William Augustus Hall

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William Augustus Hall

William Augustus Hall (October 15, 1815 – December 15, 1888) was an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He is the brother of Governor and Representative Willard Preble Hall and also the father of Representative Uriel Sebree Hall.

Early years[edit]

Born in Portland, Maine, on October 15, 1815, Hall moved with his family to Harpers Ferry, Virginia at a young age and attended the local schools there. He attended Yale College, relocated to Missouri in 1840, and was admitted to the bar there in 1841.

Political life[edit]

Hall was a Captain in the U.S.-Mexican War.

He served as judge of the Circuit Court in Missouri from 1847–1861, and as delegate to the Missouri Constitutional Convention in 1861. That same year he was elected to the 37th Congress as a replacement for John Bullock Clark, who had been expelled from Congress for taking up arms against the United States. He was elected on his own merit in 1862 and served from January 20, 1862 until March 4, 1865. He did not seek an additional term in 1864.

In 1855, he was the judge who presided over the trial of Celia, the 19 year old pregnant slave woman who was on trial for the alleged murder (in self defense) of her master, who had been sexually abusing her for years. In response to the defenses' motion that the 1845 law protecting "any woman" legally entitled Celia to defend herself from a would-be rapist the same as a white woman, Hall instructed the jury that a slave had no right to resist her master, even in the case of sexual assault. The jury subsequently found Celia guilty and sentenced her to death.

He served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1864.

Later years[edit]

After his term in Congress ended, Hall returned to the practice of law. He died near Darksville, Missouri on December 15, 1888, and was buried in a family plot.


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Bullock Clark
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
John William Noell
Preceded by
None (District Created after 1860 Census)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
John F. Benjamin