous in his nature, he has won a place in the hearts of all who know him, gaining their lasting confidence and high esteem .


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