Marshall Hall is known for serving over 30 years as superintendent of Sunday School at St. George’s. The
Hall family were druggists at the corner of William and Caroline Streets and had been since the 1790’s. Marshall’s father John Byrd Hall was active in St. George’s 2nd Church and was one of seven children.
During the Civil War, he served Fredericksburg Virginia Light Artillery rising to the rank of corporal. He was present on the rolls until detailed in November, 1863 as a hospital steward at Battalion Headquarters.
In the postwar years, he married Lily Braxton and lived at 309 George Street and continued as a druggist at Halls Drugstore with his brothers Horace B. & Robert R. Hall. It was during these years he served more years as superintendent of Sunday school than anyone in the church’s history.
Sunday schools as this time served a larger number in relationship to the size of the Parish than today. In particularly Christmas celebrations from at least the 1880’s through the 1920’s were largely Sunday School celebrations. Many churches did not have a separate Christmas day service. While today the Christmas play featuring the children is often blended into an afternoon service, the Sunday School celebrations were the Christmas service.
Some celebrations, such as the ones in St. George’s were always held on Christmas Eve (generally around 7pm). Typical is the review of the 1886 service, held 7pm on December 24: “Promptly at the appointed hour named the appointed Scholars assembled in the basement room where they were formed into line and marched to the body of the Church, each class bearing an appropriate banner. As the Scholars entered headed by their efficient superintendent Mr. Hall, the organ gracefully and ably presided by Miss Hattie Slaughter pealed forth the beautiful hymn led by Mrs. Dr. Doggett and Mrs. W. E. Bradley who had charge of the music, the children joining in the singing with the choir filled the room with their happy voices. After singing several beautiful and appropriate hymns and a few remarks by the Rector Rev. Mr. Mason the Scholars entitled to prizes were called to the chancel and received their prizes.” The banners contained “Glory to God in the Highest”, “Faith, Hope and Charity”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Children of the Resurrection” and “Children of the Resurrection.”
The description in 1888 mentioned a prize for bringing in the greatest number of “scholars.” (There were 175 in the Sunday school including officers, teacher and scholars). During the service, one from each class marched to the Chancel railing to present a Christmas offering. As they returned to their seats the doxology was sung. Toward the end they marched around and out by the side aisles and down to the Sunday school rooms (Sydnor Hall) for treats. “When the usual amount of goodies have been heaped into a large pyramid of bright tarlatan bags, dressed with holly, ivy and vines) surmounted by a row of different colored candles, the sight of which the bright and happy faces made us wish we were children again.”
After Hall’s death in 1903, a stained glass window was dedicated to him , “Christ with the Little Children” in 1907 and created bty the Colgate Art Glass Co. in NY. The inscription was “Faithful until Death.” The Daily Star wrote at the dedication, “It is a beautiful and appropriate tribute to his work in the Sunday School as it is to his high Christian character. ” The window cost between $400 and $500 with the cost contributed by Sunday School.
His obituary said the following – “Of him it can be truly said that he was a man of spotless, plainless character untouched by any form in vice or any sense of the word.”