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Hall Family Collection

Identifier: A-0368

Scope and Contents

There are a wide range of materials in the Hall Family Collection. In the personal and family correspondence there are court records, diary entries, holiday cards, letters, newspaper clippings, notebooks, notes, poetry, postcards, sympathy cards, and telegrams. The business records in the collection often consist of accounts, bills, ledger books, letters, memos, minutes, notes, promissory notes, receipts, and reports. Leisure and travel are most often documented with booklets, brochures, contact sheets, negatives, postcards, postcard books, photographs, photo albums, programs, or scrapbooks. Awards (certificates, medallions and plaques), breed standards, magazine articles, and photographs constitute most of the items in the collection that pertain to judging and showing dogs. Other formats researchers may find include artwork, books, maps, and stamps. Most of the materials in the Hall Family Collection range in date from the 1880s to the early 2000s.

Materials that researchers might find noteworthy include:

- Letters from the Attic, which consists of more than 5,000 documents written by Hall family members between the 1880s and the early 2000s. These were completely transcribed by Andrena Hall Brunotte into a 16-volume that is 3,300 pages long.

- Thousands of letters minutely illustrate the lives of three generations of the Hall family. The correspondence is predominantly about family and daily life, but also frequently touch on business, current events, and travel. The bulk of the letters are from the 1910s through the 1940s and actively refer to the social, economic and global events that shaped that consequential period of modern history.

- J. Thomas Hall’s correspondence as the Superintendent of the Indian school at Crow Creek (1902-1903) and his collection of photographs from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation (circa 1903).

- Local farm loan association mushroomed after the U. S. Congress passed legislation establishing the Farm Credit System in 1916 and created a Federal Land Bank in Houston. J. Thomas Hall was the secretary-treasurer of the Nacogdoches National Farm Loan Association. The collection has a minute and account book, correspondence, land records, loan documents, and other materials.

- Materials on progressive agriculture in East Texas, with a focus on tobacco. J. Thomas Hall was President of the Nacogdoches Tobacco Growers Association. He kept their membership records, correspondence with the Department of Agriculture, and his own tobacco farming documents.

- The diary Ross Mooring Hall kept for the first eight years of her son G. Martel Hall’s life. There are more than 700 entries, the majority of which are transcribed in Letters from the Attic.

- G. Martel Hall lived in China from 1919 to 1942 as a bank manager for the National City Bank of New York. He wrote more than 1,100 letters home to his parents in Nacogdoches about life in China, current events and family. Hall observed the defense of Wuhan firsthand from Hankou in 1938 and remained in China through 1941.

- G. Martel Hall was captured after Pearl Harbor, but escaped Japanese-occupied Beijing in 1942 and walked across China for 8 months with a Chinese army to his freedom and American lines in Chongqing. The collection has Hall’s 245-page diary of the escape experience, including his thoughts on meeting Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai along the way. Historian Kenneth E. Shewmaker wrote in his 1971 book that he thought Hall was the most important “firsthand observer in the years from 1940 to 1944” of the Chinese Communists. Hall debriefed the Vice President of the United States Henry Wallace in Chongqing in 1943.

- The National City Bank of New York sent Hall to Saudi Arabia in 1945, where he wrote a series of reports on the economy and government, foreign affairs, regional stability, and prospects.

- Frances Winifred Hall’s work organizing United China Relief in Nacogdoches, 1941-1943.

- Frances Winifred Hall’s advocacy for animals as a co-founder of the Humane Society of Nacogdoches County and a long-time board member of the Humane Society of the United States.

- Records of Poodhall, an internationally known Nacogdoches-based kennel run by Frances Winifred Hall and Andrena Hall Brunotte. They raised world champion poodles.


  • Event: Donated 11/2/2019

Language of Materials

The collection is predominantly in English, but there some materials in Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. None of the foreign language documents are translated.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

J. Thomas Hall and Ross Mooring

Born in Edgefield, South Carolina March 10, 1866, J. Thomas Hall came with his parents to San Augustine County, Texas in 1874. Not much about Hall’s early life is known, but it is likely that he was a bright and intelligent student. In 1884, at the age of 18, Hall got a job teaching first grade in San Augustine. He taught second grade there in 1885 and continued to pick up teaching positions at small towns in Texas, instructing at the Vance Greer Community (1888) and Hemphill (1889). Hall was also attending the Sam Houston Normal Institute during the later years of the 1880s, getting his teaching certificate in 1889 and teaching degree in 1890. Hall taught in Whitney, Texas in 1890 and then accepted a position in Kosse, Texas the following year. Hall remained in Koss for five years and was widely regarded by the community. For several years he served as both principal of the high school and superintendent of all schools. Hall also met his future wife, Ross Mooring, while managing the Kosse school system.

Sally Ross Mooring was born March 13, 1871 in Bedias, Texas. She was a member of the first graduating class of Navasota High School in 1888. She and her sister Maggie were a year behind J. Thomas at the Sam Houston Normal Institute, receiving their teaching certificates in 1890 and their degrees in 1891. Ross met J. Thomas as his primary teaching assistant in 1892. They married August 15, 1893 in Temple, Texas and honeymooned to the Chicago World Fair. Their only child, G. Martel Hall, was born in Temple July 2, 1894.

The Hall family left Kosse in 1896, moving as J. Thomas Hall got new administrative assignments in Honey Grove (1896-1898) and then Alvarado, Texas (1899). He then went to work for the United States government, serving as a superintendent for Native American boarding schools. J. Thomas Hall supervised the Indian schools at La Jolla, CA (1900), Fort Shaw, MT (1901), Crow Creek, SD (1902-1903), and Little Eagle, SD (1903-1906). Ross and Martel were with J. Thomas every step of the way. Ross even became the federally appointed postmaster of Little Eagle in 1905.

J. Thomas Hall retired from teaching in 1906 and moved the family back to the Nacogdoches area. He established the Cloverdale Fruit and Stock Farm in 1907. He also started experimenting with tobacco cultivation that same year. By 1909, Hall was the President of the Nacogdoches Tobacco Growers Association. In 1911, he bought a farm house in Nacogdoches at 4522 North St. The property included the house, surrounding farmland and an adjacent lake (Rose Lake). All family correspondence thereafter refers to the Hall family home as “Rose Lake.” When the Nacogdoches National Farm Loan Association was chartered in November 1916, he was elected as the secretary-treasurer. He served in this role continuously through 1929. J. Thomas ran for a position in the state House of Representatives in 1922, but lost to Eugene H. Blount. Ross kept herself busy working at the A. Y. Donegan and C. N. Thompson insurance agencies in town.

Ross and J. Thomas welcomed their daughter-in-law Winifred, and grandchildren Andrena, Andrew and Richard, to the Rose Lake house in 1938 after they were evacuated from their home in Hankou, China. Winifred and the younger children (Andrena went off to college) remained in Nacogdoches throughout World War II. They rejoined Martel Hall from 1946 to 1949 in China and India, but returned later in 1949 for good when Martel retired from international banking and brought his family back to Nacogdoches. J. Thomas Hall passed away August 26, 1957 and Ross Mooring Hall followed January 26, 1966.

J. Thomas Hall and the founding of SFA

J. Thomas Hall was a prominent voice in the Nacogdoches community and may have played a crucial part in the creation of SFA. In 1921, he lobbied his friend Walter A. Keeling, Texas’ assistant attorney general, to use his direct line to the Governor to convince him not to veto legislation to fund Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College. Writing back to Keeling on September 7, 1921, Hall says:

My dear Walter, After mailing my letter to you yesterday, I learned that the Governor had approved the Stephen F. Austin appropriation to the amount of $175,000. Our town has greatly rejoiced. The citizenship thru Mr. E. H. Blount, President of the Commercial Bank, have expressed their thanks and high sense of obligation to you for what they believe you have done in the matter. It has been rumored that we had discussed the matter and the kind message that you sent me and Mrs. Hall thru Mr. Giles Haltom has been the talk of the town since he returned. All are agreed that you saved our building, possibly at the cost of all we might have had. We have waited 100 years for the Normal, and can afford to wait one more year with perfect grace.

Again, thanking you for myself and the good people of this community, I am, Your friend, JTH

Grey Martel Hall

Born July 2, 1894 in Temple, Texas to J. Thomas and Ross Mooring Hall, Martel Hall’s early childhood was spent in the various communities in Texas where his father was teaching and then at Indian reservations in California, Montana and South Dakota. He and Ross evidently made some extended trips to see her parents in Temple, Texas. Martel’s first-grade report card for February-April 1904 is from a Temple school. The family moved back to Texas in 1906 when his father retired from teaching, settling in Nacogdoches. Hall was an above-average student and athlete, ranking second in his seventh-grade class in 1910 and winning the mile race at athletic meets in 1912 and 1913. Martel graduated from Nacogdoches High School in 1913. He was admitted to Rice University that Fall.

Rice’s President Edgar Odell Lovett expelled Hall from the university the Fall of 1914. Martel, along with two others, thought it would be a great practical joke to set fire to a large gasoline can on their dormitory roof. They got the can to the roof and cut the dorm’s telephone wires, but were caught attempting to sever the building’s electricity. After his expulsion, Martel worked for W. D. Cleveland and Sons wholesale grocers and cotton factors in Houston from 1915-1916. His mother appealed to President Lovett to reinstate her son in April 1916, but to no avail. In the Fall of 1916, Martel enrolled at Columbia University in New York City.

Hall enlisted in the U. S. Navy shortly after the United States entered World War I in April 1917. Martel started out on the training ship USS Granite State as a quartermaster from May to August 1917. He was reassigned to the cruiser USS Seattle from August to December 1917. Hall was then discharged for officer’s training, serving on the USS Proteus and becoming an ensign in April 1918. His final posting was on the USS Craster Hall, where he was promoted to lieutenant, junior grade, in August 1918. Martel was discharged from the Navy in early 1919 and expected to go back to school. He was shocked to learn, however, that Columbia had decided to award bachelor’s degrees to those who would have graduated in 1919, but who had volunteered for war service instead. Hall was short 17 credits, but went to the Dean of Admissions, got an exception, and thus received an electrical engineering degree (see letter from G. Martel Hall to his parents, June 2, 1919.

Hall’s first job out of college proved to be his last. The International Banking Corporation, an overseas subsidiary of the National City Bank of New York, hired Martel to work at its Far East office. As the list below illustrates, Hall steadily advanced in rank and responsibility within the bank. He made a career of international banking, learning Mandarin and building networks of contacts with the foreign and Chinese aristocracy. Hall was a member of the Shanghai Club, the Cosmopolitan Club of Wuhan, and a life member of the Hong Kong Club. He became friends with noted missionary Logan Roots, Australian journalist William H. Donald, as well as many Chinese business leaders and politicians. These influential connections would serve Hall well once World War II broke out in the Pacific.

Hall was not all business while in the Far East. He met his future wife, an Englishwoman, Winifred Andrew, on a steamship from Hong Kong to England in 1924. They were smitten. Martel was on his way home to the United States, but came back through London on his way to a new assignment in Hong Kong in January 1925. He proposed, and after a two-week engagement, Martel and Winifred were married January 29, 1925. The couple ended up having three children in the Far East: Andrena (1925) and Andrew (1932) in Hong Kong and Richard (1937) in Hankou. Life in Hong Kong and later Hankou was idyllic in many ways for the young family. Photo albums in the collection show happy children and fun excursions to the beach at Repulse Bay and trips through the Chinese countryside. With family in the United States and England, the Hall’s circumnavigated the globe by steamship and railway to see their disparate relatives in 1930 and 1934-1935. That all changed with the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in July 1937.

The American Consul General recommended to American companies in early September 1937 that women and children should be evacuated from China. Martel was worried about his family getting bottled up in Hankou without good rail or river options to the coast, but decided that his family should stay put, believing there to be a greater risk of malaria and cholera on the Hankou-Canton evacuation trains. Even after the first Japanese bomber raid hit the Chinese quarter of Hankou on September 26th, Martel remained steadfast in his conviction about the safety of his family. That changed in December, as Japanese successes downriver made it very likely that the Japanese would launch a full-fledged assault on Hankou in the near future. Winifred and the kids were evacuated to Hong Kong on December 19, and then made their way to Nacogdoches, but Martel stayed behind to manage the bank.

Hall remained the branch manager at Hankou until 1940, when, after a short stint in Shanghai, he became the branch manager in Beijing. This is where he was in December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II. Martel was interred in Beijing from December 1941 until May 1942. “Because of his banking connections and the intercession of the diplomatic corps, at the time still in Beijing, he was not taken to prison or an internment camp as were thousands of other Americans residing in occupied China, but was allowed to remain in his home under the vigilant eye of the Japanese” (see Beaumont Enterprise, July 16, 1943, page 9). Hall coordinated with Chinese friends from the outset, carefully planning his escape. Hall made good on these preparations May 21, 1942. He used his freedom to go for walks in Beijing to make his way to the German embassy. There he rendezvoused with a German woman named Hildegard Brenneke who wanted to reunite with her American fiancé in Chongqing. Hall posed as a German mining engineer and together they caught a taxi out of town. They were met by Chinese guerillas, who guided him through occupied territory and into their headquarters some 200 miles southwest of Beijing, where he stayed three months. He then began a winding 1,500-mile journey across China by foot and horseback with the Chinese 8th Route Army to Xi’an (only 800 miles as the crow flies). November 22nd he was able to send a telegram from Yan’an to his family in Nacogdoches letting them know he was alive. Hall had an audience with Mao Zedong there on December 10, 1942. The hope was that Hall, who as a banker would not be suspected of pro-communist sympathies, would tell people both in Nationalist-held China and in the United States what he had seen and heard during his escape. Mao wanted him to pass on their message that “good government and democracy” was their aim.

Hall’s trek ended December 18th in Tongguan when he reached a railhead. He took the train to Xi’an December 22nd, switched to a truck January 13th, and finally arrived in Chongqing January 27, 1943 after a journey of eight months and six days. Martel’s direct observation of the Communist army and Japanese troop positions made him an invaluable intelligence asset. Hall was debriefed separately by General Joseph Stilwell, General Claire Lee Chennault, and the Vice President of the United States Henry Wallace, amongst others, while he was in Chongqing. Martel also worked closely with the Office of Strategic Services liaison Dr. John K. Fairbank, preparing a report of his observations and microfilming his documents in March. His diary entry of April 29th states, “All my notes, maps, etc. have been sent forward to Dr. William L. Langer, Director of Research and Analysis” of the Office of Strategic Services. While in Chongqing, Hall also had many informal conversations with Zhou Enlai. Martel’s trip home started June 9th and he reached Accra July 10th after plane stops in Calcutta, Karachi, and Khartoum. From there he flew to South America (probably Brazil), then Miami, and then completed the journey July 16th with a train to Beaumont.

Hall’s wartime experiences were not finished. He went back to work for National City Bank of New York in 1944. The bank sent him to Saudi Arabia from December 1944 to March 1945, where he wrote a series of reports on the economy and government, foreign affairs, regional stability, and prospects. Martel was then sent on a similar fact-finding mission to Central and South America from June to October 1945, visiting Costa Rica, Panama Columbia, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil. After the war, Hall went back to China for a year and then to India to manage the bank’s Bombay branch from 1947-1949. A protracted disagreement between Martel and bank management in New York over his salary in India led to him to retire in August 1949 and move back to Nacogdoches. Hall put out feelers for jobs with the Department of State and CIA in 1951, but neither agency was interested. In retirement, he bred Angus cattle at Rose Lake and regaled friends and family with stories from his nearly three decades abroad. G. Martel Hall passed away February 11, 1984 in Nacogdoches.

G. Martel Hall’s Career at the National City Bank of New York, 1919-1949


1919, Student, New York City

1919-1920, Probationer, Beijing, China

1920-1922, Sub-Accountant, Shanghai, China

1922, Sub-Accountant, Batavia, Dutch East Indies

1923-1925, Sub-Accountant, British Singapore


1925-1928, Sub-Accountant, British Hong Kong

1928-1929, Accountant, British Hong Kong


1931-1934, Sub-Manager, British Hong Kong


1935-1940, Manager, Hankou, China

Jan. 1941, Manager, Shanghai, China

Feb.-Dec. 1941, Manager, Beijing, China

1944-1945, Official Assistant, New York City

1946, Sub-Manager, Shanghai, China

1946, Acting Manager, Tientsin, China

1946-1947, Manager, Tientsin, China

1947-1949, Manager, Bombay, India

Abstracted from G. Martel Hall's employment record, Box 19, Folder 12.

Winifred Andrew Hall

Frances Winifred Andrew was born in Hendon, London, England to Frank and Mary Andrew on January 9, 1901. Winifred had three siblings, but was especially close with her sister Cecily. Photographs in the collection place her at the Bella Vista School in Hendon for 1914-1915 school year and at the Tremonth School in Hampstead, London in 1917. Winifred was courted by a suitor in England in the early 1920s. Winifred vacationed with the young man and his family to Singapore in 1924. The suitor, who worked in the Far East, asked for her hand in marriage, but Winifred was not in love, so she declined his request and returned to England. On the steamship home, she met Martel, who was headed to the United States on furlough. The pair hit it off and Winifred introduced Martel to her parents in August 1924. The admirer in Singapore was still in the picture while, however. As told by Martel in a letter to his parents from January 22, 1925, “When she reached England, she wrote him telling him that she liked him very much, but didn't know whether or not she would ever love him...If, under these conditions, he still wanted her, she would marry him. He accepted, and so when we found that we cared for each other, she felt bound. When I left England, she felt that she couldn't marry him, but felt that to throw him over was a very dishonorable thing, as he was not here to plead his case. She, therefore, wrote him saying in substance, what she felt, and that she thought it would be better to break off. He wrote back, asking that she wait until he came home before releasing her.” Interested but uncertain what to do, Martel and Winifred’s relationship remained in limbo when Hall left for the States. Determined to win Winifred over, Martel stopped at Hendon on his way back to Hong Kong in January 1925 “purely in hopes that I could make her feel that she was not bound to wait for [the fiancé’s] return.” Winifred broke off the engagement and agreed to marry Martel. They were married January 29, 1925 in Hendon.

Winifred left England with Martel and immediately moved to Hong Kong. Their first child, Andrena, was born at the end of the year. Later, they had a son in Hong Kong (Andrew, 1933) and another son in Hankou (Richard, 1937). The family lived in Hong Kong for almost ten years (1925-1935) and Winifred stayed busy raising her two children and entertaining guests. In 1930, Martel took a yearlong travel furlough. The whole family stayed in Nacogdoches from February to August and then sailed to England. Martel returned to Hong Kong in January 1931, but Winifred and the kids remained with her family in Hendon through August. They traveled home westward, making a quick stop in Nacogdoches, and reached Hong Kong in November 1931. Martel, Winifred and the kids would not see their English and Texas families again until 1935 when Martel got another travel furlough from the bank.

The Hall family moved to Hankou in 1935. Winifred and the children lived there until December 1937, when the Japanese (Second Sino-Japanese War) started to approach the city. They were evacuated to Hong Kong by plane, then took a steamship to Vancouver, and then the train to Nacogdoches. They moved to Rose Lake, Nacogdoches and lived with Martel’s parents, J. Thomas and Ross Mooring Hall. Winifred became a U. S. citizen in 1939.

Pearl Harbor caught the Hall family, like much of America, by surprise. Winifred’s last letter from Martel before hostilities began was November 18th and the lasts letters received were sent November 30th and December 2nd to Andrena and Andrew respectively. Winifred could get no direct word from her husband, though semi-regular telegrams from the bank assured her that on their best information Martel was doing okay. To do her part for the war effort and to support her husband, Winifred became a local organizer for United China Relief in 1942-1943. She gave lectures, sponsored events, and raised money in Nacogdoches for the war effort in China. Winifred received her first confirmation that her husband was okay in a November 1942 telegram. Martel reached Chongqing in January 1943 and was reunited with his family in July. Winifred remained in Nacogdoches through 1946. She lived with Martel in Bombay, India from 1947-1949, and then moved back to Nacogdoches upon her husband’s retirement from the bank.

Winifred and Andrena brought home to Nacogdoches their first two black miniature poodles from England in 1950 with the idea of starting a kennel. In 1952, Winifred bought a British champion miniature poodle named Pixholme Firebrave Gustav. Together, Winifred and Andrena set about training the dog for North American competition. Andrena took Gustav to shows across the United States and Canada, winning championships in each country. Their success showing and breeding Gustav (he eventually sired 13 champions) made their kennel, Poodhall, synonymous with excellence in the 1950s and 1960s. The secret to their success was a small, selectively bred kennel of fewer than 20 dogs. Winifred had strong convictions that “poodles crave and must have human companionship in order to grow into the loveable little people that we enjoy having in our homes.” A small kennel allowed “Mrs. Hall…to give each dog individual care and attention” (The Poodle Review, January 1958, page 6).

After Andrena got married to Hans Brunotte in 1956, she established a “branch” of Poodhall at her new home in Ontario, Canada. Winifred still owned Poodhall, but with her daughter and partner no longer around, she shifted her focus to a new project, the Humane Society of Nacogdoches County (HSNC). Winifred was co-founder of the organization along with Roger and Charlotte Baker Montgomery. They had their first meeting in November 1959 and started to raise money through memberships and donations to build a shelter. For the first three years, both families took in dogs and cats to live with them at their homes. The shelter was built in 1963 at 421 Rusk St. on land donated by the Montgomery’s. Winifred’s advocacy for the humane treatment of animals continued at the national level as a board member of the Humane Society of the United States from 1965 to 1972. To the end of her life, Winifred was a constant advocate for animal rights, humane education, and legislation to protect animals from abuse and cruelty. She was recognized by the American Association of University Women in 1989 as an outstanding advocate for animal rights and welfare. Frances Winifred Hall passed away in Nacogdoches April 14, 1990. A bequest from her will and in-memoriam gifts created the Winifred Hall Spay/Neuter Fund at the HSNC in 1991.

Andrena Hall Brunotte

Juliet Andrena Hall was born in Hong Kong November 30, 1925 to G. Martel and Winifred Hall. Andrena was a world traveler from an early age, circumnavigating the globe several times as a youth with her family. They lived in China and then visited Martel’s parents in Nacogdoches and Winifred’s parents in London. Andrena was evacuated to Nacogdoches in December 1937. She graduated from Nacogdoches High School and got her undergraduate degree at Smith College, Northampton, MA, in 1945. Andrena studied abroad in Geneva Switzerland in 1946, earning herself a master’s degree in international studies. She then moved to Bombay, India and lived with her parents from 1947-1949. Andrena moved with her parents to Nacogdoches in 1949 when her dad retired from banking.

Childhood pictures of Andrena show the family’s great affinity for pets. She had a beloved pet dog name Pickles in Hong Kong and China. Photographs of visits to Rose Lake from the 1920s to 1940s invariably feature Andrena and her siblings in the company of dogs, cats, or ducks, and frequently riding horses. When her mom started Poodhall Kennels in 1950 in Nacogdoches to breed miniature show poodles, Andrena was a natural partner. They worked well together with Winifred managing the business, both of them caring for the poodles, and Andrena taking their best animals to dog shows in the U. S. and Canada. Andrena met her future husband Hans Brunotte on the dog circuit in Canada. They married in Nacogdoches in 1956 and went on to live in Caistor Centre, Ontario. Poodhall remained based in Nacogdoches, but with a “branch” operation with Andrena in Canada. Andrena and Hans focused on breeding and showing poodles from the 1950s through the 1970s, raising many fantastic Poodhall champions. Their most successful dog was international champion Poodhall Gus (1955-1969). Between 1957 and 1963, Gus won 25 best-in-shows and 100 group firsts, and “for six years in a row he was the top winning poodle (all varieties) in Canada” (The Poodle Review, August 1970, page 29). Twenty-one poodles sired by Gus became champions and five were best-in-show winners. As they got older, Andrena and Hans applied their expertise in handling to judging canine breeds. Becoming all-breed judges, they travelled the world judging at dog shows.

Andrena and Hans spent more time in Nacogdoches at Rose Lake to keep Winifred company after Martel passed away in 1984. With the death of Winifred in 1990, the Brunotte’s started summering in Canada and wintering in Nacogdoches. It was presumably during these extended visits that Andrena started to explore her family’s history and came up with the project to transcribe the letters and documents that became Letters from the Attic. She traced her family lineage back to early Texan Alexander Hodge and became a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Daughters of the American Revolution women’s organizations. It took nearly 20 years, but Andrena likely did the bulk of the transcriptions for Letters from the Attic between 1994 and 2013, which is the range of file dates on her CD back-ups to the project. In 1992, the Hall children (Andrena, Andrew and Richard) elected to sell most of the land at Rose Lake to Wal-Mart. The family homestead was moved and renovated off North Street to its present location at the end of Roselake Drive. Andrena Hall Brunotte passed away in Nacogdoches July 7, 2017.

The Mooring family

Charles G. Mooring was born November 10, 1844 in Grimes County. He was a private in Company G of the 4th Texas Infantry and wounded at Gettysburg. Mooring was a hotelier, managing establishments in Navasota, Temple and Mineral Wells. He married Frances Catherine Ross on February 12, 1869. Together they had three daughters, Sally Ross Mooring, Margaret “Maggie” G. Mooring, and Alberta “Bert” Mooring. He shot and killed a salesman that sexually assaulted his daughter Bert Mooring at their Temple hotel (circa 1890), but was acquitted for murder. Mooring opened the Piedmont Hotel in Mineral Wells in 1896. He passed away July 16, 1903 in Mineral Wells.

Bert Mooring was born in 1878 in Prairie Plains, Grimes County. She spent time at a Catholic convent in New Orleans. She married three times: to newspaper editor A. P. Moran (d.1912), to James W. Keoun in 1913, and to merchant mariner William Thurston in 1920. Bert Mooring passed away in 1921 in New Orleans.

Basic Family Tree

1 Charles G. Mooring (1844-1903) m. Frances Catherine Ross (1847-1911)

---- 2 Sally Ross Mooring (1871-1966) m. J. Thomas Hall (1866-1957)

---- 2 Margaret “Maggie” G. Mooring (1869-1956) m. James C. Rudd (b.1850)

-------- 3 Fay Mooring Rudd (1892-1980) m. Charles D. Childs

-------- 3 Charles M. Rudd (1894-1919)

-------- 3 Madge Rudd (b.1897)

-------- 3 Hilda Rudd (1901-1977)

-------- 3 Mildred E. Rudd (1905-1987) m. Ragsdale

---- 2 Alberta “Bert” Mooring (1878-1921) m. A. P. Moran / m. James W. Keoun / m. William Thurston

1 George L. Hall m. Harriett Ann Posey (1846-1929)

---- 2 J. Thomas Hall (1866-1957) m. Sally Ross Mooring (1871-1966)

-------- 3 Grey Martel Hall (1894-1984) m. Frances Winifred Andrew (1901-1990)

------------ 4 Juliet Andrena Hall (1925-2017) m. Hans Jurgen Brunotte (b.1929)

------------ 4 Andrew Martel Hall (b.1932) m. Felicia Anne Mezzacappa (b.1934)

---------------- 5 Anthony Andrew Hall (b.1955) m. Lucy Tibbetts

---------------- 5 Cicely Winifred Hall (b.1958) m. Joseph L. Johnson

---------------- 5 Christopher Robinson Hall (b.1959) m. Mary Ann Boyer

---------------- 5 Thomas Martel Hall (b.1960) m. Megan Simpson / m. Barbara Campbell

------------ 4 Richard Thomas Grey Hall (1937-2005) m. Grace Elizabeth Walton (b.1938)

---------------- 5 James Thomas Hall (b.1963) m. Karyn LeAnne Morrison

---------------- 5 Robert Andrew Hall (b.1966) m. Paula Suzuki

---- 2 George M. Hall

---- 2 May Hall m. Hamilton

---- 2 Ida Hall m. Edgar D. Moorer

---- 2 Lilla Hall m. T. E. Strickland

1 Rev. William Wickes Wayte Andrew m. Emily Ballance

---- 2 Dr. Francis W. “Frank” Andrew (d.1967) m. Mary Peover

-------- 3 Herbert Andrew

-------- 3 Kenneth Andrew

-------- 3 Frances Winifred Andrew (1901-1990) m. Grey Martel Hall (1894-1984)

-------- 3 Cecily Grace Andrew m. Brian Sebastian


53.0 Cubic Feet


The Hall Family Collection can generally be described in two parts. The first part is Letters from the Attic, which are more than 5,000 documents that Andrena Hall Brunotte transcribed into 16 volumes. Brunotte’s transcription project established an “original order” to this part of the collection that the processing archivist does their best to adhere to. All of these materials were found in one large steamer trunk and organized by Brunotte in chronological order. Boxes 1 to 4 of the collection house the paper transcriptions (3,330 pages). Boxes 5 to 13 contain the documents, which are in chronological order. The transcriptions and original documents make up Series 1 of the collection.

Appendix A of the finding is an item-level index of every document transcribed in Letters from the Attic. It has annotations for where there are gaps in the transcription record (sometimes Mrs. Brunotte would only partially transcribe a document or transcribe a single document from several that were enclosed together). Appendix A shows which original documents from Letters from the Attic were not donated and are only available as transcriptions (i.e., the Crow Creek Letters, pages 66-145). The Appendix also cross-references documents that were transcribed as part of Letters from the Attic, but organized into the boxes in the second part of the collection. Oversize documents, which were removed and then separated, flattened and organized in the oversize boxes and bundles, are also cross-referenced.

The collection is indexed and organized to the printed “1st edition” of Letters from the Attic even though there is a digitized “2nd edition” of the Brunotte’s transcriptions. The 2nd edition is not paginated and organized by year instead of volume. In this context, it was much easier to arrange the collection using the 1st edition. The content of the 2nd edition is also somewhat different. There are 16 letters from 1911-1927, a diary entry from 1990, an interview from 1991, and an article from 1997 about the Rape of Nanking that are newly transcribed. Brunotte includes new anecdotes to contextualize some of the older transcriptions. The new transcriptions, but not the anecdotes, are in Box 4, Folder 5, and cross-referenced in Appendix A.

The second part of the collection is everything else that the Hall family gave to the archives that was not transcribed in Letters from the Attic. For these materials, the processing archivist created their own order. These materials are housed in boxes 14 to 38 and described in Series 2 through 10. The processing archivist’s primary arrangement is by family name. Each series is broken down into sub-series that further organizes the familial documents by subject. Not surprisingly, there are the most sub-series for the Hall family. Below is a list of the Series and sub-series in the collection:

Series 1: Letters from the Attic – two sub-series

Series 2: Hall family – forty-three sub-series

Series 3: Brunotte family – sixteen sub-series

Series 4: Mooring family – three sub-series

Series 5: Andrew family

Series 6: General photographs

Series 7: Miscellaneous Documents – five sub-series

Series 8: Negatives with vinegar syndrome – four sub-series

Series 9: Plaques and Medallions

Series 10: Oversize Documents

Most of the collection is described at the folder-level. There are 1,394 folders in the collection. Parts of the collection described at the item-level include Letters from the Attic (Series 1), Plaques and Medallions (Series 9), and the Oversize Documents (Series 10). The collection is housed in four vertical clamshell boxes (Boxes 1-4), 28 banker’s boxes (Boxes 5-30, 33-34), two horizontal clamshell boxes (Boxes 31-32), four oversize boxes (Boxes 35-38), and two oversize bundles (Bundles 1-2).

Separated Materials

Added to the ETRC book collection: The Texas Magazine, vol.1, no.1, October, 1909.

What is vinegar syndrome? -- BOX 31 ONLY

Early on, Kodak and other companies that made film stock knew that nitrate film was flammable and potentially dangerous. For a number of (mostly business-related) reasons, the full transition to safety film wasn’t made until the early 1950s. It wasn’t long before archivists and other people who handled film noticed that the acetate base was deteriorating and off-gassing acetic acid, a component of vinegar. Harold Brown, an archivist at the British Film Institute’s National Film Archive, coined the term “vinegar syndrome” to describe not just the smell, but the accompanying catastrophic deterioration that occurs when the film base breaks down. The three main enemies of acetate film are heat, moisture, and acid. Any combination of the three will accelerate a film’s demise. Vinegar syndrome is only effecting the negatives in Box 31. The rest of the collection is fine.

Letters from the Attic - Main Authors and Recipients

The lists below show the authors and recipients that sent or received more than 40 documents in the "Letters from the Attic" series . It is useful for getting an idea about who the bulk of the collection is about.


G. Martel Hall, 1,758

Ross Mooring Hall, 787 (700 of these “documents” are entries in her diary of G. Martel Hall childhood)

Frances Winifred Hall, 530

J. Thomas Hall, 368

Andrew Hall, 219

Andrena Hall, 158

Bert Mooring, 97

James A. Mackay, National City Bank, 66

Boies C. Hart, National City Bank, 57

Mary Andrew, 45


Ross Mooring Hall, 1,526

J. Thomas Hall, 1,389

G. Martel Hall, 780

Frances Winifred Hall, 514

Andrena Hall, 137

Andrew Hall, 121

James A. Mackay, National City Bank, 72

William H. Donald, 56

Newspapers donated to other Archives

University of North Texas

- Groesbeck Journal, vol.1, no.49, 8/16/1893

- Groesbeck Journal, vol.3, no.36, 5/16/1895

- Kosse Weekly Cyclone, vol.9, no.43, 7/5/1894

- Mineral Wells Daily Index, vol.4, no.62, 7/16/1903

- Temple Daily Tribune, vol.8, no.291, 7/17/1903

- Temple Daily Tribune, vol.8, no.292, 7/18/1903

- Unknown newspaper, supplement, “Speech of Judge Geo. N. Aldredge, at Sherman, Tex., June 23, 1894,” circa 1894

- Southland Farmer, vol.37, no.6, February 1923. Monthly, Houston, Texas.

New Mexico State University

- Las Vegas Democrat [East Las Vegas, NM], vol.1, no.2, 2/21/1913

Other Contributors

- ETRC director Linda Reynolds (2019) helped with the initial donation, packing and transporting the collection from the Andrena Hall Brunotte’s home to the archives.

- Student assistants Jayden Franke (2019-2020) and Julia Dion (2019) indexed, unfolded and organized the bulk of the "Letters from the Attic" documents.

- Archivist David A. Langbart (2021) at the National Archives found State Department records on G. Martel Hall’s time in China and Saudi Arabia.

- University Archivist and Research Coordinator Chris Cotton (2021-2022) helped research certain items in the collection and assisted with the installation of the Hall Family Collection exhibit.

- Outreach Librarian Candice Cloud (2021-2022) assisted with the opening reception and the installation of the Hall Family Collection exhibit.

- Trey Turner (2021-2022) from the SFA Office of Development worked with the family to set up the Hall Family Foundation.

- Shirley Luna, Graham Garner, Joanna Armstrong, and Misty Wilburn (2021-2022) from SFA University Marketing Communication helped plan the opening reception.

- Volunteer Paul Ainsworth (2022) encapsulated oversize documents and numbered archival folders.

- SFA Provost Lorenzo Smith, SFA History professor Philip Catton, SFA student Emma Hill, and Andrew Hall spoke at the opening reception May 6, 2022.

Guide to the Hall Family Collection
Kyle Ainsworth
May 6, 2022
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository