The parents of our subject were William and Catherine (Snyder) Hale, who were probably born and reared in Virginia, and removed thence to Kentucky at an early day. The father served as a soldier in the War of 1812, and, after the conflict had ended, turned hi attention to agricultural pursuits. Isaac remained in Kentucky until the fall of 1845, then emigrated to this State and settled in what is now known as Cass County, where he lived until the spring of 1859. Then, crossing the Mississippi, he established himself in Saline County, Mo., where he sojourned about two and one-half years, and then, in the fall of 1861, made his way to Central Illinois and settled upon a part of the land which he now owns and occupies.
The first purchase of Mr. Hale in this county was eight acres, mostly covered with timber, which he cleared and brought to a state of cultivation. His labors, however, were interrupted by the outbreak of the Civil War, and, after watching the conflict, he finally enlisted, March 18, 1865, in Company K, 28th Illinois Infantry, and was ordered with his regiment to Mobile. In July following he was among those who crossed the Gulf of Mexico with the view of enforcing the Monroe Doctrine. The war had now closed, and he soon after returned to this county, since which time he has given his close attention to his farming interests.
Mr. Hale was married in Kentucky, Jan. 9, 1845, to Miss Lurissa J. Lake, who was born in Perry, Ind., but was reared in Kentucky. She was the daughter of Jesse and Mary Lake. This union resulted in the birth of eight children, seven of whom are living: Minor P. is a resident of Kansas; Mary C. is the wife of C. W. Hyde, of Meredosia precinct; Martha J. became the wife of Milton Sibert, of Jacksonville; William J. is a resident of Meredosia; Israel L. resides on the homestead; Charles T. makes his home at Meredosia; Harriet H. is the wife of David Buruss, of Meredosia; and David H. died when nine months old.
A man essentially the architect of his own fortune, Mr. Hale has labored under many disadvantages, but was endowed by nature with the qualities of industry and perseverance, which have placed him in a good position among his fellow men. His education, which was quite limited, was conducted in the primitive log school-house of Kentucky on the subscription plan. The temple of learning in its furnishings was widely different from the buildings of the present day, the floor being made of puncheon and the seats and desks of slabs with home-made wooden legs. Light was admitted through greased paper, which was stretched along the aperture formed by sawing out a log on one side if the building, and a huge fireplace occupied nearly one end of the structure; the chimney was built outside of earth and sticks.
The Western country at that time was less developed than the Blue Grass regions, and Mr. Hale has been the interested witness of the extraordinary changes taking place around him. He is now serving as a School Trustee in a district of well-educated and civilized people, whose children con their lessons in a shapely and well-furnished building from an abundance of books. In Mr. Hale's boyhood one book usually went through the family, and was used until worn out. He is a Democrat, politically, and in favor of all enterprises set on foot for the general good of the people. The duties of life began with him at the early age of five years, when he was set to work in the tobacco fields for his father, and from that time on knew little rest or recreation.
While with the army in Mexico Mr. hale was principally on picket duty, and was elected Corporal. The experience was a useful one, full of interest, and upon which he looks back with the feeling that it afforded him opportunities for observation of men and a section of country, and which, from actual experience, he can retain in his memory better than if he had read it from books.