Daniel Hall
Daniel Hall

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

DANIEL HALL. Lot Hall, who was the father of Daniel Hall, was descended from John Hall, of Coventry, who landed at Charlestown, Mass., in 1630, and was No. 19 on the roll of the first church of Boston or Charlestown, which was organized in the last-named year. Lot Hall was born at Yarmouth, in Barnstable Co., Mass., on April 2, 1757. In May, 1776, entering the naval service of the United States in the war with Great Britain when only nineteen years of age, he enlisted twenty-nine men and a boy, and in the month following put to sea in the Eagle, commanded by Capt. Elijah Freeman Payne, young Hall having been commissioned as a lieutenant. Success attended their efforts at first, but as Lieut. Hall was bringing in a prize the prisoners overpowered him and his small crew, and he was taken prisoner and conveyed to Scotland, where he remained in confinement at Glasgow until April 5, 1777, when he was released. After many vicissitudes, among which was his second capture by the British, followed by a short confinement, he reached Virginia early in January, 176, and having been aided by Patrick Henry, then Governor of that State, arrived at Philadelphia about the 23d of the last-named month, and on February 22d following was at Barnstable. Here he subsequently studied law in the office of Shearjashub Bourne, and, having been admitted to practice, removed to Vermont in the latter part of 1782, going first to Bennington, where he remained only a short time, and thence to Westminster in 1783, which latter place became his permanent residence.

On Feb. 13, 1786, he was married in Boston, by the Rev. John Clark, to Mary Homer, of that place. He held various positions of honor and trust in the State of Vermont, among which was that of judge of the Supreme Court for seven years, from 1794 to 1801. He died May 17, 1809, in the fifty-third year of his age, beloved and respected for his virtues as a man, and for his ability and public spirit as a citizen.

His son, Daniel Hall, the subject of this sketch, was born at Westminster, Vt., on July 17, 1787, and died at Troy, N. Y., Dec. 10, 1868, in the eighty-second year of his age. The brothers Chase, one of whom subsequently became bishop of Ohio and then of Illinois, and the other a United States senator, were the instructors of his boyhood, and his preparation for college was completed by Hon. William C. Bradley, a citizen of his native town. In 1801 he entered Middlebury College, at which institution he was graduated in 1805. Choosing the profession of his father - that of the law - immediately after accomplishing his collegiate course, he entered the office of his uncle, Amasa Paine, a counselor of experience, at Windsor, in Vermont. One year later, in 1806, he removed to Troy, then a village, and continued his legal studies under the guidance of William M. Bliss. His fellow students in Mr. Bliss' office were the late Hons. William L. Marcy and John P. Cushman.

On Oct. 3, 1809, after a favorable report by his examiners, Stephen Ross, Richard M. Livingston, and David Buel, he was admitted to the practice of his profession, as an attorney and counselor at law. Immediately thereupon he formed a law partnership with his uncle, Amasa Paine, who had also moved to Troy, which partnership continued until May 14, 1814. Their business was varied, extensive, and remunerative, - the reward of industry and professional capacity. After dissolving with his relative, Mr. Hall continued to practice his profession until about the year 1830, when he began gradually to withdraw from legal business, attending after that period only to such matters as were connected with private trusts and charges.

During his long and busy life he occupied many positions of responsibility, in all of which he conducted himself with impartiality and honor. He was a justice of the peace from 1813 to 1821. About the year 1823 he succeeded Alanson Douglas as secretary of the Rensselaer and Saratoga Insurance Company, which office he held until the company surrendered its charter, and at difference times he was a director in the Bank of Troy, the Farmers' Bank, and the Merchants' and Mechanics' Bank.

On April 19, 1819, he was married by the Rev. Mr. Whelpley, at the city of New York, to Anjinette Fitch, the eldest daughter of Edward and Mary E. Fitch, who was born in the city of New York on June 21, 1800, and who still lives in the city of Troy, on the same spot where she has passed more than sixty years of her life, during which time she has been in the enjoyment of those blessings which spring from a devotion to duty and a recognition of the obligations of the life of the household and the home. Though of late years her health has been enfeebled, yet she still finds enjoyment in books, and derives pleasure, refined and elevating, in the cultivation of flowers. Her parents, who were first cousins, were grandchildren of the Hon. Thomas Fitch, colonial governor of Connecticut. At the time of his death, Mr. Hall was the oldest graduate of his alma mater, Middlebury College, and his was the oldest name borne on the rolls of the Rensselaer County bar. His memory, until within a few weeks of his departure, was exceedingly vivid and accurate, even to the remote details of events that happened seventy years ago. Though for the four years previous to his death he was deprived of sight, he still kept up his interest in all about him, and was accurately informed as to the news which every day brought forth. As his infirmities increased, he became more cheerful and contented, and no repining fell from his lips amid his suffering and pain.

The ambition of Mr. Hall was confined to the unobtrusive and quiet walks of life. Although clear-sighted and well-informed as to his political predilections, he never sought nor held political office. He had in his mental make nothing of the demagogue, and no one was more adverse than he to that hollow and degrading condescension which to so great an extent characterized the conduct and life of many men, especially those in public places. For this reason he shrank for soliciting the favor of others, choosing rather the independence that awaits individual effort than the subservience that is too often the result of the unlimited acceptance of extraneous aid. In the formation of his opinions of men, tried and consistent conduct was of more weight with him than wordy and clamorous professions. It may not be too much to say of him that his nature was of the old, inflexible Roman stamp. Compromise and prevarication he disdained. His decisions were often curt and rigid, still they were invariably founded in justice seen through an unpictured light. Integrity, strict and unfluctuating, was with him a virtue of virtues, and this characteristic he exemplified daily and constantly. Education he always regarded as the great safeguard of the land, and the strong and mighty bulwark of liberty and right. Well-balanced and true, he sustained throughout his long career, the character of a good citizen and a sagacious and upright man.

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