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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published by Chapman Publishing Co., in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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MARTIN D. HALL, who for many years was a prominent agriculturist and land-owner in Schuyler County, was born in the present village of Spencer, Tioga County, N. Y., August 9, 1816. He grew to manhood in his native town and was reared to the life of a farmer. November 20, 1847, he married his first wife, Jane Miller, a daughter of Barnabas Miller, of Catharine, and after her death he married Emma E. Van Loone, a daughter of Richard Van Loone, of Alpine. In 1851 he moved to Catharine, and in 1858 to Alpine. When but twenty-one years of age he was elected Supervisor of the town of Cayuta, when it was a part of Chemung County, and prior to the formation of Schuyler County. In 1864, after Cayuta became a part of Schuyler County, he was re-elected to the same position. In 1865 and 1866, and also from 1877 to 1881, inclusive, he represented his town on the Board of Supervisors, making an excellent and popular official. About that time he was made the Greenback-Democratic candidate for Member of the Assembly, but, the county being strongly Republican, he was defeated with the rest of the ticket. The parents of Mr. Hall came from Westchester County in 1798, and located in what afterward became the town of Spencer, in Tioga County, but which was then a pathless wilderness, where they endured every privation incident to pioneer life. The father was a student, and combined teaching and farming as the country became populated. On the paternal side he was of English ancestry, on the maternal side of French. The mother, Elizabeth (Fosha) Hall, was a cousin of Isaac Van Wort, of Revolutionary fame, one of the three captors of the British spy, Major Andre. The hardships through which the family passed laid the foundation of that sturdy manhood and self-reliance that characterized the five sons, and the fortitude manifested by the seven daughters. Edward, the eldest son, was a merchant, and died in Canada. George was the first Mayor of Owatonna, Steele County, Minn., where he died. Like his father, Chester was a teacher and farmer, and died in Illinois. Lafayette was a minister, and died in California, where he had gone to complete his education. Martin D., our subject, was the only one who remained in the state of New York. Of the seven daughters only two survive: Mrs. Phillips, of Owatonna, Minn.; and Mrs. Handy, of Havana.

In his domestic relations Mr. Hall was an exceptional man. He was never known to give an angry or unpleasant word to any of his family or help, and it was always a pleasure to meet him at home or abroad. He was kind, considerate, intelligent, genial and affectionate, but firm, decided and strong in his convictions, and when sure that he was right could not be swerved from them. He was liberal in heart, soul and sentiment, provident and sagacious, but fair and honorable in all his dealings with his fellow-men. A man of sterling honesty and integrity, he enjoyed in a marked degree the esteem, respect and confidence of his many friends and the public. By his strict attention to business, and by his foresight and good judgment, he accumulated a large property. His health for a number of years prior to his death had been poor, but though physically feeble, his mind and faculties were unimpaired until the last, and he managed his affairs and attended to every detail so well that but little was left to do in settling up his large estate of over twelve hundred acres, besides much other property, real and personal. Everything that loving hearts could suggest or willing hands do for his comfort was done by his faithful wife and loving family during his illness. They will ever cherish his memory, realizing that he was a devoted and affectionate husband, a kind father and a true friend.

Mrs. Emma Hall, our subject’s widow, is the youngest daughter now living of Richard and Martha M. (Chambers) Van Loone, and was born in the town of Catharine, which has always been her home. John Van Loone, her grandfather, came to this county from Schoharie County and located on what is still known as Van Loone’s Hill, where her father was born. He spent his entire life in this county, and died in 1883, leaving a family of seven daughters and one son. By Mr. Hall’s first marriage there were three children born, one of whom died in childhood, and two sons are yet living. Miller D., the elder son, was graduated from Ithaca Academy when seventeen years old and engaged in teaching, and also followed a mercantile business and milling, but finally, like his father, settled down to farming. G. Edward, the younger son, remained with his father until the latter’s demise, when he chose agriculture as his calling.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published in 1895. 

View additional Schuyler County, New York family biographies here: Schuyler County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Schuyler County, New York here: Schuyler County, New York Map

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