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Samuel Hall, b. 1818 and Orville Elder, b. 1866
Samuel Hall, 47 Years a Slave; A Brief Story of His Life Before and After Freedom Came to Him
Washington, Ia.: Journal Print, 1912.


Samuel Hall was born a slave in Iredell County, North Carolina in 1818. When he was twelve years old, Hall's master died, and his master's brother, Hugh Hall, inherited him. In Hugh Hall's household, slaves were treated as though they were free and they received both an education and religious instruction. After his master's death, Samuel Hall was sold away from his wife and five children to a plantation owner in Tennessee. Unused to typical slave life, Hall frequently challenged the authority of his new master, William Wallace, who often tried to subdue Hall through threats and violence. While in Tennessee, Hall married for the second time and had nine children. During the Civil War, Hall served in the Confederate army but secretly aided the Union troops. After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Hall served in the Union Army and later moved to Washington, Iowa. He settled there with his second wife and their children, and eventually owned his own farm.

In his introduction and conclusion to Samuel Hall, 47 Years a Slave, editor Orville Elder provides many additional facts about Hall's relatives, childhood, and life after slavery. Hall's first person account focuses primarily on his conflicts with William Wallace, his pursuit of freedom, and his success in Iowa following the Civil War.

Monique Prince

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