The Hall Family of Cherry Valley

Seth Everett Hall, born June 7, 1845, in Earlville, New York, married Jeanne C. Nead in 1866 and had one child, Jeannie Cornelia Hall, before Jeanne’s death in 1868. He married Fayette McNaire in 1876, having seven children. Seth and Fayette settled in Cherry Valley, Illinois, where Seth operated a nursery business and served as Mayor in 1900. The Hall family was active in local politics and community affairs, with significant contributions to Cherry Valley’s development. The family home at 518 West State Street became a local landmark. Seth Jr. continued the family legacy, marrying twice and having two children.

By Edith Hall Baker and Mary Hall Caliban

Seth Everett Hall was born June 7, 1845, in Earlville, New York. Seth was married twice. On June 17, 1866, he married Jeanne C. Nead. One child, Jeannie Cornelia Hall, was born December 17, 1867. Seth’s wife died November 25, 1868. On August 3, 1876, Seth married Fayette McNaire. She was born in Elburn, Illinois in 1848. They had seven children: Mary, born 1877 and died 1966; Flora Bell, born 1879 and died 1900; Guy, born 1882 and died 1932; John born 1884 and died 1969; Seth, Jr., born 1886 and died 1952; and twin sons, Frank and Fred, born 1889. Fred died in 1968. Frank is the only surviving child.

Seth E. Hall, Sr. came to Cherry Valley prior to 1877. He and Fayette first settled across from the ball park or then the Village Green. Then they moved just on top of the hill, and finally they built the house at 518 West State Street where the Newman family presently lives.

Much of the property south of West State Street to the railroad tracks was owned by Seth E. Hall, Sr. (See maps of 1886 and 1905). A good portion of this land is woodland today. Perhaps this is the result of Mr. Hall’s nursery business. Frank Hall, now living in Chicago, remembers as a small boy helping put one cent stamps on the nursery catalogues. They sent out several thousand every year for a long time. Many of the evergreens in the Cherry Valley Cemetery were planted there by Mr. Hall.

Frank remembers several occasions when gypsies camped in his father’s nursery. Seth Hall gave them permission to do this. They camped back toward the Northwestern Railroad tracks. Others also remember the gypsies setting up their camp on the Village Green where presently stands the ball park and tennis court. Their bright wagons and colorful costumes created a curiosity among the children and a distrust and fear among the adults. The shopkeepers kept a watchful eye on their wares, and parents kept their children close for fear they would be kidnapped.

Behind the Arvid Magnuson home at 141 South Salem Street are the remains of a foundation. Stories vary concerning this reminder of great plans which failed. Some say it was the start of a girls academy others say an art institute. Whether the developers of this school ran out of money or, the more colorful story, someone ran off with the money, is uncertain.

From an abstract referring to the property in question, we find that in 1905, S. E. Hall and his wife, Fayette, sold to The Women’s Art and Education Academy, Prof. S. B. Wright, President, one acre of land west of South Salem Street, situated in the corporate limits of the Village of Cherry Valley. This school had first been incorporated in the State of South Dakota. On October 14, 1903, the school received the rights to do business in the State of Illinois, this was previous to the purchase of the Hall property. In 1907 the school became involved in many legal entanglements, the reason for such is not clear. By 1909, S E. Hall again became owner of the property. The abstract does not give any indication as to the amount of construction completed, or if the school ever began operation. We assume it did not.

The Hall family has been active in the politics of our Village. Seth E. Hall, Sr., was Mayor of Cherry Valley in 1900. At the time, the Village Presidents, or Mayors, served only a one year term. He was also a Justice of the Peace for many years. Fred Hall served as our Village Clerk for many years starting in 1937.

When Seth Hall, Jr. planned to get married to Hulda Newquist, his father gave him the property adjoining his to the east of his home. Here Seth, Jr. built his home, doing the carpentry work himself. This is presently the Goranson home at One Sha Lane. Seth and Hulda were married on August 1, 1914. They had one child, Edith, born August 1, 1919.

Edith, who lives in Chicago, has two children, Myrtle (Mrs. Don Lorine) is a nurse and lives in Rockford. Her husband is owner of L & L Manufacturing Company in Rockford. They have two sons, Donald and Daniel. A son, Fred R. Gustafson, is a Rev. Dr. of the Lutheran Church and a psychologist. He and his wife have two children, a daughter Andrea and a son Aaron.

Seth Jr. was married a second time to Gladys E. Taylor in 1945. They also had one child, Mary Jane, born February 10, 1946. Mary now lives in Chicago and is married to Robert Caliban. They have three children, Kerry, Angela and Joseph Everett.

Seth Jr. lived in Cherry Valley all of his life and worked in the nursery. Later he worked as a steamfitter. He died October 20, 1952. His widow Gladys is living in Belvidere.

Frank has spent a great deal of time traveling. He also spent much of his life in the woods, fishing, hunting woodchucks, and watching chipmunks, squirrels, birds and possums. He has a talent for painting, and his niece Edith Baker cherishes some of his paintings. Frank remembers the Cherry Valley School auditorium well. It was on the top floor with seating like a theater. They had graduation exercises and entertainment there. From a school entertainment program from around 1900, the names of Guy and John Hall appear as having parts in the plays for the evening.

Guy Hall attended medical school in Iowa and became a doctor. He practiced his profession in Keokuk, Iowa, until his death.

Fred Hall was married to Effie Peterson on June 16, 1921. They were married at Galena, Illinois, in the church General Grant attended while living in Galena. Fred and Effie had no children. For some time they lived in the home at 518 West State, then in a home a little farther down the hill, and their last home in Cherry Valley was at 122 East Street in an apartment owned by Eleanor Poulton. Fred worked as a cabinet maker for many years.

As was previously stated, Fred was the Village Clerk for a number of years, and one of his favorite pastimes was talking politics with his friends. A very familiar sight would be to see Fred, Johnnie Robbins, Major Powell, and some of his other friends taking their daily walks up to the Cherry Valley Cemetery. Also, another favorite spot to talk politics was on the bench in front of what is now Ekedahl Tool and Die Company.

Effie is well remembered for her very fine needlework. She could knit, crochet, embroider, needlepoint, and even paint.

Many have received gifts of her wonderful work. She enjoyed working in her flower gardens and missed this when she moved to an apartment in Rockford.

Effie’s parents were of Swedish descent. Effie’s father, Frank 0. Peterson was born on November 23, 1870, in Westergotland, Sweden. He came from Sweden and settled in Kirkland. Her mother, Anna Johnson, was a sister to Gust Johnson. They came to this country about 1885. Linus Johnson, son of Gust, is 83 and lives with a nephew Clifford Johnson on a farm in rural Cherry Valley.

Frank and Anna Peterson first lived on a farm near Kirkland. In 1906 or 1907 they moved to a farm one mile east of Perryville Road. Effie was born September 4, 1894, and died January 14, 1975. Other children born to Frank and Anna were Floren, Fremont, Frank, Amy, Helen, Fenton, Esther, and Ella.

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