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The Mysterious John Hale & Anna Shane
John Hale, born c. 1838, married Asenath Anna Shane in Nashville, TN on 17 Nov 1866. Where he was or who he was before that, we can't say. We don't know where he was born, because the state seems to vary depending on the record. Perhaps John himself didn't really know - or perhaps he didn't want anyone else to. We don't have any idea who his parents might have been, other than the names he chose for his own children, names that hadn't originated in the Shane family. He supposedly fought in the Union Army. Was he still on active service in the occupied Confederacy when he met Anna?
Here is the little information we've been able to discover . . .
17 Nov 1866: John Hale and Annah Shane, born 1844, daughter of James B. Shane and Assenith Guthrie, were married in Nashville by C. D. Elliot, M.G. They had obtained the license on 14 November.
28 Jun 1870 Census, Lee Township, Brown County, IL (Mount Sterling P.O.): Shoemaker John Hale 30, born NY, no estimated real or personal property; Ann 26, born TN; Lulah 3, born TN; Walton 1, born IL. There are no Shanes or Guthries residing in the township. There is another John Hale, age 35, born NY, listed on the following page by himself, a "farmer, renter", but he's married with children. Annie's family also moved to IL, but were residing in neighboring Adams County.
24 Jun 1880 Census, Ray Village, Oakland Township, Schuyler County, IL: Shoemaker John Hale 43, Mass Mass Mass; Annie 36, TN TN TN; Lulu 12, TN Mass TN; Walter 10, IL MS TN; Frederick 6, IL MS TN, Daisey 4; Nellie 1. There are no surnames associated with the Hales or Shanes residing in Oakland Township.
According to family tradition, John worked for the Kansas City, Chicago & Northern Railroad in Brookfield, Linn County, MO. On his daughter Grace's birth record, he was described as a "laborer", born in NY. Grace was born in Brookfield's 3rd Ward on 1 May 1884.
According to the Hale children, the family was so poor that they were often reduced to raiding farmers' fields, eating whatever was growing right from the ground.
There is no John Hale in the Linn County Deed Index.
1885: Annie Shane Hale died in Brookfield, Linn County, MO, cause of death unknown.
11 Aug 1885: John Hale "ex parte" successfully petitioned the court for a writ of habeus corpus. This doesn't seem to be connected to the case before and after, which saw Jack Austin tried for burglary.
18 Nov 1887: The Linn County Probate Court ordered that "Josie Hale", a "poor child . . . whose father is worthless and a habitual drunkard and whose mother is not living" be bound to O. H. Case until 18 years of age, "the said Josie Hale being ___ six years of age last March" . . . for the purpose of learning and acquiring the occupation of a housemaid and the performance of such duties as are generally performed by white females on the farms of this county generally". The indenture was furthered proved by E. W. Wilcox, certifying "the fact of the incompetency of the father on account of his worthless and drunken habits and the fact that the mother is not living". The children's aunt, Elmira Shane Ausmus, was residing in Linn County until at least May 1884. Why would she not help poor Josie?
John reportedly went to Kansas City, but there's unfortunately no documentation. He simply disappeared from the record, never to be heard from again. Does he lie in a pauper's grave somewhere? The mystery is both frustrating and challenging.
And even more intriguing, in searching for John Hale before his marriage to Anna Shane, the only John Hale who seems to fit John's age and craft was . . .
2 Aug 1860 Census, Ipswich, Essex County, MA: Shoemaker John Hale, age 23, born Ireland, enumerated as an inmate in the "House of Corrections". His crime was larceny.
On 13 Jun 1861, bootmaker John Hale, age 24, enlisted as a private Company G, MA 11th Infantry Regiment. He was mustered out on 31 Aug at Bladensburg, MD. His place of enlistment was Rowley, MA. NEW 25 Aug 2012
Children of John and Asenath Shane Hale:
Lulu Hale (c. 1868 - )
Walter H. Hale (30 Sep 1870 - 17 Aug 1942; m. Emma Jane Melroy c. 1894)
Frederick Burton Hale (12 Jun 1874/5 - 21 Jun 1945; m. Ada Hightower 19 Jul 1899)
Daisy Hale (c. 1876 - ; m. 1st John H. Rawlings 1899, m. 2nd Frank Gould)
Nellie Elizabeth Hale (8 Dec 1878 - 1924; m. William Joseph Benoit 10 Apr 1904)
Josephine Hale (3 Mar 1881 - 10 Dec 1918; John H. "Jack" Wade c. 1907)
Grace Mae Hale (1 May 1884 - 24 Jun 1977; m. Charles Russell Gaugh 3 May 1905)
There is a FamilyTree DNA Hale Project. If you are a male descendant of John Hale carrying the surname, or can provide any information on John or his children or grandchildren, please contact me at email@example.com.
Any information is only as reliable as its source. Evaluate the following sources accordingly.
 Book 5, p. 290
 Brown County 1870 Census, p. 33/66
 Schuyler County 1880 Census, ED 271, Sheet 25/439
 Linn County Birth Record #266, p. 22
 Linn County Circuit Court, p. 181
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