Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Orville J. Hall

Orville J. Hall, a pioneer citizen of Menasha, was born in Vermont, March 14, 1818, son of Abner M. and Eunice Hall, the former born in Cornwall, Vermont, and the latter in Litchfield, Connecticut, both of English descent. When he was less than a year old his parents moved to St. Lawrence County, NY, where he grew up on a farm. He received a common school education, and at the age of seventeen he started out into the world.  After a year of farm work in Niagara County, NY, he came west as far as Indiana, and during one summer he helped to construct a dam across the Wabash River, near Delphi. He then returned to his home in New York, and for about seven years was connected with a stage company. In 1845, he learned daguerreotyping and for about four years, he pursued this art in New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada.
He was married September 20, 1849, to Delilah Pauline Danforth. She was born in Fort Covington, Franklin County, NY, April 25, 1829, the daughter of David and Pauline Richmond Danforth, both natives of Danville, Vermont, the former of English and the latter of Scotch descent. Immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hall came to Wisconsin, and during the winter which followed made their home in Plover in Portage County. In the spring of 1850, they settled in Menasha, where they lived out their lives. Menasha at that time was a mere hamlet, so they have been identified with Menasha throughout its entire history. He managed a grocery store for a short time and then turned his attention to the brewery business in partnership with A. K. Sperry. During the years 1860 and 1871, he and Frederick Loescher, who was then his partner, erected the Menasha brewery on Manitowoc Street, and his connection with it continued until the fall of 1872.  Later, it became the WInz Brewery. From November, 1872, to July, 1873, he was the partner of Samuel Roby in a general store. 

Concurrent with his business pursuits, Hall became active in politics.  In 1860, he served as chairman of the town board of supervisors in Menasha, and this made him a member of the county board. He served another term as a member of the county board of supervisors in 1873. That same year, he became village president in Menasha's last year before incorporation as a city.  In 1874, he was elected as the first mayor of the city of Menasha, and served one term, successfully bridging Menasha's governmental transformation.
Hall died on January 28, 1890 and his funeral was held in his home pictured below. His widow remained in the home until her death in June of 1916. Thereafter, the house was owned and occupied by their daughter and her husband, Mr. Harrison DeWolf, the cashier at the Bank of Menasha.

The Orville Hall house at 410 1st Street was originally built in 1870.

Randall, Geo. A. / Illustrated Atlas of Winnebago County,
Historical & Architectural Resources Survey, City of Menasha, Winnebago County, August 31, 2009

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