Mr. Hall of Haugh-head (in the parish of Eckford in Teviotdale), having had a religious education, began very early to mind a life of holiness, in all manner of godly conversation. In his younger years he was a most zealous opposer of the public resolutions (that took place anno
1651) insomuch, that when the minister of that parish complied with that course, he refused to hear him, and often went to Ancrum to hear Mr. John Livingston. After the restoration of that wicked tyrant Charles II. being oppressed with the malicious persecutions of the curates and other malignants, for his non-conformity, he was obliged to depart his native country, and go over to the border of England anno
1665, where he was very much renowned for his singular zeal in propagating the gospel, by instructing the ignorant, and procuring ministers to preach now and then among that people, who before his coming were very rude and barbarous, but now many of them became famous for piety. Anno
1666, he was taken prisoner on his way coming to Pentland, to the assistance of his covenanted brethren, and imprisoned with some others in Cesford castle. But, by divine providence, he soon escaped thence, through the favour of his friend the earl of Roxburgh, (who was a blood-relation of his), unto whom the castle then pertained. He retired again to Northumberland, where, from this time until the year 1679, he lived, being very much beloved, of all that knew him, for his care and concern in propagating the gospel of Christ in that country, insomuch that his blameless and shining conversation drew love, reverence and esteem even from his very enemies. About the year 1678, the heat of the persecution in Scotland obliged many to wander about in Northumberland, as one colonel Struthers was violently pursuing all Scotsmen in those places. Haugh-head was in that scuffle near Crookham, a village upon the English border, where one of his nearest intimates, that gallant and religious gentleman Thomas Ker of Hayhop, fell. Upon which he was obliged to return again to Scotland, where he wandered up and down in the hottest time of the persecution, mostly with Mr. Donald Cargil and Mr. Richard Cameron. During which time, beside his many other Christian virtues, he signalized himself by a real zeal, in defence of the persecuted gospel in the fields. He was one of these four elders of the church of Scotland, who at the council of war at Shawhead-muir June 18.1769, were chosen, with Messrs Cargil, Douglas, King and Barclay, to draw up the causes of the Lord's wrath against the land, which were to be the causes of a fast on the day following. He had, indeed, an active hand in the most part of the transactions among the covenanters at that time; as being one of the commanding officers in that army, from the skirmish at Drumclog, to their defeat at Bothwel-bridge.
After this, being forfeited, and diligently searched for and pursued after, to eschew the violent hands of these his indefatigable persecutors, he was forced to go over to Holland (the only refuge then of our Scots sufferers). But he had not stayed there long, until his zeal for the persecuted interest of Christ, and his tender sympathy for the afflicted remnant of his covenanted brethren, who were then wandering in Scotland, through the desolate caves and dens of the earth, drew him home again; choosing rather to undergo the utmost efforts of persecuting fury, than to live at ease in the time of Joseph's affliction, making Moses's generous choice, rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy what momentary pleasures the ease of the world could afford. Nor was he very much concerned with the riches of this world; for he stood not to give his ground to hold field preachings on, when few or none else would do it; for he was still a true lover of the free and faithful preached gospel, and was always against the indulgence.
About a quarter of a year after his return from Holland, he was mostly with Mr. Cargil, lurking as privily as they could about Borrowstoness and other places on this and the other side the frith of Forth. At last they were taken notice of by these two bloody hounds, the curates of Borrowstoness and Carridden, who soon smelled out Mr. Cargil and his companion, and presently sent information to Middleton, governor of Blackness castle (who was a papist). After consultation, he immediately took the scent after them, ordering his soldiers to follow him at a distance, by twos and threes together, at convenient intervals, to avoid suspicion, while he and his man rode up after them at some distance, till they came to Queensferry; where perceiving the house where they alighted, he sent his servant off in haste for his men, putting up his horse in another house, and coming to the house to them as a stranger, pretended a great deal of kindness and civility to Mr. Cargil and him, desiring that they might have a glass of wine together. -- When each had taken a glass, and were in some friendly conference, the governor, wearying that his men came not up, threw off the mask, and laid hands on them, saying, they were his prisoners, and commanded the people of the house, in the king's name to assist. But they all refused, except one Thomas George a waiter; by whose assistance he got the gate shut. In the mean while Haugh-head, being a bold and brisk man, struggled hard with the governor, until Cargil got off; and after the scuffle, as he was going off himself, having got clear of the governor, Thomas George struck him on the head, with a carbine, and wounded him mortally. However he got out; and, by this time the women of the town, who were assembled at the gate to the rescue of the prisoners, convoyed him out of town. He walked some time on foot, but unable to speak much, save only some little reflection upon a woman who interposed, hindering him to kill the governor, that so he might have made his escape more timeously. At last he fainted, and was carried to a country house near Echlin; and although chirurgeons were speedily brought, yet he never recovered the use of his speech any more. Dalziel, living near-by, was soon advertised, and came quickly with a party of the guards, and seized him; and although every one saw the gentleman just a-dying, yet such was his inhumanity, that he must carry him to Edinburgh. But he died, on their hands, on the way thither; and made an end of this his earthly pilgrimage to receive his heavenly crown. His corpse was carried to the Cannongate tolbooth, where they lay three days without burial; and then his friends conveened for that end, to do their last office to him; yet that could not be granted. At last they caused bury him clandestinely in the night; for such was the fury of these limbs of antichrist, that after they had slain the witnesses, they would not suffer them to be decently interred in the earth; which is another lasting evidence of the cruelty of those times.
Thus the worthy gentleman, after he had in an eminent manner, served his day and generation, fell a victim to prelatic fury. Upon him was found, when he was taken, a rude draught of an unsubscribed paper, afterwards called the Queensferry paper; which the reader will find, inserted at large, in Wodrow's history, vol. II. Appendix, No.46; the substance of which is contained in Crookshank's history, and in the appendix to the cloud of witnesses.