Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

HALL, ANDREW (1845-1902)

Santa Cruz County Hospital Records

Andrew Hall, a 56-year-old laborer who was born at St. Croix in the British West Indies was admitted to the County Hospital on April 18, 1902 for LaGrippe [influenza]. He died on May 1, 1902.

Santa Cruz County Recorders Office

Death Certificate

Andrew Hall 56, a black male native of the British West Indies born in 1845 died in the county hospital on May 1, 1902. He was listed as having been married and was a laborer by occupation. His death was noted as heart related and his remains were turned over the Wessendorf and Statler undertakers for burial in Evergreen cemetery.

Blacks in Selected Newspapers, Censuses, and Other Sources: An Index to Names and Subjects, James de T Abajiaan

HALL, ANDREW

  • San Francisco 1868- Officer of West Indies Benevolent Society P 759 in S.F DIRECTORY
  • San Francisco 1868- Marriage with Armita Jackson, San Francisco Elevator 8/21/1868: 3,1
  • San Francisco 1869- Porter, 62 Halleck; res. 1210 Broadway In SAN FRANCISCO CD [city directory]
  • San Francisco 1872- res. 111 Prospect Place- In SAN FRANCISCO CD [city directory]
  • Virginia City 1875- His letter, S.F. PAC APPEAL, 3-6-1875: 2,4

    Pacific Appeal March 6, 1875

    Virginia Correspondence
    Virginia, Nev. March 24, 1875

    Mr. Editor:

    Accept the compliments of your correspondent. It has often been my desire to write to you, but modesty compelled my silence. We have a winter remarkable for its beautiful weather, free from that severity noticeable in our Nevada climate.

    A reaction has taken place in the social circle of the Virginia colored population and they are eagerly grasping after measures to Reform, and are now busily engaged in erecting living monuments of its worth. A Club has been successfully founded and rightfully christened the Dumas Social and Literary, a name synonymous of its nature. It has upon its roles the bel esprit of Virginia's best-colored blood. The days of jealousies, malice or hatred has all vanished in total oblivion before the dazzling beauty and the sparkling repartees of our club, leaving to us who reside amid the cold lofty peaks of the Sierra Nevada's sunshine, happiness and peace. Believing where men are united in one grand movement, success will crown their endeavors. Just so with the Dumas, if they only remain true, they will secure for themselves an honorable position at home, and certainly an enviable position abroad. Among our officers are: Messr:. Jackson, President; Hughes, Vice President; Crowner, Treasurer; Rogers, Secretary; Lofton, Marshal and eighteen ladies and gentlemen, a good representation of the ├ęclat of our society, all entering the arena of the club with a zest for all that is good. We have had six gatherings which gives tokens of its future success. At our last meeting held in the A.M.E. Church on Tuesday evening, February 8th, Mr. James Parker delivered an able essay on the Objects of the club. Referring to this matter he took occasion to say; "That we had not united together in this body for amusement alone, nay, the necessities of the hour will not permit us, they are too urgent and great, the labor before us is too important. We are united upon reform,-- the youth sighs for it, the lisping babe stretches forth his tiny hands ready to grasp it, the aged parent kneels praying for it- a boon lasting in its effect and needed nowhere any more than in our city. Lend us your hands, your hearts, and we will go forward slowly but steadily, winning victories of fabulous value amid the utmost confusion and applause." Mr. Parker took his seat, Mr. Henderson moved a vote of thanks be extended for his able essay. A vote being taken, it was declared unanimous. Mr. Parker arising thanking the club in a graceful manner for the compliment so little merited by himself. The meeting adjourned with the utmost good feeling. Next Tuesday we hear from A.H. Stocks down and business dull- au revoire.

    [signed] Andrew Hall

  • Virginia City 1875- Fire Loss, S.F. PACIFIC APPEAL, 11-13-1875 2,2
  • San Francisco 1889- Elected a grand Lodge Officer, Freemasons SF CHRONICLE 6-5-1889 [6,2]

    S.F. Chronicle June 5, 1889
    The Colored Masons

    The Grand Lodge Installs Officers and Adjourns

    Marysville, June 4- The Grand Lodge of Colored Free and Accepted Masons closed its Fifteenth annual session in this city tonight by publicly installing the recently elected officers.

    The next session will be held in San Francisco. The new officers are as follows: Thomas Smith of Marysville (re-elected), Grand Master; Nathaniel Johnson of San Francisco (re-elected), Deputy Grand Master; Gilford Henry Ashe of Sonora, Grand Senior Warden; Andrew Hall of San Francisco, Grand Junior Warden; George Aaron Duvall of San Francisco (re-elected), Grand Treasurer; Rodrigo Wilkinson of Oakland (re-elected) Grand Secretary.

  • Census- 1870
    • Hall, Andrew, 1843?, porter, b. West Indies; Wife: Armita b 1852, New Grenada; Seamstress; Ward 4:75,
      Also at same address James Charles 1860? b. New Grenada
    • Hall, Mrs. San Francisco -1869 Birth of a son, S.F. ELEVATOR 6-18-1869 3,3
    • S.F. Elevator June 18, 1969
      BORN: To the wife of Mr. Andrew Hall, on Friday, 11th inst., a son.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 3, 1902)

Andrew Hall (colored) died Thursday at the hospital. He was an old soldier.

Notes from by Phil Reader

Andrew (Andy) Hall was born into a family of ex-slaves during the month of March, 1845, on the island of New Grenada, West Indies. This tiny Hispaniola Island was a protectorate of the British Empire at that time. Two years year earlier, in 1843, the English Parliament passed a law banning slavery in the area, thereby releasing the Hall family from bondage.

New Grenada was an impoverished island, which based its economy solely on the production of sugar cane. With the abolishment of the age-old slave system even this fragile resource collapsed leaving the new freedmen in utter poverty. The Halls, like so many other Negro West Indians, fled to the United States to better their lot.

[It is believed that Andrew joined a USCI regiment during the Civil War however we have not been able to identify the specific unit due to the number of Andrew or Andy Halls in USCI units]

In 1866, Andrew Hall boarded a tramp steamer bound for the West Coast, vowing to put as many miles as he could between himself and the past. Upon arriving in San Francisco he plunged into life among the large African-American population of that city. As a skilled tradesman, offers for work were quick to come his way.

During his off-hours he busied himself as a member and officer in the West India Benevolent Society, a group which was devoted to helping the countless destitute refugees who were flocking to America from his home islands. He was also involved in the Colored Citizens Convention, which was working for the right of testimony and equal education of black children.

On August 19, 1868, he married Armita Jamison, also a native of New Grenada, and the daughter of Black San Francisco pioneer George Jamison. Following their marriage, Andrew accepted employment as a porter in a large hotel in the city. Their first child, a son that they named George, was born June 15, 1869.

Four years later, in 1873, they moved up to Virginia City, Nevada as part of a sizable migration of African-American San Franciscans who left for that part of the country. He bought a small house on C Street near the center of town and went to work at a hotel and rooming house next to the railroad station.

On October 26, 1875, while the black community of Virginia City was still celebrating the passage of the Civil Rights Bill, a devastating fire broke out on a nearby street. Within a short period of time the flames had completely consumed the city totally destroying the downtown area. The following morning, Andy and Armita Hall returned home to find that everything they owned had burned. Undeterred, the Halls rebuilt their home as they watched a new town arise from the ashes of old Virginia City. Because of all the new construction, Andy found his building skills in great demand and it turned out that in the long run, the fire turned out to be a mixed blessing.

During the 1880's the Halls moved back to San Francisco where they could be closer to Armita's parents who were both gravely ill. Upon their return, Andy opened a small janitorial service on O'Farrell Street. One of his employees was a young bachelor Charlie King, a native of Kentucky, who for many years had lived in Santa Cruz County. From time to time, King would take the Hall family with him on his annual vacation back to the seaside community. With their children now grown, Andy and Armita decided that Santa Cruz was the kind of place that they would like to retire to. But before they could take any action on this scheme Armita died leaving Andy a widower.

At Charlie King's request, the two men moved south to Santa Cruz where they picked up odd jobs as casual laborers. During the spring of 1892, Andy Hall was taken ill and sent to the County Hospital. There he died on May 1, 1902 at the age of 56. The following day, he was buried in the pauper's corner of the Evergreen Cemetery.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

We are unaware as to the exact site of the burial of Andrew Hall. Phil Reader assumed that, as he was black, and a ward of the county hospital that he would have been buried alongside other indigent blacks in the "paupers" portion of the cemetery.

We know, as did the GAR members living in Santa Cruz at the time, that "he was an old soldier." In 1902 the only U.S. military activities in which an African American "old soldier" could have participated was the Civil War, the Indian wars or the Spanish American war that had just ended. While Hall's age at the time of death indicates that he was probably in the Civil War, it would have made no difference to members of the Grand Army of the Republic. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, "It is a fixed principle with them [the G.A.R] that no veteran shall ever be buried in the potters field if they can prevent it." (Santa Cruz Sentinel February 26, 1915 'Veteran Hall Dies Here') [See entry for James Hall for more of this article.]

Since there was still space in the GAR plot at the time of Andrew Hall's death, it is my feeling that if in fact he was a Union soldier he was buried at that location in Evergreen Cemetery. Unfortunately, in the 1960's college students as a prank stole a number of headstones on the front row of the G.A.R. plot where Andrew Hall would have probably been buried.


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