Dan Mohn’s Highland Roots

My maternal grandparents were ALVIN HALL (1887-1974) and MARY “POLLY” (FRANKLIN) HALL (1884-1989). They are pictured at the left, shortly after their marriage in 1905.

Alvin was part of an extended Hall family to populate present-day Floyd, Pike, Letcher and surrounding counties in the earliest days of settlement.

Mary’s Franklin forebears moved through western North Carolina into the area of present-day Scott County, Virginia, and then spread into present-day Letcher, Johnson, Floyd, and Knott counties of Kentucky.

As I traced the pedigree charts of each family back in time — and as I explored the collateral lines through marriages — it was obvious that my own family tree was thoroughly intertwined with many of the pioneer families that settled the “back country” highlands of Southwestern Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and East Tennessee, following the trail blazed by the “long hunters” out of western Virginia and North Carolina.

Surnames such as Combs, Webb, Polly, Caudill, and Mullins — and other “sets” of Halls — began to recur frequently.  And those surnames were intertwined long before my immediate ancestors migrated into Kentucky.  Of course that led to questions about the “Why?” and “When” of their movements.  Thus my sights were widened to explore these greater patterns.