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"Spirit of the Times," XXI, 583, 1852

 Item — Box: SC-33 Box 1, Folder: Folder 2, Item: SC33.02.0.002
Identifier: SC33.02.0.002

Scope and Contents

Transcription: Spirit of the Times 1852, XXI 583 DEATH OF CHARLES HENRY HALL, ESQ. It is our painful duty to record the death of CHARLES HENRY HALL, Esq, of Harlem - a gentleman whose name has long been familiar to every reader of the ""Spirit of the Times"" as one of the most noted breeders of blood stock in the United States. He died suddenly of apoplexy on Thursday, the 8th of January, 1852, at Harlem, at the age of 70. Mr. Hall was born at Pomfret, Windham County, Conn., Dec. 26th, 1781. He was the eldest son of Dr. Jonathan Hall, a physician of eminence in that State. In early life he was engaged in agricultural pursuits, which no doubt gave the bias to his mind, which afterwards so fully developed itself. At the age of nineteen he went to New York, and entered the counting house of Murray & Mumford, at that time eminent merchants in this city. He there acquired the necessary information to fit him for intercourse with foreign countries, and soon after went abroad. He visited England, France, Portugal, and Spain, and from the natural strength of his mind and great habits of observation, acquired that vast amount of commercial and other knowledge, which enabled him to become one of the first American merchants in Spain. He established him-self at Cadiz, where he conducted a most extensive business, having at times no fewer than thirty vessels consigned to his house in the harbor at once. He resided at Cadiz during the exciting period of the French invasion of the Peninsular, and was in the city during its bombardment by the French forces. After the peace of 1815 Mr. Hall returned to his native land and to his family. His father having died previously, the care of his mother and a numerous family of brothers and sisters devolved upon him, and most faithfully did he perform towards them the part of father and protector. Placing his brothers at college to complete their education, he devoted himself again to commercial pursuits, and entered the house of Thomas H. Smith, then engaged in the China trade. By his great skill in all commercial affairs, knowledge of trade, and superior enterprise, he gained for the house a position of great eminence. His intellect and unvaried application made him known and respected both at home and abroad. Having purchased an extensive tract of land on the East River, he caused the Dry Dock to be established in its present position, laying out streets and avenues adjacent thereto at his own individual expense. Tompkins Square was laid out for the public by his exertions, and the greater part of the land given by him to the city. The large purchases he had made of lands at Harlem made him resolve to leave commercial life, and he settled himself there on his estate as an agriculturist, employing his time in laying out and planting the grounds around him, and carried the cultivation of his farm to such a degree of perfection that it became the most beautiful spot on the island. He imported many valuable animals from England, and raised others and soon became noted for his superior breed of cattle as well as for the excellence of his race horses.  Mr. Hall purchased Lady Lightfoot, so famous in the annals of the Turf in Virginia, and from her descended many noted horses - Eclipse, Lightfoot, Black Maria, Shark, Bay Maria, ""Young Lady Lightfoot,"" whose death, strange to say, we chronicle with that of her breeder, with others less celebrated, all of which claim Harlem as their birth-place. ""Alarm,"" imported from Lord Grosvenor’s stud in England, was also many years in his stables, and was the dam of ""Clara Howard,"" a fine racer, and many other superior horses. Mr. Hall's knowledge in regard to the breeding and rearing of all animals was remarkable, and his taste and judgement in regard to them extremely good. Though devoted to his farm and the agricultural improvement of it, he nevertheless found time to attend to affairs of public interest and improvement. He was chosen Alderman of the Twelfth Ward for several successive years, and whilst in that office caused the construction of the McAdamized road - the Third Avenue. He afterward was elected to the Assembly at Albany, and was instrumental in causing the construction of the Harlem Railroad. Mr. Hall expended large sums of money in order to carry through a railroad to Albany, and had others possessed the same foresight with himself the road would have been completed ten years ago. As it was, he failed to accomplish this object, and it was merged in the Harlem Railroad. Mr. Hall married in England Miss Sarah Mullett, a daughter of Thomas Mullett, Esq., an eminent merchant of London, whose house for twenty-five years stood conspicuous for integrity and commercial honor. As a man, Mr. Hall was distinguished for the dignity and amenity of his manners. His generosity was remarkable, and he never saw the needy of the distressed without the wish to relieve them. Hundreds now live who owe their all in life to his bounty, and many were the tears shed for his memory by the recipients of his kindness. He was a rare man, in every respect, high toned and honorable - a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Magnanimous in prosperity, he was yet greater in adversity. Unchanged by the frowns of fortune, he still pressed onward, with the same strength of mind and energy of purpose at the age of seventy, that he had always manifested, and died as he had lived, with an unfaltering reliance on the goodness of God. J. PRESCOTT HALL, the present United States District Attorney and DAVID P. HALL, a lawyer of high standing in this city, are brothers of the deceased.


  • Creation: 1852


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The collection is open for research. The digital collection can be accessed through the VMFA Collections Search website.

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2 pages

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mr. T. Kenneth Ellis

Physical Description


Physical Facet

Clippings (information artifacts)

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Archives Repository

Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library
200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
Richmond VA 23220-4007 United States