Monadnock Moments No. 42: Hinsdale Governor Haile
William Haile was born in Putney, Vermont in 1807. When he was fourteen years of age his family moved to Chesterfield, New Hampshire. Haile attended and taught school there until the age of sixteen when he became a clerk in the store of Ezekiel Pierce. Haile soon opened his own store and, in 1834, he moved his business to Hinsdale. He felt that Hinsdale possessed a better business climate because of the abundant water power of the Ashuelot River. Haile ran his country store for the next fifteen years as well as opening a mill for the manufacture of flannels and other products.
Despite Haile’s numerous business activities and his leadership of several local organizations, he found time to become involved in state politics. Haile represented Hinsdale in the state legislature for seven years and in the state senate for two years. During his senate year of 1855 he served as president.
At the state Republican convention in January of 1857, Haile was nominated for governor on the 3rd ballot over 18 other candidates. He won the general election by a margin of 3002 votes. He was reelected the following year.
William Haile was the first Republican elected governor of New Hampshire. He was also one of only four governors ever elected from Cheshire County, with the other three coming from Keene.