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Fred Douglas Hale
Baptist Minister and Evangelist
By Wendell H. Rone
      This honored and beloved minister of Jesus Christ first saw the light of day at New Market, Alabama, on April 10, 1855. His parents were Dr. Phillip P. and Caroline Gullege Hale. He was educated in the private schools of New Market, the University of Alabama, and the Southern Baptist Seminary.

      Dr. Hale was licensed to preach by the Smith Creek Baptist Church in Arkansas on February 7, 1878. His ordination took place at the Starkville Baptist Church, Starkville, Miss., on June 29, 1879. He was then a student in the University of Alabama and until the year 1882 he served the Northport, Big Creek, and New Lexington Baptist Churches, in Alabama. He came to the Seminary in 1882 and pastored the Taylorsville, Liberty, and Little Union churches in Kentucky, until 1885. Sometime in that year he helped to establish a mission at Twenty-second and Walnut Streets, which later became a church. He served this mission from 1885 to 1889. From 1889 to 1893 he served the McFerran Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville as pastor.

      At this juncture in our sketch we take up the life of Brother Hale as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. This was in May, 1893, as he had been called in February of the same year. Brother Hale wrought well and the Lord blessed his labors with the membership increasing from 825 to over 1,200 in 1895. In the early part of the year 1896 a great storm broke in the membership of the church over the subject of the members selling intoxicating beverages, having money invested in the liquor traffic, and renting and leasing property to the same interests. The membership soon became divided with the majority in favor of Dr. Hale. An amicable solution was found in Dr. Hale and his group withdrawing and founding the Third Baptist Church.

      The First Baptist Church granted letters to 491 to go into the new organization, leaving her with about 400 resident members. The Third Baptist Church was constituted on August 9, 1896, and Dr. Hale became the first pastor. A valuable lot was at once purchased on Allen Street between Fifth and Seventh Streets, on which was erected an elegant and commodious house of worship costing about $35,000 and seating about 2,500 people.

      The work of Dr. Hale with this new Church was phenomenal. Over 800 people were received into the membership of the church during his pastorate and the membership had reached a total of 1,031 members when he resigned in August, 1901, to accept a call to Kansas City, Mo.

      Brother Hale was united in marriage to Miss Theo Bell while serving as pastor of the Church at Northport, Albama [sic], she being a resident at that place. This was about the year 1880. Six children were born to this union. After the death of his first wife he married Miss Minnie Phillips Edmonds of Owensboro, Ky. Four children were born to this union. After his removal to Kansas City his second wife died. A spell of nervous prostration resulted in his giving up his pastorate there. In September, 1904, he married Miss Elizabeth Reid of Reidsville, N. C. Three daughters were born to this union. One of these, Miss Elizabeth Reid Hale, is now serving as a Missionary in China, having been appointed to that work in 1934.

      After a complete rest and recuperation Dr. Hale entered the evangelistic field and from that was called to the pastorate of the First Church at Wilmington, N. C., where he was pastor from 1904 to 1909. In the year 1910 he served a church in Dallas, Texas. He next served the First Church of Joplin, Mo., from 1911 to 1913. Here he had another nervous breakdown but recovered and accepted the care of the First Church of Lexington, N. C., in 1915. After a pastorate of about three years he was suddenly called home to glory on June 21, 1918. Fred D. Hale's life was a stormy one from the very beginning of his ministry. His friends were soon numbered by the hundreds as well as his enemies. He was an ardent advocate of temperance and hence aroused opposition almost everywhere he went. It may well be said that his enemies hated him enough to want to kill him and his friends loved him enough to die for him. The word compromise was unknown in his life. In his preaching he was noted for his accuracy in interpretation, his soundness and vigor in reasoning, his clearness of statement and earnestness in delivery and application. As a pastor he kept faithfully in touch with his people and sought in every way to see them grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. As a church leader he was ever active and aggressive, earnestly longing to see his people about the Master's business. His ability as an evangelist was recognized by a great demand for revival services in churches both large and small. At his death the members of the churches realized that a great man had fallen. Many of them expressed the same in resolutions. The Third Baptist Church was among that number. In the year 1895 Howard College conferred the Degree of D.D. upon Brother Hale.


[From A History of the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association in Kentucky, 1844-1943, 1943, pp. 318-320. Formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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