Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


HARRIS K. DALE. The soil is a great conservator of health, not a menace; its life and death processes are among the most wonderful in nature. "Back to the soil" needs to he a health slogan as well as an economic one. But what kind of soil? The best answer is that of modern scientific fanning, which conserves the soil as well as man. Science was long a very artificial thing; but it is now being naturalized, and the encouraging thing is that science pays in efficiency and dollars and cents. Scientific farming is not only the most profitable, but it is one of the greatest conservators of public health. Harris K. Dale is a scientific farmer of Center township, and by reason of his long career as tiller of the soil he has enjoyed the best of health. He has spent nearly a half century in Greene county, where he has worked his own way up from a modest beginning to a position of independence and comfort.

He is of German and Welsh descent and up to some seventy-five years ago the name was spelled Dahle, it being simplified at that time to conform to the Anglo-Saxon way of spelling. Our subject was born in Clarion county, Pennsylvania, March 29, 1854. He is a son of Solomon and Katherine B. (Zink) Dale. The father was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in October, 1819. His mother was of Welsh descent and the father's parents were both natives of Germany, from which country they emigrated to America in an early day and established their home in the old, Keystone state. The mother of our subject was born in Clarion county, Pennsylvania, January 6, 1820. The Zink family was of Welsh extraction. These parents grew up in Pennsylvania and there attended the early-day schools and were married there. Solomon Dale, however, received more, than the ordinary amount of education for his day, and he became a successful teacher. He was well informed on a great diversity of subjects and could speak seven different languages. He devoted many years to educational work in his native state, but finally took up farming, which he followed during the latter part of his life. He removed with his family from Pennsylvania to Greene county, Missouri, in 1867, reaching here on October 16. They lived a year on a farm a few miles west of the place now owned by the subject of this sketch in Center township. In 1868 Solomon Dale bought the farm now owned by his son Harris K. from the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Company (now the Frisco). It consisted of one hundred and sixty acres and now lies on the Carthage road just west of Springfield. He improved the land by hard work and persistent application and here spent the rest of his life. When the above named railroad was built through Greene county he was employed by the company as interpreter, as many of the gangs of workmen could not speak English and they represented many different nationalities. Politically he was first a Whig, and later a Republican after this party was launched back in the fifties. He took an active interest in public affairs and was influential in politics in his locality. Before leaving Pennsylvania he served as tax collector and as school director, also filling the latter office after coming to Greene county. He was a member of the German Lutheran church in his native state, but joined the Methodist Episcopal church when he came to this county. His death occurred on August 3, 1874. His widow survived him over thirty years, dying March 3, 1906, at the advanced age of eighty-six years. They were both buried in the Brookline cemetery.

To Solomon Dale and wife ten children were born, named as follows: Margaret E., Isaiah K., Mary M. and Sarah Ann are all deceased; Mrs. Edith Best lives in Kansas City, Kansas; Harris K., of this sketch; Mrs. Emma A. Parker lives in Springfield; Katie, Ceora and Walter Monroe are all three deceased.

Harris K. Dale was thirteen years of age when he came with his parents to Greene county, Missouri, from Pennsylvania. He received his education in the public schools of his native state and this county. His brothers and sisters received good educations, mostly in Pennsylvania, and some of them made teachers, and taught school, in Greene county many years. Our subject worked on the farm when a boy and he has followed general farming all his life, and for some time he has made a specialty of raising fruit and livestock. He began operating a threshing machine of his own in 1878, and followed this work continuously, with the exception of about two years, during the threshing season to the present time, and is one of the best known men in this line of endeavor in this part of the state. He has also operated a clover huller and corn shredder for some time. He holds the record for threshing the greatest number of bushels of wheat of any man in Greene county. He has worked hard, managed well, been economical and is now a man of easy circumstances financially, all due to his own efforts along honest lines.

Mr. Dale was married in Greene county on October 17, 1877, to Sarah Robertson, a daughter of William R. and Mary (Saline) Robertson. She was born, reared, and educated in this county, where her father was long widely known as a prosperous farmer and stock man, having handled for many years more Shorthorn cattle than any man in the county.

The following children have been born to William R. Robertson and wife: Isabell is the wife of E. R. Shipley, a Greene county farmer; William Wesley married Rody World and he is engaged in the grocery business in Springfield; Sarah J., wife of our subject; Cordelia is the wife of F. G. Cowen, who is connected with a dry goods firm in Kansas City, Kansas; John Green is engaged in the grocery business in Springfield; James L. is a wholesale groceryman in Springfield; Florence married Charles Baxter, for many years a baker of Kansas City, Kansas, but is now deceased; Nanny died in infancy; Leonidas E. is engaged in business with his brother under the firm name of the Robinson Grocery Company, of Springfield.

To Harris K. Dale and wife one child has been born, Mawdy Irene Dale, who has received an excellent education in the Springfield high school and the old Normal in that city.

Politically, Mr. Dale is a Republican and has always been a loyal supporter of his party. He has served his community as road commissioner and also as school director. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having joined the Elwood lodge eighteen years ago; he also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America and to the Rebekahs. He has done much to promote general public and material interests and, like his father before him, his character has always been unassailable.

[1858-1860]


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