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Hall, Lyman

Lyman Hall

Born: Wallingford, Connecticut - April 12, 1724
Died: Burke County, Georgia - October 19, 1790

Lyman Hall moved from Connecticut to Charleston, SC in 1756 or 1757, where he began a medical career. In 1760 he established a plantation in Georgia, but continued to administer to the sick and injured of the area. He returned to South Carolina in 1762, still practicing medicine, but by 1774 was back in Georgia and heavily involved in Revolutionary politics. For his actions he received an angry rebuke from royal governor James Wright, but caught the attention of Georgia’s provincial assembly, which sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776.

Hall did not participate in the Congressional debates usually, but was a tireless committee worker - especially in procuring medicine and clothing for soldiers. He was reelected to the Congress to serve through 1780, but decided to return home in February, 1777. He wanted to be on hand to help defend the state, and was also involved in the partisan political feuds within Georgia itself. Hall was a longtime friend of Button Gwinnett, one of his fellow delegates to the Congress. Hall supported Gwinnett in his famous feud with Lachlan McIntosh, which eventually led to the duel that cost Gwinnett his life. Hall was executor of Gwinnett’s estate.

When the British captured Savannah, both of Hall’s homes were torched and he was accused of high treason. He fled to Charleston, which subsequently also came under British attack. Hall fled again, probably to Connecticut to stay with relatives. When the fighting ended he began reclaiming his lands in Georgia. Elected as delegate to the House of Assembly in 1783, that legislature then elected him governor. The executive at the time had little authority, but Hall worked diligently addressing the new state’s many problems - such as defense, Indians, meager food supply, and chaotic finances. He suggested to the assembly that they set aside tracts of lands to establish educational academies in the future. This suggestion, continued by another transplanted man from Connecticut - Abraham Baldwin - was instrumental in the chartering of the University of Georgia. As one of his final acts as governor, Hall was able to announce the signing of the Treaty of Paris which officially ended the war.

Hall followed his year as governor with another year in the assembly, then with a year as a judge, before retiring from the political scene. He stayed active on his plantation however, and in 1789 he and a group of other prominent Georgians formed a society to help promote more successful agriculture in the state. In 1790 Hall moved to a plantation along the Savannah River in Burke County, where he died within a few months. “Intelligent and spirited men, who make a powerful addition to our phalanx” is how John Adams remembered Hall and his fellow Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence.