Lyman Hall was one of three Georgians to sign the Declaration of Independence. He served as a representative to the Continental Congress and as governor of Georgia (1783-84).
Hall was born April 12, 1724, in Wallingford, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1747 and became an ordained Congregational minister. By 1753 Hall had abandoned the ministry for medicine. He moved to South Carolina in 1757 and was granted land in Georgia near the Midway Meeting House in St. John’s Parish in 1760. An active and early leader in the Revolutionary movement, he was elected to represent St. John’s Parish in the Second Continental Congress in 1775. He participated in debates in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that year but did not vote, as he did not represent the entire colony. A year later, as an official representative of Georgia, Hall signed the Declaration (along with Button Gwinnett and George Walton of Georgia). He left Philadelphia in February 1777, though he continued to be elected to Congress until 1780.
After the Revolution (1775-83), Hall resumed his medical practice in Savannah. In January 1783 he was elected governor. During his administration he had to deal with a number of difficult issues, including confiscated estates, frontier problems with Loyalists and Indians, and a bankrupt and depleted treasury. One highlight, however, was the role he played in helping to establish the University of Georgia in 1785. That same year he sold his plantation, Hall’s Knoll, and in 1790 he moved to Burke County, where he purchased Shell Bluff Plantation. He died there on October 19, 1790, at the age of sixty-six. Hall County is named for him.