Dr. Hugh Logan Hall
Sherman Public Library genealogy records
Merchant of City for Half Century Dies
Dr. H.L. Hall Started in Business Here with Father in 1872
Educated for Medicine, Business Claimed Him
Large General Merchandise Store First Venture, Later Furniture
Dr. Hugh Logan Hall, 82 years old, passed away at his residence at
505 South Travis street Saturday at 10 a.m. after an illness of a month's
duration, critical for the past several days.
He was a pioneer merchant of Sherman, starting out in business with
his father in post-civil war days when settlers bought their supplies to
last months and when his firm sent out "notion wagons" trains of as many
as six horse or ox-drawn wagons in each direction from Sherman to stay
three or four weeks at a time in selling a variety of goods to settlers
and stores in outlying districts.
His first business was in wholesale and retail general stores with
his father. For a few years he was cashier of a bank here before
he took active direction of the Hall Furniture company, which he had established
in the meantime. He retired from active business three years ago but visited
the store daily until about a month ago.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Laura Dorchester Hall, sister of the
late C.B. Dorchester; a son, Hugh Levis Hall, head of the Hall Furniture
company; a daughter, Mrs. Frances Hall Enice; a half-brother, Rufus G.
Hall, who is recovering from a serious illness; several grandchildren and
nieces and nephews.
He was long a member of the Travis Street Methodist church and funeral
services will be held from the residence Sunday at 3 p.m., conducted by
Dr. O.T. Cooper, his pastor. Interment will be at West Hill cemetery,
directed by Dannel-Scott.
Pallbearers will be John W. Smith, Herschel Randle, R.L. Gainer,
Joe Riddle, Alton Sistrunk, R.L. Hall, W.R. Brents and Harry Handy.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR STOCK
Dr. Hall is of Irish descent. His great-grandfather, Thomas
Hall, a native of Orange county, North Carolina, was a defender of American
independence but during the greater part of the revolution was held a prisoner
in England. His grandfather was born and reared in Knoxville, Tenn.,
where his father was born. His father, R.G. Hall, located in Osceola,
Mo., in 1841 where he was born July 20, 1850.
In 1861, Dr. Hall's father "sacrificed a fortune in farms and stores
when he was forced to move on account of his democratic principles and
southern proclivities," the Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas,
1881) says. The family set out for Texas but stopped for a year in
Arkansas, where Dr. Hall's mother died from hardships encountered on the
trip. They came to Texas by way of the Mississippi and Red rivers,
and from Jefferson to Sherman by stagecoach.
For a time during the war, Charlie Quantrell stayed in his father's
home while his men were encamped near Sherman, Dr. Hall recalled in later
years. Dr. Hall's father himself saw service during the war with
troops fighting in Texas.
FARM NOW COLLEGE CAMPUS
The family settled first on Choctaw creek, near Sherman, later buying
a farm which included the present campus of Austin college.
The three story building, which stands at the southwest corner of
Houston and Crockett streets, was the only brick structure in Sherman when
the Hall family moved here. A few other buildings, all frame structures,
stood around the public square. The population was only a few hundred.
Dr. Hall was 12 years old then and he received his education in
local schools prior to attending Tulane at New Orleans where he earned
a medical degree in 1871. He returned to Sherman to practice medicine
but he followed this for several months only, the merchandising business
of his father then claiming his attention.
His father had gone into the general merchandising business with
his brother-in-law, the late R.A. Chapman Sr., the firm name being Hall
& Chapman. When Mr. Chapman's interest was purchased, the firm
name was changed to R.G. Hall & Son, the "son" being Dr. Hall.
This was in 1872 and soon thereafter Dr. Hall went to New York to live
as a member at the Manhattan club building (a democratic organization's
home) as resident buyer for the Hall firm, for Sanger Bros. at Dallas and
for a third firm of this section of Texas.
GREAT SHERMAN FIRE
In 1874 or 1875 the great Sherman fire destroyed the Hall store,
on the east side of the square, but business was carried on until a permanent
structure could be erected, the structure now occupied by the Nall drug
store and the one adjoining it to the south housing the retail store.
The wholesale business was separated and located in the old Cummings building
at Crockett and Houston streets, the oldest building in Sherman and the
only brick structure standing when the Hall family moved here. Dr.
Hall recalled years later that the basement was at one time filled with
paper collars, that being the style at the time.
An extensive wholesale and retail trade was developed and in 1879
"they had a large retail trade, and their wholesale business extended over
a vast scope of country, three counties east and 10 counties west, and
into Indian territory, to the extent of the settlement. The annual
trade in 1878 was $213,000 and in 1879 was $250,000." (The Encyclopedia
of the New West.)
But business did not remain good and during a national panic Dr.
Hall returned home to take up active connection with the business here.
He was married in June, 1882, to Miss Laura Dorchester, daughter of Mr.
and Mrs. John Dorchester, pioneers of Sherman, and sister of C.B. Dorchester,
who was president of the Merchants and Planters National bank when death
a few years ago terminated 57 years of service with the institution.
With return of good business, Dr. Hall erected in 1885 the home that was
to be his until death claimed him.
` NOTION WAGONS
Sherman was the biggest cotton market in North Texas at that time
and often during the cotton picking seasons the wagons were hitched solidly
around the square. Farmers came from great distances to market their
cotton, some from far West Texas and from the Indian territory.
Purchases of supplies for an entire year or for many months would
be made by the farmers, having their accounts charged against the next
season's crops. They were always paid. There was very little
apparent dishonesty. Dr. Hall said in after years, and in the months
when cotton was sold many thousands of dollars would be paid into the Hall
store daily. This money was taken openly to the bank for deposit
without any fear of molestation.
Gold and silver coin was the medium of exchange and this was taken
in by the store from farmers and by the "notion wagons" on their trips.
BANKER FOR FEW YEARS
Another national panic caused dissolution of the firm of R.G. Hall
& Son, R.G. Hall and another son going into Indian territory to open
a store while Dr. Hall went into the City bank as cashier. Dr. Hall
remained with the bank until it was liquidated in 1896.
In the meantime, Dr. Hall became interested in the furniture business.
In 1892 he established the Hall Furniture company with the purchase of
the business of R.R. Dulin, located in the east and front quarter of the
present building at Lamar and Crockett. This original structure was
50 by 100 feet of two stories. In 1904, a two story addition 50 by
50 feet was added to the rear and in 1913 the third story was added to
the entire structure. The corner location was purchased in 1921 and
a third floor added to this, the present structure occupied by the firm
being a three story building 75 by 150 feet, housing one of the largest
furniture stores in North Texas.
In 1909, Levis Hall, a son of Dr. Hall, became a member of the firm
on his grduation from Austin college. At times in the early history
of the Hall Furniture company, Dr. Hall's two brothers, R.G. Hall and the
late Ira Hall, were members of the firm.