George S. Haste, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of George S. Haste

COLONEL GEORGE S. HASTE. In the business and social community of Valparaiso no citizen has been more active and influential than Col. George S. Haste. Now retired from a very successful career as merchant, he began as a clerk in this city more than fifty years ago, and his individual character and energy carried him through a range of attainments that constitute a most gratifying retrospect.

Colonel Haste was born in Preston, Waterloo county, Ontario, March 28, 1844, a son of Richard and Catherine (Shoemaker) Haste. The father, when a child, embarked with his parents on board a vessel sailing from England, and during the passage both parents died, so that the boy landed at Philadelphia an orphan in a strange land. Adopted by a family, he was reared and educated and became a useful and substantial citizen, during his early life following the trade of weaver and later engaging in farming. From Pennsylvania he moved to Canada, where in September, 1833, he married Miss Catherine Shoemaker. Of her family considerable history has been preserved. She was born in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, February 12, 1815. The Shoemaker family in America traces its origin to Jacob Shoemaker, a native of Canton Bern, Switzerland, who in 1737 landed at Philadelphia. His four sons, Peter, Jacob, George and John, were the ancestors of a large number of generations of that name since well known in various parts of the United States. A great-grandson of the original immigrant was George Shoemaker, the father of Catherine (Shoemaker) Haste. George Shoemaker took his family to Canada, and thus his daughter and Richard Haste became acquainted and married. From Canada Richard Haste and family started west for Chicago in 1848, but the prevalence of cholera in that city caused him to settle at Antioch, in northern Illinois, and from there he moved in 1856 to Wisconsin, in which state he spent the rest of his life. The brothers and sisters of Mr. Haste are: Mary A., Moses, Nancy, Aaron, George S., Caroline and Angeline (twins), Lavina, Angelia, Henry and Richard A., the last named being an associate editor of the Scientific Farmer, which is published in Nebraska, and a correspondence college of farming is conducted in connection.

In the several localities above mentioned George S. Haste passed his boyhood. At the age of sixteen, with a dollar in his pocket, he walked away from home to find work, and after going about fifty miles was given employment at a dollar and a quarter per day in the harvest field, this wage being very satisfactory, and he continued this day labor for about two months. At the end of that time he and a younger sister came to Valparaiso, to the home of a married sister, and here his active energies soon found employment in a general merchandise store. For the first years he received his board and a salary of fifty dollars, and during the five years spent in that store he laid the foundation of experience for his subsequent success as a merchant. During this time the Civil War was being fought, and in 1864, at the age of twenty, he volunteered at the call for hundred-day men, being mustered in at Indianapolis in Company C, One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Indiana Infantry, as a non-commissioned officer. His service was in the Army of the Cumberland, and the chief points were Louisville, Nashville and Chattanooga, where he was engaged in the guarding of government property. At one time his division was cut off by General Wheeler, on one of his cavalry raids.

After his honorable discharge he returned home and was again at his duties in the dry goods store. In 1866 he changed his employment to a hardware establishment in this city. Then, on October 28, 1868, occurred his marriage to Miss Emeline M. Hawkins, whose father was the proprietor of the hardware business and the employer of Mr. Haste. Mrs. Haste, whose family has been prominently identified with this portion of Indiana for more than sixty years, was born in Wayne county, Pennsylvania, November 6, 1846, a daughter of James and Pauline (Carr) Hawkins. Her father, who for some years followed the occupation of millwright and carpenter, and later was a merchant, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and his wife in Pennsylvania, and their children were Emeline, Lucia, Octavia and Naomi, all of whom were educated in the public schools and the Methodist College at Valparaiso. In 1849 James Hawkins and family, together with a colony of the Carr families, since so well known in Porter county, journeyed overland in prairie schooners from Pennsylvania to northwest Indiana. In Valparaiso and vicinity Mr, Hawkins worked as carpenter and millwright until 1861, and then in company with Mr. Freeman established a hardware business. In 1866 George Haste entered the store as clerk and took such an active share in the successful conduct of the business that in 1870 he became a partner in the firm of Hawkins & Haste. Some time later Mr. Hawkins sold his interest to Mr. Hollett, and the business of Haste & Hollett for nineteen years had a large share of the trade in the city and vicinity. Thereafter until his retirement from active merchandising Mr. Haste was the sole proprietor. Thus for about forty years he was identified with the mercantile district of Valparaiso, and none of his contemporaries could regard their careers with more satisfaction.

Mr. and Mrs. Haste, having no children of their own, have given the privileges of their home to a number of young people for varying lengths of time, and they also adopted an orphan girl, Mabel Butler, who was four years old when she came under the care of her foster parents. She was carefully trained, was well educated and a graduate in music, and is now the wife of Don E. Minor, a successful lawyer of Grand Rapids, Michigan, whose acquaintance she made while he was a student in the Valparaiso University. They became the parents of three children, Nada, (who died in infancy), Emma J. and Ruth Haste.

Colonel Haste derived the title by which he is known among his associates from eleven years' service in the state militia, beginning as a private and promoted to captain, major, battalion major and colonel, having the latter rank at the time of his resignation. At the inauguration of President Harrison in 1889 he was a member of the staff which attended the Indiana statesman at Washington. Mrs. Haste was also a member of the party on this occasion. In local municipal affairs Colonel Haste has always been among the progressive element. For four years he was a member of the city council, during which time his influence was effective toward securing the first good paving on the streets, and he was also helpful in promoting other local improvements. He is a member of the G. A. R. post at Valparaiso, and is affiliated with the Masonic blue lodge, and has held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the uniformed rank of Knights of Pythias. He and his wife are active members of the Methodist church of this city. Together they have enjoyed the pleasures of extensive travel especially in the western and northwestern states. Their attractive home on Jefferson street is endeared to them not only by the many associations of the past years but also by its substantial comforts and objects of interest which they have collected. Among the latter is a copy of the letter signed by Abraham Lincoln and sent to all the hundred-days' men, thanking them for their services in the war. He also keeps the four commissions in the state militia signed by four Indiana governors. At the dedication of the World's Fair buildings in Chicago, in 1893, Colonel Haste was in command of the Indiana brigade, comprising all the troops from this state. In the grand review of the ten thousand troops participating, the first in the order of march were the regulars, to be followed by the troops of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, etc. But the Ohio troops not being ready when the command to march was given, Colonel Haste at the direction of the commanding officer, wheeled the Indiana regiments into line so that they had the place of first distinction among the state troops, thus marching from South Park to Washington Park and return, after which they were reviewed by Vice President Morton.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 472-474

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


CSS Template by Rambling Soul