Benedict William Hall: 1812 – 1843

Following Janet’s death, Benedict William Hall inherited Eutaw Farm, although newspaper accounts from the time would interchangeably refer to the property as both Col. Hall’s (Col. Josias Carvel Hall) or B.W. Hall’s farm. That same year, Benedict married his first wife, Mary Calhoun.  Mary was the daughter of William Calhoun and Lydia Cattell and grand-daughter of Baltimore’s first mayor, James Calhoun.  After the wedding on June 9, 1812, the young couple settled into their home at Eutaw Farm, making Benedict and Mary the first permanent residents of Eutaw House since his grandfather purchased the estate from Valentine Larsh back in 1779. The 22 year old newlywed spent little time at Eutaw with his bride in the first years of their marriage.  On June 18, 1812 the United States declared war on Great Britain, marking the beginning of the military conflict known as the War of 1812.

Like his father before him, Benedict William Hall also enlisted in the army. Benedict did not immediately enlist, choosing only to do so after the British began their blockade of the Chesapeake in the spring of 1813.  In December of that year, Captain Henry Thompson formed the First Baltimore Horse Artillery.  Thompson was Benedict’s neighbor and recently finish construction of his home, Clifton Mansion.  Given their geographic proximity to each other, it was little wonder when Benedict enlisted in Thompson’s company with the rank of private (NARA 2016). Following several month of drilling at Clifton, Benedict and the rest of Thompson’s company were ordered by Brig. Gen. John Stricker to serve as a line of mounted messengers and scouts. On August 23, 1814, the First Baltimore Horse Artillery were order to Washington, D.C. and the following day were instructed to ride to Bladensburg and return to Brig. Gen. Stricker on the actions of the battle.

Following the American defeat at Bladensburg and the subsequent burning of Washington, D.C.,  Benedict and his company were ordered to scout and report on British ship movements until September 10, 1814.  At that time, Brig. Gen. Stricker ordered the First Baltimore Horse Artillery to Baltimore where they were assigned to Maj. General Samuel Smith, cousin of Benedict William Hall, as his personal guard and messenger unit for the Battle of North Point and the subsequent defense of Baltimore and the Battle of Fort McHenry.  After the British withdrew from Baltimore harbor, The First Baltimore Horse Artillery continued sentinel duties and tracking British ship movements out of the Chesapeake Bay. In time, Benedict William Hall was promoted to 3rd lieutenant of the company in place of Joseph Wilson Patterson who at that time was promoted to fill John Eager Howard, Jr.’s former position as 2nd lieutenant in the First Baltimore Horse Artillery.   Shortly before receiving his promotion, General Winfield Scott relieved the 3rd Brigade from service from the United States Army. Although Capt. Thompson’s Company was attached to the 3rd Brigade, Gen. Scott kept them on the same sentinel service until the end of November. As the threat of a British return to the Chesapeake diminished, Benedict William Hall and his fellow soldiers were eventually discharged and allowed to return to their homes. Benedict returned Eutaw Farm in December 1814. He was greeted there by his pregnant wife and the couple’s one year old daughter, Janet Smith Hall.

Josias Carvel Hall also resided with his son’s family at Eutaw, but on August 17, 1814, he passed away at the age of 68.  Benedict was present for his father’s death and subsequent funeral, but the task of proving his father’s last will and testament and the settlement of his estate was left until after he returned from the war. Having been the last surviving heir to Josias Carvel Hall’s estate, the will was fairly straight forward:


In the will, Josias Carvel Hall refers to himself as a resident of Baltimore, further suggesting that he lived with his son at Eutaw Farm in the last years of his life. According to his will, all of Josias property, both real and personal, now belonged to Benedict William Hall.  While Josias specifically requested his possessions not be inventoried, a review of tax and land records does provide some indication of some of the property Benedict inherited from his father which included his father’s Hall’s Park plantation and at least 1,124 additional acres in Harford County. As is also apparent in Josias’ will, Benedict William Hall also became the owner of at least 15 African American men and women who were part of Josias’ estate.  While it is certain some of these individuals resided on properties Josias owned in Harford County, it appears some of them came with their former owner to work on Eutaw Farm.  Josias’ will stipulates all his slaves would be freed, the document indicates only two individuals, Bill and Celia, were already freed and were paid employees of Josias. The remaining specifically named individuals and other alluded to would remain the property of Benedict for a set period of time ranging from three to 14 years after their former Josias’s death.  Given that Josias died in August of 1814, Benedict was not instructed to free the last of his father’s slaves until 1828. Until that time, many of the men and women named in his father’s will served the remainder of their period of enslaved on Benedict William Hall’s Eutaw Farm (Table 1).

Table 1: Predicted Dates for Manumission of Josias Carvel Hall’s Former Slaves Now in Bondage at Eutaw Farm


Five months before his own father’s passing, Benedict William Hall experienced the death of his grandfather and former owner of Eutaw Farm, William Smith.  Smith’s estate was divided among his one surviving daughter and several of his grandchildren, including Benedict William Hall (MSA 1814a).  According to Smith’s will, Benedict’s inheritance consisted of a warehouse and lot on Calvert Street, a parcel of land known as Lot 9 of “Maiden’s Out” located between the Columbia Mill and Eutaw Farm, and a parcel of land northeast and adjoining Eutaw Farm and partly situated on Belair Road. That portion of Lot 9 of “Maiden’s Out” would eventually be incorporated into Eutaw Farm and become known as Hall Springs. Smith also left Benedict several shares of stock in various banks and corporations including the Bank of Maryland, the Bank of Baltimore, the Baltimore Water Company, the Susquehanna Canal Company, and the Baltimore Library Company.  Lastly, William Smith instructed his executor to provide Benedict William Hall five thousand dollars cash. While the deaths of both his father and grandfather within several months of each other were certainly difficult personally for Benedict, the substantial inheritance he acquired from their estates elevated the 24 year old to the position of gentleman and made him one of the wealthiest residents of Baltimore County.

The years immediately following his military service during the War of 1812 was a time of both joy and continued personal tragedy for Benedict William Hall and his wife, Mary. Two month after returning from active service, Benedict and Mary welcomed the birth of their second child, Lydia Hall, on February 20, 1815. Nearly two years later the couple’s third child, Elizabeth Buchanan Hall, was born on February 17, 1817.  Unfortunately, within months of the birth of Elizabeth, Lydia took ill and on May 8th the two year old passed away.  Benedict William Hall was not a stranger to the loss of a child to illness. As a child, he was likely told of the death of his three older siblings prior to his own birth and was present for the illness and subsequent death of his young sister.

By late 1817, Benedict and Mary found they were once again pregnant and on June 4, 1818, the couple welcomed the birth of their fourth daughter.  However, it appears this pregnancy was difficult one for Mary and complications emerged following the birth of the child.  After nearly of month of continued illness, Mary Calhoun died at the age of 24.  Given the circumstances, it appears Mary and Benedict did not immediately chose a name for their new daughter.  In time, Benedict decided to honor his beloved deceased wife by naming their fourth daughter Mary Calhoun Hall.

Benedict William Hall remained a widower for two years following Mary’s death. As an only child and with both parents dead, the responsibility of raising his three surviving children likely fell to him alone.  While Benedict did not have any close family in Baltimore, but several of his deceased wife’s family did live in the area and the Calhouns likely wanted to remain close to their grandchildren. Of all Mary’s family, it appears her sister, Ann Calhoun, may have been the most supportive in helping Benedict raise his daughters. Ann was the second daughter of William Calhoun and Lydia Cattell and by 1818 the 23 year old was unmarried and living in her mother’s household in Baltimore.

On October 19, 1820 Eutaw Farm hosted a celebration.  On that date, Ann Calhoun and Benedict William Hall were married at the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore.  Over the course of their 23 year marriage, Benedict and Ann welcomed five children in addition to the three Benedict had with his previous wife and Ann’s sister.  Four of their children were daughters and were named for members of Ann’s family: Sidney Calhoun Hall (b. 1823), Margaret Louisa (b. 1825), Lydia Abbot (b. 1829), and Anna Maria (b. 1831).  Ann and Benedict’s last child and only son, William Carvel Hall (b. 1833), and was named for both Ann and Benedict’s deceased fathers.

During his lifetime, Benedict William Hall was responsible for the most extensive expansion and improvement to Eutaw Farm since his grandfather first acquired the property in 1779. With the death of his mother in 1812, Benedict became the sole proprietor of the 170-acre Eutaw Farm as well as the 37-acre property known as Gay’s Mount, located just to the north. After the subsequent death of his grandfather, William Smith, he also became the owner of several additional parcels close to Eutaw Farm that were previously part of the 500-acre land patent known as Maiden’s Out.

Like his father before him, Benedict was a planter and gentleman in Baltimore society and as such made his income primarily through the management and profitability of his properties including his mill at Eutaw and plantations in Baltimore and Harford Counties. Through the inheritance received from his father and grandfather’s estates, Benedict also received a substantial sum of money in the form of cash and stock, some of which he used to invest in additional properties.

A review of the land records from Harford and Baltimore Counties shows Benedict William Hall divested himself of only a handful of the properties he inherited from his father and grandfather. The largest sale of such properties were three tracts associated with his father’s home plantation of Hall’s Park.  In 1831, Benedict exchanged portions of Hall’s Park with his cousin, Josias Hall, in return for an equal portion of Cranberry Hall, the ancestral property of the Hall family in Harford County (MSA 1831).  The only other property Benedict sold in Harford County during his lifetime occurred in 1842 and consisted of an additional portion of Hall’s Park (MSA 1842). Closer to Eutaw Farm, Benedict divested himself of even fewer tracts, consisting almost exclusively of houses and lots he previously purchased in the City of Baltimore.  Otherwise, Benedict William Hall, largely appears in county land records in association with the purchase of properties.

Expansion of Eutaw Farm by Benedict William Hall began in earnest starting in 1822 with his acquisition of a series of properties that shared borders to the east and west of his estate.   Prior to 1822, Benedict’s Eutaw Farm consisted of 170 acres largely located between present-day Harford and Belair Roads; however, the estate’s eastern boundary did not extend completely to the northern boundary of Belair Road.  That small tract was provided to Benedict’s cousin, Otho Holland Williams, Jr., through the inheritance he received by their grandfather, William Smith.  Benedict William Hall’s other holding near Eutaw Farm consisted of the 37-acre property known as Gay’s Mount, which he inherited after the death of his mother, Janet (Smith) Hall.  The final tract Benedict owned in the area included small parcel just west of Harford Road, which he received as part of his inheritance from his grandfather’s estate in 1814, which today is commonly known as Hall Springs.

B.W. Hall Acquisitions

On June 14, 1822, Benedict William Hall began an effort to expand and consolidate his three disjointed tracts near Herring Run.  On that date, Benedict paid his cousin, Henry Lee Williams, $8,000 in exchange for two tracts situated west and east of Eutaw Farm.  They included the 24-acre property west of Eutaw Farm on which the Columbia Mill was established.  The Columbia Mill was a joint venture begun by William Smith and Charles Gwinn in 1810. Henry Lee Williams inherited a 50 percent stake in the venture following Smith’s death in 1814. Later that year, Williams purchased Gwinn’s interest, making him the sole owner and proprietor of the Columbia Mill until 1822 when he sold the entire enterprise and 24-acre parcel to Benedict William Hall. Also as part of the 1822 transaction was a second tract consisting of 67 acres located east of Eutaw Farm and extending southeast along Herring Run and beyond Belair Road. While originally part of William Smith’s holdings, this tract was never incorporated into Eutaw Farm. Rather, Smith maintained this tract as a separate farm which he referred interchangeably as “part of Broad’s Improvement” or “The Improvement” which were the names of two overlapping and conflicting eighteenth century land patents for this portion of the Herring Run valley.

Following the acquisition of the Columbia Mill and the 91-acres east and west of his estate, Benedict began the process of consolidating those lands with his existing holdings. On October 23, 1824 commissioned a survey of his holdings. The survey served as the first step in a process of re-patenting his various disjointed properties with the State of Maryland into one single estate. For the purpose of the re-patent, Benedict chose to include only four of his properties in the survey: Eutaw Farm, Hall Springs, Gay’s Mount, and that portion of Broad’s Improvement/The Improvement he purchased from Henry Lee Williams.  The 24-acre Columbia Mill lot remained a separate entity the Benedict chose to operate independently from his overall estate.

Baltimore County surveyor, William Brown, completed the survey of Benedict William Hall’s estate on March 23, 1825.  During the survey, Brown determined Hall’s estate consisted of 192 acres of part of Broad’s Improvement, 33 acres of Gay’s Mount, 46 acres of part Maiden’s Out, and approximately 5 acres of part of The Improvement.  Brown also identified two tracts of vacant, previously unpatented land between Hall’s Gay’s Mount and Broad Improvement comprising approximately 14 additional acres that he also incorporated into Hall’s estate. Benedict filed his patent and resurvey with the Land Office of Baltimore County on May 9, 1825 and on June 15, 1825 he received approval for the resurvey of 292.5 acres which he renamed simply Eutaw, although it was often still referred to as Eutaw Farm.

Section of the 1866 Approaches to Baltimore Showing Eutaw

In addition to expanding the acreage of Eutaw, Benedict William Hall also completed numerous improvement projects begun during his grandfather and mother’s proprietorship of the estate. The Eutaw Mill and Manor had been on the property since the 1760s and while William Smith and the Hall family enjoyed the use of the manor, both Smith and Janet Hall leased the operation of the Eutaw Mill to a tenant miller who likely resided in a miller’s house constructed on the property and located close to the mill.  The identity of the Eutaw millers are unknown during Smith’s tenure as proprietor but during his daughter’s ownership, newspaper account indicate the miller in 1805 was William Morrison. Although existing historical documentation are unable to verify the length of his lease, Morrison likely remained the Eutaw miller until at least the end of Janet Smith Hall’s tenure as proprietor.

Benedict William Hall continued to maintain and lease the Eutaw Mill during his tenure as Eutaw’s owner. By 1817, William Morrison left Eutaw and a new miller, Henry Wilkey, was in possession of the grist mill.  Evidence of Wilkey’s tenure as the Eutaw miller appeared in an advertisement placed in the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser on September 9, 1817.

Three Dollars Reward

Newspaper accounts from the following year indicate Henry Wilkey’s lease agree agreement with Benedict William Hall expired that winter. By 1818, Amos Read was the new resident miller at the Eutaw Mill. The Read family had a history with Herring Run, dating back nearly a decade when Amos’ father, Larkin Read, purchased a tract north of Eutaw Farm from William Smith in 1802.  Larkin Read established a mill on the tract, calling it the Olive Mills.

Amos Read likely apprenticed at the Olive Mills as a teenager and upon reaching adulthood, took a position just downstream from his father’s mill at Benedict William Hall’s Eutaw Mill. The first account of Amos Read as the Eutaw miller appeared in a newspaper account from 1818. In February of that year, he placed a runaway advertisement in the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser for the capture and return of his apprentice, Elias James Berry.

six cent reward

According to the notice, Berry ran away from Eutaw two months earlier, suggesting Amos Read began his tenancy at the mill sometime between September and December 1817.  The 17-year-old apprentice was eventually recaptured and returned to his indenture at the Eutaw Mill for at least a short time.  On February 25, 1820, Amos Read placed a second runaway notice in the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser indicating Elias James Berry once again absconded from Read and the Eutaw Mill sometime in December 1819.  It is unclear what to make of Elias James Berry’s repeated escape attempts.  Perhaps Amos Read was a harsh employer or simply Berry concluded milling was not a profession he wished to pursue. It is not certain whether Berry ever returned to the Eutaw Mill, but United States Federal Census records from 1820 indicates Amos Read ended his term as the property miller later that year.

six cent reward 2

The identity of the resident miller for Eutaw Farm in the twenty years spanning 1820 and 1840 is unknown.  Federal Census records from 1820 and 1830 indicate that several households in close proximity to Benedict William Hall home were engaged in manufacture. However, given the number of mills that operated along the Herring Run in that area during that period, it is not possible to identify any particular individual as the miller at Eutaw based on the census documents. In 1839, Eutaw was without a miller and Benedict William Hall placed an advertisement in the Baltimore Sun for a new tenant. A miller named John Fisher answered Hall’s advertisement. Fisher appears in the 1840 Federal Census as being engaged in manufacture and residing in a house adjacent to Hall’s Eutaw Manor.  It is uncertain how long John Fisher remained at Eutaw but by 1850 Census he and his family had left the estate, having been replaced by a new miller named Thomas G. Happersett.

Eutaw Mill

Another improvement located on Hall’s Eutaw was the Herring Run Tavern. Situated on the small tract north of the Harford Turnpike Road, Benedict William Hall inherited the tract from his grandfather’s estate in 1814. Benedict was responsible for the construction of the Herring Run Tavern sometime after 1816, when the Baltimore and Harford Turnpike Road was constructed and extended through the northern part of his property.  On December 30, 1822, Benedict William Hall advertised the rental of the tavern in the Baltimore Patriot.  According to the advertisement, the tavern’s former proprietors included a man named Cuningham and most recently by another named Busk.

Tavern to Rent

Following Busk’s departure in 1822, Benedict William Hall entered into an agreement with James Willingham. One invaluable resource in identifying the proprietor of Hall’s Herring Run Tavern were the Baltimore County Ordinary Licenses from the mid-nineteenth century.  Like present-day liquor licenses, an Ordinary License was required in order to legally operate an inn or tavern within the State of Maryland.  The counties issued a yearly license for which the proprietors of such establishments paid a yearly fee. According to the Baltimore County Ordinary License books, James Willingham served as the proprietor of Hall’s Herring Run Tavern until his own death on November 18, 1843. In fact, Willingham’s 21-year tenure on the Herring Run eventually led to tavern being commonly referred to as Willingham’s Tavern.

Lost Dog

In addition to the Eutaw Mill and the Herring Run Tavern, Benedict William Hall was also the proprietor of the nearby Columbia Cotton Mill. While the Columbia Cotton Mill was not technically located on Eutaw, several improvements constructed on his estate benefited the mill operations.  The Columbia Cotton Mill was located on a small parcel of land Hall owned on the west bank of the Herring Run, across from the Herring Run Tavern/Willingham’s Tavern.  While several sheds and storage buildings were located on mill property, Benedict built mill workers’ housing on the east bank, adjacent to the tavern. Grist mills, like the Eutaw Mill, required a small labor force typically consisting of a miller and perhaps an apprentice or laborer to two. The Columbia Mill employed dozens of laborers necessary to operate the several pieces of machinery constantly spinning lose cotton into thread. The vicinity surrounding Eutaw and the Columbia Cotton Mill was largely agricultural during the early to middle nineteenth century and there was little available housing stock to support a local workforce for the mill. Given the number of laborers needed for efficient operation of the mill, the Hall family decided to construct several tenant houses near the hotel to house employees of the Columbia Mill. Over the course of the nineteenth century, individual single-family row houses replaced the tenant houses and a small community developed to support the Columbia Mill operations.  In time, members of the Hall family donated a small parcel between the Columbia Mill and hotel, for the use of a growing Methodist congregation to build a church, which they named the Eutaw Methodist Church.

REFERENCE ONLY. Baltimore City Life Museum.  4x5 inch Glass negatives, Box 9
Twentieth Century Photograph of the Columbia Cotton Mill (Baltimore Sun)
Hall Springs Hotel
The Hall Spring Hotel (Herring Run Tavern) in the Early Twentieth Century

While Benedict William Hall derived a comfortable income from the rental of the Herring Run Tavern and the operation of his two mills, Eutaw was primarily a working plantation. Newspapers, land records and other contemporary accounts often refer to Benedict William Hall as gentleman planter but the actually work of farming was undertaken by dozens of individuals enslaved at on the property from the early to mid-nineteenth century.  Benedict started his planting career with 15 enslaved men and women supplied to him through inheritance following his father’s death in 1814. By the time of the 1820 Federal Census, Eutaw was home 15 enslaved people, five of which were under the age of 14. According to his father’s will, Benedict was expected to free Mary, Samuel, Hannibal, and Jack by 1820. Provided he followed the stipulations of his father’s will, the 1820 Census indicate that Benedict acquired at least four additional people either through purchase or by birth.  The enslaved population of Eutaw slowly grew over the next two decades with 16 enumerated in 1830 and 24 included in the Hall’s household in 1840.  While the number of enslaved would be considered small compared to contemporary plantations further out in the county, a population consisting of 15 to 24 individuals at any given time was a substantial amount for a nearly 300-acre farm.

1840 Census Part 1
1840 U.S. Federal Census Showing the Household of Benedict William Hall
Section 2 of the 1840 U.S. Federal Census Showing the Enslaved Inhabitants of Eutaw

Several of those enslaved on the property certainly served as house servants and likely resided in Eutaw House with the Hall family.  A few others may have lived in other established dependencies, such as the stable or carriage house, depending on their responsibilities at Eutaw.  However, the majority of those enslaved on the estate were likely farm laborers. As such, they would have lived in a separate slave quarter consisting of either a few cabins or possibly a single large barrack similar to the House for Families George Washington built at Mount Vernon in the 1760s. Regardless of what type of slave quarter was present the number of enslaved men, women and children on the property necessitated the construction of additional housing during Benedict William Hall’s tenure as Eutaw’s slave master.

As part of his agricultural interests, Benedict William Hall was a founding member and trustee of the Maryland Agricultural Society. The purpose of the society was to promote Maryland agriculture and would often hold annual livestock shows and exhibitions. As part one of the trustees, Hall would occasionally hold committee meetings of the society at Eutaw although it appears none of the shows or exhibitions were ever held on his estate.  In addition to the Maryland Agricultural Society, Benedict also invested in several other Baltimore organizations and businesses including the Universal Insurance Company. Located on Water Street in Baltimore, the Universal Insurance Company incorporated in January of 1814 and its stockholders included a who’s who of Baltimore society in the early nineteenth century including his grandfather, William Smith, James Sterrett, Samuel Smith, and Charles Gwinn. In the early years of the company, Benedict’s cousin, Robert Smith, served as president. Benedict also served as an early investor in the Baltimore and Harford Turnpike Company, in which his former commander from the War of 1812, Henry Thompson, served as president. His membership with the company likely also influenced the location of the new turnpike through Eutaw, allowing Benedict to further benefit with the construction of a new tavern along the right-of-way.

 Benedict William Hall remained an active member of Baltimore society throughout his life while maintaining quiet life with his family just outside the city at Eutaw. Over the nearly 30 years at Eutaw, Benedict continued to make additional improvements to the property including an expansion of the size of the home to accommodate his growing family.

This period of vast construction at Eutaw came to an abrupt end on February 18, 1843. On that day, Benedict William Hall was traveling by train to South Carolina to visit his wife’s family along with a friend, Isaac Ridgeway Trimble. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun later that week, the car in which Benedict was traveling lost an axle outside Wilmington, North Carolina.

Baltimore Sun February 23, 1843

The car was knocked off the track and Benedict was struck in the head by a timber, fracturing his skull. Benedict William Hall died a short time later. According to the paper, his was the only fatality although several were also injured, including Mr. Trimble. Isaac Trimble accompanied the body of Benedict William Hall which arrived back in Baltimore via the steamer Herald on February 22, 1843. Several days later, the 53 year old planter was laid to rest near his grandfather at the Westminster Burial Ground on W. Fayette Street in Baltimore. His obituary in the Baltimore American on February 25, 1843 read:

“Died at Wilmington, North Carolina on Saturday the 18th inst. In the 53rd year of his age; of Eutaw, Baltimore County, Maryland. The deceased had left but two days before, in full health for a short visit to Charleston, South Carolina. An accident to the car in which he was traveling on the railroad, not far from Wilmington, singled him out from all that were in it, for death”

Benedict William Hall was survived by his wife, Ann Calhoun Hall, and eight children, of which four were minors between the ages of nine and 17. The eldest daughter, Janet Smith Hall, was 29 at the time of her father’s death and resided in Harford County with her husband, William Fitzhugh Turner. The second eldest, Elizabeth Buchanan Hall, married Horatio Lorenzo Whitridge on April 20, 1843, two months after her father’s death. Both Elizabeth and Horatio Whitridge settled in the City of Baltimore. When Elizabeth left Eutaw to start a new home with her husband, she took with her an eight-year-old girl named Emeline Gittings. Emeline was the daughter of Henrietta Gittings, both of whom were enslaved at Eutaw.

The seven remaining children continued to reside at Eutaw in the years following their father’s death. Given the suddenness of Benedict William Hall’s death, a will was never prepared. As a result, Ann Hall became the executrix of her husband’s estate, including Eutaw, until all the children reached adulthood. Likewise, Ann was granted the court appointed guardianship of her four underage children, until the youngest, William Carvel Hall, reached adulthood in 1851. As guardian and executrix, Ann was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of Eutaw as well as collecting and distributing the income from the estate for the care and education of the four youngest children. Ann was also entitled to the “widow’s third” of the income generated by the estate as well as a percentage for her role as executrix.

In order to determine the value of Benedict William Hall’s estate, an inventory of Eutaw was completed in 1844. The inventory was completed by neighbors and cataloged every item of value in the house and on the property. The inventory was organized room-by-room and provides a glimpse of what the Eutaw house may have looked like in the mid-nineteenth century. According to the 1844 inventory, the Eutaw consisted of a drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, three bedrooms, a nursery, a front hall, back passage, pantry and kitchen. In addition, the document includes a carriage, carryall, wagon, and two carts which suggests a carriage house was also located on the property along with a stable for the horses. A large quantity of agricultural equipment and quarrying tools are also present, suggesting a barn was also present. Additionally, the inventory included 20 enslaved (identified as servants) men, women, and children between the ages of three and 46. Half of the people included in the list are identified as “slave for life” while the remaining 10 were to be manumitted between 1844 and 1859. Given the number of enslaved people at Eutaw, it seems likely a quarter was also situated on the estate to house many of the individuals present in the inventory, although several of the people listed almost certainly resided in the house with the Hall family as well.

The belongings listed in Benedict William Hall’s inventory presents a family of comfort and significant wealth. The  various rooms in the house largely contain a mix of mahogany or hand-painted furniture. The master bedroom also includes several Curly maple pieces including a wash stand, dressing table and bedstead. The inventory also includes additional items that indicate their wealth such as the piano in the dining room, the painted settee in the hall and the numerous Brussels carpets in the drawing and dining rooms as well as in the front hall. Brussels carpets were first produced in the late eighteenth century and were most popular during the early nineteenth century and were considered the height of luxury for all but the wealthiest homeowners. The extent of Benedict William Hall’s wealth was also illustrated table wares and other items meant for use for entertaining guests. The most expensive item in their pantry included a large lot of French china and silver or silver plated serving dishes and tea ware. They also identified a large quantity of silver flatware and serving utensils. In addition to the sheer size of the house, improvements on the estate and the relative number of enslaved people included in the inventory, the listed objects largely convey a family of expensive taste with the means to satisfy that desire. Although Benedict William Hall’s death was untimely and tragic for the family, it seems he left them sufficient means to continue with the comfortable lives they came to enjoy.


Bowie, Lucy Leigh

1948    Maryland Troops in the Battle of Harlem Heights. In Maryland Historical Magazine 43(1). On file at the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland.

Maryland State Archives [MSA]

1814a  The Last Will and Testament of William Smith. Baltimore County Court Wills Liber 9 folio 431. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.

1814b  The Last Will and Testament of Josias Carvel Hall. Baltimore County Will Book Liber 9 folio 494. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.

1831    Harford County Court Land Records Liber HD 13, folio 182. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.

1842    Harford County Court Land Records Liber HD 24, folio 333. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.

National Archives and Records Administration [NARA]

2016    United States, War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815. M602, Roll Box 89. On file at National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.  Accessed online at

Papenfuse, Edward C., Alan F. Day, and David W. Jordan

1985    A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635 – 1789. Volume 1: A – H. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.