My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HENRY H. HALE. Not only is this gentleman a son of a couple who were the most prominent dwellers in the locality of Bellbrook, Greene County, but he has for quite a number of years taken the leading place in matters of law and politics in that thriving village, wielding a powerful influence throughout the community, and also doing much for the good of the people in the line of religious and moral work. He possesses the genial nature that wins friends everywhere, and is very popular wherever he is known. His paternal family are among those whose names and deeds are a matter of historical moment in this locality, in which they began their residence in 1802, and wherein they have borne an important part in developing the natural resources of the country, and in advancing the civilization and elevation of the inhabitants.

The great-grandfather of our subject was James Hale, who was born in England, A. D., 1737. He was a follower of George Eox, and when he came to America, tradition says, that he supposed that he was living on William Penn’s land, but when the Mason and Dixon line was established in 1763 to 1767, he found that he was on that belonging to Lord Baltimore, in what is now Baltimore County, Md. He therefore crossed the line, taking up his abode near Tusheys Mountain, on the Juniata River, in what is now Blair County, Pa. How long he lived in that State is not known, but he removed from it to Mason County, Ky., where he died in 1801 or 1802. His Kentucky home was on Clark’s Run, near Bryant Station, nine miles from Maysville. His wife was Catherine Baird, who was born in 1741, and was of Welsh descent. Of this marriage there were born eight children — Rebecca, Joseph, Lydia, John, Hannah, James, Thomas and Silas. In 1802 the widow with her children came to Ohio, and settled in Sugar Creek Township, this county.

The fourth child in the family above named was born in Maryland, November 25, 1775. He married Sarah Bowen, a native of Chester County, Pa., with whom he lived happily until about the year 1814, when she breathed her last in the thirty-sixth year of her age. She was the mother of six children, all of whom are now deceased. In 1802, the family took up their residence in this county, wherein John Hale had previously purchased eighty acres of land from the United States Government. He cleared up the land and started a tannery, the first in the township, living there until 1838, when he removed to Indiana. He sold his estate to William Hasten, who disposed of it to David John, from whom the father of our subject, and son of the original proprietor, afterward bought it. The second marriage of John Hale took place in this county, June 29, 1815, his bride being Sarah Lewis, and the ceremony being performed by John Clark, Justice of the Peace. The union resulted in the birth of ten children: Harmon, now deceased; Rhoda; Nancy, Lewis, and Rachael, all of whom are deceased; John, Riley, Sarah, David, deceased; and Martha. The death of the father took place in Kosciusko County, Ind., September 25, 1845, at the age of sixty-nine years and ten months.

While living in this county, John Hale was a member of Capt. Ammi Maltbie’s Company of Ohio Militia. He was first called into service upon receipt of the news that Gen. Hull had surrendered Detroit, in August, 1812, when the company was ordered to report at Xenia with a gun, tomahawk and knapsack. After being out three months Mr. Hale returned to his home, and ere long was again called out, but on this occasion hired as a substitute Jacob Martin, paying him a rifle, tomahawk, a pair of shoes, knife, a knapsack and $1.50 in money. The substitute was out but three days. On the third call of the militia, Mr. Hale hired as a substitute Jacob Fallis, and whether he took part in any battles is not known.

When John Hale came to this county he was accompanied by his wife and two sons, James and Bowen. The following year, on August 26, 1803, his third son, Silas, was born on the farm which comprised the west half of the southeast quarter of section 3, township 2, range 6. He learned cabinet making and undertaking, at Wilmington, beginning his apprenticeship in 1820 and serving three years. He then came to Bellbrook, and began business for himself, continuing it until 1833, when with his father he opened a dry-goods and grocery store in a building that is still standing, and in which the business was carried on for fifty-six years. In 1839 he was elected Township Treasurer, a position which he resigned after forty-three years service that was continuous except one year. In 1855 he was appointed Postmsater, a position which he held for thirty-one years and two months. In 1854 he was elected Justice of Peace, serving in that capacity two terms. He was a member of the Masonic Order and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His religious belief coincided with that expressed by the Protestant Methodist Church, with which he united in 1840, and in which he had held the official positions of Steward and Trustee. After a long life of usefulness and well doing, he breathed his last June 20, 1889, his mortal remains being deposited in the Bellbrook cemetery.

The wife of Silas Hale, with whom he was united in marriage July 20, 1830, and with whom he lived fifty-nine years, bore the maiden name of Miriam Opdyke. She is the sixth of the ten children born to Henry and Catherine (Cummings) Opdyke, who were natives of New Jersey. The other members of the family circle were christened Electa, Mary Ann, Peninah, Clarissa, Martha, George, Louisa, Emily Jane and Oliver Perry. The Opdykes came to America from Holland, making their settlement in New Jersey, where the father of Mrs. Hale was born, November 16, 1774. He died in Sugar Creek Township, this county, January 23, 1825, his death resulting from an accident. He was digging a well on his farm, had just completed it and was in the bottom, when he sent up in the bucket a mattock, which caught in the side of the well, and falling, struck and killed him. The brick house now owned by Fred Multhup, just northwest of the village of Bellbrook, was built by him. His wife breathed her last November 1, 1854. Mrs. Silas Hale opened her eyes to the light February 5, 1814, and is now living in Bellbrook. Although she has reached the ripe age of seventy-seven years, she enjoys excellent health, and is still very active. She belongs to the Protestant Methodist Church.

The fraternal band in which Squire Hale, of this sketch, is the fourth member, included ten brothers and sisters, of whom we note the following; Dorinda, the widow of Dr. J. R. Brelsford, and the mother of three children, lives in Florida; John C. is living in Adams County, Ind., and he has one child; Francis G., whose home is in Dayton, this State, has one child; Mary Jane is the wife of James Hartsook, and the mother of four children, her home being in Caesar Creek Township, this county; Bowen enlisted in Company D, Seventy-fourth Ohio Infantry, and died from typhoid fever, at Camp Chase, April 22, 1862, and was unmarried; Angeline died, in 1848, at the age of three years; James R, the editor of the Spring Valley Blade, is married and has one child; Melancthon died unmarried at the age of twenty-two years, the date of his decease being October 12, 1872; Silas Opdyke, whose home is in Bellbrook, is married and has one child.

In a log house, in the village of Bellbrook, at 3:30 A. M., on November 13, 1836, the eyes of Squire Hale opened to the light. He received a common-school education, and spent his youth in the village performing services in his father’s store and the post-office. In April, 1861, he took up arms in defense of the Union, being enrolled in Company H. Second Kentucky Infantry, under Capt. James E. Stacy, this enlistment being under the call for three months’ men. He was at Camp Clay, near Cincinnati, for three weeks and then discharged. On August 12, 1862, he again enlisted, becoming a member of Company F, Thirty-fourth Ohio Infantry, under Capt. S. R. S. West. The command to which he belonged spent the most of their time in the service in the Big Kanawha Valley, W. Va. and Mr. Hale took part in a raid on Wythville, during which he rode three hundred miles in five days. On April 12, 1864, he received a slight wound on the side of his neck, his only injury during his army life. Sickness compelled his removal to the hospital at Gallipolis, where he spent some fifteen months. He was discharged June 12, 1865, and returning to his home spent a month amid the scenes of his earlier life.

The family in which Squire Hale had found the lady whom he desired to make his wife, having removed to Missouri from this section, in 1864, he made a journey to that State, where he was married, for some time afterward making his home at Savannah. He occupied himself in clerking, in pedagogical labors and in farm work until illness determined him to return to Bellbrook, which he did in April, 1867. The following March he became a partner with his father, with whom he continued in mercantile business until June, 1889, the connection being dissolved by the death of the father.

The marriage rites between Squire Hale and Sarah Conner were celebrated July 25, 1865. The bride was born in Bellbrook, July 8, 1840, and received a common-school education in this place, and the best of home training from her estimable parents. Her father, John Conner, was born in Delaware, October 6, 1809, and died at Rochester, Mo., October 16, 1879. The family to which he belonged is numbered among the early settlers in the Buckeye State, as is that of the Austins, into which he married. Susan Austin, who became his wife, was born May 20, 1818, her people being members of the Society of Friends, and formerly residents in New Jersey. Her death took place in Missouri, May 13, 1879. She was the mother of four children: Thomas, who died in 1862; Vincent, who is living in Dayton, is married and has two children; Mrs. Hale; and John, who lives in Missouri.

To Mr. and Mrs. Hale six children have been born: Jesse G. opened his eyes to the light in Andrew County, Mo., May 18, 1866; James C. was born May 4, 1869, at Bellbrook; John S., who was born September 12, 1871, is now living at Lebanon; Susan Miriam, born July 7, 1874, died August 20, 1875; Katie Clyde was born November 16, 1876; Edith was born August 30, 1883, and died September 24, following.

Mr. and Mrs. Hale and their children belong to the Protestant Methodist Church, in which Mr. Hale is a Class-Leader, while he also holds the office of Superintendent of the Sunday-school and is a teacher. He has been a member of the Sons of Temperance. In 1868 he was elected Corporation Clerk, serving in that capacity ten years. The next year he was elected Township Clerk, and held that office twelve years. A year after his election to that position he was the successful candidate for Justice of the Peace, in which position he is now serving his seventh term. In 1888 he was elected Township Trustee, and still holds that office, and he has also been a member of the Village Council for many years. He has always been a Republican, and no man in this section of country has done more to advance the interests of the party than he. He was a delegate to the State Convention which nominated Charles Foster, whose first term as Governor resulted from that nomination. One of the most noticable adornments of the home of Mr. Hale is a very fine geological cabinet, which proves of great interest to those who find “sermons in stones.” It is needless for us to multiply words in regard to the position of the family in the community and the esteem in which they are held.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

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