A History of the Hale Area

Civics Class – 8th Grade
May 25, 1962
By Kathy Dorcey

Geographic Setting
The village of Hale lies wholly within the tract of land ceded to the United States government by the Chippewa Indians in 1819 when the treaty of Saginaw was signed. Due to the many lakes and streams this area was once a fur trader’s paradise, where one Louis Chevalier lived in 1800. In 1828 “The American Fur Company” built a trading post at the mouth of the AuSable River (present day Oscoda), which was once the fastest flowing river in Michigan. Who gave the river its name is unknown, but probably voyageurs are responsible for naming it, as it is a French word meaning “all sand.”

The chief characteristics of climate are that it is never excessively hot nor excessively cold. One could say the climate is temperate. The topography of the lad ranges from fairly level to rolling. It is surrounded by the “Huron National Forest,” and therefore, is a noted vacation area.

Early Settlers
Most of the early settlers came here to lumber, but remained to make homes. Among these were the Esmonds. E.V. Esmond, the grandfather of the present Mrs. Fern Streeter, came to Plainfield Township in 1871. He came by boat down the AuSable River to the village of AuSable where he then took the old “Tote Road” to the present site of Mr. Emory Ingersoll’s home [Note: East of Hale 2 miles on the road to Sand Lake]. The story is told that he and his wife did not know they had a neighbor until they heard a rooster crow one morning. In 1872 Jessie Esmond was born, and she was the first white child born in Plainfield Township. To get supplies, Mr. Esmond would take a horse and wagon to Tawas. The trip there and back would take all day. Mr. and Mrs. Esmond’s children went to school at the present site of Mr. Roy Curtis’ home [NOTE: now the home of Bob and Cathie Tuggle; Cathie is the youngest daughter of Roy Curtis’ sister]. The school was about a mile and one-half away from the Esmond’s home. They walked both ways, but because of the danger of wolves were excused early.During the time the Esmond’s live there, Diphtheria struck! Since the nearest doctor was at Tawas, and was very busy, he could not have gotten there in time to save three of the Esmond children who died within sixteen days of one another. Mr. Esmond dug their graves, made their caskets, and buried his own children in his yard.

E. V. Esmond was appointed the Post Master in 1886. He built the present D. D. Pearsall’s Hardware in 1900. He also helped the Baptist Church to be built.

Another of the early settlers was S. B. Yawger, who along with Mr. Phelps built a shingle mill, at the present site of Dr. E. N. Douglas’ [NOTE: one mile west of Hale on the north side of the road on the banks of Hale Creek] house in 1887. Mr. Yawger also became a “Post Master” in 1893. He operated a bank where the Variety store now stands [NOTE: Between Hale Bar and the Hardware store]. Mr. Yawger built the first garage in 1923. He also put in the first electric lights operated by a Delco system.

The Mill Store built in the 1890’s was run by Hammond and Featherson. This store [NOTE: located on the SW corner of M65 at the four corners] was later bought by the Yawgers, and is now known as the “D. D. Pearsall Hardware.”

C. L. Hale, who the village is named after, built a lumber mill on Hale Lake. In the spring they floated the logs down Hale creek. The lake and Creek are named after him.

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