William Beauford Hall
Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky
North Middletown, Bourbon County, Kentucky
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Birth and Family
William Beauford Hall was born in 1902 in Clay City, Kentucky. He was the third child of Clarkson and Bennie Skinner Hall. The family lived on a farm in Clark County, Kentucky located on Winchester Road and Mount Sterling Pike.1
Hall married Estella Cunningham in 1936. They had no children.
Finding His Place
Hall’s mother died when he was seven years old. The responsibility for caring for younger siblings, working to support them and the harsh treatment by his father was more than he could bear. He ran away from home at the age of ten to live with his cousin, Lillie and her husband, George Butler. On two occasions Hall’s father removed him from the Butler’s home. George Butler intervened and let Hall’s father know that his son did not wish to remain in the household and that he would be taken care of by the Butlers. When Hall ran away a third time, his father did not force him to return to his house.
Butler's home was in North Middletown, Bourbon County, Kentucky. The community was known for its Saddlebred horse breeding and training. Here, Hall would find his place in life.
Hall, as a teen, worked on the Xalapa Farm with cousins Hansford and Robert Raymond Butler. Their work with horses took them to Florida, New York, Michigan, and California. In 1920, Hall worked in New York for a short time before he returned to Kentucky.2
In 1940, Hall was a horse trainer. His World War II draft card listed his employment with Robert G. Jones Farm in North Middletown. The farm was noted for breeding champion Saddlebreds.3
Hall is shown with Volcanic following the win of The Meadowland Handicap at New Jersey. The photograph was dated 1949. The Saddlebred was owned by H. Wells of the Walmac Farm, Lexington, Kentucky.
At the age of seventy-three, Hall was still working with Saddlebreds. Another photograph shows him mounted on Bourbon Fortune at the North Middletown Charity Show in 1975.4
Death, Honor and Legacy
William Beauford Hall died in 1991.5 His wife Estella died in 1984.
Hall’s family saved photos of him as a groom, trainer and owner of Saddlebreds. They granted permission for their use in an exhibit. One of the photos appeared in the video produced. “Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History” premiered in 2007.6
Hall has been recognized as a contributor to Saddlebred history. His life’s work shows that there is opportunity in this equine sport.
Greene, Anne and Sherman H. 2019. Items. Photos of Hall with Saddlebreds. File number 041319
Sue, Jacqueline Annette. Black Seeds in the Bluegrass Khedcanron Press. Corte Madera, California. 1983
“Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History.” American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA). Accessed March 13, 2021
Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. 1910.
Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. 1920.
Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. 1940
World War II Draft Registration Cards for Kentucky, 10/16/1940 - 03/31/1947. Records of Selective Service System, 1926-1975. Record Group 147; Box 269. National Archives and Records Administration, St. Louis, Missouri. William Beauford Hall. February 16, 1942.
Davis, Merlene. Lexington Herald-Leader. 2006. In Search of Saddlebred Artifacts. April 2, 2006.
“Death Certificate: William Beauford Hall.” May 6, 1991. Bourbon County, Kentucky. #19758
When citing this article in Chicago Manual of Style, use this format: Last name, first name of Author. Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry. n.d. “Title of Profile or Story.” International Museum of the Horse. Accessed date. URL of page cited.
- 1Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. 1910
- 2Sue, Jacqueline A. Black Seeds in the Blue Grass.110,112
- 3World War II Draft Registration Cards for Kentucky. Record Group 147. Records of the Selective Service System 1926-1975. Box:269
- 4Greene, Anne and Sherman. 2019. Donated items
- 5“Death Certificate:William Beauford Hall (May 6,1991)” Bourbon County, Kentucky. #19758
- 6“Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History.”