A transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by C. Kendall is attached. Kendall summarises his character as follows. “In looking at the life and ministry of our departed friend, there are many things we might say, but the editor’s space for a memoir is limited, but we may say Brother Hall was possessed of manifold excellences.
1. He had considerable ability. He wielded a ready pen. He was tidy and methodical in all his works. His letters and MS were specimens of neatness.
2. He was cheerful, uniformly so. He knew what trouble was, but he did not proclaim it. We fear he allowed it to percolate in many instances to the heart, while his cheery words and looks prevented even the suspicion of its existence.
3. He was kind and courteous to a remarkable degree. He would have sustained the wrong of unkindness, either in word or deed, without any complaint or attempt at defence. No rough or discourteous words were wont to escape his lips. He was in his entire bearing gentlemanly, nay Christian. This, we contend, is the highest style of man.
4. He was a good pastor; when moderately well he had considerable delight in visiting the people where he was going to preach, and inviting them to the preaching service. In some cases he would call at every house in the village. This is a kind of enterprise which is always accompanied with beneficial results. To fully carry it out demands a good amount of physical and nervous energy.
5. Our brother was generous. He was too generous with his limited wage and large family. He had a princely disposition. It is probable if requested to aid any good institution, though unable, that his kind, generous nature would not have been able to have negatived the application, But generosity must always be under the governance of reason, or it may grow to a weed rather than a flower. In Bro, Hall’s case this probably would be looked upon by many as the fly in the ointment.”
James was born on 1 February 1835 at Sutton-by-Hull, Yorkshire, to parents Ambrose, a bricklayer (1841), and Mary.
Before entering the ministry James trained as a joiner.
He married Mary Anna Matthews (1834-1919) in the summer of 1863 on the Isle of Wight. Census returns identify six children.
- Florence Annie (1865-1949) – a school teacher, english (1911)
- Wavell Wesley (1867-1931) – a sergeant in the army (1901)
- Mary Gertrude (1870-1885)
- Romilly Matthews (1872-1933) – a headteacher (1911)
- Oswald Tyerman (1875-1952) – a master butcher (1911)
- Ambrose Athelstan (1878-1957) – a traveller (printing) (1911)
James died on 1 January 1882 at Hull, Yorkshire.
- 1857 Buckden
- 1858 Brighton
- 1859 Isle of Wight
- 1861 Ventnor
- 1862 Gloucester
- 1864 Hull II
- 1866 Scarborough
- 1868 Driffield
- 1869 Market Rasen
- 1873 Pocklington
- 1874 Selby
- 1877 Mexborough
- 1879 Crowle
- 1880 Hull III (Sup)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1882/434
PM Minutes 1882/5
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers