George William Hale, son of Joseph Wiley Hale, was born in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas. When he was fourteen years old, his family moved by wagon train from Madison County, Arkansas to
Cowlington, LeFlore County, Indian Territory. Cowlington is South of Sallisaw and about a mile south of the Arkansas River.
George William Hale was named for his two grandfathers, William Preston Hale and George
He married first to Dora M. ( ? ) who died Oct 15, 1912 and is buried in Short Mountain
He married second to Lillie Bessie Matlock, daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Nancy Alice Ann
George and Bessie are buried at Cowlington
Remembrances by Lem
I spent about three weeks of a summer vacation with George and Bessie when I about nine (summer of 1961). Our family had come to visit them and grandpa invited me to stay. I am glad that I did. Grandpa took me fishing at Cashur Creek and at the strip mines. We then went on a ride to the Arkansas River. He describe working on the bridge that spanned across the river back in the thirties or forties and George had to be lowered down into the holes below the river level to build forms and pour concrete for the bridge supports. He said several men died while that bridge was being built.
Afterward he took me in his 1955 Chevrolet sedan for a tour of the places he saw when they first came into Indian Territory in the fall of 1902. He showed me where they crossed the Arkansas River and then took me to their first campsite. He identified a large tree as the one that was just a small tree when he tied the mules to it those many years ago. George said that his parents told him to keep an eye out for Indians as he went down the path to get water from the creek for their camp.
Back in Cowlington, we went by his old home place. There were two very tall trees in the front yard. He told me grandma had planted those when they lived there. We next went down to the General Store. After a snack and drink he took me outside and to the West of the general store where an old concrete foundation and some rusting relics were. He explained that this was what was left of his blacksmith shop. George told me about how busy the shop used to be and how life was back then. He told me that on Saturday nights there would be about 300 wagons in town for the dance. After several stories, we went back to his house and picked some ripe pears from trees in his front yard.
I have fond memories of the trips to Cowlington and I will always remember the family gathering at grandma's and grandpa's from all over at Christmas. The house was crowded but everyone was talking and happy. We got to go to the local Christmas Tree. We came back with bags of fresh fruit, nuts and other goodies to eat. I remember quail hunting and fishing. And some other memories not as pleasant such as drinking the sulfur tainted water, sure was glad when George got a sand filter.
On one trip I remember Aunt Katie Hale taking all the cousins to Short Mountain for a hike along the river on its sandy bank. That was the kind of fun you could have before video games and computers numbed your mind.
When the family came to visit us, we usually had a baseball game in our neighbor Mutt Fegan's large yard. George usually pitched the ball. He was a big Cardinals baseball fan, he probably never new that Dizzy and Daffy Dean were Lillies cousins.
Many years later at Jerd Lively's funeral, Sam Lively related a story about George that had happened to him. It was the same story as I have just told you. Seems he gave this tour to several of his grandchildren. And I am so glad he did.
I remember our house's roof being damaged by a hail storm. George came down to help my father repair the roof. The roof had the old lat boards as a support for the shingles. When grandpa would use the claw hammer being very strong from blacksmithing, he would drive a hole right through the roof. Mark asked him to just bring shingles up from the ground, he would do all the hammering from then on.
Submitted Nov 2002 by Lem