The first person to settle north of Apple Creek seems to have been Thomas Allen who settled near Belltown in 1818. Mr. Roy Wyatt has said that his ancestor, William Wyatt, built a cabin near Bradshaw Mound about 5 miles southeast of White Hall in 1818. Thomas Allen built a grist-mill at a location near Belltown. The mill sold to Peter Roodhouse in 1820. The first cabins to be built at the White Hall location were constructed near Seminary Creek, once called Henderson Creek, just south of town. A brick residence was built in 1830 by David Barrow. As early as 1931, James Allen and Beverly Holiday were living on the present site of White Hall. The former was a proprietor of a tavern, which was the only hotel between Carrollton and Jacksonville. Mr. Holiday lived south of James Allen in a small log cabin. He was the first postmaster and the first merchant. His dwelling place was also his place of business. Mr. Holiday was also a mill owner having erected in 1833 a carding mill, which was first run by foot power then by steam. David Barrow bought 80 acres from Asahel North for $200 and on half of his property he founded the town of White Hall on January 12, 1832. The town plat, recorded on March 9, 1932, contained 48 lots and 4 streets known as West Street, East Street, Main Street, and Church Street.
The tavern mentioned above which was owned by James Allen was a long white building and when a stage was approaching the place, the driver would call out "Next stop, the White Hall." Legend has it, this was how the town got itís name. A short time later, David Hodge who had a small store on the Apple Creek prairie, moved his building into the new settlement. His partners were his sons and Hodge & Sons became the second merchants in White Hall. Mr. Hodge was the first man married in the county, so far as records show.
Nathan Kendall built the first elegant residence in White Hall. He was owner of a grist and saw mill east of town.
Dr. William Holiday, the first physician, came in 1834, followed by Dr. S. H. Culver in 1836.
By an act of legislature, White Hall was incorporated as a town in 1837 and in 1884 it was incorporated as a city.
The first school house was erected on what now is Carrollton Street, and the first teacher was a Mr. Barton.
Before 1840 the town contained 30-45 buildings, mostly frame and some 300 inhabitants. Its growth was very rapid. In 1871 a fire destroyed the greater part of the most valuable buildings in town.
In 1879 White Hall had about 1,800 inhabitants and was one of the most active and prosperous towns in the state.
1883 Grange Block was completed. Best constructed block in Greene County. The brick was made locally by the late D. Culbertson.
The Methodist and Presbyterian churches are also built of White Hall Brick.
1897 A. D. Ruckle claimed championship in turning and burning a jug with 38 gallon capacity.
1899 Excavation began for White Hall Reservoir
1904 Soldier and Sailor monument erected in White Hall Cemetery
1905 The population was 2,500
1915 The Princess Theater opened
1922 White Hall American Legion laid cornerstone for White Hall Library.
Also, a cornerstone was laid for the White Hall High School by the Masonic Fraternity.
1927 Annie Keller, Teacher lost her life in a tornado, but saved her students
1939 Lions Club Organized
1961 Last passenger train through White Hall. CB&Q fare to Winchester was .34 cents.
Date Unknown North Greene School District built a new Grade School
1994 Explosion starts fire in Grange Block. Total Loss
2000 Census showed a population of 2,629 est.
2002 North Greene School District Built a new High School
At present time, the city is discussing plans to develop Custer Park to accomodate RV Camping.
It is no doubt difficult for people of this generation to visualize White Hall as it existed all those years ago. All the pioneers who laid out the town and started it on its way, have long since passed away. It is fitting, however, that we pause in our mad rush to consider what was done by those early pioneers and what they accomplished.
Today people have to commute to the cities for work because there are very few industries in this area. Still, White Hall is a nice place to live and raise a family away from busy city living.
Civil War Days in April
Lionís Club 4th of July celebration includes a large parade on the 3rd followed by entertainment, carnival rides, and in the concession stand, pork chops.
On the 4th they will be serving their famous Bar-B-Q sandwiches. There will be a cake walk and bingo stand along with carnival rides. There is always a very nice fireworks display followed by a drawing for either money or a car.
White Hall participates in Greene County Days during the second weekend in September.
The city sponsors Hometown Country Christmas the last of November in Whiteside Park.
Edward L. Hagar, was a member of the 61st Illinois Infantry, Company A. He enlisted November 13, 1861, as a drummer boy. He was mustered Feb. 5, 1862. He was shot at Shiloh on April 6, 1862.
Abraham Lincoln was a frequent visitor to White Hall, and stopped at the Amos Hotel, near the corner of Ayres and South Main Street, a corner now occupied by Coxís Auction. In Miss Tarbellís "Life of Lincoln" she states that Lincoln and General Shields went to the Amos Hotel and took dinner when they were on their way to Alton to fight a duel, and that the then Mayor of White Hall, who lived across the street from the Amos Hotel, was instrumental in patching up the matter so no duel was fought.
Josiah Lamborn, who was Attorney General of Illinois from December 23, 1840 to January 12, 1843, took up rooms in the Amos Hotel when his home broke up. He was the same age as Lincoln, but of other political party, yet the two men were warm friends. Josiah Lamborn died in the hotel March 31, 1847.
The Amos Hotel also provided quarters for John G. Nicolay when he served as clerk for Aaron Reno. Nicolay became Lincolnís private secretary and biographer.
For more information on White Hall, please visit the White Hall Township Public Library.
(Information obtained from the following sources: Greene County History 1879; Sesquicentennial book 1832-1982; Past, Present, and Future of a Wide Awake Town, 1905; White Hall Register Newspaper; a book on Josiah Lamborn; various Internet resources)