John Hale was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1636 and came to Beverly to preach when it was still known as the "Bass River Side" of Salem. John Hale served as the pastor in Beverly until his death in 1700; he was buried in the Abbot Street cemetery.
Hale played a role in the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials and later wrote a book published posthumously, "A Modest Inquiry Into the Nature of Witchcraft," in an effort to explain what had happened. That book was written at Hale Farm.
The oldest part of the house, two rooms up and two rooms down, was built for Reverend Hale in 1694. In 1745, Colonel Robert Hale, Jr. (John Hale's grandson), added the front section of the house with the gambrel roof. He excavated a cellar, added the present staircases, and built an addition of two rooms down and two up, along with the gambrel roof that allowed rooms on the third floor. The property at that time included about 100 acres and extended to the ocean.
In 1881, Robert Hale Bancroft of Boston, who had inherited Hale Farm from his mother, converted the house into a summer estate for his family. He added a wing for a new kitchen and laundry in 1881, and servant quarters in 1898. Bancroft died in 1918. In 1937, his daughters sold the property to the Beverly Historical Society.