Scope and Content
Title: Hall (John B.) San Joaquin County Legal Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1861-1898
Collection number: Mss233
Extent: 3 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[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
BOX FOUR: TRANSCRIPTS & BRIEFS, 1878-1887
V. 1878-1881 VI. 1878-1885 VII. 1886-1887
BOX FIVE: TRANSCRIPTS & BRIEFS, 1879-1884
VIII. 1879 IX. 1880-1883 X. 1881-1884
BOX SIX: TRANSCRIPTS & BRIEFS, 1887-1893
XI. 1887-1893 XII. 1888