Thomas Harvey Haile

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THOMAS H. HAILE

     Few citizens are more extensively known or better esteemed than the subject of this sketch, who was born near Big River Mills, St. Francois County, March 15, 1820. The Haile family have been identified with the history of the above county from its very earliest date. Thomas Haile, the father of the subject of this sketch was a native of South Carolina, and came at an early date to Missouri, and entered upon the privations of a frontier life. Here he married Mr. Margaret (Eads) Montgomery, a native of Missouri, and by her became the father of six children, of whom but four are now living. One of these was Thomas H., who spent the period preceding his twentieth year on the farm with his parents. At that age, he undertook the pursuit of agriculture for himself in Perry Township. In 1849, he joined the pilgrims to the gold fields of California, and after about a year's experience there, returned by the ocean and isthmus route. In Caribbean, however, the vessel was wrecked on a rocky island, and for thirty-six days they endured some of the Robinson Crusoe experiences before they were relieved. He again spent a year on the Pacific slope, but in 1842 returned and permanently located in St. Francois County. Since then he has been prominently identified with the interests of his county, which in 1844, he represented in the State Legislature. He has served the people as assessor and in various other positions of less importance. He heartily unites with the democratic party in political affairs. Mrs. Ann E. Tate, to whom he was married in 1855, is a native of Polk county, Mo. She was born in 1829, the daughter of William and Millie A. Campbell, who were among the very earliest pioneers of Polk and Greene Counties. Mr. and Mrs. Haile's family consists of Ella L. (now Mrs. J. F. Flowers, of Bonne Terre), Will T., Margaret A., Harvey B., and Oscar L. the family are supporters and attendants of the Baptist Church.

GOODSPEEDS HISTORY OF SOUTHEAST MISSOURI
Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1888.


OLDEST CITIZEN DIED MONDAY
[The Lead Belt News, Friday, June 18, 1920, Page 1]

     Thos. H. Haile, Who Celebrated his 100th Birthday Two Months Ago, Died at Home of Daughter in Farmington, Monday.

     Thomas Harvey Haile died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Edward Byington, at Farmington at 12:30 o'clock Monday morning of general debility, aged 100 years, 2 months and 29 days. He was a native of St. Francois County [Missouri] and had spent all of his long life in and near Farmington barring a few years following 1849, when he made two trips overland to California, spending a year or two each time in the golden State. The first trip to California provided a very successful venture and he brought back with him a small trunk full of gold nuggets. He made the trip each time to California overland, going by ox train the first time and driving 960 head of cattle and horses through the second time, in 1851. He thought he would find a great market for these in San Francisco, but in this he was mistaken. After losing 300 head of cattle through depredation of Indians and other causes enroute, he found a poor market at San Francisco and sold the remainder of his herd at a great financial loss.

     To add further to his misfortune on his return by ship when near the Isthmus of Panama the ship was wrecked and he, with thirty-five other passengers on board were cast out upon a barren island where they were stranded with nothing but the eggs of sea gulls upon which to live until rescued by a passing ship which they were able to signal a month later. He fell thirteen months ago and broke his left hip, since which time he has been unable to walk. Barring this he has enjoyed splendid health nearly all his long life, which he attributed to regular habits and simple living. He always made it a point to retire each night at or as near 9 o'clock as possible. He was just as punctual in arising and having his meals served.

     He was elected Assessor of St. Francois County in 1842, when the taxable wealth of the county (now $21,000,000) was about $200,000. For listing this he received $60. He represented the county in the State Legislature in 1844. Afterward he was repeatedly urged to accept political preferment by his friends, but steadfastly refused. He was a stanch Democrat, although liberal in his views. This attitude made strong friends for him among those of opposing political faith as well as those of his own party. He had for many years been an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

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