JOHN WOOD HALL was born in Frederica, Delaware, on January 1, 1817. He received a rudimentary education, and at the age of 17 apprenticed as a clerk. He became a successful merchant, specializing in lumber, and dealing in wood, produce, grains, and fertilizer. He became one of the largest ship owners in Delaware, transporting his goods worldwide. Hall entered public service in 1861 as director of the Farmers Bank, a position he held for 22 years. He won election to the Delaware State Senate in 1833, serving a four-year term, and was a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention. Hall was elected Delaware’s 36th governor on November 5, 1878 and was sworn into office on January 21, 1879. During his tenure, a law was constituted that granted the governor the authority to name an insurance commissioner. Legislation was enacted that supervised the sale of artificial butter, and a bill passed that certified the reimbursement of the state debt to the sum of $8 million at 4.5 percent. Hall left office on January 16, 1883, returning to his various businesses, and staying active in the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1890 he was reelected to the Delaware State Senate and served until his death. Governor John W. Hall passed away on January 23, 1892 and is buried at the Barratt Chapel Cemetery in Frederica, Delaware.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.