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James Monroe "JM" Hall
Cemetery Photo
Rose Hill Memorial Park
Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma

Photos Dennis Wilson

Information furnished by Jo Aguirre
Dec 4, 1851 - May 26, 1935

James Monroe Hall (often called J. M.) was born on a farm  near the town of Belfast, Tennessee  on December 4, 1851. He graduated from Union Academy in Marshall County, Tennessee when he was seventeen years of age. 


J.M. moved t o Oswego, Kansas about 1868, and then moved  near McAlester Indian Territory in 1874. He was in charge of a general store there connected to a coal mining company. 


J.M.  married his first wife, Lula Pigg, with whom he had three children: Juanita, Lena and Hugh. He remained in McAlester for three years until the store was sold, then returned to Oswego and entered the grocery business. In January 1882, he moved to Vinita in Indian Territory, where he operated a store that sold supplies to men working on the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Later he came to the town of Tulsa in what was then known as Indian Territory. He was joined by  his brother, Harry C. Hall, and they operated a tent store that had followed the route of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad and selected the site where the road would stop at Tulsa. Initially they selected a site where the railroad crossed what would become Lewis Avenue and pitched a tent for the store there. The location was just inside the boundary of the Cherokee nation, but  the Halls discovered the Creek Nation had less restrictions on the activities of white merchants, so they moved the store a couple of miles west to what would become First Street and erected a more permanent wooden building The railroad extended its trackage from Vinita toward the Arkansas River. J.M moved his tent store along with the railroad as it moved southwest from Vinita. The railroad had intended to stop just inside the western boundary of Cherokee territory, but Hall learned that the Creek tribe, whose lands were just west of the Cherokee, had more favorable trade laws. He and his brother Harry, who was now a railroad contractor, persuaded the railroad management to move the station two miles farther west, to a small Creek village called Tulsa. The Halls set up the tent store there in August 1882. Although the railroad crews continued to move westward across the Arkansas, the Halls decided to remain in Tulsa.

J. M. replaced the tent with a permanent structure at what would be named First Street and Main Street, just south of the railroad tracks. According to his obituary in the Tulsa World, the one-story building was 25 feet by 50 feet, with a 16-foot lean-to on the north side and a 12-foot lean-to on the south side.  He  later  added a second story and enclosed the property with a fence. Still later, he replaced the original building with a two-story brick building that was known for many years after as the Hall Building. J. M. and Harry operated the store until Harry died in March, 1906. J. M. continued to operate the store until 1908, when he sold out to pursue banking and other interests.


After coming to Tulsa, J. M. married Jennie Stringfield, a Presbyterian missionary and they had two children: Kathryn and Harry. Rev.

Robert McGill Loughridge, preached the first sermon on the porch of the Hall store in 1883 J.M was a devout Presbyterian, and has been credited with organizing First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa. It was the first permanent Protestant church in Tulsa and they  began meeting at the store in 1885. The first ministers at this church were Presbyterian missionaries, whose salaries were paid by their denomination, the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA). J.M. organized a Sunday School, spending the next forty years as its superintendent. He organized a group of citizens to erect a structure that would serve as both a school and a church. The Presbyterian Church sent two missionary teachers and a minister, Rev. William Haworth, to staff the school. Haworth would serve until 1900 as the first permanent Presbyterian minister in Tulsa when  Charles William Kerr arrived.

In 1889, J. M. Hall, Jay Forsythe, R. M. Bynum and Joe Price bought the site occupied by the Presbyterian Mission Day School from the Presbyterian Board for $1,050. They held the title until Tulsa was incorporated, then deeded the property to Tulsa for use as a school. In 1906, the mission building was razed and the property became the site of Tulsa High School.

J.M. was one of the organizers of the Commercial Club in 1902, a forerunner of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce. He served as president of the club in 1904. He was also one of the club members who put together a successful bid in 1907 to move Henry Kendall College from Muskogee to Tulsa. He remained an active member of the club until 1932, when he was gr anted an honorary life membership  Hall also served on the Board of Trustees for 25 years, even after Kendall College became the University of Tulsa in 1920.

James M. Hall died May 26, 1935 at his home, 1801 Admiral Boulevard in Tulsa. 

Funeral services were held at the First Presbyterian Church and  conducted by Charles William Kerr, the first permanent minister of that church. 

Hall is survived by his widow, three daughters and a son. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery and his tombstone bears the inscription "Father of Tulsa." 

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