Justus Otho Hall is superintendent of schools at Hutchinson. By his work and influence there and elsewhere he is one of the leading educators of Kansas today.
Mr. Hall had been active in school work almost twenty years. Born near Warner, Ohio, February 27, 1870, he came with his parents to Kansas at the age of fifteen. He received his early training in the country schools near Warner, Ohio, and at Morse, Kansas. After spending some time at work on his father’s farm and after three years spent in the United States Railway Mail Service he entered the high school at Lawrence, Kansas, where in five years he completed the high school course and four years of university work. He was graduated from high school in 1896 and in 1898 he received his A. B. degree from the University of Kansas.
In the school year of 1898-99 Mr. Hall was assistant principal of the Olathe High School, and was principal of the Horton High School from 1899 to 1901. Since that time he had been superintendent of some of the larger school systems of the state. He was superintendent of the Horton Schools for four years from 1901 to 1905, superintendent at Beloit from 1905 to 1909, and since the fall of 1909 he had been at the head of the Hutchinson City School System, now the fourth in size in the state. Under his supervision are ten ward and high schools with an enrollment of 4,300 pupils. The teaching staff at Hutchinson in the fall of 1917 numbered 121. In connection with his other educational work Mr. Hall was, from January, 1910, to March, 1913, associated with ex-State Superintendent Geo. W. Winans as junior editor of The Interstate Schoolman, a monthly educational journal. Mr. Hall had his offices in the Hutchinson High School building.
Mr. Hall is a member of the Reno County Teachers’ Association, is one of the board of directors and for a number of years had been active in the leader ship of the Kansas State Teachers’ Association, had been president of the North Central Kansas Teachers’ Association, and president of the Central Kansas Teachers’ Association, had attended many meetings and conferences of the National Education Association, of which he is an active member, and is a member of the National Society for the Scientific Study of Education, and of the American Historical Association.
The Hall family originated in England but came to America in colonial times. Mr. Hall’s grandfather, Joseph B. Hall, was born at Montreal, Canada, in 1810, was reared in New York State, married in Ohio, and was an early settler on a farm near Warner, Ohio, where he died in 1885. Besides farming he also carried on the business of contracting and building. He married Mary I. Bartlett, who was born in Missouri in 1812 and died at Warner, Ohio, in 1891. Four of their children are still living: Rufus B., a surgeon at Cincinnati, Ohio; George W.; Levi, a farmer at Warner, Ohio; and Margaret Ann, wife of L. Q. McCurdy, a farmer at Fleming, Ohio.
George W. Hall, father of Justus O., was born near Warner, Ohio, in January, 1847. He was reared and married there, and took up the trade of carpenter, with which he also had combined farming at different periods of his life. In 1885 he brought his family from Warner, Ohio, to Olathe, Kansas, where for a brief time he followed his trade but soon moved to Morse, Kansas, where he lived on his farm till 1901. He was next a carpenter at Iola, Kansas, from 1901 to 1904, but had since lived at Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he is still active in his trade, though past the age of seventy. He is a republican, a member of the Baptist Church, and is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. George W. Hall married Diantha Elizabeth Harvey. She was born in Noble County, Ohio, and died at Morse, Kansas, March 9, 1900. She was the mother of six children: Justus O.; William L., an auditor of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, at Dallas, Texas; Charles E., a clerk who died at Mineral, Kansas, in 1900; Joseph A., living at Columbus, Kansas, who had had an extensive experience in railroading as agent and telegraph operator; Rosa, wife of Paul Anema, a city employe at Iola, Kansas; and Mamie Belle, who died at Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1907.
Mr. J. O. Hall, though a teacher, had proved himself a man of good business ability and had acquired some property interests, including 160 acres of farm land in Ford County, Kansas, and also the modern home which he built in 1910 at 21 East Eleventh Street in Hutchinson. Mr. Hall is a republican in politics, had served as a member of the official board and for one year as president of the board of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Hutchinson, is a member of the Hutchinson Commercial Club and of the Hutchinson Rotary Club. He had for years been very much interested in Masonry. He is a past master of Horton Lodge No. 326, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, past eminent commander of Horton Commandery No. 36, Knights Templar, and also past eminent commander of Cyrene Commandery No. 23, Knights Templar, of Beloit, Kansas. His present Masonic affiliations are with Reno Lodge No. 140, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Reno Chapter No. 34, Royal Arch Masons; Reno Commandery No. 26, Knights Templar; and Acacia Chapter No. 37, Order Eastern Star; all of Hutchinson, Kansas. He is a past noble grand of Horton Lodge No. 331, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is at present affiliated with Beloit Lodge No. 130.
In 1904 at Horton, Kansas, Mr. Hall married Miss Bertha Kelley. Mrs. Hall was born at Lebanon, Indiana, moved at an early age with her parents to Nebraska, and later to Wichita, Kansas. She later moved to Horton, Kansas, where she met Mr. Hall.