September 13: Charles Henry Hall+ (1895)

Charles H. Hall served as Epiphany’s second rector during the tumultuous years of the American Civil War. In a capital city with residents on both sides of the issue and lots of suspicion of the other, Hall bore true witness to the faith. Hall, a Southerner, heard that Secretary of War Edwin Stanton suspected him of being a Confederate sympathizer. Hall immediately showed up at Stanton’s office and proclaimed, “I do not intend to preach politics, but rather Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Is that satisfactory for you sir?” Stanton became an Epiphany parishioner for the rest of his life. Hall was born in Augusta, Georgia, the oldest of thirteen children. His mother was a strict Presbyterian, and he was brought up in that faith and adhered to it until he was a student in Yale College, where he renounced the Presbyterian doctrine and took up that of the Protestant Episcopal Church. After graduating from Yale in 1842, Hall attended General Theological Seminary and was ordained.

Hall’s first charge was on Long Island, then on to a parish near West Point where he was also chaplain at the Military Academy. Several years later he went south to a parish on John’s Island, South Carolina. It was from here that Hall came to Epiphany in 1856. Hall arrived as a 36-year old widower. A year later he was married to a vestry member’s daughter. The couple’s five daughters were all baptized at Epiphany. A sixth child, a son, was born after the Halls left Washington. From Epiphany, Hall went to Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, where he stayed the rest of his life. Hall became a life-long friend of fellow Brooklyner Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe), a Congregationalist minister and ardent abolitionist. Hall retained his fondness for Epiphany, returning on several occasions.

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