The Honorable Augustus Hall was one of the earliest residents of Bellevue. His arrival in the county was announced by the Bellevue Gazette in May 1858. Hall was appointed the second Chief Justice of the Nebraska Territory, following the resignation of Fenner Ferguson. By all appearances, his appointment was a welcomed one as made evident by letters written to the editor of the Bellevue Gazette exclaiming what a fine candidate he was. Prior to coming to Nebraska, he represented the first congressional district of Iowa and served for a time as acting Assistant United States Marshal.
Hall was a native of New York where he attended the Middlebury Academy. He gained notoriety in the Ohio, where he lived for seven years, when he was appointed Prosecuting Attorney for his county. Augustus was married twice. His first wife, Ellen Lee, passed away before 1850 leaving behind two daughters – Theodosia and Ellen. Augusts remarried several years later to Jennie Smith.
Andreas’ History of the State of Nebraska contains the following description of Judge Hall:
As a man, Judge Hall possessed many attractive qualities. His sympathies were warm and easily enlisted. His heart was true His social qualities were remarkable. For hours he could entertain a circle of his friends, and neither he nor they know weariness. Those who were admitted to his friendship will carry in their hearts many a fond memory of hours enlivened by his conversation.
We know from newspaper articles that he presided over at least one murder trial, in 1858. He appears on the 1860 United States census as residing near another famous Bellevue resident, Henry T. Clarke. According to this census, his immediate neighbor was Robert Moscrip. If you came to the Bellevue Buried History Cemetery Tour you may recognize this name. Moscrip was arrested in 1868 for running a titling house and selling liquor, presumably from his grocery store, on the Sabbath. Moscrip buried his wife and child in his backyard, which is next door to where the Bellevue log cabin is now located. Based upon the ages of his children listed on the 1860 census, the young child of Robert’s that died was quite possibly little Augustus Hall Moscrip. Unfortunately, details of the apparent relationship formed between Augustus and Robert have been lost to time.
Hall’s tenure as Chief Justice of the Nebraska Territory was rather short. He died in Bellevue on February 1, 1861 at the age of 47. He is buried at the Prospect Hill Cemetery in southern Omaha.