Jesse Lee (Leigh) Hall
1849 – 1911
Jesse Lee Hall was born in Lexington, North Carolina on October 9, 1849. The original spelling of his name was “Leigh,” but Hall changed it to Lee soon after moving to Texas in 1869. He first worked as a schoolteacher, but soon became a city marshal in Sherman, a deputy sheriff in Denison, and the sergeant of arms for the Texas Senate.
In August 1876, Hall became the second in command of Leander McNelly’s Special Force of Texas Rangers. Serving in the Goliad region, Hall soon broke up a gang of vigilantes and gained the goodwill of the community. In October 1876, Hall became the acting commander of the Ranger company.
He moved the company to Cuero to suppress the Sutton-Taylor Feud. The company was reorganized at Victoria in January 1877. Hall was made 1st Lieutenant and company commander with John B. Armstrong serving as the 2nd Lieutenant. Hall used the company to help suppress cattle rustling, raids across the border fueled by the Diaz revolution in Mexico, and the raiding of John King Fisher and his men. In 1880 Hall retired from the Rangers, turning over command of the company to T. L. Oglesby.
In the early 1880s Hall managed the Dull Ranch and worked to help stop the fence cutting activities in that area. He served briefly as agent to the Anadarko Indians before settling in San Antonio. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, Hall raised two companies for service in the First United States Volunteer Infantry regiment. After the release of the regiment from duty, Hall reentered the
army and saw action as a leader of the Macabee Scouts in the Philippines. He was discharged on October 6, 1900.
Lee Hall died on March 17, 1911 and was buried in the National Cemetery at San Antonio. Former Adjutant General Wilburn H. King characterized Hall as “a man of daring and almost reckless physical courage, of fine physique and resistless energy.”
Suggestions for further reading:
- Dora Neill Raymond, Captain Lee Hall of Texas, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1940.
- George Durham, Taming the Nueces Strip, Austin: UT Press, 1962.
- Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers, Boston, 1935.
- Dudley G. Wooten, ed., A Comprehensive History of Texas, Dallas, Scarff, 1898.
- Frederick Wilkins, The Law Comes to Texas, Austin: State House Press, 1999.