Thriller Thursday – The Accidental Shooting of Emma

Well, it’s time for another installment of Thriller Thursday – an on-going blogging prompt suggested by members of Geneabloggers. Today I have the story of my 3x’s great-aunt, Emeline Newman Moyer Hallman.

Emeline Newman was born in December of 1852. She and her twin sister Rebecca were the youngest children of Abraham and Rebecca (Derr) Newman. For many years Abraham operated a stage coach between Norristown and Pottstown, Pennsylvania. By 1860, however, the family had taken up residence in Limerick, PA, (near Pottstown) where Abraham eventually followed the occupation of farming.

About 1871 Emma married a neighborhood boy, Charles K. Moyer. He was the son of Henry Moyer and Esther Krause. Charles and Emma had two daughters, Ella and Ida. Charles died in 1906, leaving Emma a widow. In April of 1910 Emma married John G. Hallman. John was a blacksmith. He was also widowed, his first wife Catherine Umstead having died in 1906 as well.

On the morning on September 12, 1910, Emma and her new husband were having their breakfast. The time was about 7 o’clock in the morning. As they were eating they heard a commotion. They looked outside and discovered a chicken hawk among their fowl. John got up and went to the sitting room to get his gun. As he walked back into the kitchen he tripped. The gun bumped against the door frame and discharged. Through a bizarre twist of fate, the bullet hit Emma in the back. She was actually still seated at the breakfast table when it happened. Although a physician was summoned, it was to no avail. Emma unfortunately died within a few minutes.

Emma was 56 years old and the mother of two grown daughters. She was buried in the Limerick Church Cemetery next to her first husband Charles K. Moyer. In addition to her daughters, she was survived by sisters Matilda Linderman, Mary Evans (my great-great-grandmother) and Rebecca Lightcap.

As a post script to this story, I also happen to be related to John G. Hallman. He was the son of John Hallman and Hannah Grimley and was my (half) third cousin, 4x’s removed. His first wife Catherine Umstead, was the daughter of Nathan Umstead and Eliza Shaner, and was my 2nd cousin, 4x’s removed. After the death of Emma Newman, John apparently married a third time. In 1920 he was enumerated with a wife named Mary Elizabeth. She died prior to 1930 and he died in 1937. (In case you are wondering, I have no information on the cause of death for the first or third wives.)


9 responses to “Thriller Thursday – The Accidental Shooting of Emma

  1. I may be able to add more information to your story, since I am also related to John Hallman, the father of my Jesse G. Hallman and your John G. Hallman. The shooting occurred September 12, 1910. John G. Hallman was 61 years old at the time and Emma was 57. My notes indicate Emma was standing at the kitchen window watching that chicken hawk kill their chickens in Limerick. As John G. Hallman was retrieving his shotgun, he accidentally tripped over a piece of carpet and the gun discharged, hitting Emma in the back and neck. She was instantly killed. [By the way of documentation, this incident was reported September 13, 1910, in The Alexandria Gazette] Question for you: Do you have any documentation on regarding the HALLMAN grandfather of your John G. Hallman?

  2. Thanks for the comment Dean! You are, of course, correct about the date. I somehow made a typo because in double checking I can confirm that the article I saw appeared in the September 12, 1910 edition of the Pottstown PA newspaper. It reported the incident as happening about 7am that morning. It also says that she was hit in the back between the shoulder blades, but it has that she was sitting at the table at the time. It reports that she was 56, which is consistent with the December 1852 birth date that I have for her and her twin sister Rebecca. (Just some minor differences between your news article and mine.)

    Regarding the Hallmans, my ancestor is Anna Maria Hallman (1747-1838) who married Mathias Ritter. Anna Maria was the daughter of Henry Hallman of Skippack and Perkiomen (1716-1803) and is mentioned in his will. I will double check what I have for John G. and get back to you.

  3. Hello: Have you found any additional information on John Hallman, the father of my Jesse G. Hallman and your John G. Hallman? I know their father, John Hallman, was born in 1807 and died in 1885. His wife, Hanna (nee Grimley) was born in 1806 and died in 1863. Both are buried in Schwenksville (Keely’s Cemetery).

    • According to some archived message posts the John Hallman who married Hannah Grimley was supposed to be the son of Adam Hallman. John is supposed to have at least one sibling – a sister married to a Mr. Richard. I believe the sister is Mary Ann Hallman (born about 1809, died after 1880) married to Peter Richard (1809-1868). Peter is buried in Old Goshenhoppen Cemetery and Mary Ann might be as well. Their father Adam is supposed to be the son of Benjamin Hallman and Fronica Gotwalls. Apparently this information (at least the part about Adam being a son of Benjamin) comes from family group sheets submitted to the Hallman Association in the early 1900s by Augustus Hallman (1834-1919). Augustus’ mother was Catherine Hallman who was also a daughter of Benjamin. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any sources (like wills or church records) to confirm the existence of an Adam who links to Benjamin and has these children. Still looking, though! Does any of this agree with what you have found?

  4. Hello: Both John Hallman and Hanna (nee Grimley) are buried at Keely’s Cemetery. He outlived Hanna by many years.

  5. Does anyone have documentation on the parents of John Hallman, who was born in 1807, married Hannah Grimley, lived in Limerick Twp., was a tailor, died in 1885 and is buried in Schwenksville(Keeley’s Cemetery) ? I believe he was a Mennonite.

    • Hi Dean. I don’t know if the Hallman Family Association is still active, but it may be worth trying to get in touch with them. (There is a Hallman family FB group which may have replaced the Association, not sure.) Based on old message board postings and mailing list archives it appears that some documents that were in possession of the Hallman Family Association point to John Hallman being the son of Adam. If you haven’t already, it may also be worthwhile checking with some of the local historical societies.The Association’s documents (or copies) may have been donated.

  6. There is a new website for the Hallman Family association –

    We are still active and there is news in the history section of the site. The most recent reunion was August 21st of this year 2016.

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