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HALL, Theodore James – emigrated 1872, returned 1878

Theodore James Hall (1845-1923), known as James, was born at Badsey in 1845, the fifth of eight children of Thomas Hall, a shoemaker, and his wife, Martha (née Miller).  He was baptised in St James’ Church, Badsey, on 9th 11th May 1845.

In 1851, James was staying with his paternal grandparents in Dumbleton (he appears as James in the census) whilst the rest of the family were in the family home at The Leys (a terrace of cottages which was demolished in the 20th century).  His mother died in July 1852 when he was seven years old.  James followed his father into the shoemaking profession.  As a 16-year-old, he was described as a cordwainer in the 1861 census, and living with his widowed father and some of his siblings in a house on Bakers Lane (now School Lane). 

James married Jane Field of Cleeve Prior in 1866 (not in Badsey).  They had a daughter, Ellen Elizabeth, born at Badsey in 1867, but who died the following year, aged three months; they remained childless.  By 1871 they were living at Silk Mill Cottages, Badsey.

In the early 1870s, James and Jane decided to try out a new life overseas.  Following in the wake of his brother, Owen Joseph (known as Joseph), James and Jane arrived in Quebec, Canada, on 18th June 1872, together with friends from Badsey, John and Mary Anne Sears, having set sail from Liverpool.  This was just eight weeks after Joseph.  They then made their way to Auburn, Ohio, where Joseph was living.  From 1876 James began keeping a diary with almost daily entries about business matters.  The brothers had begun farming on a small scale.  

For whatever reason, James and Jane, like Joseph, decided that the American life was not for them and returned to England, arriving at Liverpool in May 1878 (though their friends, John and Mary Anne Sears, remained in America for the rest of their lives and were joined by Mary Anne’s father and step-mother).  James might perhaps have been encouraged by the market gardening boom which was beginning to take place in Badsey.

In 1881, James and Jane lived in Aldington, next-door to Jane’s brother, James Field, and Theodore’s younger brother, Joseph, with his wife and young son.  James, like his brother, was a market gardener.

On 7th July 1888, James bought a plot of land called “Sands Garden” of just under an acre; this was adjacent to a plot of land bought by his brothers, Owen Joseph and Charles.  Very soon, houses were being built along this stretch of land situated on Willersey Road.  Theodore had obviously done well enough from his time in America and from market gardening in Badsey to be able to afford to build a house.  By the time of the 1891 census, he and Jane were established in Bredon View (present-day No 11 Willersey Road).  This was a substantial detached house (compared with the poor cottages in which he had grown up, which was described at the time of the Valuation Survey in 1912 as “Brick and tile detached house in good repair: kitchen and sitting-room, back kitchen and pantry, water closet, 3 bedrooms, 1 over back kitchen.  Brick and tile stable and cart shed; loft over. Wood and iron shed; glasshouse.”

Jane Hall died in 1918.  James Hall died on 23rd January at Cotswold Terrace, Sands Lane, Badsey, which was the home of his nephew, George Moisey (son of his sister Elizabeth).  James left Bredon View to George in his will.