St George's Church


Gunner Isaac Hall and the Indian Mutiny

Isaac Hall of Stalybridge, and his Record of Service with the British Army during the Indian Mutiny 1848 - 1858. 

In his short lifetime Isaac Hall of 52 Ridge Hill Lane in Stalybridge, was also Gunner Isaac Hall, General No 2205 of 3rd Company, 1st Battalion Artillery, British Army in Bombay India, 1849 -1852, and also, Telegraph Operator I Hall, Central Indian Electric Telegraph Department in Chanda, India 1852 - 1858.

Isaac was born in Stalybridge, Cheshire in October 1824.  His parents Isaac and Tamer Hall lived at 52 Ridge Hill Lane, and Isaac was presented for Baptism at St Michael's Church in Ashton on 17th October, 1824.  He had an older sister, Sarah.  They attended Stalybridge, The Hague School.  When Isaac left school at 14 years old, he became an engine driver by trade, and went to work in a local Mill.

In 1845, Isaac was married to Mary Rodgers of Audenshaw and they made their home in Ashton.  A daughter Jane was born to them and family papers noted her to be of frail health. England was beginning a time of economic Depression in 1848, it was known as ' The Hungry Forties' and Isaac was finding himself short of work in the Mill.  Due to this depression Isaac went to Liverpool and enlisted for 12 years service in India with the British Army.  Army records note him as 24 years old.  Leaving their young daughter with her maternal grandparents Charles and Mary Rodgers of Audenshaw, the record reads that Isaac and Mary boarded the sailing ship ' Lady Nugent' and left their families and England to embark on the dangerous journey to life in India with the British Army.  They disembarked in Bombay, and Isaac's Register Roll shows he reported for duty at Camp Pune on 19th February 1849.  Record has been found of a ship 'Lady Nugent' registered and logged as sailing between England and Port Chalmers with immigrants during that time.  Passenger Lists did not record the names of all passengers in those days.  Only people of significance were on the record. Isaac took up his Army duties, and they had their home in Belgaum.  A second daughter Sarah was born soon after their arrival in India, and Mary began her job of settling in as an Army wife to a lifestyle very different to the one she had left in Ashton.  Isaac and Mary had two more daughters born during the next few years, Elizabeth and Tamar.  In the remote area where they were living it was difficult to obtain medical care and education.  Cholera was a common cause of death.  Communication was slow and unreliable, as was transportation.  Personal letters to her family in England are record to how much Mary missed her loved ones at home.

Isaac's integrity and work skills had become recognized and he was being regularly made available to work as an Artificer with the Public Works Department, Electric Telegraph Company of Central India.  At the time of his murder by mutineers in 1857, Isaac was in charge of the Telegraph Department Supply Yard known as the English Camp, where he was hiring local workers, supervising their work and wages and ordering supplies required for the installation of the Electric Telegraph system. Telegraph Operators also worked at the English Camp.  When the Chanda Mutiny broke out Isaac was alone out in a mountainous area of Chinchgoondee in Nagpore Province inspecting telegraph wire installations.  This is where he was 'set upon and killed' by rebels.

An Army record of the event and a Death Certificate was provided.  There was no Service Medal awarded. Isaac's remains were not recovered and there is no Grave site for him.  Recent research has found that Isaac's name is recorded for history on the Telegraph Department Memorial outside the old Telegraph Department Office in Delhi with the names of others killed during the Mutiny of 1857.  Under the heading of Chanda is the name of I HALL, and his co-worker S Gartland.  A third Telegraph Operator Mr Peters had escaped and taken word of the Mutiny to a Captain Crichton who was camped in the area.  Mr Peters received commendation for his part. War Memorials were established in England for those who died in the Service of their Country after 1902. Written record shows that Isaac's death made him 'due Prize Money' and Mary was informed that President in Council to the Government of India had awarded herself and their 3 children an amount equivalent to 6 months of Isaac's Army pay.  This monthly pension was authorized until such time as she or her daughters married, and was only payable if they continued to live in India. Much of this story is able to be told because Mary Rodgers Hall, her youngest daughter Tamer and their descendants safeguarded the records of Isaac's service for his country.  Isaac's mother Tamer Hall lived out her life in Stalybridge.  In the Census of 1851 Tamer is shown as Head of House at 52 Ridge Hill Lane, with occupation as a Baker.  She was buried in the New St George's Church Cemetery.  Isaac's sister Sarah, married James Hadfield of Stalybridge and with their family they also continued living in Stalybridge.  James and Sarah Hadfield are buried in the New St George's Church Cemetery.  Research continues on the Hall-Hadfield family history in Stalybridge. The Personal Letters, Army and Government papers of Isaac and Mary Hall have been deposited in the Asia, Pacific and Africa Records Department at the British Library in London.  MSS EUR F608/ Isaac and Mary Hall Collection. 

NOTE.  Church Records have now become available for British Army families in India 1850 - 1870.  In January 2016, during new research, it has been confirmed that Isaac & Mary Hall had a fourth daughter, Lavinia Hall, born in Belgaum, India on 7th September 1853.  Lavinia died in Belgaum on 6th July 1854.  Also that, Mary and Stephen Horrocks had a second son, John Charles Horrocks born 8th July 1862 who died at birth. 

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