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Mysteries still surround Lyman Hall's life
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Lyman Hall is well-known throughout the area. He was a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence, he was a founder of Sunbury and he served as governor of Georgia from 1783-1784. Much has been written about Hall.
Hall was born April 12, 1724, in Wallingford, Conn., and graduated from Yale College in 1747. He studied theology and became a church pastor, but his pastorate was stormy. He was dismissed for charges against his moral character, which he confessed to. He preached for two more years, filling vacant pulpits while he studied medicine and taught school. His first wife, Abigail Burr, died the year after they were married. He then married Mary Osborne.
Hall moved to South Carolina and established himself as a physician. When settlers moved into Midway, he went with them. He soon became a community leader in the newly founded town of Sunbury. He represented Liberty County at the Continental Congresses until 1780. Hall was one of three Georgians — all from Liberty County — to sign the Declaration of Independence.
In 1779, his houses were burned in Sunbury. His family fled to the north until 1782 and then returned to Savannah. Hall was a very close friend of Button Gwinnett, another Declaration of Independence signer from Liberty County. Hall was executor of Gwinnett’s will, which became a very tangled affair that lasted many years.
In 1783, Hall was elected governor of Georgia and he served for one year. He is credited for chartering the University of Georgia. After serving as governor, he resumed his medical practice. In 1790 Hall moved to Burke County and died shortly thereafter at the age of 66. His wife Mary died in 1793 and their one son, John, died soon after and left no children.
Hall was buried in Burke County, but his remains eventually were re-interred in front of the courthouse in Augusta where a granite obelisk called the Signers Monument honors the Georgia signers.
Hall County and Lyman Hall Elementary School in Liberty County are named for Lyman Hall. Hall’s Knoll, his old home site on Highway 17 not far from Midway, belongs to Liberty County and is part of the green space program.
During my research, I once came across a letter written to the governor of Georgia on March 26, 1869 — 69 years after the death of Lyman Hall. It read:
“Jamaica Queens County
Long Island, state of New York
March 26, 1859
To His Excellency the governor of the state of Georgia
Dear Sir:
The Hon. Lyman Hall of your state died Oct. 19, 1790, leaving no heirs except two brothers in Wallingford in the state of Connecticut. His estate escheated to the state of Georgia as I am informed for the want of claimants. He died somewhere in the vicinity of Savannah. I suppose that the public authorities of your state must have preserved an inventory of his estate either in the county where Mr. Hall died or in the office of the secretary of state.
I wish to ask you to be kind enough to inform me the amount of the inventory and whether he left real estate or personal or both. I suppose that an inventory must have been made and filed in one or both of those offices so that heirs at a future day might claim the estate by satisfying a court of competent jurisdiction as to their relationship to Mr. Hall. If you will cause the inquiry to be made and forward me the information you will confer a favour, and your fees will be most cheerfully paid if required.
The claimants are his proud nephews and nieces, for one of whom I am retained. My client has purchased the share of one of his aunts and also four of his own brothers and sisters. So that he claims 11/36ths of the entire estate. Should your answer be favorable, I will immediately furnish you with a statement in the shape of what we call a family tree so far as relates to the claims of my client, a statement that I can prove with reasonable certainty.
I wrote a few days since to your secretary of state, but I have not yet had an answer from him. Please give this matter your attention as soon as your onerous duties will permit.
I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant, Piedmont Potter.”
I would love to know the outcome of this letter. But that is information that I do not have. History is interesting!

Love is a history buff and writes Liberty lore periodically for the Courier.
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