Biography of William Oscar Dale

William Oscar Dale. During many years of residence in Champaign County William O. Dale has reached that enviable position where his word is accepted in business matters the same as a bond, and all his friends and acquaintances repose the utmost confidence in his judgment and integrity. Mr. Dale, with the aid of his capable wife, has developed a fine country home in Mahomet Township, known as the Fern Dale Farm, and’ at the same time he has acted on the principle that the community deserved some of his work and has interested himself for a number of years to the benefit and improvement of the local schools.

The Dale family has lived in Champaign County since pioneer times, and the family record is one that can be viewed in detail without finding a single unfavorable distinction. William Oscar Dale was born in this county, June 4, 1864, and was the third of eight children, five sons and’ three daughters. Of the four still living William O. is the oldest. His sister Tena was liberally educated, having at one time been a student of the Illinois State Normal School and a teacher in both McLean and Champaign counties before her marriage to Mr. W. H. Webb. Mr. Webb is a practical farmer and they now reside in Rockwell City, Iowa, the parents of four children. Frank Lee, the third child, was educated in the Mahomet High School and has spent a number of years in Oklahoma, where he was formerly editor of the Minco Minstrel and is now a banker at Foyil, connected with the Foyil State Bank. He married Miss Edith Lucas, and they have a daughter. Charles Wilson, the youngest, is now editor of the St. Joseph Record of St. Joseph, Illinois. He married Miss Myrta Morehouse.

The parents of these children were Thomas and Mary E. (Mead) Dale. Thomas Dale spent the larger part of his active career in Champaign County. He was born near Marion, Ohio, March 19, 1834, and still retains his intellect and his faculties at the advanced age of eighty-three. He is now living at Rockwell City, Iowa. He came to Illinois when fourteen years of age. The family made the journey with wagons and teams, and were among the early settlers in Mahomet Township, where they bought land from the Government at $1.25 per acre. The Dale homestead on this eighty-acre tract was built of logs, and Thomas Dale during his youth frequently hunted the wild game which abounded in this section, and has killed deer within the limits of Champaign County. He secured his education in a log schoolhouse with its slab seats and other crude equipment, and he wrote his copy with a goose quill pen. Farming has been his vocation, and he was of an age to cast his first vote about the time the Republican party was organized. Both he and his wife early became identified with the Methodist Church, and he donated the ground where the present church at Mahomet stands. His wife was born in New Jersey in 1832 and died January 24, 1881. A monument stands at her grave in the Bryan Cemetery.

William O. Dale as a boy attended the common schools and was also a student for two years in the Mahomet High School while the principal was Professor A. D. Sizer. Since his studies were concluded his work has been as an agriculturist and stockman. He began as a wage worker at $18 a month and put in three or four years in that way and next rented land. A number of years ago he went to Oklahoma and bought 400 acres near Frederick, and he still owns that property. He and his wife have 200 acres in Mahomet Township, this land being an estate that has not yet been divided.

March 5, 1891, Mr. Dale married Miss Grace E. Rayburn. From time to time children have come into their home to the number of eight, three sons and five daughters, and six of them are still living. Much of their hard work and self-denial have been done in order that these children might have superior advantages at home and in school and their family do them credit and honor by their accomplishments. The oldest is Belle, now the wife of Otis Pfiester, an agriculturist living in Scott Township. Mrs. Pfiester attended the Mahomet High School, the Illinois State Normal School, and for six years was a successful member of the teaching profession in Champaign County. Both she and her husband are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Feme, the second daughter, had similar educational advantages with her sister Belle, and both were well trained in music. She is considered one of the most talented teachers in Champaign County, and has performed that work creditably for several years. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Lulu, the third daughter, was graduated from the Mahomet High School, spent one year in the State Normal, and also one year in the Normal at Charleston, Illinois. She is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The three younger children are Oscar, Mary R. and Robert. Oscar enters the Mahomet High School in 1917, Mary is in the sixth grade of the grammar school, while Robert is in the third grade.

Mrs. Dale was born in Champaign County, June 25, 1870, a daughter of Robert Gilbert and Isabel ( Herri ott) Rayburn. She grew up in this county, was educated in the common schools, and has deemed it a privilege to work beside her husband in establishing a home and in the careful rearing and training of her family. Her father was born in Ohio and his life has been successfully passed as an agriculturist. He is one of the, leading citizens of Champaign County and has one of the beautiful country homes here. He is a Republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife was born in the Blue Grass State of Kentucky, and was a woman whose character and attainments commanded universal respect. Her death occurred September 5, 1912, and she was laid to rest in the Riverside Cemetery.

Mr. Dale is a Republican, having cast his first presidential vote for James G. Blaine. Both he and his wife have served as directors of the local public schools and have exerted their influence, whether officially or as private citizens, to secure the best teachers and the best equipment for the education of the younger generation. Mr. Dale has filled all the chairs except the East in the local Masonic Lodge No. 220, A. F. & A. M. The Fern Dale Farm, which he and his wife occupy, is a tract of the rich black soil characteristic of Champaign County, and its productiveness and value have been enhanced by the capable manner in which Mr. Dale has managed the land and its resources.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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