Following the death of Benedict William Hall on February 18, 1843, his widow, Ann (Calhoun) Hall, was designated the executrix of her late husband’s estate as well as guardian to her four minor children: Margaret, Lydia, Ann, and William. Ann Hall remained at Eutaw until her own death on April 9, 1858. Much of what is known of her tenure at Eutaw come from a variety of sources including Guardianship Accounts, newspaper articles, and census document.
Benedict William Hall died without drafting a last will and testament delegating whom the responsibilities of managing his estate would become. At the same time, four of his eight surviving children were still considered minors (under 21 years of age) in the eyes of the court. As such, the Baltimore County Court were required to identify and assign guardianship over the children. This duel charge was the responsibility of Ann Hall. During the mid-nineteenth century, ownership of the estate and guardianship of the children were not guaranteed to the widow of a deceased spouse. By law, the estate left by Benedict William Hall did not legally belong to the wife but rather his surviving children. Even in the likely event that a will is crafted, the deceased husband rarely includes a provision in which the wife is given ownership of any of the property. Often, the only provision to the wife in a will includes an allowance (widow’s third) and a statement that the wife is permitted use of the house and furnishings through the remainder of their natural life. This was done intentionally as a means to protect the inheritance for the surviving children as it was often the case that a surviving widow would remarry and any property owned by her would become the possession of the new husband.
Although a last will and testament did not exist stipulating Ann would have use of the house and property, the court making her the executrix of Benedict William Hall’s estate did provide her that right as she was given the option of renting the house or using it for her own purpose. Her role as executrix also charged her with the responsibility of providing upkeep on the property and of distributing her late husband’s estate to his children. At that time, there was a possibility that Ann could have lost the right to reside in the house, if the child who inherited that portion of the estate chose to do so. Happily for her, records suggest Ann remained at Eutaw until her own death in 1858.
In her other court appointed role as guardian of her four minor children, Ann Hall was mandated with providing upkeep to the estate in which they reside, Eutaw, as well as collect and distribute income from the property for the care and education of the children. During her guardianship, income was usually generated through the lease of property both at Eutaw as well as through the rental of Benedict’s other holdings in Harford and Baltimore Counties. On occasion, the guardian was given the right to sell property in order to pay for the children’s upkeep, although permission for those sales first had to be obtained by the county court.
Ann Hall’s guardianship of her children provides a unique glimpse of Eutaw during the 1840s, not available elsewhere in the documentary record. From 1843 to 1849, accounts of her guardianship were recorded in the Guardian Accounts for the Register of Wills in Baltimore County. Each account provides a wealth of information including which properties at Eutaw and Benedict’s other landholding were leased as well as to whom. They also include items such as what repairs were completed at Eutaw and the merchants or craftsmen provided those services. As such, the records provide a means to further reconstruct some finer details about Eutaw during the mid-nineteenth century.
The first guardian account was filed in March of 1844 and included accounts beginning on March 6, 1843, 16 days after Benedict William Hall’s deadly accident. In the year since Benedict’s death, Ann Hall collected $868.50 in rents, solely from properties at Eutaw. The rents included $136.75 from James Willingham for the lease of the Herring Run Tavern, which he had served as proprietor since 1822. James Willingham had passed away on November 18, 1843 so the rents may only include the fees up to that date. Ann Hall also received rent from George Fritz for a lot on Harford Road, likely adjacent to the Herring Run Tavern. It is uncertain whether Mr. Fritz resided on the property or just leased the lot for farming. However, later documents indicate at least two tenant houses owned by the Hall’s on Harford Road, so it seems likely Mr. Fritz was a resident on the property.
Other rents included fees for the cultivation of hay and pasturage, partial rent from Amon Green for the Columbia Cotton Mill, and grinding done at the Eutaw Grist Mill by Michael Kraft and A.M. Fenby. Benedict William Hall constructed an ice house at Eutaw, along the Herring Run at the north end of his property near Hall Spring (Herring Run Tavern). According to the guardian account, Ann’s neighbor, John Erdman, purchased ice from Ann Hall produced from behind the mill dam for the Columbia Cotton Mill. The most costly rent collected that year, interestingly came from Ann Hall herself for the lease of the mansion house at Eutaw, the very house she had resided in for over 23 years and where she currently raised her children. However, since she was not provided any property following her husband’s death, she too was considered as little more than a tenant in the estate ledger books.
As the widow of Benedict William Hall, Ann was entitled to one third of the income from the estate which amounted to $289.50. The remainder of the profit was typically shared among the children of the deceased. As such, all eight children, both adult and minors, received a portion of the income generated by Eutaw from 1843 to 1844. As such, all the children received $72.37.
The money entitled to the children were intended for the care and education of the minors; although the adult children were likely free to use the income as they saw fit. In addition, the income generated and distributed to the widow and children was also to be used for the upkeep of the estate. From 1843 to 1844, the upkeep included general repairs which were contracted to Michael Kraft at the cost of $144.00. As the widow, Ann Hall was required to pay for one third of the repairs while the remaining cost was shared among the eight children. Like those individuals who paid for services or rented land at Eutaw from 1843 to 1844, Michael Kraft was a neighbor of the Hall family during the 1840s where he was employed as a carpenter. As such, he likely carried out repairs to the house, outbuildings and other improvements at Eutaw in the year since Benedict William Hall’s death.
Between 1844 and 1849, two additional entries were recorded by Ann Hall in the Guardian Accounts for the upkeep and incomes at Eutaw. The second account encompassed all incomes and expenses from March of 1844 to March of 1846 and amounted to the estate generating an income of $6,239.00 (which would represent approximately $170,000 today). The income from those two years included rent from Eutaw as well as from Benedict William Hall’s other properties in Harford County including Josias Carvel Hall’s former estate, Hall’s Park; a large tract on Spesutie Island; and another tract called Island and Park. Rents collected from Eutaw included the rental of the Columbia Mill, the Eutaw Grist Mill, the farm and gardens at Eutaw as well as the rent from seven tenant house lots on Eutaw (Table X). Other income included the sale of ice from the Eutaw ice house, percentage of the income generated from grinding at the Eutaw Grist Mill, and the hiring out of several servants enslaved at Eutaw. In addition, Ann Hall paid $800.00 for the rent of the Eutaw mansion house over the two years where she resided along with her five children as well as the two born to Benedict William Hall and her sister, Mary.
From 1844 to 1846, Ann Hall commissioned numerous repairs and improvements at Eutaw. Nine individuals were hired to complete miscellaneous work and repairs on the property. At the Columbia Mill, Ann contracted John Cunningham for mason work and L.B. Finley for lime, likely for the purpose of creating mortar for the masonry. Edward G. Simpson was also hired to complete repairs to the Columbia Mill as a result of a fire that occurred at the cotton factory on March 14, 1844 and was reported in the Baltimore Sun the following Saturday. Other repairs to the Columbia Mill included the hiring of laborers for the repair of the Columbia Mill dam. The laborers where contracted through Amos Reed, who was a local Quaker and fellow mill operator located just upstream on the Herring Run, between the Columbia Mill and the Ivy Mill (present-day Morgan State University campus).
During that period, numerous repairs were also made at the Herring Run Tavern which included painting, plastering and the purchase of lime for masonry. At the Eutaw Grist Mill, Ann hired Alexander Paul to construct a new water wheel and as well as purchased a new mill saw from the Baltimore firm of Gillingham and Jessup. Given the purchase of the mill saw and the construction of a new water wheel, it appears Ann Hall decided to expand the services provided at the Eutaw mill to include both milling and lumber processing.
The guardian account from 1844 to 1846 also include details on repairs and improvements at the Eutaw mansion house. They included the purchase of lathes, horse hair, and lime as well as several cases of nails from Baltimore City merchants John Brian and Joseph Willey. The purchase of these items suggest Ann Hall required repairs to walls within the Eutaw house. Other supplies likely intended for repairs within the house included the contracting of E.P. Gaines for iron work and Zachariah Burgan for lumber. Other expenses incurred during that period included two years of state tax as well as over $200 in grinding done at the Eutaw Mill by the tenant leasing the property. The milling expense incurred by Ann Hall suggests either the family continued to farm at least a portion of Eutaw following Benedict’s death or perhaps the family received grain as part payment from tenants leasing land at Eutaw.
The final guardian account recorded by Ann Hall covered the three years from March of 1846 to March of 1849. In that time, Ann had sold two of the tracts her late husband inherited from his father, Josias Carvel Hall. The sale of one of the properties, Spesutie Island was advertised in the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser on August 24, 1844. As Ann Hall collected rents from the property in the previous guardian account (1844-1846), it appears it took a bit of time to find a buyer. The second property, Hall’s Park, was also sold before March of 1844, although the purchaser of that property is unknown. The final Harford County tract, Parks and Island, remained as part of the estate during this period and Ann Hall collected ground rents amounting to $3,087.00 over the three-year period.
In total, Ann Hall collected $7433.73 in income from the various properties at Eutaw as well as from Parks and Island. The income also includes other miscellaneous revenue from the sale of timber, rents from a Mr. Thomas Hanaway, as well as $120.00 for the income generated from several of the servants enslaved at Eutaw. From Eutaw itself, Ann Hall continued to collected revenue from the lease of the Columbia Mill, Herring Run Tavern, and the Eutaw Mill. She also received income from the various tenant properties on Eutaw over the three-year period. Whereas in previous years, the guardian accounts indicated the name of each individual leasing Eutaw lots, this final account lumped all rents into a single line item of ground rents.
Expenses from the third guardian account indicated far fewer expenditures from the previous account, suggesting the repairs undertaken from 1844 to 1846 likely represented a comprehensive refurbishing of the properties at Eutaw rather than those completed on an as need basis. As such, far fewer repairs were required on the property from 1846 to 1849. Of those maintenance expenses completed during this last three-year period, most seem to indicate general service repairs. They included work done on the properties by Aquilla D. Keen and John Cunningham, lime from Robert Wilson, and the purchase of lumber from Hugh McElderry. Other expenses included work from Thomas Hanney for the rewalling of the well and the purchase of new mill stones for Eutaw Mill from the firm of James Cheston & Son and the hardware from another Baltimore firm, Maellinger & Gorsuch.
One final expense includes the purchase of clover and other seed from Aquilla D. Keen, suggesting Ann Hall chose to cultivate the fields at Eutaw rather than lease the property to tenants as in years past. This possibility is further supported by the absence of rental incomes for the farm in the accounting of 1846 and 1847, although it appears at least a portion of the farmable land was leased to Thomas Hanaway in 1848. One other final item of note from the last guardian account was the absence of rents collected from Ann Hall, herself, for the lease of the Eutaw mansion house. Other contemporary accounts indicate Ann and the family remained residents of Eutaw during this period so the absence of a rental fee for the house may have been an error, or perhaps the court no longer required her to lease her own home from the estate of her deceased husband.
A year following the filing of the 1849 Guardian Account, Ann Hall and the family were enumerated in the 1850 United States Federal Census. According to the census, Eutaw was valued at $100,000 which today would equivalent to over three million dollars today. Ann resided at Eutaw with five of her children: Sydney, Margaret, Lydia, Anna and William. Other residents of the Eutaw mansion house in 1850 included the 76-year-old Lydia Calhoun, and the 71-year-old Maria Cattell. Lydia was Ann Hall’s mother. Having lived in South Carolina for most of her life, Lydia chose to relocate to Baltimore in the last year of her life. Lydia Calhoun died at Eutaw on August 8, 1850, a few months after she was enumerated in the 1850 census. The other new resident of Eutaw, Maria Cattell, was Lydia’s sister and Ann Hall’s aunt. She accompanied Lydia Calhoun to Baltimore within the last year and likely remained at the home until after the death of her sister.
A second family was also residing at Eutaw during the 1850 census. Henrietta Gittings was born a former at Eutaw in 1814, but was manumitted by the Hall family sometime before 1843. During her enslavement at Eutaw, Henrietta gave birth to five children, at least two of whom were also born as slaves on the farm. Her eldest, Emeline Gittings (Jones), was given to Elizabeth Hall when she married Horatio Whitridge in 1843. The rest of Henrietta’s children remained at Eutaw. The second eldest, Frederick Gittings, was also manumitted sometime before 1850. The other three children were likely born free but resided with the Hall family through their childhood. In 1850, Henrietta and four of her children are enumerated as free and likely were employed by Ann Hall as servants to the Hall family.
In addition to Henrietta Gittings and her family, Ann Hall manumitted at least two others who were enslaved at Eutaw. John Listen was manumitted by Ann Hall in 1849. John appeared in the 1844 inventory of Benedict William Hall’s estate as a 23-year-old man who was to be freed in 1849. Ann Hall followed through with the promised manumission and on June 25, 1849, additionally issued a certificate of freedom for John. The second former slave manumitted by Ann Hall in 1849 was the 34-year-old Abraham Bennett. Abraham was born enslaved at Eutaw in 1815. He was the son of Mary, a former slave of Josias Carvel Hall, who was inherited by Benedict William Hall after his father’s death in 1814. Mary Bennett was manumitted by Benedict William Hall in 1817 but he apparently chose to keep at least one of Mary’s son’s enslaved for several more decades. Abraham appeared in the 1844 inventory of Eutaw as a 25-year-old man. The inventory indicated he would be set free in 1847. It is unclear whether Abraham received his promised manumission in that year, but on June 25, 1849, Ann Hall issued Abraham Bennett a certificate of freedom which was recorded in the records of Baltimore County.
While Ann Hall manumitted several people enslaved at Eutaw before 1850, she still maintained a relatively sizable enslaved workforce on the farm. According to the 1850 slave schedule, 15 people were still enslaved at Eutaw in that year. Their ages ranged from a one year old baby girl to two 76-year-old men. Almost half of the enslaved people at Eutaw in 1850 were children under the age of 15. Given that the slave/servants quarter in the Eutaw mansion house was likely occupied by Henrietta Gittings and her children, the 15 enslaved people in the 1850 slave schedule likely lived in a separate slave quarter on the 315 acre farm.
In 1851, Ann Hall and her deceased husband’s seven surviving children found themselves in a protracted equity case in the Baltimore County Circuit Court. The eighth child, Mary Calhoun Hall, passed away in 1848 at the age of 30. The case involved the future of Benedict William Hall’s Eutaw and would conclude in 1879, years after the death of Ann Hall and several of the children involved in the 1851 court case. On June 17, 1851, Ann Hall, Sydney Hall, Margaret Hall, Lydia Hall, Elizabeth (Hall) Whitridge, and Janet Smith (Hall) Turner brought suit against Anna M. Hall and William Carvel Hall, the two minor children of Benedict William Hall. In reality the family was not at odds about the disposition of the property, but since Anna M Hall and William Carvel Hall were still under the age of 21, they were considered minors in the eyes of the court, and as such their welfare was tied to the estate and the income it generated.
According to the court documents, the entire family wished to sell Eutaw and they were petitioning the court for the right to do so. The court documents from June 17th to June 20th indicated that the house and various other improvement including the Hall Spring Tavern, Eutaw Mill, and Columbia Mill were “in want of repair” and the real estate was “unproductive and produces but a small income”. The court inquired of several third parties familiar with the estate and according to the written interviews, all agreed that the sale of the 315-acre Eutaw would amount to far more income for the family than would the continuing rental of the property and cultivation of its fields. The court also inquired whether it would be more beneficial to the family if the 315-acre farm be divided in equal part among the family members, but following a survey determined that given the nature of the property and the proximity of the portions of the land to roads and waterways and the presence of valuable improvements on some parts of the tract but not others, it would be impossible to equally divide and distribute the property among the members of the family.
On August 13, 1851, the court of Baltimore County appointed Benjamin C. Presstman trustee to the estate of Benedict William Hall and ordered him to sell Eutaw in whole or in part. The court further ordered the profits from the sale of the estate would be equally divided among the surviving heirs. On August 15, 1851, a notice of the sale of Eutaw was advertised in the Baltimore Sun.
The notice ran in the Baltimore Sun for three weeks. However, according to court documents filed January 1, 1852, the advertisement failed to obtain any bidders save one. For years, Amon Green and Samuel Green leased the Columbia Cotton Mill from Ann Hall. Following the court ordered sale, the Amon and Samuel Green purchased the Columbia Mill and 25 acres on the west bank of the Herring Run. The sale also included the use of the road leading from the mill, across the run to the Harford Turnpike at Hall Spring. With no other bidders or the remainder of the estate, the equity case continued in the Baltimore County court.
In the years in which the fate of Eutaw lingered in the county court, Ann Hall and her family continued to reside at the Eutaw mansion house as income continued to be generated through the lease of farming lots and the rental of the tenant houses, Eutaw Mill and Hall Spring Tavern.
On April 6, 1854, Sydney Hall and her husband, James Morrison Harris, brought suit against Ann Hall and her siblings. Over the last three years, the disposition of Eutaw had languished in the court and the sale or final settlement of the distribution of the estate was no closer to conclusion. At the same time, Sydney Hall had married the prominent Baltimore lawyer and future congressmen, J. Morrison Harris, and the couple were interested in building a new home at Eutaw. To do so, Sydney and J. Morrison Harris required the court to divide and distribute the property among the Hall family. On September 25, 1856, the case concluded with a partial division of Eutaw among Sydney (Hall) Harris, her mother, and Sydney’s six siblings.
Sydney and her husband received 33 acres of Eutaw located on the west bank of Herring Run where they built a stately mansion house they named Ivy Hill. Three other members of the family were also provided portions of the Eutaw estate at that time. Elizabeth (Hall) Whitridge and her husband, Horatio Whitridge, were given 26 acres located between the Harford Turnpike and the Columbia Mill, commonly known as Hall Spring. Along with the property, Elizabeth and Horatio received the Hall Spring Tavern and associated outbuildings as well as the one-acre lot located on the south side of the turnpike containing the natural spring. Janet (Hall) Turner was provided 30 acres located on the west bank of the Herring Run and south of the Harford Turnpike. No improvements, besides a tenant house, was located on the property prior to Janet taking ownership. The fourth division was given to William Hall Turner, the son of Janet. His 34-acre property was located on the east bank of the Herring Run and extended north from Belair Road. The remainder of the property, including the Eutaw Mill and mansion house were allotted by the court to Ann Hall, William Carvel Hall, Lydia Hall, Anna M. (Hall) Blanchard, and M. Louisa Hall. Each of the five were given an equal one-fifth share of the property and improvements. The 1856 decision by the Baltimore County also required the parties to construct two roads through the property, allowing each of the parties’ access to the main roads from their allotted parcels. The first was constructed along the south side of Eutaw, extending from the Harford Turnpike to Belair Road. This road is known today as Chesterfield Avenue. The second road was laid out and constructed on the north side of Eutaw and also extended between the Belair Road and Harford Turnpike. At the time, the road was known as Eutaw Road, but was eventually changed to its present name, Parkside Drive.
Land was not the only property divided among Ann Hall and the heirs of Benedict William Hall’s estate. On October 28, 1851, Ann Hall and the rest of the family divided the furniture and possessions of Eutaw amongst themselves. Although the division of the furniture and other personal items was done in private, a filing in the court specified who among the family received those individuals enslaved at Eutaw. A total of 13 individuals, many of whom were related, were divided among eight of the Hall family and their spouses. Ann Hall received three of the enslaved people: a 25-year-old man named Tom, a 53-year-old woman named Harriett and a 27-year-old woman named Lucy. M. Louisa Hall received ownership of Jeanette, a 23-year-old woman. Horatio and Elizabeth (Hall) Whitridge were given a 20-year-old man named Jim. Jim was the second of Benedict William Hall’s slaves the couple received, having been given Emeline Gittings when the couple were married in 1843.
The document indicates an unnamed man was provided to William Carvel Hall and Lydia Hall was given Wesley, a ten-year-old boy. William F. Turner, husband of Janet (Hall) Turner, received two men: 26-year-old George and 15-year-old Middleton. Sydney Hall was given an 11-year-old boy named Henry and Anna M. Hall received a boy named Jim. According to the document, Jim was the son of Jeanette, who was to live with another of the Hall siblings, M. Louisa Hall. All eleven identified above were to serve as slaves for life according to the court document. The remaining two individuals, 14-year-old John and 19-year-old Stepney, were also presented in the court record as being freed at a certain date. The court record does not provide the date they would be freed, but cross-referencing the two names with the 1844 inventory of Benedict William Hall shows that they were to be manumitted 1856 and 1859, respectively. Perhaps it was because of their approaching manumission that none of the family members decided to take ownership of the two. As such, they remained attached to the estate of Benedict William Hall until their freedom was awarded.
In the short years following the 1854 division of Eutaw several events occurred which complicated the final partition of the estate of the late Benedict William Hall. Janet (Hall) Turner, who received 30 acres as part of the 1854 division, passed away in February 1858. Her husband, William F. Turner, predeceased her in 1852. As a result, the claim to the 30-acre parcel was given to her children. William Hall Turner, the infant son of Janet (Hall) Turner, received 34 acres as a result of the 1854 division. However, over the next decade, William Hall Turner passed away. As a result, interest in the property was shared among his siblings, most of whom also passed away without heir. Eventually, the property was given to a brother, Horatio Turner, and a nephew, John Carrere.
Shortly after the 1854 division was finalized in 1856, one of the siblings, Lydia Hall passed away on August 15th of that year. She was entitled to one-fifth share of the remaining undivided portion of Eutaw which included the mansion house and mill. Having died unmarried and without heir, her interest in the remainder of Eutaw passed on to her siblings, including Sydney (Hall) Harris and Elizabeth (Hall) Whitridge. The two sisters were excluded from having rights to the remainder of their father’s estate following the 1854 division as they received their own parcels separate from the other siblings. With the death of their sister, Lydia, Elizabeth and Sydney once again regained rights to the remainder of the estate along with the other siblings who had not obtained individual parcels of the estate.
On April 9, 1858, Ann Hall died at the age of 62 and was buried with her husband at Westminster Burial Ground in Baltimore. In the 1854 division, Ann Hall received a one-fifth interest in the remaining undivided portion of Eutaw as well as in the mansion house where she resided. With her passing, that interest was divided among her four surviving children: M. Louisa Hall who married Alexander C. Robinson in 1857, Sydney (Hall) Harris, Anna M Hall who married Edward Wyatt Blanchard in 1855, and William Carvel Hall. Elizabeth (Hall) Whitridge and the heirs of Janet (Hall) Turner where the only two children not to receive a portion of Ann Hall interest as they were the children of Benedict William Hall and his first wife, Mary (Calhoun) Hall, Ann’s sister. Despite the technicality, all the surviving children of Benedict William Hall retained at least some interest in the remaining undivided portion of Eutaw and its house and improvements by the end of 1858, be it through the court division of 1854, death of Ann Hall or their unmarried sibling, Lydia Hall. While all the children were entitled to make decisions regarding the use and lease of the Eutaw mansion house, grist mill, tenant houses or its grounds after 1858, it appears the siblings chose to leave that responsibility to the discretion of the youngest, William Carvel Hall. The other surviving heirs of Benedict William Hall were all married. With the exception of Sydney (Hall) Harris, all the other sisters resided elsewhere in the city or county with their husbands and families. While Sydney lived on a portion of the former Eutaw estate, she had her own responsibilities associated with the running the household at her new estate and mansion house, Ivy Hill. In 1858, William Carvel Hall was unmarried and the only home he knew had been Eutaw. In addition, William served as the de facto manager of Eutaw since the early 1850s. As such, it may have seemed the natural choice by the other siblings for William to continue managing the estate while serving as the new proprietor of Eutaw.
Maryland State Archives (MSA)
1844 1843 – 1844 Guardian Account of Benedict William Hall. Guardian Accounts of the Register of Wills Baltimore County. Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1846 1844 – 1846 Guardian Account of Benedict William Hall. Guardian Accounts of the Register of Wills Baltimore County. Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1849 1846 – 1849 Guardian Account of Benedict William Hall. Guardian Accounts of the Register of Wills Baltimore County. Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1851 Benedict William Hall Account of Sale. Guardian Account of Benedict William Hall. Guardian Accounts of the Register of Wills Baltimore County. Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1879 Equity Case of the Estate of Benedict William Hall. Baltimore County Judicial Record WMI 65 folio 265. Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1850 Map of the City and County of Baltimore. On file Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.