Among those who in public office have advanced the general welfare through faithful performance of duty is numbered Silas Opdyke Hale, who is clerk of the court of pleas in Greene county. He was born in Bellbrook, Sugarcreek township, this county, March 9, 1858, his parents being Silas and Miriam (Opdyke) Hale, who were also natives of Greene county. The father was born near Bellbrook, August 26, 1803. and was a son of John and Sarah (Bowen) Hale, natives of Maryland, whence they removed to Kentucky and in 1802 removed to Ohio, locating in what is now Sugarcreek township, Greene county, where the grandfather successfully carried on business, being engaged in both farming and tanning. He was one of the honored pioneers of this portion of the state and took an active part in the early development and progress of Greene county. In 1838, however, he removed to Kosciusko county, Indiana, where he died in 1845. By two marriages he had twelve children.


Silas Hale, the father of our subject, obtained a common-school education, and when old enough began work in his father's tanyard, where he was employed until seventeen years of age. He was then apprenticed to the cabinet-maker's trade in Wilmington, Ohio, and after mastering that business returned to Bellbrook, where he engaged in cabinet-making for ten years. Later he established a general store, which he conducted almost up to the time of his death, being one of the enterprising, wideawake and reliable merchants of the town. For more than forty years he was township treasurer and was appointed postmaster of Bellbrook by Franklin Pierce, in which office he served continuously until Grover Cleveland's first administration, a period of over thirty years. No public official of the county has ever enjoyed to a higher degree the confidence and good-will of the public or more truly deserves the respect accorded him. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hale were born ten children, who in order of birth were as follows: Dorinda, John, Henry and Frank, twins, Angeline, Mary. Bowen, James, Melancthon and Silas O. Four of the sons, John, Henry, Frank and Bowen, were in the Civil war and Bowen died at Camp Chase in April. 1862. The parents were both members of the Methodist Protestant church and were people of genuine worth, true to every principle which tends to the development of an upright character. Mr. Hale died in 1889 at the age of eighty-six years, but his widow, a lovely Christian lady, still survives him at the age of eighty-eight years and is Iiving with her .son, Henry H. Hale, in Xenia.


In the schools of Bellbrook Silas O. Hale acquired his early education, which was later supplemented by study in the National Normal University at Lebanon, where he pursued a scientific course. He prosecuted his studies during the summer months while in winter he engaged in teaching. Entering upon his business career he first learned the carpenter's trade in Bellbrook under the direction of Harman Brothers, but followed this only a short time, when he began teaching in Sugarcreek township. He was very successful as a teacher, having the ability to impart clearly and concisely to others the knowledge he had acquired. On the organization of Sugarcreek township high school Mr. Hale was selected as the first principal and was also made superintendent of the township schools, which position he held from 1892 until he entered upon the duties of the office of clerk of the common pleas court of Greene county, Ohio, in 1900. He was one of the organizers of the Ohio State Township Superintendents' Association, and was its first president. Afterward he was secretary and treasurer for several terms, resigning the position when elected clerk of the courts. He served on the executive committee of the Greene County Teachers' Association for one year and presided over the Teachers' Summer Institute. He was then elected president of the Teachers' Association and as such again conducted the Teachers' Summer Institute, which was declared one of the most popular ever held in Xenia.


On the 29th of November, 1881, Mr. Hale was united in marriage to Miss Anna M. Gibbons, a native of Greene county and a daughter of Thomas Gibbons, of Bellbrook. Her father was a native of Ireland, but for many years resided in Bellbrook, where he spent his last days. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hale have been born one child, Minnie Miriam, now a student in the high school of Xenia.


Socially Mr. Hale is connected with .Spring Valley Lodge, No. 302, I. O. O. F., and with Xenia Lodge, No. 668, B. P. O. E., and of the latter he is a trustee. In politics he has always been a stanch Republican, deeply interested in the welfare and growth oi his party. He has held different official positions, having been treasurer of Sugarcreek township for ten years and also treasurer of the village of Bellbrook several terms, as well as a member of the city council of Bellbrook. In 1899 he was elected clerk of the courts on the Republican ticket and in 1902 is again the candidate of his party for that office, his second nomination being a public acknowledgment of his capability during the first term of service. For several years he was an active member of the county central committee and was on the executive committee for one year. Mr. Hale attained to a prominent position in educational circles and is now accounted one of the most faithful and skillful officers of the county. In all life's relations he has been found true to the trust reposed in him and has well merited the good name which he enjoys.

 

From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)