Blog Randall

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Palo Pinto Sesquicentennial

The Palo Pinto, Texas Sesquicentennial (<-click to see) will be celebrated throughout the year of 2007 (see your Natty Tattler each month for these events.) One of these scheduled activities is a Time Capsule to be buried on the courthouse lawn in January 2008 and to be opened in 2017. It will include current events, family stories and letters from school children. What should we contribute to the Time Capsule? Click the COMMENTS link below and make your suggestion.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Are There Any HALLs Out There?

After hunting and searching for weeks, we found where Peter and Susannah Hall were buried. I took Mother and Dad (Wynell and Bob Erwin) to Paradise Cemetery in Paradise, Texas where we quickly located the graves. You can see the photographs at (click ->) Peter and Susannah's web site On our way home we talked about Peter and Susannah and we couldn't remember very many Hall kinfolk still living. That's why we're asking: ARE THERE ANY HALLs OUT THERE?

Here's a brief history about them:

Peter Hall knew horse flesh. And that, along with his equestrian skills, was what mounted cavalry wanted, -- which was why they asked him to join. So, he went with his friends and neighbors to Weatherford, and on the 31st of March 1862, Peter enlisted into Company 'E' of the 19th Texas Cavalry (but most just called it: Burford's Regiment). Then, on April the 6th 1862, New Orleans fell to the enemy at a terrible cost of both military and civilian lives. It was a deadly invasion with such violent carnage and destruction folks panicked and escaped into Texas. They knew their safety wasn't guaranteed and it was only a matter of time before Galveston would befall the same deadly fate as did New Orleans. It was desperate times when Peter was forced, like many, to defend his; family, 'neighbors in Parker County', and fellow Texans from the Yankee invasion.

He didn't hesitate when his young eighteen year old son, John asked if he could go... Peter took the boy with him and together they saw the most fierce of battles fighting in the western theater. Father and son fought side-by-side at Mill Creek Bridge, Pleasant Hill, Jenkin's Ferry all of which spread across our vast nation from northern Missouri to the Louisiana coast. During the war, commanders learned of Peter's skills to preach the gospel and he was quickly assigned double duty as both Cavalryman and Chaplin. Later, the assignment earned him a promotion to Captain and from that day forward he was affectionately known to all as just, "Captain Pete". But, Peter preferred the title of Chaplin.

Back at home, while the Captain and John were off fighting the war, Susannah fought to keep the ranch going. In the absence of her husband, she sold the horse ranch and moved to a new location in Parker County in an area called Silver Creek. No one knows how she did it, but she must have been a strong and determined lady to have moved a large horse ranch with only her children to help her.

Edward, a feisty youngster, wasn't much help at only eight years of age. So the task of moving their ranch fell on the strong physical attributes of his older brothers Isaac, David, and Benjamin. The three teenage boys took the challenge and moved lock, stock, and barrel to their new home in Silver Creek, which was a much improved ranch with more acreage and better fields. (It is noted here that their new ranch in Silver Creek was later sold to the Leonard Brothers of Leonard's Department Store in Ft. Worth, and the ranch remains to this day a large "working" horse ranch.)

Captain Peter and his son John surrendered with their Regiment at Galveston, Texas on the 2nd of June 1865 and mustered out of the Confederacy. They raised their right hands to swear allegiance to the Union, signed a Pledge, and then they rode straight home from the war uninjured. Peter joined his beloved Susannah where they continued their life's work on the ranch going about raising nine children. He also continued his work as a surveyor and preacher until his death on the 21st of December 1884 at the city of Paradise in Wise County, Texas.

Susannah passed away on the 23rd of June 1904 at the city of Carter in Parker County, Texas. Interment for both Captain Peter and Susannah are at the Paradise Cemetery.

(1) Publication, History of Parker County as written by Montez Wren and Gladys Hall Westbrook (biographical data and homestead locations)
(2) Hill County College Confederate Research Center (War Department records - enlistment records - troop movements)
(3) Weatherford Public Library (copies of handwritten correspondence between Peter and Susannah during the war)
(4) Family Stories (personal information - children - records of birth, marriage, death and interment)

My name is Randall Scott Erwin, the G-G-G-Grandson of Peter and Susannah. My father, Bob Erwin's mother was, Lera Williams Erwin, and her mother was Pearl Hall Williams. Pearl's father was Ed Hall, the son of Peter and Susannah.

Do you have information you want to share with us about Peter and Susannah? Are you a Hall? Do you know a Hall descendant? -- Then click on the word COMMENTS below, and let us know about you.

Was SARAH GEUPEL of Cherokee Descent?

Not all agree that Sarah Atline (Griffin) Geupel is Cherokee. Those who believe that John Geupel married a full blood Cherokee Indian have produced substantial records, (yet circumstantial evidence) to support their belief, which would persuade most any judge and jury that it’s a fact. On the other hand, there are skeptics who are not in agreement, and with just cause.

In review of a persuasive argument by Norman and Vickie (Ramsey) Alford, (Vickie is Sarah Geupel’s G-G-G-Granddaughter) they lay out census records with unquestionable relationships to a Timothy Griffin family. These Griffins lived next-door (so to speak) to the Geupel’s in 1870 Cleburne, Texas where census records are enumerated from house –to- house.

Family stories coincide with the 1870s census records in an exact match to position Timothy, and Sarah as siblings in the right place at the right time. Records kept by Wynell (Odom) Erwin (Wynell is Sarah’s G-G-Granddaughter) have documented these family stories in numerous interviews with Geupel descendants, from Oklahoma to Florida, all of which proclaim the grandfather of Timothy T. Griffin (brother of Sarah Geupel) as a one-time Chief of the Cherokee Indians.

In my own research, Cherokee Indians confined to the Army Reservation (now the state of Oklahoma) were listed in a census and made available at the Weatherford, Texas public library. These listings indicated a family of Griffins had survived the Trail Of Tears in the 1836 march from Alabama -to- Oklahoma. These Griffins could be the parents or grandparents of Sarah Geupel.

In other research, I found where the Jacksboro, Texas: FRONTIER ECHO (a local newspaper published in 1911) reported a John Geupel and daughter Dora Miller were escorted by a cousin Tim Griffin on a trek to Oklahoma for a visit with John Geupel Jr. and that all had returned home safely. Again, further evidence of the 'Griffin' connection.

However, skeptics claim the Griffins were not of Cherokee descent where nothing but stories support this theory. Truly, there is no hard and fast evidence to this end. Only the stories handed down from generation –to- generation makes this claim. Which we know can be of dubious content often filled with exaggerations and innuendos.

The surname 'Griffin' itself comes under question when Sarah's maiden name is listed by a different spelling: 'Griffen', 'Grifuth', and 'Grifeth'. In this case, it would only be coincidental that a family of Griffins lived next door to her in 1870 Cleburne. Further, some census records have shown Sarah to place her state of origin to be Georgia and not from Alabama where the Griffins were known to reside.

There are as many opinions on this subject as there are family members who descend from Sarah Atline Geupel, each with their own facts that carry the discussion to a persuasive conclusion. I’ve yet to decide.
(Click on the photo to read more about Sarah Geupel.) Some kinfolk simply point to her dark skin and high cheekbones to prove their case while others scoff at such unscientific methods. Is Sarah a Cherokee? Do you think there will ever be a conclusion to this issue? What do some of our kinfolks say? Or, does Grandpa Geupel have it right when he says:
It don't make no hoot.
What do YOU say? (click the COMMENTS shown below)