Lyman Hall of Georgia is a shining example of one of America’s great Founding Fathers. He came from old, New England Puritan stock and as such he was destined to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors – though he would eventually carve his own unique path in life.
After graduating from Yale and studying theology with his uncle, the Reverend Samuel Hall, he became an ordained Congregational minister, and for a few years filled various pulpits throughout Connecticut. Eventually, Hall determined that the ordained ministry was not a perfect fit for him, so he took up the study of medicine.
In 1757, Hall moved to South Carolina to set up a medical practice, and then purchased land in Georgia a few years later. Dr. Hall was an early advocate of independence for the colonies and for a long time, his views were in the minority. Even so, he was elected to represent Georgia in the Second Continental Congress where he gladly voted for the independence resolution and then signed the Declaration, pledging his life, fortune and sacred honor to the cause.
By the summer of 1776, Dr. Hall had obtained a fair amount of distinction and wealth as a physician and a rice planter. But by putting his signature on the Declaration, he became a marked man. His tenure as a member of the Continental Congress would be interrupted when Hall returned to Georgia to protect his family, moving them north for a season.
Predictably, during the British occupation of Georgia, Hall’s homes were burned and his property confiscated.
As with other signers, Hall never fully recovered financially from the war.
As the Revolution wound down in 1782-83, the British finally evacuated Georgia, Hall and his family returned and he was elected Governor of Georgia. As Governor, he created what would eventually become the University of Georgia system. After serving as governor, Hall continued to serve as a judge in Chatham County. He died in Burke County in 1790.
Check out Mark’s book: Lives, Fortunes, Sacred Honor: The Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence