The author of this magazine article was a United States Army officer named William Preble Hall.
The topic of Hall's article is the evolution of military weapons and tactics during the late 1800s.
WHY IS THIS PHOTOCOPIED MAGAZINE ARTICLE OF INTEREST TO COLLECTORS OF WATCHTOWER SOCIETY AND JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES MEMORABILIA?
Because General William Preble Hall was probably the most widely known member of the Watch Tower Society in the early 1900s -- second only to Charles Taze Russell himself -- and 99.99% of today's Jehovah's Witnesses have never heard of him.
Jehovah's Witnesses can dust off their copy of the Watchtower Society history book: JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES: PROCLAIMERS OF GOD'S KINGDOM, but they will not find the name William Preble Hall in the index. As a matter of fact, the name William Preble Hall cannot even be found in the PROCLAIMERS book.
Interestingly, General William Preble Hall does appear in the top photograph on page 420 of the PROCLAIMERS book. General William Preble Hall is third from the left -- standing behind the seated Charles Taze Russell. This is a photograph of Charles Taze Russell and six close friends who traveled together during Russell's famous World Tour in the winter of 1911-2. This group of men were seven of the most prominent members of the Watch Tower Society in 1912; yet, the editors of the Watchtower's history book did not even bother to list their names like they did for the group photograph on page 653 -- which pictures the eight Watch Tower members sentenced to federal prison in 1918. So that those six men do not have their identities erased from Watch Tower history by the PROCLAIMERS book editors, here are the names of those prominent "Bible Students". Feel free to write the names into your own copy of PROCLAIMERS:
Standing left to right: Ernest Wilson V. Kuehn; Dr. Leslie W. Jones; Gen. William P. Hall; Professor Frederick H. Robison; Robert B. Maxwell; J. T. D. Pyles. The three men without "titles were all wealthy merchants. Kuehn was a seed company owner from Toledo, who was the country's foremost expert on clover. Maxwell was a well-to-do merchantile storeowner and bank boardmember from Mansfield, Ohio. Pyles was the Washington D.C. owner of one of the largest chain of grocery stores the country. Interestingly, Maxwell died only a few weeks after returning from the World Tour - and his family took the hint.
WHY WOULD THE EDITORS OF THE WATCHTOWER'S OWN HISTORY BOOK INTENTIONALLY TRY TO ERASE THE NAMES OF SIX OF THE MOST PROMINENT WATCHTOWER MEMBERS OF THAT ERA FROM ITS OWN HISTORY? Because, Kuehn, Jones, and Robison eventually disassociated themselves from the Watch Tower Society after Russell's death. However, to the best of my knowledge, when William Preble Hall died in 1927, he was still loyal to the Watch Tower Society.
Why, then would the editors of the PROCLAIMERS book try to erase the memory of one of the most prominent "loyal" members of the early Watch Tower Society? Maybe it is because the editors of the PROCLAIMERS book do not want today's Jehovah's Witnesses, or anyone else for that matter, to know that General William Preble Hall was not only a career officer in the United States Military, but in fact, during the time Hall was an active member of the Watch Tower Society, Hall held the rank of Brigadier General, plus he served as ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL at military headquarters in Washington D.C. In fact, while General Hall was on the Watch Tower World Tour, his boss General Ainsworth took early retirement, and General Hall was appointed to run the U. S. Military as its ADJUTANT GENERAL until Hall's own scheduled retirement in June 1912.
How did General William Preble Hall come to hold the most prominent position in the United States Military?
William Preble Hall was one of the more prominent figures in the United States Military between the time of the American Civil War and World War I. Hall came from a prominent Missouri family. Hall's father was a respected Judge, and Hall's brother later became a U.S. Congressman. Hall, a widower, re-married the daughter of U.S. Senator Blackburn from Kentucky on November 12, 1890. Therese Blackburn Stewart Hall (also her second marriage) was extremely active in Washington social circles. Wedding attendees included a General, an Admiral, a Supreme Court Justice. Grover Cleveland sent a gift.
William Preble Hall graduated from West Point in 1868. Hall was initially commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in an Infantry unit. Hall was reassigned to the 5th U. S. Calvary in 1869. For approximately twenty years, Hall served throughout most of the American Western frontier, and served in most Indian campaigns. Hall both knew and interacted with most of the historical Western figures portrayed in books and movies. In 1872, Second Lieutenant Hall could be found commanding Camp Crittenden, a small outpost in southern Arizona; probably much like the abandoned outpost featured in the movie "Dances With Wolves". There, Hall fought against Choshise and other Apache renegades -- losing both soldiers and local settlers in several actions. In the 1870s and 1880s, Hall served with the 5th Calvary in Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, etc. Along the way, William Preble Hall distinguished himself as an administrator and manager, and he was assigned Quartermaster duties. Hall's superiors praised his ability to move men and materials faster than any other Army officer. When Buffalo Bill Cody killed Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hand in 1876, Hall was in charge of the supply wagon train which Yellow Hand and his band had been stalking. Buffalo Bill ambushed Yellow Hand just as he was attempting to ambush two of Hall's couriers. Hall thereafter served as Quartermaster at Fort Laramie for several years in the late 1870s and 1880s. In July 1881, Hall's first wife, who was living with him at Fort Laramie, died of unknown cause. Kate Conrad Stanton Hall was from a prominent Connecticut family, and her remains were returned there for burial. In the early 1890s, Captain William Preble Hall was assigned the duty of removing the Cherokees from parts of the Oklahoma territory.
It was William Preble Hall's expertise in management and administration, along with Hall's reputation for "getting things done", that made way for his promotions and eventually led to his assignment to the Adjutant General's Office in Washington D. C., and promotion to Major around 1893/4. However, William Preble Hall was no pansy "desk soldier". In 1897, Hall was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his gallantry during a 1879 skirmish with Indians in Colorado. During his Western service, Hall became an expert marksman with both the rifle and pistol, and in later years, Hall won many awards as a member and commander of the Army's marksmanship team.
By the late 1890s, William Preble Hall had been promoted to Lt. Colonel, and with the start of the Spanish-American War, Hall headed up the Adjutant General's Office of the Department of the Gulf in Atlanta. Hall eventually oversaw AG operations in Puerto Rico in 1899-1900, where he became sick with some tropical illness. Hall was thereafter reassigned to Chicago to head up the AG's Office for the Department of the Lakes. Hall did not remain in Chicago long, as he was sent to the Philippines in 1901 to head up the AG's Office there. By 1903, Colonel Hall was back in Washington D.C., where he was promoted to "Assistant Adjutant General", but designated as the "Acting Adjutant General of the Army."
In 1904, two major life events occurred for William Preble Hall. Hall was promoted to Brigadier General. Then, in September 1904, while attending the World's Fair in St. Louis, Hall picked up and read two Watch Tower Society tracts. From those tracts, Hall ordered Charles Taze Russell's "Plan of the Ages", and was hooked by Russell's interpretations. By June 1905, Hall was a full fledge Russellite, and the Watch Tower Magazine was already making full use of General William Preble Hall's name and office. In 1908, the Watch Tower Magazine listed Hall as a Russellite who supported and had taken Russell's controversial "Vow". By 1911, General William Preble Hall's prominence and active work in the Watch Tower Society had grown to the point such that he was selected to give the Opening Address at the national Watch Tower Convention in September 1911. It was at that Convention that plans were made for Russell's World Tour starting around the end of the year. After returning from the World Tour, General William Preble Hall spent the remaining short time prior to his scheduled retirement in June 1912 as the Adjutant General of the U.S. military. In July 1912, the national Watch Tower Convention was held in Washington D. C., and there now retired General Hall gave the feature talk which presented the Anti-Hellfire Resolution for adoption.
After his retirement, General Hall busied himself with the affairs of the Watch Tower Society -- after all Jesus Christ was returning for the Battle of Armageddon in October 1914. Evidently, Hall was not overly disappointed in the failure of Russell's prediction, since in April 1915, Hall provided J. F. Rutherford with a Letter of Recommendation for Rutherford's defense of Charles Taze Russell in Rutherford's booklet entitled "A GREAT BATTLE IN THE ECCLESIASTICAL HEAVENS", which Hall signed, "W.P.Hall Brigadier General, U.S. Army". Hall evidently also supported Rutherford as Russell's successor given that some advertisements for the seven volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures included an endorsement with the signature: "Brigadier General W. P. Hall, U. S. Army". General Hall traveled as a WatchTower "Pilgrim" and "Servant To The Brethren" in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, and possibly others, during the latter 1910s and 1920s, until his health would no longer permit.
General William Preble Hall remained a loyal Watch Tower supporter until his death at Walter Reed Army Hospital in 1927. Hall was buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery
A few interesting points about Hall's life remain. General Hall was re-married to a Senator's daughter who was extremely socially active in Washington circles. The Halls had a son and a daughter -- in addition to a daughter buried at Arlington, who had died at the age of five. There is no indication of how Hall's wife or two children felt about the Watch Tower Society, but if their feelings were positive, such fact would likely have been mentioned, if not exploited, just as was Hall's support.
Another interesting item relates to General Hall's son. Those who have followed my research of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (who was reared by parents who were Russellites) will recall my speculation that Assistant Adjutant General Hall may have helped Eisenhower (who needed help) to gain admission to West Point in 1911. Interestingly, General Hall's own son also entered West Point the same year as did Eisenhower (who had already graduated from high school several years previous).
Readers may also recall my relating the story of how Eisenhower arranged for his Russellite mother to take an airplane ride over Washington D.C. in an open cockpit Army airplane sometime in the 1920s. I'm unsure of the year, but it is interesting that the lastest info that I have found on Hall's son is from the 1920s, when he was placed in charge of the Army Air Force unit stationed just outside Washington DC.