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HALL, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

HALL, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1803–1873). Benjamin Franklin Hall, minister and soldier, was born in Christian County, Kentucky, on June 13, 1803, the son of a Revolutionary War soldier and early settler of Limestone, Kentucky, and Martha (Foster). Hall was ordained by Barton Warren Stone, Sr., and preached with Alexander Campbell. He wrote numerous articles for Campbell's Millenial Harbinger (which was published from 1830 to 1870) and before coming to Texas was coeditor with J. T. Johnson of the Gospel Advocate, begun in 1835 in Georgetown, Kentucky. (This newspaper should not be confused with a later Gospel Advocate published in Nashville). Hall was married three times, first in 1827 to Dorindo Chisholm, with whom he had twins and who died in 1830; in 1836 to Susan Ball, a widow, whom Hall described as a strong-willed and bitter woman. This troubled marriage ended in divorce after she abandoned him. Texas law permitted divorce after five years of absence by a wife. Not knowing whether the second Mrs. Hall was living, in 1863 Hall married Elizabeth Collins; this marriage subjected him to much criticism and finally a church trial at Mantua, which was decided in his favor.

Known as the "strolling dentist," Hall often took preaching journeys, principally in the South, where he established and nourished young frontier congregations. He also worked briefly for a New Orleans firm locating land on the Texas frontier and may have also studied law at this time. On his first trip in Texas in the winter of 1848–49 he traveled from Aransas Bay to San Antonio and visited Goliad and the Alamo.

He preached for churches in Kentucky and Tennessee before 1856, when he moved to Texas. His subsequent ministry was chiefly in Grayson, Collin, and Dallas counties. With Nathan H. O. Polly he started congregations in many North Texas locations. During the Civil War he was chaplain in the Sixth Texas Cavalry, organized by Col. Barton W. Stone, Jr., of Dallas. Chaplain Hall served for nine months and was in the battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove, near Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Dallas Herald (see DALLAS TIMES HERALD) stated about Hall: "As a scholar and pulpit orator he has but few equals. Deeply versed in the Sacred Scriptures, he proclaims their truths with telling effect." He died at his home in Kentucky Town, a Grayson County community, on May 1, 1873. He was a friend of Collin McKinney and is buried in the McKinney plot in the Van Alstyne cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

William Baxter, Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove (Cincinnati: Poe and Hitchcock, 1864; rpt., Van Buren, Arkansas: Press-Argus, 1957). Carter E. Boren, Religion on the Texas Frontier (San Antonio: Naylor, 1968). Winfred Ernest Garrison and Alfred T. De Groot, The Disciples of Christ: A History (St. Louis: Bethany, 1948; rev. ed. 1958). Genealogical Biographies of Landowners of Grayson County, Texas, from 1836 through 1869 (Sherman, Texas: Oak Room Emporium, 1967). Benjamin Franklin Hall, Autobiography (MS, Special Collections, Texas Christian University Library). Colby D. Hall, Texas Disciples (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1953). R. L. Roberts, Jr., "B. F. Hall: Pioneer Evangelist and Herald of Hope," Restoration Quarterly 8 (1965). R. L. Roberts, Jr., "Benjamin Franklin Hall, 1803–1873," Restoration Quarterly 20 (1977).

R. L. Roberts

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

R. L. Roberts, "HALL, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhaeq), accessed September 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.