Mohall, North Dakota


History of Mohall

M. O. Hall

Prominent resident of California for 14 years, who suddenly died of heart disease Saturday afternoon at the age of 71.  He is chiefly known as the father of the Pershing Drive Project, which he sponsored.

Funeral services for M. O. Hall, who died suddenly Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock, were held in the Chapel of the Merkley Undertaking Company, University Avenue, under the auspices of the Silver-Gold Lodge No. 296, F & A.M., of which he was a member.

Mr. Hall, who had a long and interesting career, was born in Norway on October 30, 1853.  At the age of three he came to the United States with his parents and settled in Dane County, Wisconsin.  He worked his way through school in Minneapolis and entered the practice of law in Granite Falls, Minnesota, when he reached the age of 21.  While in Granite Falls he served as City Justice for six years.

Later he went to Washington and obtained a position in the Pension Bureau, his ability being recognized by his appointment to the Special Board of Examiners, on which he served for two years.  In 1887 he entered the banking business in Duluth, remaining there for 13 years, during which time he served as treasurer of the English Lutheran Church and organized the Seaman’s Aid Society, of which he was made a life member.

In 1890 he was appointed a member of the board of members of the Minnesota State Prison, a position he held for 10 years.  While serving in this capacity, he developed the idea of manufacturing binder twine in the prison, with the result that the first binder twine plant to be established in any state prison was built in the Minnesota Institution.  The result was to lower the cost of the twine from 16 to 6 cents a pound.  This was a great joy to the Minnesota farmers.


In 1901 he moved to North Dakota, taking up homestead, 50 miles north of Minot.  He obtained title to a tract of 80 acres adjoining the homestead and established there the town of Mohall, named after him, and he was a postmaster, banker, storekeeper and newspaper editor for the new community, and for a while he owned and farmed 1200 acres in the towns vicinity.

Though he was a Republican, Mr. Hall was appointed in 1907 by a Democratic governor to a place on the North Dakota State Grain Commission in recognition of his interest in and for the State when the American Society of Equity was organized, and was active in the organization until it was wrecked by Townley and his non-partisan league.

While he spent winters and as much time as he could spare in San Diego for the 14 years prior to his death, Mr. Hall retained his interest and citizenship in North Dakota.  There in 1921 he performed the most noteworthy public service of his long career.  Finding that there was nearly 9,000 farmers in the state who had neither seed grain nor the funds with which to purchase it, and that there was no money in the state to be loaned for the purchase of the seed, he went to Washington and succeeded in arousing enough interest in Congress to obtain an appropriation of $2,000,000.00 to be loaned to the farmers for the purchase of seed.  The accomplishment was hailed as one of the finest things any single man had ever done for the state.

About 20 years ago, through the influence of some of his political friends, Mr. Hall was induced to purchase some land in the Isle of Pines, off the coast of Cuba.  He planned to go there and live but discovered that a pending treaty might make the island a part of Cuba instead of the United States territory.  Since that time he has been an active leader of the group of 10,000 Isle of Pines land owners who have fought for the defeat of the pending treaty, seeking to have the United States assert its rightful sovereignty over he island and establish there an American government.

Last winter he made an extended cruise with Mrs. Hall from San Diego down the west coast of the Central America, throughout the Panama Canal, up the east coast, across the Gulf of Mexico, and to Cuba and the Isle of Pines.  There he made further investigations and then headed a committee which presented to President Coolidge a petition for the defeat of the treaty and the making of the island an American territory.

A short time before his death he completed an interesting narrative of his long trip, and of the visits to the rarely touched ports of both coasts of Central America.

He is survived by his widow.

Official Site of Mohall, ND