Willis Hall


Attorney General of New York, 1838-1847

Willis Hall was born in Granville, New York on April 1, 1801. He graduated from Yale College in 1824 and studied law at the Litchfield Law School, the first law school in the United States, in 1826. The following year, Hall continued his legal studies in the law office of Judge Johnson in New York City was admitted to the bar in 1827. He practiced law in Mobile, Alabama from 1827 to 1831, and in New York from 1831 to 1838.

Elected to the New York Assembly in 1837, and again in 1842, Willis Hall was appointed Attorney-General of New York in 1838, during the Seward administration, and was the prosecutor in the landmark case of People v. Alexander McLeod. In 1847, he was elected Corporation Counsel of New York City but resigned in May 1849 when he retired from political and professional life following defeat of Henry Clay’s nomination for the Presidency. Willis Hall died in New York City on July 14, 1868.



James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography, Volume 3 (1887).


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