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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Robert Edward Lee Halley

We are indebted to the eastern states for many of our best citizens. Many of these men and women came to this state in the early days and by persistence and industry made possible to us many of the privileges we enjoy today. In fact it is impossible to estimate correctly the amount of good these fearless ones have done for California. Not only to the pioneers of old do we owe a debt of deep gratitude, but to those who followed them up and continued their work. The progress of a country cannot be continued indefinitely by one band of men and women, for the time comes when they are called upon to rest from the heat and burden of the day and view from the rugged heights of achievement the accomplishments of their hands. Then it is that others are called into the breach to maintain prestige won by predecessors. Thus it is that we commend the life and work of Robert Edward Lee Halley.

Mr. Halley was born in Newton, Jasper county, Ill., September 13, 1869, a son of John Henry and Lucie Kathleen (Thompson) Halley, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Tennessee, where they were married in Brownsville, May 4, 1864. Mr. Halley was educated in the public school of his native place and his after life bears excellent testimony to the fact that he made the most of the meager educational facilities by earnest application to this studies. After graduating from the public school he was first employed as a clerk in a store, which occupation he followed for some time. Not content with the prospects of improving his position in the store in Illinois, we find the young man travelling from one place to another in search of better conditions, always being sure that he was advancing his status before making the move. Thus we find him going from Illinois to Paica, Indian Territory, and later to Antlers. At the latter place he heard of the splendid openings in the west and ultimately yielded to the lure of this land of sunshine, for we find him coming to San Francisco. From this latter place he moved to Cotati, Sonoma county, in which town he now resides.

Mr. Halley saw a splendid opportunity to purchase land at Cotati and he accordingly bought seven acres. Having the instinct of shrewdness well developed, Mr. Halley sold this land, for which he had paid $85 per acres, at a good margin of profit which enabled him to purchase a store and five lots in Cotati. In this store he now operates a general merchandising business and his up-to-date method of attending to the many wants and needs of the customers finds hearty endorsement in the minds of all who trade there.

Politically Mr. Halley is a Democrat, believing in the rule of the people, and in him his party has a stanch supporter of its principles, for he is true to what he believes to be right and just. For two years he was school trustee and during his tenure of office showed his practical sympathy in giving to rising generations the full benefits of modern educational methods. He has also served as deputy sheriff and is a member of the Woodmen of the World and the Odd Fellows. He is a member of the Catholic Church.

Mr. Halley married, October 17, 18991, in Arkansas City, Kan., Miss Eliza Park, who was born in Clements, Kan., February 11, 1872. She was the daughter of Samuel Chase and Amanda (Carner) Park, natives of Athens, Bradford county, Pa., both of whom died in California. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Halley, a daughter, Wanda, was born in Elmdale, Kan., July 26, 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Halley are looked upon with respect by all the citizens of Cotati and vicinity and they continue to hold the patronage of their many customers.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011