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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
James Halley Biography

This biography appears on pages 1643-1644 in "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. II (1904) 

HON. JAMES HALLEY, president of the First National Bank of Rapid City, is a native of Scotland, born January 7, 1854, at the thriving little city of Sterling, Perthshire. When he was two years old his parents brought him to the United States and located at Washington, D. C., where he grew to the age of sixteen and received his education He learned telegraphy and then went south, where he was employed for a year at different places. He returned to Washington at the end of the year and soon afterward came west to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and there secured a position as chief operator, which he filled for three years. At the end of that time he made a trip to the Pacific coast, and on his return located at Omaha for a few months, then once more made his home at Cheyenne. In 1876, for a private company composed of Cheyenne capitalists, he opened telegraph offices along the line between Cheyenne and the Black Hills, arriving at Custer in August and Deadwood a few weeks later. He remained in the employ of the telegraph company until 1879, when he was appointed teller of the First National Bank of Deadwood. This position he resigned at the close of 1880, and then, in company with Messrs. Lake, of Deadwood, and Patterson, of Rapid City, he organized the banking house of Lake, Halley & Patterson, at Rapid City. He was prominent in the management of this institution until September 1, 1884, when it was merged into the First National Bank of Rapid City, of which he was appointed cashier. On January 13, 1898, he was chosen president of this bank, and he has held this office ever since. He is also president of a bank at Hot Springs, and one at Keystone which was formerly the Harney-Peak Bank of Hill City, when that town was on the boom. He is president of the Rapid City Electric Light Company and treasurer of the Rapid River Milling Company. However he has not devoted the whole of his time to fiscal matters. He is also deeply and intelligently interested in public affairs, and being a loyal and devoted member of the Republican party, he has on all occasions given the principles and candidates of that organization an earnest and serviceable support. He served one term in the upper house of the territorial legislature, the last one before South Dakota was admitted to the dignity of statehood. He has also been mayor of Rapid City two terms, and was a delegate to the Republican national convention at Minneapolis in 1892, and at Philadelphia in 1900. For a number of years he was a member of the state central committee of his party, and has served as chairman of its county central committee. He is also extensively interested in real estate and the stock industry, and is secretary of the Box Elder Land and Live Stock Company which owns two thousand acres of land and large numbers of stock. Of the numerous and admired fraternal orders he has joined but, one, the Knights of Pythias, being a member of Gate City Lodge, No. 8, of this order. 

On September 13, 1878, at Cheyenne, Wyoming, Mr. Halley was united in marriage with Miss Lottie Smith, a daughter of S. L. Smith, of that city. Their wedding trip was made by stage from Cheyenne to Deadwood. They have nine children, Albert, Helen, James, Frances, Lottie, Sarah, Samuel Russell, Walter and Donald. Albert recently graduated from Stanford University, and Helen from Wellesley College.



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