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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - John S. Hale

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


JOHN S. HALE (Deceased) - John S. Hale, a view of whose former farm in Somer township is shown on another page of this work, became a resident of the county in 1867. His death occurred in August, 1878. His ancestors had been residents of New England from an early period in the history of that part of the United States. His grandfather was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. His father, Alexander HALE, was a ship carpenter by occupation, and also carried on a farm. Mr. Hale was the fourth of seven children, and was born at Portland, Connecticut, February 23d, 1824. The schools of that part of Connecticut afforded him advantages for obtaining a good education. His mind was naturally quick and vigorous, and of that particular inclination which gave him a fondness for the study of mathematics--a branch he was not excelled in by those who had devoted far more time and pains to its study. He grew up on the farm, and when his father died, purchased the interest of the other heirs, and took charge of the old homestead.

On the 11th of June, 1854, he was united in marriage to Ann Eliza DICKINSON, daughter of Chauncey DICKINSON. Her ancestors were early settlers of Connecticut, and her father and grandfather are still living in that State, at an advanced age. Mrs. Hale was born at Haddam, Connecticut, March 22d, 1831.

Mr. Hale first came to Illinois in the year 1855. He was in this State during the winter of 1855-6, and then returned to Connecticut. His visit had so favorably impressed him with the advantages of the State, that he decided to make it his permanent residence. In the year 1857 he settled at Sharon, in Henry county. He resided there till 1867, and then came to Champaign county, and bought 160 acres of land in section 18, township 20, range 9. This was his residence till his death. The tract was composed of raw prairie, without improvements of any character. He built a house in the fall of 1867, and improved an excellent farm. He was living here engaged in farming and proving himself a good neighbor and a worthy citizen when his death occurred on the 21st of August, 1878. He was a man of vigorous constitution, and had enjoyed good health through life. The immediate cause of his death was a congestive chill. He was buried at Mt. Vernon chapel, in Hensley township.

Mr. and Mrs. Hale were the parents of two children. The eldest, Arthur D. Hale, died in July, 1857, soon after the family came to this State, at the age of one year and ten months. Their daughter, Aithena E., was married to Matthew C. BUSEY, in November, 1876, and with her husband is now living on the farm in Somer township.

Mr. Hale had no inclination to make himself prominent in politics or public affairs, but was a member of the Democratic party, as also was his father before him. He was a strong believer in the principles of that organization, and considered that their adoption in the administration of our government would be conducive to the best interests of the Republic. He was a member of the Masonic order, with which he became connected in Henry county. He was a member of Western Star Lodge at Champaign, at the time of his death, and was buried with Masonic honors.

The writer of these lines was not personally acquainted with Mr. Hale, but his neighbors, and those who knew him best, all speak of him as a man of many excellent traits of character. He was a peaceful, law-abiding citizen, and lived on terms of good will and friendship with those with whom he came in contact. He was an industrious and intelligent farmer---a man who commanded the respect of the community, and belonged to that class of progressive men who form a country's best citizens. He possessed a strong mind and energetic will, and had pronounced opinions of his own on any subject. He was the maker of his own fortune. He began life without any capital or assistance, and what he accumulated was the result of his individual efforts, hard work, and good business qualifications. His integrity was beyond suspicion. He was devoted husband and kind father. He became a member of the Methodist church in Connecticut, and through life his works were in harmony with his profession. He was liberal in the support of religious and moral objects, and labored earnestly for the formation of a Methodist society in his own immediate neighborhood. The county has lost a good citizen in his death.

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