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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
(Reprinted from the History of Macon County, 1910)
For more than fifty years this highly respected and influential business man and citizen has experienced the ups and downs of life in Macon county, Missouri, where be was born on December 15, 1858, and through all his varied experiences he has kept up a brave front and encountered fate with a resolute spirit and unconquerable determination. But fate has never had much the best of him, for his qualities of head and heart, of mind and character are such that he has always commanded the situation and been able to bid defiance to circumstances. Mr. Dale is a son of William J. and Sarah (Adams) Dale, also natives of this county, the father being long one of the best known merchants in the county. The paternal grandfather, Abraham Dale, was born and reared in Kentucky. He came to Missouri in 1831 or 1832, making the journey overland by team, the only means of transportation into the wilds of this region in those days, and located on a tract of government land five miles east of the present town of Elmer. He was one of the first settlers in that portion of the county, and his training as a woodsman and frontiersman in Kentucky stood him in good stead in his new home, for he had to encounter all the dangers and endure all the hardships and privations of frontier life there for many years. He converted his wild land into a good and fruitful farm and made of it a comfortable and valuable rural home, passed all his remaining years on it and finally died there at a good old age. He was the father of three sons and nine daughters. Two of the sons and three of the daughters are still living, and are among the most respected citizens of the communities in which they have their homes.
William J. Dale, the father of Hemmit, was reared to manhood in this county and secured a limited education at the country schools of his boyhood and youth. They were primitive and their scope was wholly elementary, and his opportunities for attending them were meager and irregular. But he made what use he could of his chances and obtained a fair degree of preparation for the battle of life, on which he entered for himself at an early age. After leaving school he learned the carpenter trade and for some years worked at that and farming with some degree of profit and prosperity. He then engaged in business at Old Bloomington for a number of years, and it was at this period that his son, Hemmit, was born in that historic old town. From Old Bloomington the family moved to Macon, where the father resumed work at his trade for a time. In 1884 he again engaged in business, locating his enterprise at Barnesville, where he conducted it for a period of two years. At the end of that period he moved it to Mercyville, and for a number of years was one of the leading merchants of that place. He is now living retired from active pursuits at Elmer. His wife died in 1862. At that time he was a soldier in the Confederate army under General Price, with whose command he served two years. The religious connection of the family has long been with the Baptist church, and succeeding generations of it have been active and zealous members of that religious organization.
Hemmit Dale grew to manhood in Macon county and was educated in its schools. After leaving school he clerked in a store some years, then moved to Springfield, Greene county. Later he was emjiloyed as a traveling salesman for three years, and in 1887 located at Mercyville and joined his father in business, the firm name being W. J. Dale & Son. They were associated in the enterprise twenty years, but in 1889 moved their stock to Elmer, where Hemmit is still conducting the business in company with Mr. Patterson and under the firm name of Dale & Patterson. Their store is large, well stocked and vigorously managed, and their trade is very active. They have one of the leading mercantile marts in this part of the state.
Mr. Dale was one of the founders of the Exchange Bank of Elmer and is now its vice-president. He owns farms in Adair county and near Chandler in Clay county, his holdings of farm property being very extensive. All he has in worldly wealth he has acquired by his own industry, thrift and ability, and he has no special favors of Fortune or adventitious circumstances to thank for any of it. He has made his own way in the world and every step of his progress has been through or over difficulties, but he has shown the qualities that win and that would have brought him success under almost any circumstances. In politics he is a Democrat, with an abiding and serviceable interest in the welfare of his party, but he has never sought or desired a political office of any kind. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic order and the Order of Odd Fellows, and in religion is a member of Missionary Baptist church. He is now among the oldest merchants in the county and has a reputation for uprightness and progressiveness in business that places him in the first rank of the business men in Northeastern Missouri. In 1887 he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Boyd, a native of Ralls county, Missouri. They have four children, Alma C, William Donald, Edgar L. and Abraham C. The whole family is held in high esteem by the people of Macon county and throughout a large portion of the surrounding country, and the regard and good will bestowed upon its members is well deserved, for they meet all the requirements of citizenship with a faithful sense of duty.