Wednesday, December 6, 2023

This Oxford Icon Was a Blacksmith With a Heart Forged in Gold

Marion Hall

Marion Randolph Hall owned and operated his blacksmith shop on Tyler Avenue in Oxford from just before World War I until the 1970s.

About this true Oxford icon, some of my Facebook followers wrote:
“Papa Hall was my great grandfather,” said Bobby Jones. “He raised my dad. What a precious man he was. I never heard him speak ill of anyone. He did have some pretty funny stories about William Faulkner. I used to go hang out with him all the time at his shop. He’d send me up to Fudge’s Grocery to pick up a 6-pack of Diet Rite Colas for his wife, Ms Loiuse.”
Jeff Fudge agrees that Mr. Hall was one of the finest men he ever met. “Mr. Hall was very dedicated and had tremendous skill in shaping metals,” he said. “Even in his later years, he could pick up an anvil and move it around like it was a lightweight box of tissues. One of favorite memories of Mr. Hall was when I brought him a nice mess of channel catfish when I was 15. About a week later, he gave me one of the coolest gifts I have ever received. It was a handmade buffalo skinning knife he made for me. I still have it.”
Finally, commenter Andy Mize remembers: “I lived near, and loved the Halls as a youth. My parents and the Halls were close friends, until they all passed on. I used to follow Mr. Hall around his strawberry patch and garden. As a teen he loaned me a rifle to deer hunt. He was indeed an Icon of Oxford.”
Courtesy of contributor John Cofield. John is a skilled writer and folk historian of all things Oxford.