Joseph William Hadley was born 25 January 1881 in Baldwin County, Alabama,
and died 08 April 1927. He was the son of John
Benjamin Hadley (1853-1884) and Sarah E. Cruitt (1853-1939).
On 29 October 1903, he married Pauline Elizabeth (Bessie) Simmons who was
born 25 September 1883 and died on 31 July 1976. She was the daughter of
John Bailey Simmons and Susan Ada Stapleton.
Bessie and Joe are buried beside each other in Wynn Cemetery, Summerdale, Alabama.
Joe and Bessie had five children:
2. Joseph Howe Hadley (22 August 1908 - 14 April 1989)
3. John B. Hadley (16 January 1911 -
4. Thomas Cruitt Hadley (04 April 1916 - 05 December 1916)
5. William Moore Hadley (21 March 1917 - 29 June 1992)
Joe was raised by his mother and paternal grandparents with his brothers and sisters. He received up to a third grade education at home, but was always fascinated with learning. He loved to do his son's math homework and would cipher in the dirt behind their home.
Joe grew to be six feet tall, with brown hair and gray eyes. He had small feet for a man his size; he only wore a size seven shoe. As an adult, he was continuously bothered with foot problems. Joseph William Hadley spent practically all his life as a farmer and stock grower of sheep and cattle, as had the previous three generations of Hadley's in Alabama.
In the early 1920s, Joe and Bessie had a farm and ranch of their own. In order to earn the extra money needed to raise his family with three growing boys, Joe also plowed fields for neighbors. One day Joe said, "Bessie, there's got to be a better way to make a living than looking at a mule's rear end all day long for 50¢ a day." That's when he decided to go into politics.
Joseph William Hadley was one of the most respected citizens of Baldwin County and in 1926 he was asked to run for the office of County Sheriff. He was elected by an overwhelming majority, winning more votes than the combined total of votes for his six opponents in the race. He sold all his cattle for $10 each and moved his family from Summerdale to the county seat of Bay Minnette. He took office on 01 January 1927 and died suddenly on 08 April 1927. The cause of his death was blood poisoning, which was a result of a spider bite on his face. He could probably have been saved with a simple shot of penicillin had it been available in 1927. To this day, many Hadleys and relatives have allergic reactions to insect bites.
His untimely death left his wife with three sons, Joseph Howe, 18; John B., 16; and William Moore, 10 years of age. With only modest means, this gallant lady somehow made it through the depression and in the process raised her three sons around whom her life revolved. With some degree of modesty it can be said that all three of her sons were moderately successful in their careers.
Pauline Elizabeth (Simmons) Hadley was born in Kissimmee, Florida.
Her parents had moved to Florida from Baldwin County just prior to her
birth. Approximately three years later, after her father's death, the
family returned to Baldwin County where she lived for 90 more years.
"Mother Hadley," as she was known to the grandchildren, lived in Montrose,
Alabama with her sisters, Lilla and Nan-Mary Virginia Simmons Moore, and
also with her sister-in-law, Nancy. In their large old southern home,
the seeds of this genealogical work were sown by our great-aunt,
John Benjamin Hadley - Sarah E. Cruit ---John Hadley - Nellie Johnson ---Benjamin Hadley - Elizabeth Kenderson ---Thomas Hadley - Mary Thompson ---Joshua Hadley - Mary Rowland ---Simon Hadley - Ruth Miller