The Hall-Moody Institute was established in 1900 by the Baptists of Martin and the Beulah Association of Northwest Tennessee for the purpose of giving religious and denominational training to the young people of this region. The founders of school decided to name the school in honor of two eminent Baptist ministers, J. N. Hall and J. B. Moody. The site of the school was originally in the suburbs of Martin, Tennessee on the main road from Union City. The land was donated by Mrs. Ada Gardner Brooks a year before the main building was initially constructed.
The institution struggled during its early existence, as there were four school presidents in only five years. Hall-Moody offered a variety of courses between 1900 and 1910 and issued literary degrees such as an A.B., B.L. and L.I. In 1917, the State of Tennessee set standards for schools of higher education and within a few years these standards were met. The meeting of standards gave institution more depth in both the courses being taught and the degrees being bestowed. The college began to expand as enrollment increased and newer buildings were built to fit the growing student body. By the mid 1920's, however, the school had run into serious debt and in 1926 the Tennessee Baptist Convention decided to consolidate Hall-Moody with its sister college Union University in Jackson, Tennessee effective June 1, 1927. Just prior to the school's demise, the Tennessee State Legislature authorized the establishment of a University of Tennessee Junior College on February 10, 1927. The legislative bill also authorized the funds to purchase the Hall-Moody campus as the future site of this new junior college. That junior college would eventually become the University of Tennessee at Martin.