This abridged and edited information Kenneth Glyn Hales is taken from a booklet by Alfred Dryden Hales, retired MP, and of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
The immigrant ancestors of this family were John and Sarah Playford Hales of Norfolk, England. When they married John Hales listed his occupation as a butcher. No doubt he learned this trade from his father, a farmer and butcher. This family of eight children sailed for Canada in 1859.
In the early 1850s the North Sea, noted for its rolling rough waters flooded the farm lands in northeast England covering the Burgh Castle area with sea water. Such farm land drenched with salt would be unproductive for many years, so John and Sarah Hales decided their farm land had lost its value and it was time to start a new life in a new country. The British Colony of Canada was attracting boat loads of British subjects; so John and Sarah Hales decided to go there.
Guelph, Ontario, Canada had already been founded by John Galt in 1827 – some 32 years before John and Sarah Hales and their eight children set sail. Information about this area of Canada had reached England. It would appear they left for Guelph on the recommendation of the William Sallows family who had resided in the same County of Suffolk in England before taking up residence in Guelph, Ontario.
Onboard the ship, one child, Ellen, is reported to have been very sick. One account is that she died just after landing and others report she died on board and was buried at sea.
York County was developing rapidly at the time of their arrival in Toronto and no doubt developers were renting and selling good farm land to the north of Toronto. So north they went and settled on a farm near Markham, Ontario. They remained at Markham about 4 years before moving to Guelph. All of the children except Ellen appear in the 1871 census for Guelph, Ontario.
Born 15 DEC 1814 at Filby, Norfolk, England the son of John HALES and Elizabeth WARNES. Married 22 JAN 1839 Sarah PLAYFORD at All Saints, Ellough, Suffolk, England. She was born 15 AUG 1818 at Norton, Norfolk, England the daughter of William PLAYFORD and Mary SEWELL. John HALES died 1892 at Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Sarah PLAYFORD died 1905 at Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
F- Mary Ann Playford HALES; born 20 JUN 1839 in Suffolk County, England; married about 1861 James Thomas WATERS at Guelph, Ontario, Canada; died 1909.
M- William HALES; born 26 JUL 1841 in Yarmouth, Norfolk, England; married (1) about 1866 Matilda GIBSON, (2) ...; died 1924.
M- John HALES III; born 7 FEB 1847 in Suffolk County, England; married 7 MAR 1868 Ann JOHNSTON; died 1924.
M- James HALES; born 8 DEC 1849 at Limpenhoe, Norfolk, England; married about 1874 Susannah SALLOWS; died 1915.
F- Sarah HALES; born 29 AUG 1851 in Suffolk County, England; married about 1873 Thomas F. PALLISTER; died 1914.
M- Robert Arthur HALES; born 24 JAN 1854 at Burgh Castle, Suffolk, England; married about 1879 Janet BIGBIE; died 17 MAR 1931.
M- Alfred HALES; born 14 NOV 1855 at Burgh Castle, Suffolk, England; married 16 MAR 1881 Catherine MacDONALD; died FEB 1932.
F- Ellen HALES; born 5 NOV 1857 in Suffolk County, England; died 1859.
An interesting part of a family genealogy is traits or professions which keep appearing in each branch or generation. For example:
A flair for art including: oil and water colors, sculpture, Tole and china painting shows up many times in this family.
In the field of transportation we find descendants working for the Michigan Central Railway as Engineers, Conductors and shop maintenance foremen. They were with the C.P.R.; the Greyhound Bus Lines; and the Overland Transport of Chatham and Toronto.
There are lawyers and doctors in Canada and in the United States and an administrator of a large medical clinic in Kamloops, British Columbia.
All branches of the family can claim outstanding school teachers, nurses, secretaries, or dietitians. In the Alfred Hales branch of the family, Playford Hales was a professor of poultry science. The elder Hales brothers were involved in the food business. The work ethic and entrepreneurship were paramount in every family.
All the brothers loved a good race horse. They owned and drove the finest carriage horses.
It is not known why all of the brothers except Alfred migrated to Southwestern Ontario. It appears that John, the second oldest of the boys was the first to leave Guelph about 1874 with his wife Ann Johnston and two small children: James, born in Toronto; and Sarah, born in Guelph. John also ran a butcher business in Chatham.
Robert, the youngest of the boys was the next to leave to work on his brother John’s farm in Chatham Township. Robert and his wife, Janet Bigbie lived on the Given Road until they moved to their own larger farm of 150 acres specializing in cash crops.
John prompted his brother William to come to the same thriving area and William opened up a butcher shop in Saint Thomas. Two years later brother James came and worked for William buying the business two years later when William moved 25 miles to Dutton where he opened another shop.
While all the brothers were getting established in their own butcher businesses, Alfred was growing turnips on the front twenty acres of his father-in-law’s farm in Marden, 5 miles north of Guelph. His wife Catherine making and selling butter from milk from a cow she bought from Robert when he left for Chatham. Eventually enough turnips were sold to buy four lambs which Alfred dressed and sold to James Miller, a butcher in a Guelph market stall. From this small beginning another Hales Meat Market was established in stall number 9 which Alfred purchased from Mathews & Jones in 1887.
This Hales family were all devoted Methodists, Anglicans or Salvation Army adherents. Many were members and past masters of the Masonic order, Foresters and Independent Order of Foresters.
Their love of animals, particularly race horses is very evident. Pets of all kinds were around every home. They gave much of their time to the betterment of their community as members of school boards, Chamber of Commerce, City and Township councils and many were supporters of the Conservative Party.
One member of this family, Alfred Dryden Hales, served 17 years as a conservative member of parliament for Canada 1957 to 1974.
While sitting in the House of Commons as the M.P. representing Guelph, a seatmate asked Alfred, "Have you any relatives in Saskatchewan?" This article is the result of the seed planted by that question.
Mary Ann "Polly" Hales (1839-1909)
The oldest child of the John and Sarah Playford Hales marriage, Polly was born in Suffolk County, England in 1839. She came to Markham with her family at 20 years of age, moving to Guelph in 1863. Polly sang in the Paisley Street Methodist church choir. Her sister Sarah is reported as saying that "she sang beautifully and was so good looking, she used to wonder if the angels in heaven were as beautiful.
Polly married James Thomas Waters (1838-1915) and is listed in the 1862 Guelph assessment rolls, age 23, Butcher, English, living on 8 acres, value $100. The 1871 census lists Mary Ann and James living at another location. They were the parents of four children: Alice, Mattie "Sarah", Walter and William.
Polly and James and their family of four had a life of adventure. Leaving a successful meat business in Guelph, they moved to Toronto about 1889. Then they relocated to the western United States – spending some time in Nebraska and Wyoming. They were living in Denver, Colorado in 1894. In the late summer of 1898 their son Walter couldn’t resist the temptation of the 1898 gold rush to Alaska so off he went with many others to the "get rich land" taking his father James T. Waters with him. They landed at Wrangell in south-east Alaska. James opened a butcher shop called Faneuil Hall Market while son Walter hunted deer and sold them as fresh meat to the steamship lines.
The following year – 1899 – the rest of the family left Denver and joined them in Wrangell. The market was called Faneuil Hall after Faneuil Hall in Boston – why I do not know unless it has some connection with visits Mary Ann may have had when her sister Sarah was attending college in Boston. Walter’s (son of James and Mary Ann) operations in Wrangell were very diversified and extensive. He did, however, take time off to return to Toronto in April 1902 and marry Mabel Elizabeth Beilby whom he had known for several years as she and Mildred Cooper (daughter of his sister Alice Cooper) were very close friends. In fact he had made both girls doll beds when they were very young.
The courting was not easy as on his first trip to Toronto Mabel was only sixteen when he fell in love with her. They wanted to be married but her mother said they should wait until she was 18. Walter returned broken hearted, but returned the next year and they were married April 9, 1902 when she was 17 and he was 27. Mabel arrived in Wrangell as a very young bride and lived there until 1953 when she moved, as a widow, to Seattle, Washington.
Walter and Mabel must have been the busiest people in Wrangell. Besides raising their family of four children: James, Jack, Glenora and William, at various times of their lives they operated a grocery store, a fish saltry, and had a U.S. government mail delivery to the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. A charter boat operator, Walter chartered one boat for 14 years to the U.S. Geological survey covering all of south-eastern Alaska. He was not a graduate geologist but had many geological reports published in Washington D.C. under his name. The Geological Survey Society named a mountain peak, near Wrangle, "Mount Waters," in his honor. While operating all the above businesses, including buying furs, his hobby was collecting Indian art and curios which later grew into one of the largest Northwest Indian and Eskimo Art collections ever assembled. Part of this collection is on display at the University of Washington and part at the Denver Art Museum.
In 1926 they built a large building in which they opened a curio and souvenir shop. Later they added a second shop. This became the main family business. Jack and his mother Mabel were the main shop keepers until the business was sold in 1953. Jack moved to California where he managed a drug store for several years, later moving to Manson, Washington to be near his daughter Nancy. Today he operates a home repair and remodeling business. Brother James was killed in an automobile accident at age 21 while attending Stanford University in California. Their sister Glenora graduated from the University of Washington as an Arts Major. She married the Reverend William Forbes, Episcopal, and lives in Mount Vernon, Washington. William died at age 16 in Denver before the family moved to Wrangell, Alaska.
Alice Waters married Walter Cooper, an old country butcher, who operated a high class market in Toronto. He helped train John Hales and most likely James Waters. He also came to Guelph and went into partnership with Ernest A. Hales for a very short time. Alice Waters, his wife, was an outstanding artist and on her death he returned to England, taking all her paintings with him. They had one daughter, Mildred.
From the time Mary Ann Hales left Suffolk County, England, married James Waters in Guelph, lived in Toronto and the western United States and finally on to Wrangell, Alaska in search of gold, a host of experiences – some good, some tragic – took place. Although they never found gold, they reaped a harvest better than gold, raising their children and watching their grandchildren develop and prosper. They left Wrangell a better place than they found it.
James and Mary Ann "Polly" Hales Waters are buried in Wrangell, Alaska, the country they loved.
William Hales (1840-1924)
William, the second child and oldest of the Hales brothers, was born 1842 in Suffolk County, England, as were all the other children of the John and Sarah Playford marriage. He came to Canada in 1859 and settled in Markham, Ontario. In my search of the 1861 census for the township of Markham, I could not find William, age 19, Mary Ann, age 20, Sarah, age 6, or Ellen, the infant, which seems to bear out the family reports that she died aboard ship and was buried at sea.
William, however, appears in the 1871 census in Guelph Township, District 33, Paisley Block, with his wife Matilda and son Herbert, age 11 months. Ten years later he appears in District 151, Sub-district 13, Division 3 along with his wife Matilda, and children: Herbert, Jemima (Maude?) And Leonard, age 2.
Matilda’s surname was Gibson. Victoria Hanson Riley reports that Matilda’s mother came from an aristocratic titled family in England and come to Canada with family coachman, Mr. Gibson.
William, as oldest boy in the family assisted his father in the family butcher business in the Guelph Market Square. He also became a very successful drover and farmer living on the McQuillan farm on Victoria road, now part of the Ontario Correctional Center. Like the rest of his brothers he had an "eye" for a good race horse. The Guelph Fall Trotting races in 1879 lists an entry "Drover Girl" in the one mile heat. All drivers wearing different colored caps. William wore a blue cap. No mention was made of who got the red ribbon.
William and his wife, Matilda with their two boys, left Guelph for Saint Thomas about 1884. Herbert was about 14 and Leonard about 5 years of age. The family took up residence in a two story white frame house at 66 Sunset Drive. William opened his butcher shop in the Hunt’s Block, 421 Talbot Street, a good location on the main street of Saint Thomas. For the next five years, with his good training in Guelph and the assistance from his brother Jim who joined him for a couple of years, the business grew into a thriving enterprise. William then sold his interest to his brother James and moved about 25 miles west to the town of Dutton and opened another butcher shop. This shop continued by his son Leonard, and on his death, by his grandson, Vernon until 1972. The shop, located on the main street of Dutton, had an apartment above it which became the home of Vernon, his wife Rosamund and their first daughter Doris (Mrs. Douglas Hatch). Donelda (Mrs. Paul Young), was born in their new home, 232 Main Street, Dutton, Ontario. When Vernon’s poor health forced him to close the shop, Rosemund, a graduate nurses aide, opened a Tot and Teen Ready to Wear shop in the original William Hales location. Rosamund’s venture into the clothing business was a great success.
Uncle William, as he was known to the Guelph children, was a very distinguished looking gentleman, always well groomed, sporting the usual gold watch chain with a bear’s tooth anchored as an attraction. He was most generous, always supplying us with lots of candies. William appears to have saved his money more so than his brothers, who worked hard, but also played hard and often owned the fastest race horses. When I asked my grandmother why William seemed to be the wealthiest of all the brothers she told me one example. All the brothers came to the Guelph Winter Fair and stayed with Kate and their brother Alf. The first night the big attraction was the evening Horse Show. The brothers realizing William was better heeled than the rest of them, arranged for William to be first in the box office line up, hoping William would buy a ticket for each of them. Can’t you just see them smiling as they lined up behind William, their wealthy brother. William approached the ticket office and asked, "How much are your tickets?" Twenty-five cents was the reply. Says William, "Give me one, please."
Herb, the oldest of William and Matilda’s four children, was one of the best known residents of West Elgin. Born in Guelph and moving to Saint Thomas where he too learned the butcher business with his father and uncle James, he later opened his own shop in nearby West Lorne. From there Herb and his wife Almira moved to the famous Dunwich Swamp area on the outskirts of Dutton where they raised their six children on a large market garden along side of the Michigan Central Railway track. He was one of the first to develop this rich muck soil.
Herb was also active in the commercial fishing industry for years. He helped organize and develop the old Lake Erie Fishermans Association. A man with a great personality and a keen wit, no gathering was ever dull when Herb Hales was present. He was a conservative of the old school of thought and action. He was married for 55 years and died at age 81 in 1951. Some of his wit and stories I quote as follows:
"One summer day when the Michigan Central train passed by my corn patch, sparks from the engine set my cornfield on fire and popped all the corn. It drifted in huge piles like snow and I had to call the township plows to clear the path."
Herb’s house had a large furnished basement room and during the depression the hobos that rode the freight train, looking for a place to sleep, often slept in this room as the door was never locked. One night his wife, Almira, heard more noise than usual and persuaded Herb to go and see what it was all about. He never went downstairs, only to the head of the stairs and locked the door. "Why didn’t you go down to the basement," said the wife. "What’s the use," said Herb, "I wouldn’t know any of those fellers."
Many of his stories had to do with the Dunwich Swamp which he conquered. A choice story concerned "Old Gold Tooth" a giant frog. Herb made a pet of Gold Tooth for years, then one day the frog disappeared. Two or three years later the frog reappeared. The frog showed signs of distress. Herb investigated and discovered the frog was suffering from a toothache. A man of many skills, Herb Hales practiced dentistry on the side and soon had the frog’s aching molar treated and capped with gold – hence the name "Old Gold Tooth."
Herb Hales could spin his stories by the hour. They were harmless tales, designed only to add a little levity to life. I trust you too will appreciate these few tall tales that were the talk of the town of Dutton – or wherever Herb could get an audience.
Leonard, as stated before, carried on his father’s meat business. I’m sure he must have been one of the hardest working men in the Hales lineage. Eighteen hour days were the average for him, but he still found time to come to Guelph and visit Uncle Alf and Aunt Kate and his cousins Ernest, Alice and Kate. I remember visiting Leonard and Margaret in Dutton shortly after Mary and I were married in 1936. My father always stayed with them when he judged cattle at the Wallacetown Fair. Doris Hales Hatch, on my visit to Saint Thomas in 1987 reminded me of the whisker rubs that my father, Ernest, used to giver her and how she put thumb tacks in the double bed – but dad always got in on the wrong side.
William and Matilda’s only daughter, Maude, married Edgar Hertle and moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, home of Smith Brothers cough drops. They had one son, Sinclair. Sorry, but I could not find out more about Maude and her family.
Freeman did not like to work like his brother Len. Freeman died at the early age of 27 leaving one son, William. Freeman’s widow, Ethel Dobie, later married Mr. Roberts, a druggist in Dutton at which time William Hales changed his name to Roberts. William Hales Roberts became a well known lawyer in Saint Thomas. He met an untimely death at age 43 in a motor car accident. Charles Hales’ daughter, Barbara (of Saint Thomas) was his secretary at the time of the accident.
Clare and Charles Hales of this branch held responsible jobs with the Imperial Oil Company, as brothers Ed and Earl did with the Union Gas Company. The name Playford appears in this lineage as the son of James and Doris Hales of Ridgetown. Playford being our great-grandfather John Hales wife’s maiden name and also that of Captain Playford Hales, my uncle, killed in action August 20, 1918, of the Royal Air Force.
Dona Hales Young, great-granddaughter of William Hales, spotted me and my neighbor George as we entered the large crowd attending the Guelph Barbershop chorus concert in the fall of 1987. Her guess that the tall fellow was Alf Hales was confirmed at intermission when she consulted with George and for the first time two long lost cousins met. This meeting resulted in plans for a two-day visit to Dutton and Saint Thomas where much of the information in these stories were handed down.
John Hales III (1847-1924)
John Hales III, (son of John Hales and Sarah Playford, and grandson of John Hales and Elizabeth Warnes) besides his butcher business, was deeply involved in breeding and owning good standard bred race horses. I doubt if there is a family who have done more to develop and improve race horses in Ontario.
Robert Hales, John’s son, played a leading part in introducing night horse racing. Well I remember the Saturday the lights were turned on for the first time at the Chatham, Ontario race track. Uncle Bob wanted to be there, but Saturday night was the best night for business – not the horses. It so happened that my chum, John Harcourt and I were visiting for the weekend, so I volunteered to look after the shop so Uncle Bob was able to be with his first love, the horses. Robert’s daughter, Ruth Hales Herbert, along with her husband Bill, operated one of the best standard bred horse farms in Canada at Lambeth, Ontario near London. Their many prizes, cups, trophies, ribbons, etc. filled one large room of their home. Her sister Dorothy Hales married William Milton, a member of the Ontario Racing Commission. Son Robert made a name for himself in the field of hockey, being a member of the first Canadian Hockey team to play exhibition games in England and Europe.
As stated earlier, I first discovered John Hales III in the 1861 census of Markham Township age 14 working as an apprentice shoemaker – no doubt to help his father and mother by taking care of his own room and board. In my search he next appears in the 1871 census of Guelph, married, age 25, Methodist, English, butcher married to Annie Johnston, age 21, Methodist, with one child, James, age 2.
John and Ann Johnston were married in Toronto about 1868. Their first child, James Johnston Hales, was born in Toronto in 1870. John worked in Toronto for three years and I assume he went there to learn more of the butcher trade by working with Walter Cooper who had a first class butcher shop in Toronto. He would know Walter Cooper because Walter married Alice Waters, John’s first cousin. Alice was Mary Ann Hales Waters’ oldest child. John and Ann returned to Guelph where their daughter Sarah was born
in 1873. The family then moved to Chatham, Ontario about 1874. Ann, Elizabeth, John IV, and Robert were born in Chatham.
John Hales III, the second oldest of the five brothers, was the first one to leave Guelph, and break what appears to have been a closely knit family. All the brothers were in the butcher and droving business except Robert, who farmed. What took John to Chatham? Why did he go so far from home? I have asked many people without finding an answer. Once John established his butcher business we can understand why Robert followed to work on his brother’s farm. Then William removed to Saint Thomas and brother Jim followed to help William in his business.
James Johnston Hales, born in 1870, eldest son of John and Ann spent his early life in Chatham working in his father’s butcher shop. In 1897 at the age of 27 he went to the Klondike for nearly two years in search of precious gold. Some highlights of his trip – taken from the Chatham newspaper, the Evening Banner, 1899, – include: James Hales left Seattle, Washington for Skagway in December 1897 taking some 3000 pounds of meat that he hoped to sell. This made history as it was the first meat transported by horses and packed on men’s backs. He located two miles from the Chilicoot Pass at Lake Lindeman and opened a grocery store, meat market and post office. The shipment of meat didn’t prove very profitable. Most of the people who managed to get that far were short of money and they couldn’t afford to buy meat. Also, they hadn’t got tired of eating pork and beans.
On June 15, 1898 he sold his business and bought a 27 foot boat to paddle down the Yukon River where they had to shoot the famous White Horse rapids. After a treacherous and thrill packed trip he arrived in Dawson City on the 30th of June. He spent the next five months prospecting. "My companions and myself just put packs on our backs and went into the gold fields. We lay all night with our packs for pillows wherever night overtook us." As their boat was number 13706 many prospectors had set out ahead of them. The mosquito plague, black ants, poor diets, and hard work in the Bear Mine on Elderado Creek didn’t stop him from staking several claims. On arrival in Dawson City he opened a butcher business and operated it for ten months serving a population of 20,000 people.
"The trip from Chatham to the Yukon can now be made in two weeks," said John Hales in 1897. Today you could make it in one day or two at the most. On his return trip to Chatham he spent a few days in Seattle, arriving home well and hearty, stating that he intended to go back next year, 1899, which he did. "The Klondike is a great place and I like the climate," said James Johnston Hales in 1899. He brought home a number of gold nuggets which he was very proud of. An exceedingly large and beautiful one of considerable value he gave to his mother Ann Johnston Hales.
James Hales (1849-1915)
Born December 8, 1849 at Limpenhoe, Norfolk, England, James Hales was 12 years old when he arrived in Canada, the fourth child to be born to the John and Sarah Hales family. From age 12 to 16 he would have received his early education in Markham, Ontario and then the family moved to Guelph, where he worked on his father’s farm and helped his brothers in the butcher business. James married Susannah Sallows whose father, William, had the largest blacksmith shop in Guelph at the corner of Wellington Street and Dundas Road, now called Gordon Street. Today, on the same corner, is an Imperial Esso Gas Station.
In the 1881 census of the City of Guelph, James is listed – married, age 31, English, Methodist, butcher, his wife Sussan, and three children: Anna H., age 9; James A., age 7; and Ada Mae, age 4. (Anna H. must have been later known as Helen Nellie, born 1872). James’ obituary states he operated his butcher business in Saint Thomas for upward of 30 years and then the wholesale business for a few years. He must have left Guelph, Ontario about 1884. Their son William was born in Guelph in 1882, and Charles the youngest of their family was born in 1889 in Saint Thomas.
As all of James and Susannah’s sons found their way into the railroad business, I guess it would only be reasonable to call this the railroad family. James Hales II moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, and became a conductor in the Great Northern Railway. William Hales learned his profession as a railway engineer in the Canadian Division of the Michigan Central Railroad. His run was between Detroit and Buffalo. He moved to Loraine, Ohio and retired at age 70 after 50 years with the Lake Terminal Railroad. Mrs. Mildred Brock Stewart, in one of her letters states, "Bill Hales was a fine man, quite meticulous about many things, especially his car. I remember my in-laws Nellie and George Stewart remarking that you could eat your
Sunday dinner on the engine of his car as it sparkled so." Charlie worked in the Michigan Central Railway shops and made sure the equipment was kept in good shape.
Nellie Hales met George B. Stewart at a church social in Saint Thomas. They were married September 16, 1896. George Stewart arrived in Saint Thomas from Scotland at age 19. His brother Andrew, an engineer for Michigan Central, had arrived a few years earlier and no doubt coaxed his brother to come to Canada. George worked for Brownell and Kennedy in Saint Thomas, manufactures of high-grade bicycles and carriages. Their son and only child, James Brockie "Brock" Stewart, was born January 21, 1901. Shortly thereafter, they went to Loraine, Ohio. George Stewart was the master mechanic for U.S. Steel National Tube Company. Son James Brockie "Brock" Stewart attended Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He worked for Pittsburgh Steamship Company (U.S. Steel) as superintendent of Hulls. He was highly respected in the shipping business in the Great Lakes. I am most grateful to Jean Stewart Linn, daughter of Brock Stewart for the above information.
Ada, Mrs. Bert Smith, lived in Detroit, Michigan, where her husband managed a large grocery business. All of these folks, except James and William, visited frequently in our home in Guelph when I was in my teens.
James’ granddaughters, Margaret Hales Hayden, now living in London, Ontario and Barbara Hales Barnwell of Port Stanley were two favorites of my father, Ernest Hales. Both girls recall his visits to their home in Saint Thomas when he was judging cattle at the Wallacetown and Dutton fall fairs. Both of these daughters of Charlie Hales were most helpful in my research of this branch. Barbara gave me James H. Hales address in Conneaut, Ohio, thus I was able to complete the William Henry Hales branch of this family. James H. Hales, son of William Henry Hales, was a teacher of Industrial Arts, then a school superintendent, and retiring as a school administrator. His son, James Hales III followed in his fathers footsteps and is now Dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology at Eastern Tennessee State College in Johnson City, Tennessee.
In our first correspondence, James informed me that he had not seen me for 55 years. The occasion being when he and Aileen visited my grandparents on their honeymoon. He recalled seeing the large wooden propeller from the remains of Playford Hales plane that was shot down in World War I. That war relic stood in the upstairs hall corner until grandma (Kate Hales) passed away in 1955. It is now in the possession of Ronald Maynard, a great grandson, living in New York State.
Sarah Hales Pallister (1852-1914)
Born 1852 in England, Sarah Hales came to Markham with her parents at 8 years of age. She was educated in Boston, Massachusetts. Sarah Hales married Thomas Pallister in Guelph in 1874 and was the mother of three children: John, William and Edna. John died in Guelph at 18 years of age. William graduated from McGill in Medicine. Edna graduated from Saint Margaret’s College in Toronto.
Sarah and her husband moved to Kennewick, Washington in 1903 to be with their son and daughter who had relocated there. She served as Chaplain in the Kennewick chapter of the Eastern Star and helped to organize the Kennewick Cemetery Association. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting, making cookies and serving high tea. She died at age 62 in 1914. Thomas Pallister died three years later. Both are buried in Kennewick, Washington.
Sarah’s courtship and marriage to Thomas Pallister was, to say the least, unusual. She was engaged to a preacher in a neighboring hamlet. Her mother, Sarah Playford Hales, made a trip to England to collect a legacy that she received each year as long as she lived and while there bought some lovely items for her daughters trousseau, including some fine British yardage for a wedding dress. Sarah was all set up and then the wedding fell through. The preacher was seen being kissed by one of his parishioners and he was then obligated to marry the other member of his flock. Sarah was told later, but firmly, that she should not expect her mother to buy her any more wedding clothes. In other words she should find another man.
Thomas Pallister, son of an old country gentleman, an Oxford graduate, was the consolation prize and from my research, I would say he was the better of the two. Thomas was a foreman and designer of carriages at the Armstrong Carriage Works, Guelph, Ontario. One of his designs won first prize in an exhibition at Chicago. He also traveled a lot buying special type lumber for the company. Thomas was a member of Speed Masonic Lodge, Guelph.
William Hales Pallister, M.D., of this marriage, was a brilliant student of medicine graduating from McGill before age 21 and, of course, could not practice until he was of age. A medical doctor in Bayfield, near Goderich, Ontario hired him as an assistant and during this period he met Pearl Evans who owned a salt mine in Goderich. William was now old enough so he set up his own practice in Kennewick, Washington and later returned to Goderich to marry Pearl Evans. Dr. William Hales Pallister built a hospital in Juno, Alaska, but being a poor businessman, the hospital went into receivership. Dr. "Will" as he was known, moved from place to place with the American army while Pearl raised their three children: George Evans, William, and Gloria in Vancouver, B.C. The boys built three fishing boats: Pal I, Pal II, and Pal III, and did very well fishing for B.C. salmon. Gloria married Kenneth Grant, a high-ranking American soldier who died in an accident in 1963.
As a teenagers, I well remember Dr. William Hales Pallister staying at my grandparents home for month after month while he wrote a book, "Poems of Science." He was divorced and remarried in Florida to Edna Campwell Wheeler. Dr. William Hales Pallister and second wife, Edna, died in Florida, were cremated, and the ashes are buried in Guelph Woodlawn Cemetery.
Credit for much of the above information must be given to Victoria Hanson Riley, granddaughter of Sarah Hales Pallister. My visit with Evans Pallister in Sooke, Victoria, February 1983, and William Hales Pallister, Jr. in Seattle, Washington, 1983, provided me with a lot of interesting and valuable information.
Robert Arthur Hales (1854-1931)
An extract from the registers of the parish of Burgh Castle, Suffolk, England lists Robert Hales, son of John and Sarah, christened September 24, 1854. Twenty-two months later his brother Alfred was born, thus one can understand why they were often taken for twins. At age 5 Robert arrived in Markham, Ontario with the rest of the family, moved to Guelph at age 8, and remained there until he moved to the Chatham area at age 27. Robert was the only one of the five Hales brothers that wasn’t involved in the butcher and droving business. He remained a farmer specializing in growing cash crops of fruit and vegetables.
This is the most prolific branch of this Hales family, comprising approximately four hundred and sixty descendants, most of them living in the Chatham area of south-western Ontario. Others live in Toronto, Dunnville, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Maritimes and Florida. As Daisy Hales Rochon, granddaughter of Robert, stated in her letter of April 20, 1966, "I am happy to think they are all good citizens, contributing something to their respective communities."
At the risk of overlooking others of equal qualities, I refer to James Alfred Hales, second oldest son of Robert Arthur Hales, whose many letters to me inspired me to write this history of the John and Sarah Hales family. I quote from the booklet called "Saskatchewan Pioneers" sent to me by his son Fred of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1963.
"James Alfred Hales was a barber in the town of Stoughton, Saskatchewan for more than 50 years until he retired in 1956. Mr. Hales was born October 27, 1879 in Guelph, Ontario, the son of Robert and Janet (Bigbie) Hales. He came west on a harvest excursion to Bathgate, North Dakota, in 1903, where he was a barber for three years. It was January 12, 1905 that he opened his own shop in Stoughton. In the half century he was in business in Stoughton he trained a number of young barbers.
"He was a member of the local Board of Trade, and for a few years, of the Saskatchewan Barbers Association, between 1932-1935. He was a member of the town council for several years prior to that.
"He was fire chief at Stoughton for more than forty years and received an honor scroll from the fire department organization. He was a member of the Canadian Order of Foresters, and also of the Independent Order of Foresters. He was a member of the United Church, and a member and director of the board of stewards."
After Robert Arthur Hales sold his cow to his sister-in-law Kate Hales, who had just married his brother Alfred, he and his wife Janet Bigbie Hales, with sons John and James, left Guelph about 1884 to help his brother John operate his farm located on the Given Road, Chatham Township where their son Hugh was born in 1885. The other children, Ernest and Mabel, were born on the 13th concession, Chatham Township. Here this happy family grew up until they were married and moved to their own homes. True to life the old home and farm was too big for their needs so Janet and Robert moved to a 25 acre market garden on the outskirts of Dresden, Ontario.
Robert was never happier than growing his tomatoes, sugar beets, grapes, peaches, pears and apples. These products of high quality were sold in the Chatham market. One of Henry Ford’s mode T’s, made just across the river from Windsor, transported not only the choice fruits and vegetables, but the family of 5 children, who handed down some lively stories of their trips in the old Ford. On Robert’s death the farm was sold in 1931. His widow Janet passed away in 1939 at the residence of her son, Hugh Hales, 99 Lorne Avenue, Chatham, Ontario.
John R. Hales, the oldest of the Robert and Janet Hales family died at the early age of 57 and was not spared to use the good education he had received. His wife Estella died of Tuberculosis at the early age of 23. Their three boys: Harold, Hugh and Grant were raised by their grandmother, Janet Hales and their aunt Mable Hales Meredith. Most of the descendants of John R. Hales live in Florida, Michigan and Virginia.
Hugh Hales and Mabel Hales Meredith and their descendants have many roots in the Chatham area. Credit must be given to Mabel Hales and William Meredith for their great contributions to agriculture. The name Meredith is synonymous with good farming and public service. Douglas J. Meredith was warden of Kent County and James Alfred Hales, as stated above, went west in the harvest excursions and settled in Stoughton, Saskatchewan. Ernest moved to Buffalo, New York, operating a very successful shoe store.
The many descendants of Robert Arthur and Janet Bigbie Hales should be justly proud of their heritage.
Alfred Hales (1855-1932)
Alfred, the youngest child of the John and Sarah Playford Hales family, remained in Guelph and kept the home fires burning. He and his wife Catherine "Kate" MacDonald spent most of their married life in their home on the College Hill called "The Rest." Their nephew, James Hales said, "I thought it should be called "No Rest" for everyone seemed to work so hard." They did work hard, but also took time to play – a euchre game, a ball game or a day at the horse races, a sing song around their made-in-Guelph piano or playing with their many pets.
Alfred was a friendly, outgoing person. He was full of fun and always ready to help one in need. He loved to go to farm auction sales, driving his best and fastest carriage horse, taking along J. M. Duff, manager of the Bank of Commerce and William McDonald (no known relationship to Kate Hales) the auctioneer. They were a good business combination. McDonald pushed for top prices, Alfred ran them up – many times getting stuck with something he did not want – and Duff, the bank manager was there to write bank notes and advance money to the farmers. When the sale was over the threesome picked a fourth partner for a game of euchre that would run into the early hours of the morning. This was great fun, mixing business and pleasure. Sometimes when the surplus, no use articles arrived home, it was not so funny, as wife Kate knew the purchases represented cash so badly needed in the growing business.
In politics Alfred was an English Conservative (Tory). His wife Catherine was a Scotch Presbyterian Liberal (Grit). On election days there was lots of joshing. Alfred would say, "Dang it all, I might as well stay home and not vote – Kate will kill my vote anyway." Alfred finally had his day when Honorable Hugh Guthrie, the long time sitting Liberal member for Wellington, crossed the floor of Parliament and joined the Conservative party. Catherine had the last word as she kidded her husband for voting for a "turncoat."
A sentence taken from the greetings on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1931 sums up well why Alfred and Catherine’s home "The Rest" was so open and friendly. "You have some outstanding abilities, some of which are love-ability, social-ability, amiability, euchre-ability, smoke-ability and conversational-ability."
In 1887 Alfred reestablished the Hales meat business that his father, John and brother William, operated in the Guelph market square from 1863 to 1884 when William left for Saint Thomas, Ontario. Alfred’s new operation was to be carried on
for three generations. His eldest son, Ernest, knew from an early age that he wanted to carry on the business. His mother, Catherine, often worried about "Ern" doing the jobs normally done by older men. He learned to dress a cattle beast when he was very young. He held the record time of 17 minutes in the slaughtering competition at the Guelph Provincial Winter Fair.
At age 18 Ernest went to the British Isles on a cattle boat with George Crosby of Guelph. He returned home to work for his father until 1907 when he purchased the business at age 23. He moved the business from the market building to Saint George’s Square in the center of the city of Guelph.
This was the first butcher shop to remain open all day, made possible by improved ice refrigerated walk-in boxes. Prior to this time butchers bought livestock in the afternoon, dressed them in the cool of the evenings and opened shops for selling in the mornings only.
Over the years Alfred and his son Ernest were in great demand as livestock judges, both locally and abroad. Alfred judged at the Winnipeg Fair. Ernest judged at the Chicago International Livestock Exposition for several years. On one occasion he was one of a panel of three judges that established an all-time record. They judged a large class of live cattle, which were then "slaughtered and judged" by another panel as dressed beef. The top seven live cattle were judged the same top seven dressed – a real accomplishment.
Ernest was also a judge of dressed meats at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. He carried on that activity from the institution of the Royal until his retirement in 1957. The E. A. Hales Memorial Cup is presented each year at the Royal to the owner of the grand champion carcass of lamb. This cup is provided by Alfred D. Hales and has been presented each year since 1960 by either a grandchild or a great-grandchild of Ernest.
With all the family background in the meat industry it is not surprising that Alfred, son of Ernest and his wife Jean Dryden Hales, should continue this interest. During his fourth year at the Ontario Agricultural College, Alfred Dryden Hales was a member of the college meat judging team that won the North American Intercollegiate meat judging title in Chicago in 1933. After graduation, Alf took a position with the Swift Canadian Company in Toronto where he remained until returning home to join his father, Ernest, in the family meat business which he purchased in 1944.
During the second world war the Canadian Government introduced meat rationing. Alfred; along with O. Winters, Toronto; Jack Moffatt, Galt; and Frank Duff, from Hamilton were called upon to formulate the wartime prices and Trade Board’s meat rationing system for Canada.
As the third generation owner of Hales Meat Market in Guelph, Alfred introduced some new ideas such as the first self-serve meat counters west of Toronto and a large frozen food locker system. He closed the retail operations in 1960 and expanded the frozen food business selling out in 1970. After serving the people of Guelph and the surrounding area for 107 years, the meat business started by John Hales and his son William in 1863 came to an end.
Alfred and Catherine’s decision to remain in Guelph, the home of the Experimental Farm, later the Ontario Agricultural College, and now the University of Guelph, provided many benefits for the family. Counting husbands and wives, 14 members of the Alfred Hales branch of the family graduated from the "College on the hill" between 1914 and 1970.
Many of Alfred and Catherine’s descendants have lived on College Heights just off the college campus. Many students, graduates, and their families have been entertained in their homes and became lifelong friends. "The College on the hill" has a special place in the hearts of the Hales family.