An Old Republican Congressman from Edgecombe County and a friend of Nathaniel Macon, Thomas Hall consistently opposed what he deemed unnecessary federal intervention in North Carolina. Like many prominent North Carolinians in the early national period, Hall was born in Virginia. As a young man he moved to Tarboro, North Carolina, practiced medicine, and married Martha Jones Green Sitgreaves, the widow of James Green and John Sitgreaves.
Hall was first elected to Congress as a Jeffersonian-Republican (1817-1825). In 1824, he lost his Congressional seat. As a Jacksonian-Democrat, Hall regained it, and served in Congress from 1827-1835. In Washington D.C., Hall was on several committees, including chairing the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury. In 1835, he lost his seat to Ebenezer Pettigrew, a Whig; this defeat no doubt resulted from the growing acceptance among Tar Heels for federal internal improvements — a term used for government-supported public works. After his Congressional career, Hall served in the North Carolina Senate, practiced medicine, and farmed. In 1853, he died in retirement.
Hall should be remembered for being one of North Carolina’s “Old Republicans.” These politicians admired Thomas Jefferson, distrusted a large centralized government, and advocated a strict states’ rights ideology and interpretation of the Constitution. Hall, in particular, vigorously opposed federal internal improvements. He believed such legislation was unconstitutional and invited government corruption and abuse of power.
W. S. Hoffman, Andrew Jackson and North Carolina Politics (Chapel Hill, 1958) and Registers of Debates in Congress.