Signed: Declaration of Independence
Little is known by this writer of Lyman Hall's early life except that he was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, on April 12, 1724. He later moved to South Carolina and then on to Georgia.
Hall was a physician and perhaps it was the pursuit of that profession which inspired his movement south. Whatever the cause of his migration he apparently earned the esteem of his neighbors in Georgia and at some point became involved enough in politics that the Georgia convention sent him as the only delegate from Georgia to the first Continental Congress. The record shows virtually no participation by Hall and reflects that he did not even vote claiming that he represented only a small section, not the entire state.
Nevertheless, he was returned to the second Continental Congress and brought relief supplies and money for the people of Massachusetts involved in the revolt. Again he did not participate in debates and did not vote but he put forth good effort in the committees to which he was assigned. It was through the committees that delegates from the other states became acquainted with his political posture and they, therefore, were not surprised when he eagerly joined with the other Georgia delegates, Button Gwinnett and George Walton, to sign the Declaration of Independence.
A year later he left Philadelphia and returned to Georgia although his elected term ran until 1780. When the British learned of his signature on the Declaration of Independence, they declared him and the others, traitors who were guilty of treason. As the British occupation forces moved into Georgia, he was forced to flee for his life and in his absence both of his Savannah houses were burned.
Hall supported Button Gwinnett in Gwinnett's duel with Lachlan M'Intosh and, in fact, was executor of Gwinnett's will.
The assembly elected him governor and he was a strong advocate for building schools and initiated state land grants for higher education. Today, Georgians credit Hall for providing the basis for the university system in Georgia.
After leaving the governor's office he served in the state assembly and as a judge. He was buried in Burke County, Georgia, October 19, 1790.
SOURCE: Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, 1829
by Rev. Charles A. Goodrich
All commercial-use rights reserved. For details and contact information see Copyright Notice.
Permission for student, teacher and classroom use is granted.