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A “tailing tale” of General Frank Hall

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A Colorado Pioneer and Publisher

By Maggie Magoffin

Frank Hall was born March 4, 1836 in Poughkeesie, Dutchess County, New York. Three years later, his father died and Frank went to live with family in Litchfield County, Connecticut. For the next five years, he attended common school before returning to New York and enrolling at Kingston Academy. After two and a half years at Kingston, he moved to Syracuse, NY.

In the winter of 1858-59, Frank Hall traveled to St. Louis, Missouri. With an ox team and full outfitting of miners’ supplies, he journeyed west in the company of three other Argonauts. After a 40-day journey, they camped for a short time on Spanish Bar in Clear Creek County before passing on to the Gregory gold diggings in Gilpin County. Finding no opportunity there, they crossed the Great Divide to Vasquez Fork, now Clear Creek. After camping at a site in what is now Idaho Springs, Frank purchased a mining claim on the Spanish Bar and proceeded to work that claim on his own.

The season of 1861, Frank moved on to Grass Valley Bar below Idaho Springs, and in the spring of ’62 became a quartz miner in the employee of the Black Hawk Gold Mining Company on the Gregory Lode.

While in New York, Frank received a very impressive military training. He organized a military company among the miners and other Black Hawk residents subsequently known as the Elbert Guard. Under frequent and proper discipline, the Guard became highly efficient. They were uniformed and equipped and maintained their prestige for many years.

In the autumn of 1863, in partnership with journalist O. J. Hollister, Hall established the Daily Mining Journal at Black Hawk. In 1865 he purchased half interest in the Miner’s Register at Central City.

In 1866, Hall was elected to the House of the territorial legislature and later that same year appointed by President Andrew Johnson to be Secretary of the Territory. Soon after the inauguration of Ulysses S. Grant (1868) Hall was reappointed, serving continuously from May 1866 to April 1874. He was also appointed Adjutant General of the Colorado National Guard by Governor Frederick Pitkin, but declined reappointment in 1871.

Frank Hall retained his interest and performed much of the editorial work of the Daily Register until 1877 when the property was sold and Hall moved to Denver, becoming Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall under Marshall P. P. Wilcox. In 1878, Hall returned to journalism as managing editor of the Daily Evening Times of Denver. He maintained this position until 1879 when he, with State Geologist Professor J. Alden Smith, established an agency for the examination of mines for eastern investors.

In March 1884, Hall was elected Secretary of the Denver Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade, continuing until February 1889 when he resigned for the purpose of devoting his time to the preparation of a complete history of Colorado. That work in four volumes of about 600 pages each was completed in 1895.

In the spring of 1893, Hall was elected Treasurer of the City of Denver. After completing his term, he was elected Treasurer of Arapahoe County in April 1895. In November 1899, he assumed charge of the mining department of The Denver Post.

Frank Hall was united in marriage to Susan M. Matthews in Buchanan, Michigan. He died in Denver in 1917.


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