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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Albert Sleeper Hall

The far-off state of Maine has given a valuable contribution to the citizenship of California in Albert S. Hall, who identified himself with this western commonwealth in 1863, and since 1888 has made his home in Petaluma. In a typical New England home in South Thomaston, Knox county, Me., he was born October 17, 1840, the son of sturdy, God-fearing parents who in training their children to lives of usefulness, realized not only their duty, but also their privilege in giving to the world men and women of stout hearts and unassailable principles, an equipment which would enable them to withstand any temptations that might confront them. These parents were George D. and Mary A. (Sleeper) Hall, born near South Thomaston, Me., and the former a carpenter by trade. The father died in Maine, and the mother passed her last days in California. Our subjectís paternal great-grandfather, Caleb Hall, served in the Revolutionary war, while his maternal grandfather, Jesse Sleeper, participated in the war of 1812.

In coming to California in 1863, by the Panama route, Albert S. Hall was following the lead of an elder brother, Andrew B. Hall, who had made the same trip in 1858 and located on a government claim in Sonoma county near Petaluma. Here the brothers were re-united, A. S. Hall finally securing work as a ranch hand in the vicinity. He continued thus occupied for about a year, when he went to San Francisco, and having secured work at teaming in the metropolis, remained there for about three years. Returning to Petaluma at the end of this time, with the means which he had accumulated in the meantime he purchased a ranch of one hundred and forty acres two miles west of town, adjoining his brotherís property. The purchase was a fortunate one in that it enabled the brothers to unite their efforts, and for many years they maintained a dairy on a large scale, their herd of cows usually numbering seventy-five. For twenty-five years their interests were mutual, the association proving mutually profitable and agreeable, but at the end of this time the partnership was dissolved, each thereafter maintaining his own property. It was at the time of the dissolution of the partnership, in 1888, that Albert S. Hall removed with his family to Petaluma, upon a small ranch of eight acres, on D street, which is still the home of the family. Mr. Hall still owns the ranch in the country, this and the home ranch bringing in sufficient income to enable him to provide all the comforts of life to his family.

Before the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hall, which occurred in San Francisco October 20, 1880, Mrs. Hall was Miss Mary E. Swain, a native of Petaluma, and the daughter of Capt. William C. Swain. From Australia Captain Swain came to California in the vessel Henry Chauncy, of which he was one-third owner and also the master. At Panama he sold his interest and afterward he came to San Francisco, in 1852. In the fall of that year he located in Petaluma and engaged in farming, and continued to make his home here until his death in 1863. He was a native of New Bedford, Mass., and from early manhood followed the sea, engaging in the New Zealand and Australian trade, as well as whaling. Before her marriage Mrs. Swain was Miss Sarah Carpenter, a native of London, England, and her marriage to Captain Swain occurred in Sidney, Australia. She is now living in Amador county, Cal.

Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hall, all living, as follows: Nellie M., Albert W., Osborn W., Arthur L., Alma E., Lynwood and William T. As a successful and enthusiastic rancher it is in keeping that Mr. Hall should be interested in whatever tends to create or maintain a high standard of excellence in agricultural affairs, and his membership in and efforts in behalf of the State Grange demonstrate this beyond question. He is ever alert to do his part as a good citizen, and in his political affiliation he is a Republican.

Andrew B. Hall, the brother of Albert S. Hall, previously mentioned, was born in South Thomaston, Me., May 26, 1837. In 1858, at the age of twenty-one, he came to California by the Panama route, and from San Francisco, he came direct to Sonoma county. Near Petaluma he bought a quarter-section of land, deed to which was issued direct from the United States government and signed by Abraham Lincoln. As had been previously stated, a few years after this his brother, Albert S. Hall, purchased property adjoining, and here the brothers carried on an extensive dairy enterprise for a quarter of a century. After the dissolution of the partnership Andrew B. Hall carried on his ranch alone until 1906, when he removed to San Francisco to make his home with his son, and there his death occurred September 28, 1908. Two children, Effie M. and Charles A., were born of his marriage with Miss Effie Young, a native of Maine. Politically Mr. Hall was a Republican, stanch and true, although he was never ambitious for office.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011