A Oakey Hall was born July 26th 1826 in Albany New York. His father, James Morgan Hall, a New Orleans merchant, died of yellow fever in 1830. His mother, Elsie Lansing. He had a sister, Marcia. Oakie married Katherine Louise Barnes on Nov 1st 1849 and had a son, Herbert Oakey Hall and 5 daughters. Oakie Hall died October 7th 1893 from heart disease, at his home at 68 Washington Square South, in Manhattan New York. He was entombed at Trinity Cemetary, now known as a famous political graveyard.
Oakie Hall was a brilliant youg man, that showed an early love of journalism and public debate. He entered New York University at 14 years old, graduating in 1844 with a Bachelors and Masters degree. Even as a teenager, Oakey wrote for various newspapers, such as The Evening Signal, The American, The Tattler, The Aurora, and The Evening Mirror, to pay his way through school. Oakie also briefly attended Cambride Law School and Harvard University.
In 1845 Oakie worked for the New York Law Offices of Charles W. Sandford, and later that year in 1845 moved to New Orleans, working for the Law Offices of Thomas & John Slidell. While in New Orleans Oakey was financially assisted by his wealthy uncle, S.W. Oakey. A. Oakie Hall was admitted to the New Orleans Bar in 1849. While in New Orleans, he wrote under the "nom de plume" of Hans Yorkel, as the New York correspondant for the New Orleans Commercial Bulletin. During 1845-1849 he was also a Reporter and Journalist in Boston, New York and New Orleans. By 1851 Oakie had left New Orleans and returned to New York and was admitted to the New York Bar.
From 1851-1853 he was elected the Assistant District Attorney for New York, as a Republican. 1853-1859 Oakey practised Law, in partnership with the prestigious Law firm of Augustus Brown, Nathanial Blunt and Aaron Vanderpoel. Always interested in politics, Oakie in 1855 was the orator at the summer Convention of the Delta of New York, and the same year was the Founder of the Alpha of Michigan. In 1856 Oakie Hall was the Delegate to the the Republican National Convention from New York. From 1855-1868, Oakie Hall was elected the District Attorney for NY, successfully prosecuting over 12,000 criminal cases. In 1864 Oakie Hall joined the Democratic party and addressed the Tammany Society on July 4th, also that year he became the Editor of Tammany's newspaper, The Leader. It was at this time he was nicknamed O. K. Hall
Other interesting positions he held: 1859-1873 Oakie was a Member of the Counsel of New York City Library, 1868-1871 he was the Director of the Manhattan Club, from 1869-1872 he was the Trustee and ex officio of the Astor Library and the Sailor's Snug Harbor Trust in New York. 1869-1872 Oakie was the ex officio Commissioner of Police and Immigration. He was the Incorporator and Trustee of the New York Homeopathic Medical College. He was a Member of the Historical Society. A fellow of the Royal Literary Society of London. Not to forget, defeating Frederick A. Conking for the office of Mayor of New York 1869-1872. From 1870-1873 Oakie was the President of the Lotos Club, and then made a Life Member. He was the Founder and Life Member of the Press Club. Managing Editor of the World 1879-1882. Editor of Dramatic News 1880-1883. Editor of Truth 1883. Resident correspondant of the New York Herald in London and Paris 1884-1890, then retired from journalism.
1868 Tweed was elected to the State Assembly. He adopted a new City Charter, abolishing oversight committees, and giving the power to run the City of New York, in the hands of the Mayor, through the mayoral appointees, known as the infamous Tweed ring.
1869 the Tweed ring was in place, namely: Boss Tweed - William Marcy Tweed; City Comptroller - Richard B. Connolly; City Chamberlain - Peter Barr Sweeney; City Mayor - A Oakey Hall. All were signatories to the checks issued by Broadway Bank, and others, that collectively authorized payment of city expenditures...estimated at over $30 million in fraudulent over payments.
During Oakey Hall's first year, as Mayor in 1869, the stock market crashed. Black Friday. September 24th 1869, was a very interesting conspiracy, with many interesting and important characters, but James Gould was named as the ringleader who attempted to corner the GOLD market. Fortunes made and lost. Eventually President Ulysses S.Grant ordered the sale of $4 million of gold to restore the market. Henry Adams accused the President of tolerating or even participating in the New York Gold conspiracy.
The early 1840's through the 1850's was also an important period in history, for photography, when John Plumbe opened his Daguerreotype Galleries in Washington DC, New York and New Orleans, and was the first Daguerreator to franchise many other locations. By 1853, there were 37 different Daguerreotype Gallery operators, just in New York alone. Ambrotypes were patented in 1856, Tintypes in 1859, and Cabinet cards, cdv's in 1866. Charles Deforest Fredericks, Brady and Gurney were very popular, on the Broadway in New York.
A Oakey Hall also wrote for the International Magazine and The Home Journal, and authored many articles, short stories, children's books, poems, and many other books, including: A Review of the Webster Case, The Manhattaner in New Orleans or Phrases of Crescent City Life, Old Whiteys Christmas Trot, Brief for Grand Jurors in the County of New York, An August Reverie, Sketches of Travels, The Congressman's Christmas Dream and the Lobby Member'sHappy New Year: A Holiday Sketch, A Few Questions from a worn out Lorgnette, Horace Greeley Decently Dissected, Our Amateur Circus or a New York Season. The Greatest Show on Eartth...Society!!, Ballads by Hans Yorkel, Personal Recollections 1850-1892, My sister's Well Rounded Life, A Dinner at the Mayor's, The Ambitious Brooklet, Mr Justice Story with some Reminiscent Reflections, The Songs Cascade, Wit and Debonair Manner, The MC's Christmas Dream, Our Crime Land Excursion, Joseph Hoxie, Esq, A Coroner's Inquisition a Farce in One Act, Evidence before the Grand Jury in the Case of A. Oakey Hall.
Oakie Hall was also a Broadway Playwright and actor. For 15 years he was counsel to the Theatrical Managers Association. 1873-1875 he was associated with Augustus Daly in the ownership of the Fifth Avenue Theatre, and then with Chandos Fulton and William Stuart in the management of the Park Theatre. It was here in 1876 that he acted, the leading role, in his own play "The Crucible. Other plays Oakie Hall wrote were: Loyalina, Brigadier General Fortunio and his Seven Gifted Aides-De-Camp, Humpty Dumpty, Fernande, and Let me Kiss Him for His Mother.
He was the long time Counsel to the Sheriff of New York and represented the Metropolitan Police Department. Returning to Oakey Hall, when he was Mayor of New York 1869-1872. Oakie Hall was the Treasurer and signatory to all the millions of dollars in over charges, through the Broadway Bank. In 1870 the New York Times and Harpers Weekly exposed the corruption of the Boss Tweed Ring, so between 1871-1873 his office was Indicted on corruption charges. Oakey was tried 3 times, on a lesser charge of "neglect of official duty," represented by the distinguished counsel, of Edwin W. Stoughton. Oakey hall was aquitted, to the cheering of the courtroom audience. I find it almost unbelieveable, just writing this, that one man could have been so prolific in everything he did. There is so much more regarding other co-conspirators, of the highest integrity, at that time, that benefited from what was happening in New York, at one of it's greatest growth periods. New York grew to become one of the greatest cities in the world. Abraham Oakie Hall, let me reiterate that he was found "NOT GUILTY."
History may finally appreciate what a brilliant man he was. He undoubtedly had too many things going on at the same time. His amazing energy and charisma, rightfully earned him being dubbed the "Elegant Oakey" - from a very young age. The trust he gave to his closest advisors, was proved to have been misplaced, for their own finacial greed. New Yorkers are proud of their wonderful City, and neither need they be ashamed of the mis-alligned reputation, of one of their greatest Mayors, Mayor Abraham Oakie Hall.