HALL, Louis W.
Back Up Next

HALL, Louis Williams, son of William Maclay Hall, whose mother was a daughter of Hon. William Maclay, first United States senator from Pennsylvania, was born July 4, 1833, at Allegheny, Pa. He received a good education; studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1854. He was soon after appointed solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Altoona. That road was just opened over the Allegheny mountains, and Altoona was the location of the chief offices of the transportation [sic] of the company. Herman J. Lombaert was general superintendent with all the powers of the now general manager. The office of the chief engineer was also at that point, and the location was being made there for the principal shops of the company. It being the headquarters of these offices, the position of solicitor there was an important and delicate one, and the attorney had many questions before him of immense importance to the company and its interests. Mr. Hall’s practice soon became large and lucrative, not only in Blair, but the contiguous counties. In 1859, when little more than eligible, he was elected to the State Senate as the Republican candidate from the strong Democratic district of Cambria, Blair and Clearfield counties. He was appointed chairman of the judiciary committee on his first advent in the Senate, of a body composed of such legal minds as Penny, of Allegheny; Clymer, of Berks; Ketchum, of Luzerne; Welsh, of York; Palmer, of Schuylkill; Finney, of Crawford; McClure, of Franklin, and others prominent in the profession of the State. The war of the Rebellion breaking out, Governor Curtin called an extra session of the Assembly, in April, 1861, when Mr. Hall was chosen speaker of the Senate. It was at that extra session that the famous three-million-dollar-loan bill to arm the State, and other important war measures were passed. Mr. Hall was again chosen speaker at the beginning of the regular session in January, 1862. He was elected for a new term, and for another district, in which Blair county was placed in October, 1864, running largely ahead of his ticket. He was again chosen speaker of the Senate at the end of the session of 1866, and also at the commencement of the regular session of 1867, having been chosen three times presiding officer of that body, an honor never before accorded to any one. At the close of his tern he declined a re-nomination, and since then has devoted himself exclusively to the practice of his profession. Having been appointed solicitor and counsel of the Pennsylvania railroad, at Harrisburg, on the 1st of October, 1868, he took up his residence in that city. To-day [sic] he occupies the same position, being connected with them for over thirty years. He is yet in the mental vigor and prime of life, although sixty years of age, and has probably been connected with as many matters of importance in his profession as any man of his age. Among the numerous leading cases in the courts he has argued within the last few years may be mentioned those of the "Commonwealth vs. George O. Evans," the claim of the State for a very large amount; Mr. Evans being defended by Mr. Hall and the late Judge Black; "The Commonwealth vs. Pennsylvania Canal Company," being an attempt of the State by statute to compel the canal company to alter their dams, feeders and works, without compensation, so as to allow the passage of fish, the case involved probably half a million of dollars, and was decided by the Supreme Court in favor of the canal company; "James Freeland vs. Pennsylvania Railroad Company," an attempt to hold the company responsible for consequential damages caused by raising the great Clark’s Ferry dam; decided by the Supreme Court in favor of the railroad company. Mr. Hall married, November 28, 1867, Eliza Warford. They have two sons and two daughters.

Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Linda Mockenhaupt ronm@westol.com for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project - http://maley.net/transcription.

Date of Transcription: 28 November 2000

Copyright (c) 2000 - All Rights Reserved: Use, duplication or reproduction for profit or presentation by any person or organization is strictly prohibited.