Howell County Gazette
Thursday, Jan. 28, 1904

Will H. Zorn, Editor and Proprietor.


Henderson Hall died at the age of 105 years. He was of Portuguese ancestors and his descendants had trouble on this account. Henderson Hall perhaps the oldest resident of Howell Co., died at his home near Pottersville last Thursday morning at 2 O‘clock. He had been ill for some time- but within a year ago he was in good health. Last year he had an attack of the grippe, which weakened his system, and when he took a severe cold a short time since it hastened his death.

Among the oldest settlers of Howell Co. Henderson Hall was well known. He came to Howell Co. 60 years ago and has resided here since. At the time of his death it is said that he was over 100 yrs of age. The assertion has never been disputed. Henderson Hall was the father and leader of the people residing in what is known as the "Hall Settlement," eight miles southwest of West Plains. Whenever any person in the settlement became ill or got in trouble they always came to Henderson Hall. He gave them advice and told them what to do in their troubles. Everyone beloved and respected him.

When he first came to Howell Co. Henderson Hall got a job working for Uncle Fred Collier, one of the prosperous farmers residing in the valley adjoining West Plains. Hall became enamored of his employer’s daughter and married her. Uncle Fred Collier thereupon disowned his daughter and forbid her crossing his door. And thereby comes the story which caused much feeling among the residents of the south part of the county a number of years later.

The sons and daughters that came to bless the home of Henderson Hall and wife grew to manhood. Some of them were married and they in turn had children. These children were all of the same dark complexion as their grandfather, Henderson Hall. Although either their father or mother were of pure white complexion, the children invariably had dark skin.

About 15 years ago when the school enumeration was made in the "Hall Settlement" the children of the tribe of Hall were enumerated as "colored." They were denied admission to the district school and then trouble began.

The Halls began mandamus proceedings to compel the school directors to permit their children to attend the school held in the district. When the case came up for trial in the Howell County Circuit Court a change of venue was taken and the case sent to Texas County.

Upon the case being submitted before Judge Woodside at Houston, H. D. Green, attorney for the Halls, conclusively showed to the satisfaction of the court, that there was no negro blood coursing through the veins of the Hall children. He had several of them present, each with his hair closely cropped and looking as though they had just come out of a band box. Photographs of several of Henderson Hall’s ancestors were produced and also locks of their hair, all of which went to prove that Henderson Hall and his descendents were not negroes, but descendents of Portuguese. Judge Woodside decided the case in favor of the Halls and they were permitted to attend the district schools again.

Henderson Hall claimed that his ancestors came of a noble family in Portugal. He came to this country with his parents and settled in one of the Eastern states, where they acquired large interests. Later Henderson Hall emigrated to Howell county settling here for the remainder of his days. His funeral services were held Friday and the remains laid to rest in the Lamons Cemetery on South Fork.

(Note: Lamons Cemetery is now know as Evergreen Cemetery and is found between South Fork and West Plains in Howell Co. MO)