Henry C. Hall was too well known in business circles in Paxton to need special introduction to the readers of this volume. His name was an important one in trade circles and was a synonym of all that is honorable, straightforward and reliable in business transactions. For many years he operated extensively in grain but later gave his attention to real-estate investments and the sale of property.
Mr. Hall was a native of Fountain county, Indiana, born October 11, 1841. His father, James Dow Hall, was born in Ross county, Ohio, April, 1821, and died in Paxton. In January, 1903, when in the eighty-second year of his age. With an older brother, William Hall, he went to Fountain county, Indiana, where he remained for several years, subsequently removing to Warren county, that state, where he opened up and improved a farm, upon which he lived for nine years. In 1852 he arrived in Ford county, Illinois. Two years previously he had driven one hundred milk cows to Wisconsin, where he sold them to the farmers in the dairy district, this being before the era of railroad shipment. On the way he met George B. McClellan, afterward General McClellan, commander of the Union forces, who, with a staff of assistants, was surveying for the route of the Illinois Central Railroad. Through General McClellan he became enthused regarding the conditions of the country through which the railroad was to pass and decided to locate near the line. Accordingly, in 1852, he settled twelve miles east of Paxton, at Henderson's Grove, Vermilion county, but not being able to secure government land in that neighborhood he removed in the spring of 1854 to a claim five miles southeast of Paxton, where the greater part of his life was passed, his time and energies being given to the cultivation of his farm, which became a valuable property. His early political allegiance was given to the whig party and on its dissolution he became a republican. He was elected the second sheriff of Ford county, serving for two years, beginning in 1860. During the first year of his service the old courthouse was built and in the following year he had his office there, being the first sheriff in that temple of justice. He married Eliza Whisman, a native of Wythe county, Virginia, who was reared by her grandparents in that county. She died in Paxton, at the age of seventy-nine. In their family were four children: Henry C.; William Franklin, who died forty years ago; Melvina E., the deceased wife of Dr. Pickerd, of Indianapolis, Indiana; and Mrs. Rebecca Snyder, a widow, living in Paxton.
Henry C. Hall was but ten years of age when he came to Illinois, the family home being established in Vermilion county, where for two years they lived prior to a removal to what became the old farm homestead near Paxton. For fifty-six years Henry C. Hall lived in or near this city. The experiences of pioneer life with all its attendant hardships, privations, duties and pleasures became familiar to him. His education was acquired in the common schools and when not occupied with his text-books he aided in the labors of the farm. On attaining his majority, thinking to find other pursuits more congenial, Mr. Hall came to Paxton in March, 1862, and entered the grain trade here, being successfully and extensively connected therewith until four years ago. He did not confine his attention, however, to the grain trade alone but dealt also in live stock, lumber and coal, operating in all those lines during the greater part of the time. The sphere of his activity was also extended to include neighboring towns and cities as well as Paxton and at one time he had twelve different stations. He established business before he was of age and for about three years was alone, after which his father became his partner, under the firm style of J. D. & H. C. Hall. That relation was terminated after five years and Henry C. Hall was then joined by his brother-in-law, under the firm name of Hall & Snyder. They were together for five or six years, after which Mr. Hall admitted Timm Ross to a partnership and they operated in the above mentioned lines under the firm style of Hall & Ross. Later Mr. Hall was alone. He became the largest operator in grain, lumber, live stock and coal of any man in the business. He bought and sold grain most extensively, though he shipped large quantities of live stock of all kinds and his annual sales brought him a very gratifying financial return. For thirty-six years he has occupied offices in the Clark block. After he had been in the office for a year he was married and built the present residence of his widow on West Franklin street, which was afterward his home. Four years before his death he sold his grain business and withdrew from the trade for two years but later was engaged in the real-estate and loan business. He admitted J. M. Marsh to a partnership, under the firm style of Hall & Marsh. In this connection he handled much property and negotiated many important realty transfers. He was a man of resourceful business ability, readily recognizing and utilizing opportunities and his efforts were so discerningly directed along well defined lines that he won a most gratifying measure of success.
On the 10th of October, 1872, Mr. Hall was united in marriage to Miss Mary Pierpont, who was born in 1849, in Morris, Connecticut, and in 1858 came to Ford county with her parents, Leonard and Cynthia Pierpont, who were also natives of Connecticut. Her father was the youngest brother of the Rev. John Pierpont, a man of national reputation. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hall were born five children: Mary T., now the wife of George L. Shaw, of Chicago; Bertha M. and Edith P., at home; Clara W. who died in 1880; and Henry Pierpont, who was born in June, 1885, and died of typhoid fever in February, 1907. He was a young man six feet in height, of athletic build and a favorite with his many friends, so that his death was keeply regretted in social circles as well as by his immediate family.
In his political views Mr. Hall was always a stalwart republican after casting his first presidental ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He served as township trustee for forty consecutive years and declined to fill the office for a longer period. This simple statement is the highest proof that can be given of the position which he held in public regard and in the confidence of those who knew him. For twelve years he was a member of the city council and was still serving on the board of alderman at the time of his death. His fidelity to municipal progress found tangible evidence in his active work for many movements for the public good. He belonged to the Congregational church, to the support of which he contributed liberally, and his family were associated with him in this membership. He found appropriate place among those men of business and enterprise in the state of Illinois whose force of character, whose fortitude amid discouragements, whose sterling integrity, whose good sense in the management of complicated affairs and marked success in shaping large industries and bringing to completion great schemes of trade and profit, have contributed in eminent degree to the development of the resources of this noble commonwealth. His career was not helped by accident, or luck, or wealth, or family or powerful friends. He was in the broadest sense a self-made man, being both the architect and builder of his own fortunes.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 492-497.

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