Correspondence, 1745-1862 and undated

Scope and content:

The papers begin in 1736, when John Hall (ca. 1717-1790) and his brothers Henry and William become actively engaged in tobacco planting. The letters open with a land indenture of 1745 and continue as business correspondence with London, Annapolis, Baltimore, and local merchants and factories. Comment is made on salt as a necessity for plantation life in 1778 and 1782. An overseer's contract in 1764 gives details of plantation management and enslavement.

A letter is signed by John Hall of "Vineyard" on June 11, 1778. As a member of the Maryland Assembly, he discusses the check and balance theory as it was working out in the "young government" of Maryland, he mentions violent contests, the quit rents and state revenue, militia service, and the role of the governor. In 1787 "Publicanus" addresses the people of Anne Arundel Co. on the topic of paper money.

The will of John Hall (made in 1787) gives his estate as "Bachelor's Choice," on West River, and names his children and their families. Enslaved people are listed as part of the estate. Many of the later letters are from the families of Hall sibilings to William Henry Hall, son of John Hall. A series of law suits occurs in the 1790s as William Henry Hall settles his father's estate.

A letter dated Oct. 3, 1796, to William Henry Hall describes the life of an American seaman impressed into the British navy. Samuel Hopkins, a young Maryland plantation overseer, and John Wilson of Cheraw, S. C., comment in letters to Hall from 1810-1813 on cotton planting in S. C. Hopkins describes on July 1, 1810, a plot by enslaved people to rise against enslavers in the Marlboro District of S. C. In 1813 he writes of hiring a substitute for himself if drafted in the War of 1812. Among W. H. Hall's correspondents were William, John, David, and John G. Weems of Anne Arundel Co., relatives of Mason Locke ("Parson") Weems.

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