Uncle Ike

Uncle Ike Hale

Information copied from a post on a Facebook Group Memories of Wingate, Indiana

The facts were then checked using Ancestry.com Census listings.

“Uncle Ike

Isaac Hale, or “Uncle Ike” or “Ole Ike” as he was fondly called, was
a runaway slave. He spent the last years of his life on the Hays
Brothers farm north of Wingate. He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery.

Uncle Ike entertained his young friends by telling them exciting
tales about life in the south where he was a slave. No doubt, their
favorite tale was that of his escape from a large plantation located
in southwestern Tennessee south of Memphis. This was during the
Civil War when Sherman’s Army was occupying the territory.

The Slave master directed all of the slaves to stay in their
quarters as the Union army approached. The compound was surrounded
by a high board wall. The slaves were told that great harm would
come to them if they left the quarters. The Yankees were described
as devils.

Ike and his good friend Wiley Jones couldn’t believe what the slave
master said and decided to do some checking for themselves. They
climbed a tree where they could see the Yankee soldiers marching by
and decided the stories were not true. After their suspicions were
confirmed they made plans to run away.

One night when everyone was asleep, Ike stole his master’s saddle
from under the bed. The two men then took the best horse and rode
off for the Union lines. The horse was an important part of their
escape plans. Ike and Wiley had heard that the Union Army would
accept runaways if they brought along a horse. The slaves discovered
this was true, and soon found themselves a part of Sherman’s forces.

Will Custer, an Uncle of William Hays, an officer in Sherman’s Army
made friends with Ike and gave him a job as his packboy. During
battles Ike rode with the supply train and carried Custer’s knapsack
and provisions.”

When the war ended, Will Custer brought Ike and Wiley home with him
to Homer, Illinois. Wiley became a barber and had a shop until his
death. Ike took a job in the country with James Hays, Custer’s
brother-in-law. Ike then worked for Ben Custer until Custer died.

At this time Ike asked William Hays if he could live on his farm.
Uncle Ike stayed with the hays family the rest of his life first a
Homer, then in Warren County, Indiana and finally in Coal Creek

Copied from: The Wingate News Bicentennial Celebration from June,

Wingate - Uncle Ike field on Hays farm

Wingate – Uncle Ike field on Hays farm

The photo of the empty field shows where Uncle Ike lived. His house
was located on the hill in the background and the structure stood
empty for many years. The field is still empty and is located
on the former Harold Hays farm north of the Bane farm equipment
dealership about 1/2 mile behind where Harold’s house once stood.

Uncle Ike Isaac Hale 1932 Runaway Slave

Uncle Ike
Isaac Hale
Runaway Slave

Uncle Ike Isaac Hale 1932 Runaway Slave

Uncle Ike
Isaac Hale
Runaway Slave

Uncle Ike’s gravesite is located in the Greenlawn Cemetery, beneath
the tree, along the fence, in the northeast area of the cemetery.

Ancestry.com – 1910 Census

Name:     Isaac Hale

[Isaac Hall]

Age in 1910:     65

Birth Year:     abt 1845

Birthplace:     Mississippi

Home in 1910:     Vance, Vermilion, Illinois

Race:     Black

Gender:     Male

Relation to Head of House:     Hired Man

Marital Status:     Divorced

Father’s Birthplace:     Mississippi

Mother’s Birthplace:     Mississippi

Household Members:

Name     Age

William S Hays     47

Jennie D Hays     26

Harold M Hays     2

Lawrance J Hays     0

[8/12] (8 Months)

Isaac Hale     65

Alice M Brown     22


Ancestry.com – 1930 Census

Name:     Isaac Hale

Gender:     Male

Birth Year:     abt 1843

Birthplace:     Mississippi

Race:     Negro (Black)


Home in 1930:     Coal Creek, Montgomery, Indiana

Map of Home:     View Map

Marital Status:     Widowed

Relation to Head of House:     Retired Servant

[Relative; Servant (Other Relative)]

Father’s Birthplace:     Mississippi

Mother’s Birthplace:     Mississippi

Household Members:

Name     Age

William Hays     66

Jennie D Hays     44

Harold Hays     21

Lawrence Hays     20

Helene Hays     18

Isaac Hale     87