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Claude Hall
Historian Claude Hall (1988)
Historian Claude Hall (1988)
Born Claude Hampton Hall Sr.
(1922-09-29)September 29, 1922
Proffit, Albermarle County
Virginia, United States
Died April 3, 2001(2001-04-03) (aged 78)
Bryan, Brazos County
Texas, United States
Place of burial College Station Cemetery
Alma mater University of Virginia
Occupation Historian, Professor at Texas A&M University in College Station
Years active 1951–1986
Political party Republican[1]
Spouse(s) Mary Inez Wingfield Hall
Military career
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/wars North Africa Campaign and Italy in World War II
Hall's biography of Abel Parker Upshur is the definitive work on the former United States Secretary of State, who served only from July 24, 1843, to February 28, 1844, having been killed, along with five other persons, when a gun exploded during an official function aboard the steam warship USS Princeton.

Claude Hampton Hall Sr. (September 29, 1922 – April 3, 2001)[2] was an historian of primarily American diplomacy who spent his entire academic career at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. In 1963, he published the definitive biography of former United States Secretary of State Abel Parker Upshur.

Early years and career[]

Hall was born to Robert Montgomery Hall (1896–1956), a Baptist minister and a barber,[3] and the former Josephine Wood (1897–1991)[2] in Proffit, an unincorporated community near Charlottesville in Albemarle County in north central Virginia. He graduated from public schools in 1939 and enrolled at the nearby University of Virginia. His education was interrupted from 1942–1945, when he fought in North Africa and Italy with the United States Army during World War II. After the war, he received his Bachelor of Arts (1947), Master of Arts (1949), and Ph.D. (1954), all from the University of Virginia.[4]

Hall settled in Bryan, Texas, in 1951, when he was appointed to the TAMU faculty at a time when the institution was still all-male. He was elevated to full professor in 1964 and professor emeritus upon his retirement in 1986. In 1958, he became the first professor in the liberal arts at TAMU to receive the Association of Former Students "Distinguished Teaching Award". He was a past president of Phi Kappa Phi and was affiliated with the TAMU Century Club, the American Historical Association, the Southern Historical Association, the Virginia Historical Society, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Texas State Historical Association, and the East Texas Historical Association at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, of which he served as the fifteenth president from 1976–1977.[5] He was a member of the large Central Baptist Church of Bryan, where he taught the men's Sunday school class until his health failed.[5]

In retirement, Hall was a large donor to the Republican Party.[6]

Abel Parker Upshur[]

Hall's biography of Upshur is entitled Abel Parker Upshur: Conservative Virginian, 1790–1844. The book was published in 1963 by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at Madison, Wisconsin. No longer in print, it is the first and only full-scale study of Upshur,[7] who served as secretary of the navy before he was moved to the State Department by U.S. President John Tyler, also of Virginia. Abel Parker Upshur is replete with notations which contain material either related or tangential to the text as well as the compilation of sources, including manuscripts and historical documents. Upshur was working on the annexation of the Republic of Texas to the United States at the time of his accidental death aboard the Princeton. A native of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and originally a Federalist, Upshur believed that he was near procuring a two-thirds Senate majority for a treaty of annexation. He viewed the annexation of Texas as a vehicle by which to strengthen the pro-slavery forces. On his death, President Tyler called John C. Calhoun from the Senate, representing South Carolina, as secretary of state to complete the annexation process. Texas joined the union of states in 1845 not by a treaty but through a joint resolution, approved by a one-vote margin of both houses of the United States Congress.[7]

Reviewer Charles M. Wiltse in 1964 described Hall's work as "balanced, well written and on the whole a satisfying biography despite occasional passages in which he feels called upon to extenuate Upshur's ultra-conservative pro-slavery views ..."[8] Another reviewer, Robert Seager, noted that Upshur has been described as the "Calhoun of Virginia". Seager determined that Hall had "shown indefatigable energy in searching out and bringing together in one volume the badly scattered bits and pieces of Upshur data."[9]

In 1961, Hall published a related article "Abel P. Upshur and the Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy" in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, sponsored by the Virginia Historical Society. Hall concluded that Upshur, who supported the principle of secession had "gained a deserved national reputation as a reformer, had awakened the public from its long lethargy regarding its navy, and had been recognized as an extremely able administrator."[10] Hall also published a second article on Upshur: "Abel Parker Upshur: An Eastern Shoreman Reforms the United States Navy" in Virginia Cavalcade 23 (Spring 1974).[11]

In 1967–1968, Hall received the H. Bailey Carroll Award of the Texas State Historical Association for the article, "The Fabulous Tom Ochiltree: Promoter, Politician, and Raconteur" in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly 71 (January 1968)[12] Thomas Peck Ochiltree (1839–1902) was an out-of-the-mold Texas statesman who was born in Alabama, reared in Nacogdoches and Marshall, Texas, served in the United States House of Representatives from Galveston, died in Virginia, and is interred in Mount Hope Cemetery, New York.[13]


Hall died at the age of seventy-eight at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan after a lengthy struggle with Parkinson's disease. Survivors included his wife, the former Mary Inez Wingfield (October 29, 1924 – January 1, 2011) of Bryan,[14][15] an Albemarle County native whose father worked for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.[3] Their sons are Claude Hall, Jr. (born 1952), and his wife, Donna, of Antioch in Lake County, near Chicago, Illinois, and David Bruce Hall (born August 12, 1956) of Bryan.[4] Hall, Jr., is the president of Health System Synergies in Antioch.[16]

Hall and his wife are interred at College Station Cemetery.[4][15]


  1. "Bryan, Texas, Political Contributions by Individuals (1996)". Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Statement of David Bruce Hall of Bryan, Texas, son of Claude H. Hall, February 5, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Obituary of Claude Hampton Hall (1922–2001), Bryan-College Station, Texas, Eagle, April 4, 2001
  5. 5.0 5.1 "East Texas Historical Association". Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  6. "BRYAN, Texas (TX) Political Contributions by Individuals". Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Claude H. Hall, Abel Parker Upshur: Conservative Virginian, 1790–1844, Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1963, Library of Congress No. 64-63005, pp. 209, 212–213
  8. "Abel Parker Upshur: Conservative Virginian, 1790–1844 by Claude H. Hall". pp. 106–107. JSTOR 1917948. 
  9. "The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography". pp. 371–372. JSTOR 4247041. 
  10. "Claude H. Hall, "Abel P. Upshur and the Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy"". pp. 290–299. JSTOR 4246761. 
  11. "Biographical sources". Archived from the original on February 24, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  12. "TSHA on-line". Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  13. "The Handbook of Texas: "Ochiltree, Thomas Peck"". Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  14. Net Detective, People Search
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Inez Hall obituary". Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  16. "Claude H. Hall, Jr.". Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
Preceded by
Charles K. Phillips
President of the East Texas Historical Association

Claude Hampton Hall

Succeeded by
Fred Tarpley

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