The Founding President of the South Jersey SAR
Rear Admiral Reynold Thomas Hall:
A Life of Valor and Service
Born in Philadelphia in 1858, Rear Admiral Reynold Thomas Hall was a man of exceptional courage and leadership. He was a proud native of Merchantville, a town co-founded by his father, Edward S. Hall. Reynold Hall spent his formative years there, later becoming the first president of the South Jersey chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Notably, he was the founding President of our chapter in 1923, alongside 21 other founding members.
Educated at Philadelphia’s Episcopal Academy, Hall further honed his technical skills at the Franklin Institute. His dedication and aptitude led to his appointment as an assistant engineer in the United States Navy in 1880. His rise through the naval ranks was meteoric, culminating in his appointment as Rear Admiral in 1914. He retired from active service in 1922.
Hall gained national acclaim for his role in the Spanish-American War. While commanding the USS Petrel, a 4th Rate Gunboat in the US Navy, under Commodore George Dewey, he displayed extraordinary bravery during the Battle of Manila Bay. His actions during the sinking of the Spanish fleet earned him a significant promotion, advancing him three numbers in rank. Upon his return to Merchantville, he was honored with a grand reception attended by residents from across Camden County. His community presented him with an engraved sword as a token of their admiration.
After the war, Hall continued to serve with distinction. He was appointed the industrial manager of the Navy Yard at Cavite and served as a squadron engineer in the Caribbean squadron. His exemplary conduct during the Battle of Manila Bay was publicly acknowledged, further solidifying his reputation as a war hero.
Hall was a recipient of the prestigious Dewey Medal and was an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Naval Engineers, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and the Franklin Institute. He was also a 33rd-degree Mason and a member of the Military Order of Foreign Wars.
In the early days of Merchantville, Hall, along with the late Henry McComb, initiated the establishment of the present Grace Episcopal Church. At the time, the town lacked a church building, so services were conducted in the parlor of the Hall family home.
In 1880, Hall married Ann Martin of Norfolk, Virginia. The couple did not have children. In 1934, Hall passed away in Wynnewood, PA, following a brief illness that led to a heart attack. He was 76 years old at the time of his passing. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., leaving behind a legacy of bravery, leadership, and community service.
News & Happenings
South Jersey Chapter, SAR participated in the South Jersey History Fair in Glendora, NJ. Thank you to the Chapter members who helped make this day enjoyable and productive: Jim Howard, Jay Eitner, Bill Dorman, Carl, Hausmann, Sam Davis, and Roger Long. Be sure to...
This morning, Rich Serfass, the president of the SJC SAR, and several chapter members were present at the Red Bank Battlefield, working alongside an archaeological team of Dr. Janofsky's Archaeology class from Rowan University, and community volunteers. Their...
Rich Serfass, president of the SJC SAR, recently enjoyed the opportunity to lead a tour of the Red Bank Battlefield for a group of homeschool students and their parents. The tour took showcased both the battlefield and the historic 1748 Whitall House situated within...