Thomas B. Hall is senior member of the firm of Hall, Luhrs and Company, of Sacramento, which is the largest wholesale grocery concern in the city, and which, through the indefatigable industry and business management of its proprietors, has been built up to its present prominence from unimportant beginnings and a small amount of capital -- if by capital is meant money. From porter toproprietor would aptly characterize the business career of Mr. Hall, and every successive step of progress has been earned by his earnest and diligent efforts. The hazard of speculation has never figured in his life. He has simploy devoted his whole energies to grasping the details of the business of his coice, and each increase in his prosperity has been the logical result of some previous well defined business policy, so that his large enterprise is founded on the rock of substantiality, financial integrity and reliability, and since its establishment has never suffered from the storms of financial calamity without or injudicious management within.
Mr. Hall was born in the state of Illinois, January 5, 1853, a son of Richard and Frances (Hague) Hall. In that same year his father joined in the rush across the plains to the new Eldorado, and brought his family and located in the city of Sacramento, where he secured work on the Folsom and Placerville Railroad, the first ever constructed in California. The only unpleasant feature of this employment was that he never received compensation for his work, the projectors evidently considered that the glory of working on the first railroad was sufficient pay. For these reasons he soon became dissatisfied and concluded to abandon frontier life for civilization. With his family he started to return east, via the Panama route, on the ill-fated steamer Yankee Blade, which in the course of the voyage was wrecked off the coast of Santa Barbara. The family had a hard struggle to reach the coast five miles away, where they were finally picked up by the steamer Brother Jonathan (which was recently wrecked in northern waters), and were taken to Los Angeles. After remaining there one week they returned to San Francisco by another steamer. Richard Hall concluded that the fates opposed his return to the east, and he accordingly went back to Sacramento, where he remained unti 1856, and then bought a farm in Solano county, where he successfully tilled the soil until his death, in 1889. He was a native of Ireland and of English descent. His wife was a native of England, and came from an old English family of prominence. She emigrated to this country in girlhood, and was married to Richard Hall in St. Lawrence county, New York. Her death occurred in 1868. She left two sons and six daughters. William, the elder son, and two daughters have since died, and the daughters now living are: Mrs. Nancy Bloom, of Dixon, Solano county; Mrs. Bertha Goe, of Trinity county; Mrs. Amelia Frahn, of San Francisco; and Mrs. Jane Lemoine, of Texas.
Thomas B. Hall spent his early days on a farm, became familiar with all the labor and discipline incident to the tilling of the soil, and the training which he received there has remained with him as a valuable asset throughout his commercial life. He has always retained his interest in agriculture, and has operated a farm in addition to his mercantile business. He received his education in the public schools of Sacramento, and in Silveyville, Solano county, graduating in 1868. For the following year he attended the Pacific Business College of San Francisco. With all the aspirations of a boy of sixteen, and the vigor and rugged constitution of a boy fresh from rural life, he came to Sacramento in 1869 and secured a position as porter in the wholesale grocery firm of Milliken Brothers. Seven years from that time he had mastered all the details of the business and risen to a place of confidence and responsibility with the company, so that in 1876 he succeeded his employers in the business and established Hall, Luhrs and Company, which has continued without change of name or partnership ever since. The first location was at the corner of Third and K streets, but by 1883 the incresing volume of trade made it necessary that more commodious quarters be secured, so that the present location on Second between I and J streets was selected, where the firm has had an uninterrupted course of prosperty ever since and is now doing the largest wholesale grocery business in the city.
Mr. Hall was one of the organizers of the Mount Shasta Mineral Springs Company of Siskiyou county, and his firm held the controlling interest until the enterprise was well started, and then sold to other parties. He is a Republican, and has taken such interest in politics as is consistent with the busy life of a merchant and good citizen. He was one of the freeholders and a framer of the city charter, and as a member of the chamber of commerce for many years has done much work of a public nature, and has been repeatedly called upon to act on committees having charge of public works and enterprises. He was very active in the organization of the Orangevale colonization project, which was carried to a happy and successful conclusion and was an enterprise of great importance to the city and county of Sacramento. It had the effect of settling up large tracts of land with desirable people, and the work is one to which all the men connected therewith can point with pardonable pride. Mr. Hall was president of this company from its inception to the end. When the auditing board to the commissioner of public works was first organized, Mr. Hall was appointed a member by Governor J. H. Budd, and served on it six years, until it was wiped out of existence by Governor H. T. Gage and a new board organized.
Mr. Hall has had quite a military career, and as a result of it carries the title of captain. He joined Company E, of an artillery regiment, in 1885, and soon after his enlistment was made a corporal. Shortly thereafter he was elected captain of Company G, of the same regiment, and held that position for ten consecutive years, until 1896, when he concluded that he had served his country long and faithfully and desired to give someone else a chance to secure the title. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and is the present eminent commander of the Sacramento Commandery No. 2, K. T. and is also a Noble of the Mystic Shrine.
Mr. Hall was married in Sacramento, March 25, 1876, to Miss Selina A. Govan, a native of Philadelphia and a daughter of James and Elizabeth Govan, of Scotch and English families, and descending from a long line of stonemasons, marble-cutters, contractors and builders. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hll: Ward E., now cashier of the firm of Hall, Luhrs and Company; and Miss Ethel B., a student at Stanford University.
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