I always find it interesting when a family arrives in a community, plays a prominent role in that community and then, because children end up not marrying or having few children, simply disappear. This is the story of one such family line.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
Edward Hall (1832-1912) was born in Jefferson County, Ohio in 1832, the son of Maryland-born farmer Richard Hall (1783-1860) and his wife Margaret (1793-1873). Edward arrived in Tuscarawas County between 1850 and his marriage to Caroline Teichman (1837-1923) in 1859, and was recorded in the 1860 census as being a farmer. Edward farmed a small parcel of land on the outskirts of the east end of New Philadelphia in Goshen Township. Within a few years of his arrival, and perhaps with money received after the death of his father in 1860, Edward opened a grocery business in the city on East High Street.
Edward and Caroline quickly welcomed two sons into their family in the first three years of their marriage, Horace L. (1859-1955) and William W. (1862-1945). Both sons likely assisted their father’s grocery business in their youth, but when Horace got older he was apprenticed to a local jeweler while William continued to work in the family grocery. There were only a handful of jewelers working in New Philadelphia in the 1870s and 1880s. It is likely, due to a later reference to the two working together, that Horace trained with New Philadelphia jeweler John Joss, Sr.
Shortly after Horace completed his apprenticeship he married Louisa Knecht (1859-1927) and immediately went into business for himself. Horace’s training involved jewelry making, watch and clock making and repair, and musical instrument repair as well. Edward Hall retired from the grocery business and Horace, in 1882, took over the space on East High Street that had previously been his father’s grocery store. During the first few years of being in business, Horace took out a number of advertisements in the local newspaper advertising the various services and products available at his shop in the first block of East High Street.
It was also during this first few years of business and marriage that Horace and Louisa welcomed their first, and only, child Florence Hall (1885-1961). The newspaper ran an brief announcement after Florence’s birth congratulating the Halls on the arrival of their “eight pound valentine.” After the county built the new Courthouse building, they solicited bids for the purchase and installation of a tower clock. Horace submitted a bid to install an E. Howard Clock Company mechanism, but did not receive the contract. Despite this, Horace’s jewelry business located on the south side of the first block of East High Street seemed to be prospering.
Horace purchased a lot on the 300 block of East High Street around 1890 and immediately began construction of his home there, employing local stonemason Frederick Glauser to lay the foundations. Shortly afterwards, his parents and unmarried brother purchased a home on the 200 block of East High Street as well. Edward Hall had all but retired from business ventures and found himself regularly a candidate for various public offices. Meanwhile, William had found employment as a travelling salesman while residing in his parent’s home on East High.
The house that Horace built for his family was of the cross-gabled, Queen Anne style of architecture that was common during the 1880s and 1890s. The Hall house boasts steeply pitched rooflines, tall-slender windows, and a full-width asymmetrical front porch. It is possible, if not entirely likely, that the home had originally had more decorative elements, common with Queen Anne homes, that have been removed after years of maintenance and remodeling. The home as it exists today retains much of the footprint and shape that it had at the time of its construction.
While Horace focused on his successful business ventures, Louisa and Florence maintained the family home. That is not to say that Louisa was completely disconnected from her husband’s business though. When, in 1911, thieves smashed the Hall jewelry store’s front window and made off with diamonds and jewelry that would be valued at nearly $10,000 today, Louisa made a point of telling the newspaper reporter that she had repeatedly told her husband not to leave anything in the jewelry cases near front window overnight. It was around this same time that Louisa began to suffer from diabetes, requiring the unmarried Florence to take on more of the household chores.
Horace, in 1914, served as the foreman on the jury during the well-publicized murder trial of Lorenzo Denorfi, aka “Curly” Ross, who was tried for the murder of another Italian immigrant in Dover. That jury returned a not guilty verdict. Two years later Horace retired from the active jewelry business, choosing instead to focus on other business and community activities. Louisa Hall succumbed to her diabetes in the fall of 1927, leaving Horace and Florence alone in the large house. Horace lived a long life, dying in June 1955 at the age of 95. Florence only lived six more years, dying in 1961 and ending the Hall family occupancy of the house on East High Street.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.