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Questioned Your Ancestry Lately?

My grandfather, Hack Hall Sr., was a kind and gentle man. He drank a glass of chocolate milk every night, and always gave one to his grandchildren, too. I never remember hearing him raise his voice. His sternest reprimand was "Dry up," and what it lacked in specificity it made up for in compliance.

A deeply committed Christian, a Wesleyan Holiness man, he taught his children to confess and pray every night. He loved the Bible. He was part of that generation, and that stripe of piety, of whom it would not sound right to say he read the Bible. He read his Bible. He was, in a compliment no longer common, a committed churchman.

He was the editor of a newspaper in the tiny town of St. Francisville, Illinois, and his sons loved him enough that they all followed him into the same line of work. (Their names were Hack, Jack, and Mack. Don't ask why. I never even knew it was funny until I reached high school and no one would believe those were my uncles' names.)

As mild-mannered as he was, there was ...

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