See biography by H. P. Johnston (1914); M. Pennypacker, General Washington's Spies on Long Island and in New York (1939).
(born June 6, 1755, Coventry, Conn.—died Sept. 22, 1776, Manhattan Island, N.Y., U.S.) American Revolutionary officer. After graduating from Yale University (1773), he became a schoolteacher. In 1775 he joined a Connecticut regiment and took part in the siege of Boston. Made a captain in 1776, he helped capture a British provision sloop on Long Island. Volunteering for spy duty, he penetrated British lines but was captured while returning and hanged without trial the next day at the age of 21. His last words reportedly were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” a remark similar to one made in Joseph Addison's play Cato.
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There was no single family which first took the name; it emerged independently across many parts of the United Kingdom - they took their name from where they lived. People who lived in a halh, - which was a specialised term for the slightest hollow which could afford shelter to a settlement, as opposed to the larger cumb or valley - could be found all over the country.
See also MacHale.