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Ventura County










            Herbert Hall, representative of an honored pioneer family of this section of the state, has been identified with the farming interests of Ventura County for well over a half century.  During these eventful years he has contributed to the extent of his ability to the normal and legitimate growth and development of the locality and has long held an enviable place among the representative citizens here.  Mr. Hall was born in Tonica, La Salle County, Illinois, January 9, 1862, his parents being Reuben Runals and Sarah Frances (Stratten) Hall, both of whom were natives of Sullivan County, New York, born in October, 1827.  The father was of English lineage and the mother of Irish descent.  They were married in New York in 1849 and then moved to Illinois, making the journey by way of the Great Lakes to Chicago, and thence to La Salle County, where they located.  About 1866 Reuben R. Hall got the California fever, and having finally decided to come to this state, he sold his farm in Illinois, and on May 10, 1869, he and his family embarked on the Illinois River, sailing to St. Louis, where they outfitted for the long and dangerous trip across the plains.  They joined and traveled the long westward trail with about the last great covered wagon train that made the trip, for the Union Pacific Railroad had been completed that spring.  There were sixty-nine wagons in the train and about one hundred twenty well-armed men.  The country over which they journeyed was infested with white desperadoes, who were worse to contend with and more to be feared than the Indians, with whom they had no trouble.  They arrived at Sacramento, California, September 10, 1869, when the state fair was in progress.  After spending three days there they went to Sonoma County, and that same fall they located in San Luis Obispo County.  In 1871 they moved to Monticello, Santa Barbara County, and a few months later located on the creek road near Ojai, Ventura County.  Subsequently they lived in Mound district, on what is now known as the B. W. Dudley farm.  The family numbered eight children, four of whom survive.

            Herbert Hall received his first schooling in San Luis Obispo County, in 1870, while during the following year he attended four months at Monticello.  After coming to Ventura County he attended the school at the foot of the grade between lower and upper Ojai for three years, and also continued his studies for four years at the old brick schoolhouse on the hill at Ventura.  In 1877 the family moved to Sespe, Ventura County, where they engaged in farming and stock raising, in which our subject bore his full share of the work, and he eventually engaged in the business on his own account, remaining in that locality until 1900, when he located on the Thomas Holden ranch, west of Santa Paula, where he remained ten years.  In 1910, having acquired what was known as the Alex Gray place in Santa Paula, he moved to it and remained there until September, 1925, when he sold that place and moved into a new home which he built at 963 Virginia Terrace, Santa Paula, where he has since resided.  In 1918 Mr. Hall bought one hundred acres of land in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County, which property he still owns.  He has been an energetic and up-to-date farmer and has through the years enjoyed well deserved success, so that he is now in very comfortable circumstances.  For nine years he was a director and the treasurer of the Growers Warehouse Company in Santa Paula.

            Politically Mr. Hall has always been a staunch supporter of the Republican Party, while his religious affiliation is with the Universalist Church.  Fraternally he is identified with Santa Paula Lodge, No. 314, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is a past noble grand, and also with Santa Paula Lodge, No. 59, Daughters of Rebekah.  For four consecutive years he was one of the trustees of Santa Paula.  An earlier biographer wrote:  “He is a man of candid and straightforward manner, keen and sagacious in all of his business affairs, and absolutely square in all of his relations with his fellowmen.  For these reasons, as well as for his friendly manner, he has long enjoyed an enviable standing throughout the community.”

            On December 21, 1887, near Santa Paula, Mr. Hall was united in marriage to Miss Minnie M. Cook, who was born September 12, 1866, in San Bernardino County, California, a daughter of John J. and Mary Ann (Turley) Cook.  Her father was born in Mohawk County, New York, May 22, 1827, while her mother was born in Toronto, Canada, July 13, 1827, and died December 24, 1904, at the age of seventy-seven years.  John J. Cook, who was orphaned early in life, was of German descent, while his wife was of English antecedents, her father coming to this country and serving in the Civil War with the rank of captain.  It is a peculiar coincidence that the parents of both Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Hall were born in the year 1827.  John J. Cook and Mary Ann Turley crossed the plains with ox-teams, being numbered among the real pioneers of the west.  They were married on their arrival in California, together with fifteen other couples who were joined in wedlock under the old sycamore tree in Cajon Pass.  They became the parents of nine children; five of who are yet living and reside in Ventura County with the exception of a son who makes his home in Los Angeles.  In was in 1869 that Mr. and Mrs. Cook left San Bernardino County, locating near what is now Bardsdale, Ventura County, but which was then in Santa Barbara County. Thus the identification of the Cook family with Ventura County dates back sixty-four years, which period practically embraces its development from a stretch of wild plain and barren wilderness to its present prosperous condition, and during these years the members of this family have borne their full part in the upbuilding of the community.  At one time they owned a wheat field where no is Santa Paula’s main street.

            Minnie M. Cook received a good public school education, first attending the Sespe district school, where Fillmore now stands, and later attending school in the Santa Clara district, in a small, shed-roofed house owned by Mr. Butcher, father of Supervisor Butcher, who now lives here.  There were no desks in that school, the only furniture being long benches for seats, and the first teacher was Miss Martha Seward, now Mrs. Ready, of Mound district.  In 1872 the family moved to Santa Barbara and in 1873 to Ukiah, Mendocino County, where they lived until the spring of 1875, when they returned to Ventura County for permanent residence.  Minnie Cook remained at home until she became the wife of Herbert Hall.

            Mrs. Hall gives her political support to the Republican Party and takes a deep interest in public affairs, particularly such as relate in any way to the prosperity and welfare of her community.  She is a member of the Universalist Church, while fraternally she is a member of Santa Paula Lodge, No. 59, Daughters of Rebekah, which she served as noble grand in 1917 and as chaplain in 1919.  She also belongs to the Santa Paula Ebell Club, the Improvement Needlework Sociability Club and the Fraternity Club, of which she has been treasurer.  She possesses many gracious qualities and has a host of warm and devoted friends throughout the community.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 537-540, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.