Artemas Hale was born in Winchendon, Massachusetts, on October 20, 1783, the son of Moses Hale and his wife, Ruth Foster Hale. Despite receiving little formal education, he worked as a schoolteacher in Hingham, Massachusetts, between 1804 and 1814. Afterward, he moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where he became involved in the manufacture of cotton gins. Hale had a sustained interest in politics, and served in the following legislative bodies as a member of the Whig Party: the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1824-1825; 1827-1828; 1838-1842), the Massachusetts Senate (1833-1834), and the United States House of Representatives (1845-1848). After the dissolution of the Whig Party, he supported the Republicans. He and his wife, Deborah Lincoln, had three children: Carolina Augusta (b. 1818), Deborah Lincoln (b. 1820), and Artemas (1822-1854).