Title: Centenarian
Birthdate: June 18, 1891
Death Date: July 25, 1992
Plot Location: Section 131, Lot 80

Screenshot (3170)

The Hall family would readily acknowledge their lives revolved around their relationship with their Creator, and some of them made it their full-time occupation to share the good news of the Gospel. Ethel’s father was a Methodist pastor, as were two of her three brothers.

Her grandfather was a simple farmer but he set an example in the way he lived. He even died the way he had always wanted to, in the middle of a praise and prayer meeting at church. He collapsed while singing “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”

Children of Methodist pastors find that their family may move frequently because the pastor is appointed to a certain congregation by the bishop (a term that literally means “one who can see the whole picture”). Relocating to find the best “fit” for both shepherd and flock can be difficult but can also help keep the pastor refreshed and not “worn out.” That’s why each of the five Carter children may have been born in different towns. Some of the locations where Rev. Samuel Carter served are listed in this part of his  obituary.

The oldest, Wilbur, was born in Langhorne, Bucks County. Since Ethel arrived 18 months later perhaps she was too, but there is no documentation to confirm it. Next was Harold St. Clair Carter, whose middle name is the same as his birthplace. The Carters were living in St. Clair, just north of Pottsville in Schuylkill County in 1895. 

Clarence came in 1899 when they lived in Lansdale in Montgomery County. (No, his middle name wasn’t Lansdale, it was his grandmother’s maiden name.) The lastborn was Adah Mae in 1905 but her birthplace can only be confirmed to be in Pennsylvania. It may have been in  Marietta, west of Lancaster, since that’s where they were in 1910. By the time America entered World War I, home was in Philadelphia and there it remained for each member of the family.

Ethel had probably finished high school before they left Lancaster County, developing a talent in music. Her contribution to the ministry of the church was playing the piano, and teaching piano also became her occupation. 

Wilbur had been diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1918 but death was hastened by the influenza outbreak that year. Samuel was able to buy one of the last lots available here in what is known as the Methodist Ministers’ Burial Ground, Section 131. The Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist Church had been given the deed to the entire section by the co-founder of Mount Moriah. 

Also that year, Harold served the last four months of 1918 in the Army while Clarence was finishing West Philadelphia High School. By the early 1920s, Adah graduated as well. She remained single and became an art teacher in the public schools.

Ethel found a husband in George Eldridge Hall. The son of a shirt maker and native of Easton, Maryland, George was in the same grade as Clarence at West Philly. He followed his father in the men’s clothing business after he married Ethel in 1926. 

By 1930 their only child, Elizabeth, whom they called Betty Jean, had just been born. George’s occupation in that year’s census was listed as a manufacturer of men’s shirts, but over the next 20 years he shifted to sales of men’s clothing, possibly as a manufacturer’s representative.

As World War II came to a close, so did the life of Rev. Samuel Cornelius Carter, who was buried beside Wilbur. His obituary mentioned that his two surviving sons were both Methodist pastors in Philly: Clarence was at Tioga Methodist Church and Harold was at Simpson Memorial, less than three miles away.

Ethel’s family was living in Kingsessing, a few blocks south of her parents’ house in the Angora neighborhood. Betty Jean, pictured here, had an active high school life and graduated from John Bartram High School in 1946.

Adah and her mother, Emma, came to live with the Halls at 5600 Florence Avenue until Emma died in 1951. The  paper trail on the family’s whereabouts comes to an end after this, except for one source indicating George died in 1960 but there are no other details.. 

Some additional information was included in Ethel’s obituary in 1992. It revealed that Betty Jean’s married name was Smith, and Ethel was the grandmother of Bradley and Lauren Smith and the great-grandmother of three. She lived her last years at the Simpson House in Wynnefield Heights until just after she celebrated her 101st birthday.

Ethel’s name was the last to be added to the stone shown above which remembers her parents, sister Adah, and brother Wilbur. Harold and Clarence and their families were buried at a Methodist cemetery in Lancaster County with their grandfather’s family.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

Support the Friends of Mount Moriah

Help us in our mission to restore and maintain the beautiful Mount Moriah Cemetery by donating to our cause or volunteering at one of our clean-up events.