“Stephen Fowler Hale was born in Crittenden Co. Kentucky, Jan. 31, 1816. His father, a Baptist minister, was from S.C.; his mother was a Miss Mannahan of the same State. After his 1837 graduation from Princeton College, Princeton, Kentucky, Stephen taught school about a
year in Eutaw before returning to Kentucky and study law. He graduated from Transylvania Univ. two years later and returned to Eutaw, Al. He practiced at different times in association with Messrs. Alexander Graham and T. C. Clarke. In 1843 he was elected to the legislature
for the first of numerous terms. Three years later, he marched to war in Mexico as first lieutenant of a company of Greene County volunteers.
He also served as president of the Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company, devoting much time to advancing that important enterprise. In 1853 he was the nominee of his party for Congress. From 1857 to 1861 he again represented the county in the legislature, and was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the State at the same time.
Col. Hale married a sister of Mr. F. M. Kirsey at one time sheriff of Greene, and one of his sons was a member of the bar of the Greene County. A daughter married Capt. E. B. Vaughn of Sumter County, Alabama.
Bro. Hale presumably received his Masonic degrees at Amity Lodge #54 in Eutaw, where he served for many years as Worshipful Master. He was chosen Junior Grand Warden in both 1844 and 1845, Senior Grand Warden in 1858 and held that position until he was elected Grand Master for 1861.
In December, 1860, when Alabama’s secession from the Federal Union became a serious possibility, Stephen Hale was chosen by Governor A. B. Moore to enlist the cooperation of his native state. On his return from Kentucky, the Alabama Constitutional Convention named him to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, then meeting at Montgomery. However, Hale soon abandoned politics for the more manly business of soldiering. In June, 1861, Hale became Lieutenant Colonel of the 11th Regiment Alabama Volunteer Infantry, of which Sydenham Moore was Colonel. After a short period of training, the regiment was ordered to the front, becoming part of General Cadmus Wilcox’s Brigade of what would later be called the Army of Northern Virginia.
At precisely 7 P.M. on Monday, December 2, 1861, the gavel sounded to open the 41st Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of AL. However, the premier Mason in Alabama Grand Master Stephen F. Hale – was nowhere to be seen. Deputy Grand Master William H. Norris, who sat in the East, informed the brethren that the Most Worshipful Grand Master could not be present because he was serving “with the patriotic Confederate Army in Virginia.” On June 27, 1862, Colonel Hale led his men into combat at the fiercely fought Battle of Gaines’ Mill. Seeing his color bearer fall, he moved forward, waving his sword to pick up the flag, when
he received two slight wounds and fell. He lingered three weeks, dying in Richmond, July 18, 1862. He was only 46 years old when he died. He left a widow, several daughters, and a teenage son who was serving as a midshipman in the Confederate Navy. His remains were interred in Eutaw at Mesopotamia Cemetery some months after.
The Grand Lodge of Alabama honored his memory by presenting a special Masonic medal to his family and when the Alabama Legislature proposed to divide Greene County, its citizens agreed on the condition that the new county must be named for their esteemed fellow citizen Stephen Hale. Hale County came into existence by an act signed on Jan. 30, 1867.”