WILLIAM T. HALE. Identified with Kansas and its western confines but a single decade, the period has been ample to bring into the public eye a citizen of Ford County and an ex-mayor of Dodge City, William T. Hale. A man of deeds in his native state and trained to real service where his childhood ended and his adult responsibilities began. Mr. Hale found it easy to shoulder a share of the public load as it came to him from the people and he acquitted himself like a Spartan servant of old.
Mr. Hale has been identified with business affairs in Dodge City since 1908, at which time he sought this region's climate as a panacea for physical ills bequeathed to him in his native state, and he engaged in handling and dealing in real estate, a business which rewarded its exploiters substantially and which exposed Mr. Hale to the elixir of life bound up in the ozone of this plains region to the end that his ailments were healed and his bodily vigor restored. Convinced that he had found what he sought, "the fountain" whence cometh a renewed body, he abandoned, after a time, the pioneer business of his Kansas career and entered the field being rapidly occupied by the automobile, formed the firm of William T. Hale and Son, of which he has since been the head, and secured the agency for the Ford car. To house his business the firm erected the Hale garage, 50x9O feet, establishing it in a business way at the corner of Chestnut Street and Central Avenue. In this field, as elsewhere, his efforts availed him much and he "placed the Ford on the map," as it were, in this locality while he managed its affairs here. Completing his service with Mr. Ford, Mr. Hale took the agency for the Overland car, and the sale of cars and doing an auto livery service constitute the main phases of his activity here.
During the first half dozen years of his residence in Dodge City Mr. Hale laid such a foundation for sincere citizenship that led to his election as mayor of the town. Politics had no place in the campaign which closed with the defeat of his opponent and his own induction into office as the successor of Mayor Ham B. Bell. It was in April of 1915 that he yielded to the importunities of friends regardless of politics and declared himself ready, if chosen, to serve as mayor for all the people. He took office unhampered by political promises and, therefore, had none to redeem. His desire was to furnish the city with a nonpartisan, administration and he selected his aids solely with a view to their fitness, and neither inquired nor wished to know the politics of any of his appointees. He gave the city's business his personal oversight and held his police department responsible for the enforcement of the laws of the state and the ordinances of the city. Upon his orders liquor venders were arrested and their stocks of booze confiscated and emptied into the street and other forms of vice were suppressed and Dodge City made a clean place in which to live. Violations of the "bone dry" law and of the ordinances pertaining to decency were reduced to a minimum and the peace and dignity of the city maintained.
As mayor Mr. Hale's administration was noted for its era of street paving, for the improvement of Wright Park, for the installation of a complete water system in Maple Grove Cemetery and for the auditing of the city's books and accounts and the installing of a complete and modern bookkeeping system. Some additions were made to the equipment, of the fire department by the purchase of a fire truck and a street flusher.
William T. Hale was born in Macon County, Missouri, September 23, 1863, and is of old American stock. His remote ancestor was one of four English brothers who settled in Virginia in colonial days, and his great-grandfather, Thomas Hale, came out of that colony or commonwealth when he pioneered to Kentucky. His grandfather, Laboring H. Hale, was born and married in Kentucky, his wife being Elvira A. Lewis. The children of their union were: Charity, who married Frank Burch and passed away in Missouri; William T., father of ex-Mayor Hale of Dodge City; Rebecca, who died as Mrs. John Wiggins in Macon County, Missouri; Lucy married James Shoemaker and passed away there; James, of Adair County, Missouri, is a Universalist preacher; Samuel and Charles still reside in Macon County; Nannie died in that part of Missouri as Mrs. Thomas Downey; and Eliza is the wife of Henry Sager of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
William T. Hale, Sr., was born near Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky, November 13, 1833, the very day on which the "stars fell" and established a new event from which to date births and deaths and other domestic incidents. About 1840 his parents migrated from Kentucky and established themselves in Shelby County, Missouri, remaining to almost the outbreak of the Civil war, when they moved into Macon County. Mr. Hale's parents were farmers and he was perhaps past middle life when he entered a different field of activity. He attended school but four weeks in his life but he possessed an alert and inquiring mind and literally educated himself. He learned to read from the newspapers, became a fair penman, but his aptness in mathematics outshone his other talents. He demonstrated reasonable success in business after he became a merchant and left a good estate at his death.
When a young man Mr. Hale, Sr., went overland to California with an ox team and from 1853 to 1861 he was a prospector and miner in the Golden State. He accumulated sufficient gold dust out there to enable him to buy a farm when he returned home, and this farm, in turn, provided him with the capital to enter business later on as a merchant in Ethel, Missouri. In politics he was a democrat, served his locality as a justice of the peace and a member of the school board and as a churchman he was a member of the Christian Church. He married Jane West, a daughter of Joseph and Maria (Lemon) West, who migrated from Green County, Kentucky, with other pioneers of Macon County, Missouri. Mrs. Hale still survives her husband. Their only surviving child is William T. Hale of this review.
Ex-Mayor Hale spent his boyhood on the farm and was identified with rural pursuits until after he reached his majority. He was a diligent pupil of the country school and later attended the Missouri State Normal School at Kirksville. He began teaching school at the age of seventeen in Macon County, farming during the summer season until he abandoned both to join his father in merchandising at Ethel. Their firm was William T. Hale & Son just like the firm he now heads in Dodge City, and when his father died he succeeded to the management and, eventually, the ownership of the business. The business grew from a modest store to the dimensions of a department store and when he became absorbed in banking he severed his connection with the store.
In the field of finance Mr. Hale became one of the founders of the Bank of Ethel, was made its first president and subsequently took the management of the institution as its cashier and gradually rose to prominence as a financier in that region. Finally a threatened breakdown of his health forced his retirement from business and he sought restoration on the plains of Kansas, when he identified himself with the old cowboy town of "Dodge" on the Santa Fe Trail. He was a member of the school board of Ethel and was mayor of the little town, but politics with him was an after consideration in Missouri as it has been in Kansas.
March 26, 1882, Mr. Hale married in Macon County, Missouri, Elizabeth L. Chinn. Mrs. Hale's father was Chichester C. Chinn, a native of Indiana, resided for a time near Columbus, that state, and then moved out to Missouri. Mrs. Chinn was formerly Jane Cummings and she was the mother of Mrs. Hale and six sons, viz., John, Charles, Perry, Joseph, George and Edward. Mrs. Hale was born April 18, 1865, and her liberal education enabled her to teach in the public schools. She and Mr. Hale have two children: Louella, wife of Capt. Joseph R. Gery, of troop "C" of the Dodge City Cavalry, who has a son, Joseph Russell. Will T., the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hale, is his father's partner, married Florence, daughter of J. M. Kirkpatrick, and has a daughter, Phylis Joan.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project