By Robert L. Williams
Dr. Daniel Morris Hailey was born in Baton Rouge, La. February 9, 1841, and died October 14, 1919, being buried in the Masonic Cemetery at McAlester, Oklahoma. He and his only brother, John, sole survivors of their father and mother, both of whom died about 1846 in a yellow fever epidemic, were reared by an aged aunt and a "black mammy." Having attended schools in his native city, later at New Orleans he studied medicine in Tulane University.
On June 19, 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Confederate States Army in Company A, 8th Louisiana Regiment, which was assigned to Hay's Brigade, Early's Division, Stonewall Jackson's Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Serving as Acting Hospital Steward, he was on February 10, 1863, appointed as Hospital Steward. On March 21, 1863, under orders, he reported to his regiment. The Prisoner of War records (U. S. A.) show that he was captured November 7, 1863, and admitted to the Harewood U. S. A. General Hospital, Washington, D. C., November 8, 1863 for wound, left leg, and transferred to the Provost Marshal's Office November 13, 1863, paroled at Point Lookout, Maryland May 3, 1864, and received at Aiken's Landing May 8, 1864 by the Confederate Agent for exchange. His name appears on a Register of the Confederate States Receiving and Wayside Hospital (General Hospital No. 9 ) Richmond, Virginia, as admitted October 3, 1864 and returned to duty October 4, 1864. The Confederate muster roll for September and October, 1864, dated February 27, 1865, last on file, shows him "Absent wounded since February 6, 1865."
He was wounded four times, on one occasion being sent back for convalescence, he aided the wounded. When ready to return to the front for duty, an effort was made to retain him on account of the scarcity of physicians, but he preferred to re-join his regiment.
After Appomattox, he started for home, joining two comrades, both having lost a leg and been furloughed, and having two horses between them, Dr. Hailey riding behind one of them (John Wag), a friend from Baton Rouge, he ran into Sherman's army, in its march through the Carolinas, but flanking it on the right, he went on his way.
Having then no living near relatives, at Memphis he boarded a river boat for Fort Smith, instead of returning to Baton Rouge. A short distance over the border from Fort Smith in the Choctaw Nation lived R. S. McCarty, to whom he applied for a position as a school teacher, and being accepted as such he taught two years, at the same time practicing medicine. From the school room his life romance developed into his marriage with R. S. McCarty's daughter, one of his pupils, Miss Helen McCarty, at Oak Lodge on September 24, 1868. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at their home in McAlester on September 24, 1918, having had seven children, two of whom, boys, Matthew and John, died in infancy, and another, Dr. Walter P. Hailey, died at Haileyville, Oklahoma on October 10, 1938. Edward S., William E., and two daughters, Mrs. Hattie Little of McAlester, and Mrs. Arthur Walcott (Lutie) of Ardmore, still survive.
His wife was a sixteenth Choctaw, born near the Tombigbee River in Alabama. Her parents migrated first to Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation in the early 50's, and later to the vicinity of Oak Lodge. A year or two after Dr. Hailey's marriage, he removed to what was at that time Perryville,1 then quite a settlement, at the crossing of the north and south Texas road with the military road from Fort Smith to Fort Washita and other western forts. There as a proprietor of a small store, he practiced his profession1 of medicine, being often called to go on horseback as far as fifty miles in a day to administer to the sick.
In 1872 the construction of the Missouri-Kansas & Texas Railroad line was completed through the Indian Territory, the first passenger train being run into Denison, Texas from the north on Christmas Eve.2 Owing to the fact that, Perryville was so near to McAlester, it was not designated as a station for the stopping of trains, and its residents gradually moved to McAlester (now North McAlester), and other points.
Dr. Hailey, having closed out his store, removed to McAlester, where he opened the first drug store in the Choctaw Nation as well as a physician's office. With J. J. McAlester he joined in the venture of sinking the first shaft in the coal veins of the McAlester district (old No. 5 Krebs mine), and interested the Jay Gould interests not only in this district but also in the adjacent coal fields. With the opening of the mines, rapid development followed.
In 1875 he joined with Colonel Granville McPherson in publishing the Star Vindicator, Dr. Hailey being its editor, and McPherson
1In the Joseph A. Edmonds Diary, it is stated that on November 11, 1870 at 11 o'clock in the forenoon "We came to a pretty village for this country by the name of Perryville. Here I saw a doctor's sign. At the bottom was 'Perryville, C. N.' (Choctaw Nation)" (The Chronicles of Oklahoma, XVII (1939), 312)
the printer and business manager. McPherson later removing to Texas, the newspaper was discontinued.3
In 1876 Dr. Hailey and William Pusley having discovered coal at Savanna, they induced the Jay Gould interests to begin mining operations there, developing for a time the largest mining industry in the Choctaw Nation, Savanna becoming then the largest town in the territory. Dr. Hailey removed from McAlester to said place, the company store being operated by Hailey and Pusley.
In 1887 Dr. Hailey took over the Osage Trading Company which was located at another point.
After the passage of the Act of Congress of June 28, 1898 (30 Stat. 495, chapter 517), Section 13 providing that leases as to coal and mineral deposits made under Indian customs and laws were terminated with the additional proviso that the parties in possession having made improvements and produced coal in substantial quantities should have preference in taking new leases under the Secretary of the Interior in compliance with his directions, Dr. Hailey retired from the mercantile business and opened mines at Haileyville and at Wilburton, operating under the name of Hailey-Ola Coal Company, which he had developed into large producers at the time of his death.
He was one of the organizers and principal officers of the South McAlester and Eufaula Telephone Company, afterwards absorbed by the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and an organizer and for years Vice-President of one of the National banks at McAlester.
From his youth until his death, Dr. Hailey was affiliated with the Democratic party. Whilst in his teens he had been thrilled by the eloquence of John C. Breckenridge. He occupied many places of honor in the party, never seeking any position with a pecuniary reward. From 1896 to 1916, inclusive, quadrennially, he served on the committee to notify each Democratic nominee for President of such nomination, and in 1904 in addition served on the committee that notified the Democratic nominee for Vice-President.
As to the marker attached to his life-sized portrait in which he was dressed in an appropriate Confederate uniform, and which he delivered to the custodian of the State Confederate Memorial Hall, at the request of the Oklahoma Historical Society, he prepared and submitted at the request of the Governor of the state, the inscription to be placed thereon, (indicating his most prized services), as follows:
"Private, Co. A, 8th Louisiana Infantry,C. S. A.—Commander, Choctaw Brigade, U. C. V. — Commander, Oklahoma Division, U. C. V. — Member, Confederate Pension Board — Member, Board of Trustees, Confederate Home — Sovereign Grand Inspector General A. A. Scottish Rite in Okla."
In the elegant casket in which he was buried, he was clothed in his uniform as a Major General of the United Confederate Veterans.
He was a charter member of the first Masonic (Blue) Lodge organized in that section (North McAlester) in 1875. Many fullblood Indians under his leadership became members of the Lodge. A Royal Arch Chapter was later installed there (the first in the Indian Territory), of which Dr. Hailey was a charter member. He took a marked interest in Masonry and at one time or another held the highest office in each branch in that jurisdiction. He was also a Shriner and at one time held a national office in the Elks. For years he was a member of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Public Library in the city of McAlester.
Flanking Highway 69 (Jefferson Highway) to the left going north through north McAlester on its outskirts, is the old Choctaw Court House of Tobucksy County, an unpretentious frame building with a stone chimney and a porch and lean-to like modest dwelling houses erected over fifty years ago in the Indian Territory. This building was erected at the expense of Dr. Hailey in 1876 for the Choctaws.
He lived in what is now Pittsburgh County, Oklahoma from 1870 to the date of his death on October 14, 1919. His wife who then survived him has since passed away.
Coming to the Indian Territory at a time when there were no local courts other than those of the Indians, these not having jurisdiction over the white people, he had a large part in shaping the development and uplift of the country, and discouraging its being a refuge for undesirables.
He took the leadership in the organizing of the Confederate Veterans in the Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma. For many years he was the commander in the respective jurisdictions. In cooperation with others he secured the building of the Confederate Home at Ardmore and was active in promoting the passage of the act providing pensions for Confederate soldiers. During the many years of his association with these organizations he did not prior to the year of his death miss either a state or a national meeting.
A fine and distinguished citizen, he was the embodiment of courtesy and a typical representative of the antebellum South.