Charles Henry Hall Papers, 1848-1856
| Manuscripts Gifts 2007 | Front Page 2007 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2007
Eight manuscripts, 14 July 1848 - 27 November 1856 and undated, of Charles Henry Hall (1820-1895), reveal something of the life and ministry of an Episcopal clergyman who served congregations in New York and Washington, D.C., as well as in South Carolina. A native of Georgia, Hall graduated from Yale in 1842 and studied theology at the General Theological Seminary in New York before being ordained deacon in 1844 and priest in the following year. After holding pastorates at Huntington, Long Island, and West Point, New York, he returned to the South as rector of St. John's Episcopal Church (John's Island, South Carolina), where he remained from 1848 to 1856. | Manuscripts Gifts 2007 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
As Hall prepared to relocate to South Carolina, Bishop C.E. Gadsden wrote from Charleston on 14 July 1848 to inquire whether Hall might be interested in taking charge of St. Stephen's Chapel in Charleston. "It is an interesting field...and has been occupied by some of our most devoted clergymen Rev. Messrs. Phillips, Cobia, Trapier & Dupont (lately deceased)." Gadsden was in contact with Hall again on 21 July 1848, promising that he would "name you to such vestries as desire me to assist them in obtaining a clergyman." "‘Abbeville,'" he went on to say, "which you visited with me some time ago, is vacant. But the salary is small & precarious….The Mission Church in Charleston St. Stephens Chapel is vacant - the Salary $1000 paid by a female society - the duties are two services on Sunday, and as many in the week as ‘the Missionary' chooses, but especially frequent visiting to the poor, who are of the flock, & others, to induce them to join it."
Five letters bear directly on Charles Hall's association with St. John's Episcopal Church, John's Island. The earliest, dated 17 October 1848 and signed by Paul C. Grimball as chairman of the vestry, invites Hall to accept the pastorate of the church. "There is a very comfortable Parsonage, with a small tract of Land, near the church, where the Rector will reside during the Winter; and in the Summer he will reside at Rockville, where there is also a Residence provided, - during the Summer months he will be required to preach on alternate Sundays there, and at the church on John's Island; the Vestry being desirous that the colored portion of the congregation should not be altogether without religious instruction for such a length of time. The salary is Twelve hundred dollars a year, payable quarterly."
Subsequent communications from Grimball concern alternate arrangements for preaching at Rockville and on John's Island during the summer months (22 May 1851), a paid leave of absence from which it was hoped "you may be enabled to return to us in renewed health and spirits" (30 April 1856), and the vestry's acceptance with regrets of Hall's resignation and his departure for Washington, D.C., where, they hoped, he would have "a wider field, and be more in the way of distinction in our Church" (27 November 1856). An undated manuscript, thought to date from around 1845, features drafts of two signed letters in Hall's hand concerning his call to St. John's Church, Huntington, Long Island, New York.
After leaving South Carolina, Charles Henry Hall became rector of the Church of the Epiphany (Washington, D.C.), and remained there from 1856 to 1869. He was called to Holy Trinity (Brooklyn, New York), in 1869 and served that pastorate until his death.