Genealogy Data > Index to "The History of Hendricks County" (1914)

from The History of Hendricks County (Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen & Co., 1914)--pages 568-572


Under a popular form of government, like ours, where the democratic idea of equality is as fully developed as the present imperfect condition of mankind will permit, we expect as its legitimate result the triumph of individual worth and energy over all the competition that wealth and class may array against them. Here the avenues of wealth and distinction are fully opened to all, which fact enhances rather than detracts from the merits of those whose energy and integrity have triumphed over all obstacles intervening between an humble position and the attainment of those laudable ends. Obscurity and labor, at no time dishonorable, never assume more attractive features than when the former appears as the nurse of those virtues which the latter, by years of honest and persevering effort, transplant to a higher and richer soil; hence the biographer of those men of exceptional worth whose active enterprise has won for them the distinction, pre-eminence and commanding influence in the society in which they move must be replete with facts which encourage and instruct.

Oscar Hadley, president of the Standard Live Stock Company, of Indianapolis, has for many years held marked prestige in business and civic circles, occupied important official trusts, and by the exercise of those talents and qualities which were cultivated from his youth, reached an honorable position in the public mind and earned the respect and high regard of his fellow citizens.

Mr. Hadley was born on a farm in Guilford Township, near Plainfield, Hendricks County, Indiana, May 3, 1858, and in order of nativity is the fifteenth of the sixteen children born to Elias and Lucinda (Carter) Hadley, the form of whom was born in the state of North Carolina and the latter in Butler County, Ohio. Elias Hadley was a boy when his father, Jeremiah Hadley, removed with his family from North Carolina to Butler County, Ohio, where he was reared to maturity and received the limited educational advantages offered by the primitive schools of the pioneer days. Prior to the attaining of his legal majority, Elias Hadley came to Indiana and selected a favorable location in Hendricks County, after which he returned to Ohio and there married Lucinda Carter, who was then in her seventeenth year. Immediately after their marriage the young couple came to Hendricks County, Indiana, and established their little home in a pioneer log house erected on the land in Guilford Township which he had secured from the government, and which represented at that time a veritable forest wilderness. His father also removed to the locality at the same time and both secured tracts of government land, on a portion of which the town of Plainfield now stands. Here the young man and the old grappled vigorously with the giants of the forest and in due time reclaimed their farms to civilization. Jeremiah Hadley and his good wife passed the residue of their lives in Hendricks County, and on their old homestead Elias and Lucinda (Carter) Hadley continued to reside until they, too, were summoned to the life eternal, honored pioneers of the county in which they took up their abode about the year 1822. Elias Hadley was seventy-five years of age at the time of his demise, and his devoted wife passed away at the venerable age of eighty-four years, a true mother in Israel, whose children may well “rise up and call her blessed”, and whose memory they hold in lasting reverence. Both she and her husband were zealous members of the Christian Church, and in politics he was originally a Whig, and later a Republican, having united with the “grand old party” at the time of its organization. Of the sixteen children nine are now living. The Hadley family has been one of the best known and most highly honored in Hendricks County for many years, and its members have contributed in liberal measure to the civic and industrial development of that favored section of the state. Twelve of the sixteen children in the Hadley family lived to maturity and all were members of the same church.

Oscar Hadley was reared as a farmer boy on the old homestead farm which was the place of his nativity. His boyhood days gained to him through personal experience an appreciation of the dignity and value of honest toil. He early learned the lessons of industry, self-reliance and sturdy integrity that have proved so potent in the guiding and guarding of his career as a man among men. After completing the prescribed course of the public schools, Mr. Hadley continued his studies for one year at Butler College, at Irvington, and much of his business career has been one of intimate and successful identification with general farming and stock growing, in which latter department of industry he has gained a specially wide reputation as a successful breeder of high-grade cattle. For many years he has been numbered among the representative farmers and stock raisers of Hendricks County, where he owns a fine landed estate of two hundred and fifty acres, equipped with the best of improvements in all lines. He holds prestige as one of the leading exponents of agriculture and stock enterprises in the entire state. For several years he has been a member of the Indiana state board of agriculture, of which he served as president in 1909, giving to the work of the organization the benefits of his wide and practical experience and fine administrative ability. In 1902 Mr. Hadley became one of the organizers and incorporators of the Polled Durham Breeders' Association of the United States, the largest and most substantial organization of its kind in the world, and of which he was elected president in 1908. He has made a specialty of the breeding of the Polled Durham cattle, and on his farm are to be found the finest of specimens of this breed. He is a member of both the state and National Shorthorn Breeders' Association.

A man of fine intellectual attainments and forceful personality, Mr. Hadley has naturally taken a laudable interest in public affairs in Indiana and done all in his power to conserve its progress and prosperity. A stalwart in the camp of the Republican party from the time of attaining his legal majority, he has rendered most efficient service in the promotion of its cause and has been a prominent factor in connection with the party work in his native state. His eligibility for positions of public trust was early recognized in his home community, where, it may be said, he set at naught all incidental application of the scriptural adage that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country”. At the age of twenty-one he became a precinct committeeman of his party in his home precinct, and he was chairman of the precinct committee for his township for a continuous period of fifteen years. The first elective office to which he was called was that of trustee of his native township, of which position he continued incumbent for five and one-half years, at the close of which, in 1900, he was nominated and elected treasurer of Hendricks County. Local political precedent prescribes that in this county the county treasurer shall not become a candidate for second term, and thus Mr. Hadley served only the one term, within which he showed marked ability in handling the fiscal affairs of the county.

In 1906 Mr. Hadley's name was placed before his party as a candidate for state treasurer, and after a spirited preliminary campaign he was duly nominated for this office in the Republican state convention of that year. In November of the same year he rolled up a gratifying majority at the polls, having led the ticket, and on the 10th of February, 1907, he assumed the duties of the office. Within his term of two years he amply justified the wisdom of the people's choice, bring to bear marked capacity for handling the details of the work and doing much to improve the system of handling the fiscal affairs of the state. Popular appreciation of his fidelity, ability and integrity of purpose was indicated both in his nomination as his own successor by his party in the state convention of 1908, and also by the unequivocal support accorded him in the ensuing election, through which he was returned to office for a second term of two years, which expired on the 10th of February, 1911. His record as state treasurer was signally clean, straightforward and successful, redounding alike to his credit and to the conservation of the best interests of the commonwealth. His administration is generally conceded as one of the best the office ever had.

Upon leaving official life Mr. Hadley became identified with the Standard Live Stock Insurance Company of Indianapolis, of which he was one of the organizers and incorporators, and he has served as president of this corporation continuously since its organization to the present time. The Standard Live Stock Insurance Company is a largest organization of its kind in the world, having a capitalization of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and having business in many states of the Union.

Mr. Hadley is vice-president of the First National Bank of Plainfield, being also a director and one of the organizers of this well-known Hendricks county bank.

Fraternally, Mr. Hadley is a member of the Masonic Order, in which he has taken the capitular degrees, being affiliated with Plainfield Lodge No. 653, Free and Accepted Masons, in Plainfield, and with Danville Chapter No. 46, Royal Arch Masons, of Danville. He also holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias.

Mr. Hadley was married March 10, 1880, to Emma Talbott, daughter of Lorenzo Talbott, a well-known stock dealer and farmer. Three children were born of this union: Chester, born February 26, 1882, is engaged in the nursery business at Danville, Indiana; Vivian, born December 18, 1885, is the wife of Dr. T.A. Bryan, of Mattoon, Illinois; Nancy, born October 20, 1889, lives in Indianapolis.

Mr. and Mrs. Hadley are consistent members of the Christian Church. The Hadley home is at No. 2743 College Avenue, Indianapolis.