William Hall (governor)

William Hall (February 11, 1775 – October 7, 1856) was an American politician who served as the seventh Governor of the state of Tennessee from April to October 1829.

William Hall
7th Governor of Tennessee
In office
April 16, 1829 – October 1, 1829
Preceded bySam Houston
Succeeded byWilliam Carroll
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1833
Preceded byRobert Desha
Succeeded byJohn B. Forester
Speaker of the Tennessee Senate
In office
Preceded byRobert C. Foster
Succeeded byJoel Walker
Member of the Tennessee Senate
In office
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1775-02-11)February 11, 1775
Surry County, Province of North Carolina, British America
DiedOctober 7, 1856(1856-10-07) (aged 81)
Sumner County, Tennessee, U.S.
Resting placeHall Cemetery, Sumner County, Tennessee
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Alexander
Military service
Branch/serviceTennessee militia
Years of service1812–1813
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsCreek War

Hall ascended to the office when Governor Sam Houston resigned amidst a scandal, and, as Speaker of the Tennessee Senate, he was the first in the line of succession. After finishing Houston's term, he did not seek reelection. Hall had previously served in the Tennessee state legislature, both in the House and Senate. Following his brief term as governor, he served one term in the United States House of Representatives.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Hall was born in Surry County in the Province of North Carolina. He was the son of Major William Hall and Elizabeth Thankful Doak. In 1779, the family moved to the New River Valley of Virginia. In 1785, they moved again, this time to a tract of land that would eventually be known as "Locustland," near modern Castalian Springs, Tennessee.[3] Locustland would remain Hall's residence for much of the remainder of his life.[2]

The Cherokee–American wars were raging at this time, and the Sumner County area north of Nashville was particularly vulnerable. On June 3, 1787, William's brother, James, was killed as the two were ambushed as they walked through a field, though William managed to escape. Two months later, as the family was moving its possessions into nearby Bledsoe's Station in anticipation of a Chickamauga Cherokee attack, they were again ambushed. William's brother, Richard, brother-in-law, Charles Morgan, and father were killed. William, along with his mother and two younger siblings, John and Prudence, managed to make it into the fort.[4]


During the early 1790s, Hall served as sheriff of Sumner County.[5] In 1796, he was promoted to the rank of major in the Sumner County militia. He served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1797 until 1805.[2]

At the outbreak of the War of 1812, he joined the Tennessee Volunteer Infantry with the rank of colonel, and had achieved the rank of brigadier general by the following year.[2]

In 1821, Hall was elected to the Tennessee Senate. In 1827, he was chosen as speaker of the senate. In April 1829, Sam Houston resigned the governorship following a personal scandal. As Speaker of the Senate, Hall was the first in the line of succession, and thus became governor on April 16. He did not seek reelection, however, and Houston's predecessor, William Carroll, was elected without opposition a few months later.[2] During his brief time in office, Hall continued with the reform plans that Carroll and Houston had started.[5]

An ally of Andrew Jackson, Hall later served in the U.S. House of Representatives for one term (1831–1833) (Twenty-second Congress) and then retired from public life.[6]


Hall died at his farm, Locustland, in Sumner County, a few weeks after giving an account of his frontier experiences for the June 1856 issue of Southwestern Monthly.[2] He is interred at the family cemetery there.


  1. ^ Historical Constitutional Officers of Tennessee, 1796 – Present, Territory South of the River Ohio, 1790 – 1796. Retrieved: September 22, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "William Hall". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  3. ^ Jay Guy Cisco, Historic Sumner County, Tennessee (1909, reprinted 2009), pp. 255–262.
  4. ^ Albert Goodpasture, Indian Wars and Warriors of the Old Southwest; "Tennessee Historical Magazine;" Vol. 4, No. 2; June 1918; pp. 122–124; accessed at Archive.org, September 21, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Phillip Langsdon, Tennessee: A Political History (Franklin, Tenn.: Hillsboro Press, 2000), p. 79.
  6. ^ "Tennessee Portrait Project". National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee. Retrieved September 19, 2012.

External linksEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

Political offices
Preceded by
Sam Houston
Governor of Tennessee
Succeeded by
William Carroll
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Desha
U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 5th Congressional District
Succeeded by
John B. Forester