MRS. SARAH J. (ARMSTRONG) HALL, widow of Edson Chase Hall, a former well known business man of this county, is a lady greatly respected in Chesterfield, where she is pleasantly situated in a home that is replete with coziness and true comfort. She was born near Athensville, Greene County, and is a daughter of one of the pioneers of that section of Illinois, John Armstrong. Her father was a native of Northumberland, Scotland, and was a son of William and Jane Armstrong, who were also of Scottish birth and spent their entire lives in their native land.
John Armstrong left his old home when he was a lad of fourteen years to accompany an English family to the United States. They came directly to Illinois, and were among the first to locate in Greene County. Indians were then more numerous than whites, and the country was mostly in its primitive condition, the greater part of the land being owned by the Government and for sale at prices ranging from twelve and one-half cents to $1.25 an acre. When Mr. Armstrong attained manhood he entered a tract of land near Athensville, and erected two log cabins, one for a dwelling and the other for a store, as in addition to farming he intended to engage in mercantile pursuits, keeping a general stock of merchandise, including groceries, dry goods, boots, shoes, etc. There were no railroads there then, and he had to team all his produce to Alton, where he purchased his goods, the trip occupying three days. He resided at Athensville until his death, which occurred in 1859. The town was then deprived of a good citizen who had interested himself in its welfare and had been active in promoting its commerce, as well as in developing the agricultural resources of the county.
The maiden name of Mrs. Hall's mother was Elizabeth Gelder, and she was a daughter of John and Elizabeth Gelder. For an account of her parents see sketch of John Gelder that appears elsewhere in this book. After the death of her husband Mrs. Armstrong came to Chesterfield and passed her remaining days here, dying February 20, 1878, at a venerable age. She was the mother of these six children: Thomas H., Mary A., Sarah J., John W., Charles and Elizabeth.
Mrs. Hall was carefully reared and was well trained in all that goes to make a good housewife. She remained with her mother until her marriage, November 20, 1872, to Edson Chase Hall. Her wedded life with Mr. Hall was hallowed by the birth of three children: Grace, Horace Chase and May.
Edson C. Hall was a native of Wisconsin, born February 2, 1837. He was a son of Dr. Jeremiah Hall, who was born in New Hampshire. He was educated as a physician in Boston, and going to Wisconsin in Territorial days he was one of the pioneers of his calling in that section of the country. After a time he removed to Iowa, and was one of the early settlers of Danville, Des Moines County, where he practiced medicine until his death, becoming one of the leading men of his profession in that part of the State. The wife of Dr. Hall was Harriet Conning, who was born in New York and died at Danville, Iowa.
Mr. Hall, the husband of our subject was reared and educated in Danville. At the age of nineteen he entered upon his mercantile career as a clerk in a store in that place, and continued thus engaged until the Civil War broke out. He was then in the prime and vigor of early manhood with the promise of a successful life before him, but he laid aside personal consideration to enlist in the defense of the Union, becoming a member of the One Hundred and Thirty-third Iowa Infantry. He took part in every battle in which his regiment engaged, remaining with it until the end and winning an honorable record as a patriotic and efficient soldier, and after peace was declared he was discharged with his comrades.
Returning northward after leaving he army Mr. Hall sought and obtained a position as clerk at Alton, Ill. He subsequently established himself in business at Chesterfield, and was thus prosperously engaged up to the time of his death, which occurred June 3, 1884. Chesterfield then lost a valuable citizen who had materially promoted its commerce as one of its leading merchants. The Congregational Church was deprived of the help and liberal support of one of its most esteemed members. He was missed not only by his family, but by the friends and acquaintances that he had gathered around him during his residence here, as he was a man whose sterling integrity of character and geniality won him regard. Mrs. Hall shared the consideration in which her husband was held, and she stands high in the social circles of this town. She is of the Episcopal faith, and is a member of the church of that denomination.