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HALL, WILLIAM WHITTY (1810–1876). William Whitty Hall, physician and pioneer editor of health magazines, was born in Paris, Kentucky, on October 15, 1810. After graduating from Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, with the intention of becoming a Presbyterian missionary, he studied theology and medicine at Transylvania University, where he received an M.D. in 1836, the same year he was ordained to the ministry. Intending to support himself as a missionary through his medical practice, he began work in Louisiana. But he subsequently came to Texas, met Sam Houston near Nacogdoches, and rode with him to the first presidential inauguration in Texas. Hall preached in Houston and the surrounding area and served as chaplain in both houses of the Texas Congress. He helped collect funds to build a Presbyterian church in Houston and was active in organizing an ecclesiastical vigilance committee to prevent imposters from posing as ministers. In 1837 Hall left the republic in time to attend the Synod of Kentucky, which convened in October. There he urged the Presbyterian Church to become involved in missionary work in Texas. The General Assembly of the church adopted his recommendation in 1838. Hall gradually abandoned preaching for the practice of medicine and went first to New Orleans, then to Cincinnati, where he married Hannah Matlock. In 1851 he established a consultation practice in New York City, where he married Magdalene Matilda Robertson. While in Cincinnati, he had published several books on consumption and other lung ailments. In New York in 1854 he began the publication of Hall's Journal of Health. In 1875 he started another periodical, Hall's Medical Adviser. Never weighing more than 125 pounds and working from five in the morning until ten at night, a violation of his own health rules, Hall fell in a fit on a street in New York and died almost immediately on May 10, 1876.


Dictionary of American Biography. Martin Kaufman et al., eds., Dictionary of American Medical Biography (2 vols., Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1984). S. C. Red, A Brief History of the First Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas, 1839–1939 (Houston: Wilson, 1939). William Stuart Red, A History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas (Austin: Steck, 1936). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.

Louise Kelly

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Louise Kelly, "HALL, WILLIAM WHITTY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.