Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Selling Scales on the Road"

You never quite know what you'll find when you pick up a postcard or letter with local ties, like the items in the last post. But sometimes the item just isn't in the week's budget, and that was the case for this wonderful calling card recently sold on eBay. Fortunately, the image could be captured from that website. So, given this business card of John O. Hale, an agent for "Fairbanks' Standard Scales" around 1880 (a guess), what can we find out?

Fortunately, the 1880 Census and a reported family tree yielded a LOT of information! John was born on March 14, 1835; his parents, Otis Goss Hale and Eunice Pierce Hill, were both Waterford folks. John married Laura Ann Holbrook and they had a large family: Carrie, George, Addie, J. (John) Otis, Arthur, and William H. (Holbrook?). John O. Hale lived until June 11, 1910.

The 1880 Census described John's employment (could we have guessed from his card?) as "selling scales on the road."

The next obvious question is, was John related to O. Dean Hale, who owned the store on Main Street in St. Johnsbury now housing Umbrella and Secondhand Prose? (O. Dean Hale was the father of Richard "Ritty" Hale, well known in the region for his artwork.) In spite of the "O." in both names, it appears there was no near connection -- O. (Orvis) Dean Hale was born in Danville in 1887 (d. St. Johnsbury 1970), and his father Orvis Elisha Hale (1839-1920) was from Plainfield, and grandfather Valorus Waldo Hale was from Cabot.

Always worth taking a look at these fleeting scraps of our past!

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