I’VE not seen the film Lincoln yet, so I don’t know if there is a cameo appearance by someone whose accent would probably have had a distinct Tyneside twang.
He was William Hall. This is his grave in Harton Cemetery in Shields, where he was buried in 1923, which recalls his service in the 12th Illinois Cavalry.
I’ve written about William before because in 1865, he was a few steps from the box in Ford’s Theatre, Washington, when Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth.
Hall helped to carry out the fatally wounded president.
I’ve since been grateful to Peter Hoy for turning up some additional information on him.
Apparently he was the son of the Rev John Netherton O’Brien Hall, of St Bede’s, Jarrow, and a grandson of John Stephens Hall, a Vice-Admiral of the Blue in the time of Nelson.
He left England at the age of 18 and became a grocer in Tennessee.
On the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted with the Northern Army of the Potomac.
On the night of Lincoln’s assassination, he was in uniform, in the theatre’s pit, and helped carry the dying president to a nearby house.
Interestingly, when Hall was interviewed by the Jarrow Express in 1916, he was living in Bute House, Park Terrace, South Shields – Park Terrace being the bottom of what is now Lawe Road.