Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick

Augustus C. Hall

I was unaware until recently, that we have a special connection to Hall County, Nebraska.

Grand Island is Nebraska’s fourth largest city (44,000), after Omaha (420,000), Lincoln (241,000) and Bellevue (48,000). It is located about 100 miles west of Lincoln, and was laid out by the Union Pacific Railroad in the spring of 1866. It is the largest of nine towns in Hall County, which include Abbott, Alda, Cairo, Doniphan, Schauppsville, Spencer, Underwood and Wood River.

Hall County was organized November 4, 1858, and its boundaries redefined in 1864 and 1871. The area was first settled in 1857. The county was named for Judge Hall, who was a former resident of Keosauqua.

Augustus Caesar Hall, was born in Batavia, Genesee County, New York, on April 29, 1814. He graduated from Middleburg Academy and studied law. In 1836, he commenced a law practice in Mt. Vernon, Ohio where he served as assistant U. S. Marshal in 1839 and prosecuting attorney from 1840-1842.

In 1844, Mr. Hall moved to Keosauqua, the seat of Van Buren County, Iowa. A Democrat, he was elected as U.S. Representative from Iowa to the 34th U.S. Congress (1855-1857), and then President Buchanan appointed him to be chief justice of the Nebraska Territory in 1858. He served in that capacity until his death on Feb. 1, 1861 at the age of 46.

Hall County, with 546 square miles of land, has the highest density of tornado activity of any county in Nebraska.

In 1860, the population of Hall County was 116. In 2005, the population exceeded 55,000 for an average of 101 persons per square mile. The average citizen is 35.6 years of age, is Republican, and the cost of living is only 82% of the national average. In 2004, Bush/Cheney received 69.1% of the vote, while Kerry took only 29.5%.

Hall practiced law while he lived in Keosauqua, and opened a law office soon after his arrival. In 1852, he was a presidential elector, and cast his vote in the electoral college for Democrat Franklin Pierce.

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick