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Register of the Hall (John B.) San Joaquin County Legal Papers, 1861-1898
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Hall (John B.) San Joaquin County Legal Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1861-1898
    Collection number: Mss233
    Extent: 3 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Hall (John B.) San Joaquin County Legal Papers, Mss233, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


    John B. Hall (1821-1906) practised law in Stockton, Calif. from1851 until his death. Hall was the son of a Hagerstown, Maryland attorney. He studied at St. Johns University and at the Jefferson Law College after which he was admitted to the Maryland bar (1840). Hall practised law in Hagerstown for ten years before coming to California (1850) where he established a practice in San Francisco. Soon afterward, Capt. Charles Weber, founder of Stockton, hired John B. Hall to handle his legal affairs (1851). Hall then relocated in Stockton where he remained until his death.
    John B. Hall was a member of the Stockton Blues, a militia company composed exclusively of Democrats (and principally of southerners), which San Joaquin County historian, George Tinkham, characterized (1923) as "a corps of gentlemen, sociable, generous, and always ready for a lark." This group, which received free muskets and ammunition from the state but supplied its own uniforms and housing, engaged in close-order drill and target practice, paraded on every occasion and attended gala performances and balls in full regalia. The group disbanded in June 1861 when pro-Union members uncovered a plot on the part of Confederate sympathizers among the Blues to steal the company's arms in order to lead an insurrection against the state government.
    Active in politics during his early years in Stockton, John B. Hall was a Union Democrat. He was twice elected chairman of the county Democratic convention (1857 and 1859) and also attended the wartime convention (1863). After the War, Hall lead a quieter life, engaging in law practice with various partners, including Henry Huggins, S.P. Scaniker, W.S. Montgomery, and Marion DeVries. Among the better-known cases with which Hall was involved were: the People of California v. Las Mariposas Estate [John C. Fremont's grant] (1866-68) and the Stockton & Visalia Railroad v. the Stockton City Council (1870). Many of his clients were involved in land disputes. Hall seems to have been universally respected in Stockton where, according to Tinkham (1909), "his name [was] synonymous with sterling integrity and unblemished character...."
    From about 1861, John B. Hall kept bound volumes of printed copies of the briefs and transcripts of all cases he argued before the California Supreme Court. He annotated these in ink and pencil. Hall's nineteen volumes span virtually forty years and constitute a major resource for the study of 19th century civil litigation, both in northern California and in San Joaquin county. The briefs were written not only by Hall, but also by other prominent attorneys of the region, such as: J.H. Budd, David S. Terry, F.T. Baldwin, George W. Tyler, and James A. Louttit.

    Scope and Content

    N.B.--Hall had Transcripts and Briefs bound separately before 1878. After that date Transcripts and Briefs for a particular case are bound together. It is not clear why the individual Briefs were bound together as they were. Their order is vaguely chronological, but not consistently so--nor is there evidence of subject ar-rangement, apart from the uniform contents of Briefs, Vol. 6.
    BOX ONE: TRANSCRIPTS of CASES, 1864-1877
    I. 1864-1870 II. 1870-1872 III. (1866) 1873-1874 IV. 1874-1877
    BOX TWO: BRIEFS of CASES, 1861-1874
    I. 1861-1867 II. 1866-1871 III. 1869-1872 IV. 1867-1872 V. 1866-1874 VI. 1870 (Stockton & Visalia Railroad v. City of Stockton)
    BOX THREE: BRIEFS of CASES, 1875-1898
    VIA. 1875-1877 Unbound Briefs & Transcripts, 1875-1898
    V. 1878-1881 VI. 1878-1885 VII. 1886-1887
    VIII. 1879 IX. 1880-1883 X. 1881-1884
    XI. 1887-1893 XII. 1888