Civil War:
Obituary of
William Hale, Company D, 153d


His body found at the rear of St. Mark’s Church.

A Veteran of the War of the Rebellion and Town Clerk
of the Town of Johnstown the Deceased was among its
best known and Most Respected Residents -
Sketch of His Life.

Source: Fulton County Republican, August 24, 1899, Page 3, courtesy of James F. Morrison.

The community was shocked last Tuesday by the announcement that William Hale had been found dead in the rear of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

Edgar Hodges, leader of the Military band, started for his home at 5:40 O’clock. As he came in front of Undertaker Alpaugh’s rooms he noticed a horse without a driver coming out of the passageway that leads to St. Mark’s church sheds, and thinking that some one had carelessly neglected to tie the animal, stopped it in the road, and turning the horse and wagon around, took them back to the sheds.

On arriving at the rear of the church he was startled to see a man lying near one of the stalls with his face downward. Securing the horse, he satisfied himself that life was extinct, and then proceeded to notify the police. He found Officer Kilmer on Main Street, and accompanied by the officer and Undertaker Alpaugh, returned to the place. Up to this time it was not known who the unfortunate man was, but when the officer arrived the body was turned so that the face could be seen and then it was found that it was William Hale.

Coroner J. W. Joslin was summoned, and upon his arrival found that the neck was broken, and deeming an inquest unnecessary, gave the remains in charge of Undertaker Alpaugh, who immediately removed the body to his rooms. Mr. Hale’s brother, Edward, who resides in this city, was notified, and as soon as the arrangements could be completed the dead man was taken to his home at Hale’s Mills, some three miles east of this city.

The news spread rapidly, and as it was just at the hour when people were going to their homes, a crowd soon collected. Many viewed the scene of the accident and there are several theories advanced as to its cause. Some seven years ago Mr. Hale had a small sore upon one of his hands which became inoculated with some foreign substance, producing blood poisoning. His entire body was permeated with the disease and terrible ulcers broke out on his legs. It seemed as though death must result, but he eventually recovered enough to be able to attend to his business, although he never entirely regained his health. The ulcers left him with one leg very stiff and it is thought by some that in attempting to get out of his wagon that leg caused him to lurch and fall, striking on his head with the result before mentioned.

But there is still a more plausible theory. For a long time, Mr. Hale had been subject to stomach difficulty and at times was severely nauseated. During the summer he has had several spells of vomiting, sometimes when at work in the hayfield. He came to town between three and four o’clock yesterday afternoon and talked with several people while in his wagon. The horse which he drove was a very gentle animal that a child could manage and was perfectly reliable. He owned a stall in St. Mark’s shed and was accustomed to leave his rig there while he transacted business in the city. He was seen to go into the driveway by several people and nothing unusual was noticed about his appearance. Accounts vary, but it could not have been far from 5 o’clock, for when the body was found it was still free from the rigor of death.

As above stated, Mr. Hale lay on the ground, face downwards. Within a foot of his mouth were the undigested remains of his dinner which had evidently been emitted from his stomach after his fall, and inasmuch as he had been subject to nausea, all summer and some days was in such a condition that he could eat nothing at all, it is undoubtedly a fact that as he drove up to the door of his stall he was overcome by sickness at his stomach and reeling in his seat fell to the ground and dislocated his neck, throwing up the contents of his stomach at the same time, and dying instantly.

The ground in front of the horse gave evidence that the animal had stood there and pawed in its impatience and finally becoming tired had turned around, twisting its master’s face on the ground, scratching it and scraping off some of the skin. Then trotting out, the animal’s capture led to the discovery of Mr. Hales’ untimely death. Everything was found upon his person just as it was when he left his home.

Mr. Hale was fifty-six years of age. He was the eldest son of the late James Hale, and his first wife, Mary Burton and during almost the entire period of his life resided at the little hamlet named after the family and known as Hale’s Mills, located about three miles east of this city. He enlisted in Company D, 153rd Regiment N. Y. S. Vols. and served during three years of the war of the rebellion, under Captain J. J. Buchanan. After his return home he married Emma Turney and settled on a farm hear his father’s residence, where he had resided ever since. Mr. Hale came from a family of lifelong republicans and always took an active interest in the success of his party. When the city of Johnstown withdrew from its relations with the old township, Mr. Hale was elected a Justice of the peace of the town of Johnstown, and later, town clerk, an office which he held at the time of his death.

He was a member and one of the founders of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. His entire life was one that drew toward him the respect of all who knew him. His record in the civil war was that of a brave soldier, merit winning for him the rank of sergeant. He was an enthusiastic member of the G. A. R. and did all he could to advance the interests of McMartin post. Death has visited his family three times within a few months, removing his step-mother, his half-brother, Francis Hale and now himself.

His mother died when he was a child and his father about four years ago. He never had any children. He is survived by his wife, one brother and sister, J. Edward Hale, and Mrs. Jacob N. Shutts, and one half-brother, Delos Hale of this city.

Funeral will be held at his late residence on Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock, the Rev. F. W. Moot officiating.




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Copyright © 2002 James Morrison
Copyright © 2002 Peggy Stadtmiller, Jeanette Shiel
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