JAMES HALLETT

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 39-41

JAMES HALLETT, nearly all of whose life was passed in Illinois, was among those hardy and industrious pioneers whose efforts and sacrifices made possible the enjoyment of the present advantages of our people, many of whom can have but little realizing sense of the cost of the same.  His veins held the blood of pioneers in the truest sense of the term, for his ancestors were among those faithful spirits who crossed the wide Atlantic, never to see again the scenes and friends of their childhood, to found a nation on the Western Continent.  They located on Cape Cod, where Moses Hallett and Eunace Crowell, the parents of James Hallett, were born.   Both the Hallett and Crowell families were among the first settlers of Cape Cod.  The first of the former was Andrew Hallett, who came from England soon after the landing of the Pilgrims.  Moses, grandfather of James Hallett, was a ship-builder at Barnstable, where Moses Hallett was born.   The great-grandfather of the last-named also bore the name of Moses.  Like all Cape Cod men, the navigation of the sea was their calling down to the generation of which we write.

In 1816 Moses Hallett and John Bancroft went from Barnstable, Massachusetts, to Howard County, Missouri, the journey occupying seventy-six days.  After a short time Mr. Hallett returned to Massachusetts to claim his bride, who was a native of Hyannis.  To quote a recent writer: “The trials and hardships, suffering and self-denial of the old frontiersmen has passed into history.  *  *  *  But the women of that early day were the ones who exercised the greater courage and fortitude.  And great, indeed, must have been the love and adoration of those women for their husbands when they voluntarily severed all ties and associations of childhood and home, and, amid tears and lamentations, went forth into the great unknown country.  Such a woman was Eunace Crowell, and when she became the wife of Moses Hallett and started with her husband for his new home, she knew she had said good-bye forever to her birthplace, to home, kindred and friends.”  In 1826 they removed to Shullsburg, Wisconsin, to join the miners who were clustering in that locality.  Five years later they settled in Jo Davies County, Illinois, which then extended from the river to Dixon.   Mr. Hallett became the first High Sheriff of that county, and was also the first to engage in farming within its present borders.   He was active in the suppression of the Indian insurrection under Blackhawk.  He engaged in trade, and traveled much upon the Mississippi River, and was one of the first to get out and ship walnut timber to Philadelphia and Cincinnati.  The logs were shipped by the river to New Orleans, and thence by ocean vessel to Philadelphia.  It was while on one of these trips that he was seized with cholera, in 1847, and died, being buried at Bennett’s Landing, Illinois, a few miles below St. Louis, Missouri.  His widow continued to reside at “Glen Farm,” near Galena, and passed away at her son’s home in Galena in the ‘60s.  The subject of this biography was the eldest of their children; Timothy, the second, is a prominent citizen of Galena; Bartlett died several years since at Mount Carroll; Lucy is the wife of Samuel Snyder, of Lena, Illinois; and Moses is Judge of the United States District Court of Colorado, at Denver.

James Hallett was born in Howard County, Missouri, March 25, 1822, and was therefore but nine years old when he became a resident of Illinois.  He grew up at Glen Farm, whence his parents were obliged to flee to the fort at Apple River in 1832, to be safe from the depredations of the Indians during the Blackhawk War.  Those days in that region did not afford many educational advantages, save such as the hard school of experience gave; but young Hallett was possessed of a sound mind, and, with the counsels and example of good New England parents, developed a firm and true character.

In 1847 he settled at Mount Carroll, Illinois, and continued to reside there until death called him away.  In addition to farming, he carried on quite extensively the manufacture of brick, and furnished the material for many of the substantial buildings of northwestern Illinois.  In company with a Mr. Sweet, of Chicago, he constructed a section of the first telegraph line in this state, between Dubuque and Dixon.  This was known as “O’Reilly’s Atlantic Lake & Mississippi Telegraph, Illinois and Mississippi Line.”  His industry and integrity earned and kept for him the confidence of the public, and he was able to extend his business, until it included brickyards at Hanover, Lanark and Oregon, in addition to that at Mount Carroll.  He furnished the material and built most of the public buildings of Carroll County.  He died of heart diseased on the morning of March 17, 1889, at his home in Mount Carroll.

Mr. Hallett was married at Dubuque, Iowa, September 19, 1848, to Miss Amanda M. F. Lindsay, a native of Huntsville, Alabama, who was born April 5, 1822.  Her father, Morris Lindsay, was a member of an old Virginia family.  Her mother, Drusilla Ballard, was a native of Charleston, South Carolina, belonging to one of the old families there.  Mrs. Hallett’s childhood was passed near Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia.  After the death of Mr. Lindsay, Mrs. Lindsay became the wife of John Pierce, a native of Dublin, Ireland, and member of a fine Protestant family from the North of Ireland.  Mrs. Hallett’s father and step-father were typical Southern men, both being large planters and slave-holders.  In 1845 the growing sons got the western fever, and the parents, unwilling to separate the children, sold out all their interests and removed overland to Illinois, settling in the northern part of Carroll County.  Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Pierce, and all of them figured in the stirring scenes of early western life.  John and William Pierce went out with one of the earliest California expeditions.  Larkin died of cholera at St. Joseph, Missouri, while fitting out a similar expedition; and John was drowned in the north fork of the Platte River, while making a crossing with the before-mentioned party.

Mrs. Hallett’s mother and foster-father died at their home in Cherry Grove, Carroll County, Illinois, and both are buried there, near where they settled.  Mrs. Hallett was an expert horse-woman, and in her childhood days spent half her time in the saddle.  She only gave up the saddle when compelled by advancing years to do so.  She still resides at Mount Carroll with her adopted daughter, Effie Lydia, as a companion.  Four sons were given to her, and she may well feel satisfied with their records, as conferring credit upon their antecedents.  Russell B., the eldest, is a resident of Los Angeles, California. William P. is a business man of Sterling, Illinois. James Walter died at Aberdeen, South Dakota, while Judge of a local court, in 1886.  A sketch of Reuben will be found on another page of this volume.

The Mount Carroll Herald thus describes the character of Mr. Hallett:  “With all public movements he has been associated.  County and personal trusts have been reposed in him, and in all educational interests he was at the front.  He has given employment to more men than any other business man in the county, and many a man now living can testify to his kindly heart and consideration.  James Hallett was one of the best types of American manhood.  His long and busy career, so suddenly ended, is proof that he was happy in work.  He toiled with his men early and late, and asked no man to do what he was not willing to do himself.  All of his business transactions partook of the strictest adherence to truth and justice.  His mind was vigorous and comprehensive, and he directed and managed many business speculations at the same time.  If he mistook impulses for convictions, he was the first to admit the error.  On all questions requiring a firm and decided expression of opinion, no man can accuse James Hallett of hesitating or faltering.  He never sacrificed his dignity to an overweening deference to anything or anybody.  He was loyal and courageous, stern and inflexible of purpose, simple in manner and habits of life.  He despised vulgar display, and abominated vanity.  He was not without his faults, but never can the old saying be used with truer or firmer emphasis, ‘they were of the head and not the heart.’  In politics he was an old-line Whig, but upon the birth of the Republican party, he supported all its candidates until 1886, when he openly and loyally endorsed the Prohibition movement, having been a rigid temperance man all his life.  In this, as in all other convictions, he was fearless and cared naught for the criticism of others.  With him temperance and prohibition were questions of right and duty, to be held above all else.

“The religious life of James Hallett is known by all who ever came in contact with him or entered his home.  He united with the Presbyterian Church at Galena in 1840, and changed his connection to the Presbyterian Church of Mount Carroll in 1847.  His devotion to his society, his earnest and tireless work in its interest, are known and remembered by all. He remained loyal to the Presbyterian Church, and in 1871, when it was no longer able to maintain itself financially, he chose to worship with the Lutheran denomination at Mount Carroll.  In the Sunday-school he was a familiar figure, and was fourteen years at the head of the Lutheran school.  But it was in the home, in the society of his wife and children and friends, that the true beauty and worth of his character became apparent.  Ever kind and considerate, he loved his home, and no guest ever left his house without carrying away some appreciation of the influence of Christian teaching.

“He has not lived in vain.  Though some griefs of his life were bitter, and would try the courage of the bravest of men, he bore his crushing sorrows with patience and humility.”

The Old Settlers’ Association, of which Mr. Hallett was a member, acted as the escort at his funeral, when fifty of its members accompanied his body from the residence to the cemetery, which overlooks his old home in Mount Carroll.

                                -- Submitted on 9/04/99 by Sherri Hessick ( slhessick@crosswinds.net )