JAMES E. DALE, representing an honored family of Teas and widely known as a prominent cattle rancher, was born in Jasper county, Missouri, August 9, 1858. His parents were John B. and Sarah (Halsell) Dale, both of whom were natives of Tennessee, their marriage being celebrated in Missouri. The paternal grandparents were Thomas and Eliza (Burris) Dale, the former a native of Tennessee, and the latter of Kentucky. The grandfather was a soldier of the war of 1812 and he removed from Tennessee to Missouri when it was a new country, in which the work of improvement and up building had scarcely been begun. He became a prominent farmer and slave owner here and he exerted considerable influence in matters of local moment. His political allegiance was given to the Democracy and he filled a number of official positions and was also widely known and respected because of his reliability in every relation of life. He was regarded as one of the solid men of the county financially but during the period of the Civil war he lost heavily as the result of the disasters and adversities caused by the struggle. Subsequently he removed to Texas, w here he and his wife both died. He was eighty-five and she seventy-five. They were consistent members of the Christian church and their lives were permeated by their religious faith. In their family were the following named: John B.; James, who died in Texas; Thomas, who was killed while serving in the Confederate army in the Civil war, and he served as sheriff in Jasper county, Missouri; Mrs. Jettie Burton; and Mrs. Martha McFatridge.
John B. Dale was reared and educated in Tennessee and accompanied his father’s family on their removal to Missouri. Following his marriage he began the struggle of life upon his own account in that state. He was engaged at various times in merchandising, farming, mining and trading, and was the first to open up lead mines in Granby, Missouri, and started the first lead mines in Missouri. He continued in trading operations until after the breaking out of the Civil war, when he volunteered his services in General Joe Shelby’s brigade. He was detailed by his general to serve on his staff, in which position he served throughout the hostilities.
He underwent all the deprivations and hardships that were meted out to a soldier and not only suffered upon the field of battle but his property in Missouri was also confiscated and his fortune gone. The family suffered so greatly in that locality that in 1863 they left Missouri and came to Texas, first settling in Collin county, while subsequent to the war they removed to Fannin county. Mr. Dale had lost everything save his strong determination to overcome the difficulties. His first effort was the building of two bridges under contract, after which he engaged in merchandising at Ladonia. Subsequently he built a flour mill, sawmill and cotton gin and operated here for a number of years with a gratifying measure of success. Subsequently he abandoned merchandising and gave his attention to the cattle business, purchasing large herds of cattle which he drove to Missouri and Ohio and sold for feeding purposes. He continued in that business for a number of years and was quite a successful trader. He afterward engaged in feeding cattle for himself in Texas, giving his time and attention to that work for a number of years, conducting his ranching operations in connection with his son, James E. They purchased two large ranches, comprising thirty-five thousand acres, and in 1900 the Dale Land & Cattle Company was incorporated with the father as president and James E. Dale as general manager. They are not only extensively engaged in raising wheat, oats and corn and Milo maize. In the two ranches there are over two thousand acres under cultivation and success has attended the enterprise almost from the beginning. There has never been a complete failure in crops and Mr. Dale regards this as a safe cotton country. It is always possible to raise plenty for the support of the family and stock and Texas gives promise of still greater development and progress in the future. Clay county is one of the comparatively new counties of the commonwealth but its possibilities are being rapidly demonstrated and it gives good returns for the care and labor bestowed upon field and pasture here. Mr. Dale has never failed to raise a good corn crop and is thereby enabled to fatten his hogs for the market.
John B. Dale has always made his home in Bonham, where he yet resides, and in addition to his agricultural interests he is engaged in merchandising. He is now in his eightieth year, a hale and hearty man, who in spirit and interests is yet in his prime. He is a stanch Democrat, believing firmly in the principles of the party, and while in Missouri he represented his district in the state legislature but since coming to Texas has always avoided office. He is a broad-minded man, active and enterprising, a capable financier, practical and progressive in his business methods, and a man of wide and favorable acquaintance, commanding the confidence and respect of all with whom he has come in contact. He is a consistent member of the Christian church. In 1900 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who was a daughter of John Halsell, who removed from Tennessee to Missouri, where he was a farmer and slave owner. In early life he had learned the cabinet maker’s trade. Subsequent to the Civil war he removed to Texas in order to recuperate his fortune which had been devastated through the hardships wrought by the long strife. He was too old to enter the army but three of his sons became Confederate soldiers. After removing to Texas he met with very gratifying success in his business affairs and eventually built up a good estate. He, too, was a devoted member of the Christian church. In his family were six children: Mrs. Sarah Dale; Martin, deceased; Edward, who is living in this state; Amanda, who died in early life; Mary, the wife of Dr. Burton; and Thomas, who was killed in the army.
To Mr. and Mrs. Dale were born seven children: Mary, the wife of Major Young; Mrs. Amanda McQuigg; Rebecca, who died unmarried; Sally, the wife of J. C. Nunn; Thomas, a farmer and trader of Bonham, Texas; James E., of this review; and J. B., who is living in Greenville, Texas.
James E. Dale, whose name introduces this review, spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his father’s home, attended the common schools and became his father’s assistant in business. They have since been associated and he has continued in his trading and has assisted materially in the development of his portion of Texas and has been a leading factor in the upbuilding of an extensive land and cattle business. At the organization of the Dale Land & Cattle Company he was made general manager and he is making a success of his work. In addition to the cultivation of his fields he has large herds of cattle, also hogs and horses. He owns a fine stallion and also a jack and in his stock-breeding and stock-raising has met with excellent success. He has given strict attention to his business and his intelligence, sound judgment and enterprise are strong elements in his prosperity.
In February, 1898, Mr. Dale was united in marriage to Miss Texas Talley, who was born in Bell county, this state, in 1875, and is a daughter of B. T. and Susan (Newton) Talley, both of whom were natives of Tennessee but were married at Bonham, Texas, while subsequently they settled on a farm in Bell county, this state. Later, however, they returned to Bonham, where they now reside, Mr. Talley being a trader there. He has three brothers who served in the Confederate army in the Civil war, Lee, Allen and William, two of whom are in Texas and one in the Indian Territory. Mrs. Talley is a member of the Methodist church. The children in their family are: Mrs. Dale; Robert, who is living in Bonham; Richard, who resides at Waco; and Parker and Henry, both of whom live at Bonham.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Dale has been blessed with three children: Jack, born February 2, 1900; Sarah, November 27, 1902; and Donald E., born January 30, 1904. Mrs. Dale is a member of the Methodist church. Mr. Dale has never been very active in politics, preferring to confine his attention more closely to his business interests, and his enterprise and keen sagacity are proving strong elements in the success of the Dale Land & Cattle Company.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 146-147.