Col. Robert Hays
d.BEF 18 SEP 1819
m. est. 1745
Facts and Events
Col. Robert Hays was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Advisory on Parentage of Robert Hays
Some confusion exists as to the parentage of this Robert Hays. Some have listed his father as the John Hays that died in Augusta County, Virginia in 1750, but this appears to be this Robert's GRANDFATHER, not his father. Indeed, if you look at Robert's birthdate as about 1758, it does indeed appear to be too late to be a son of the elder John Hays. Other sources indicate that Robert's parents are John Hays (son of the elder John Hays) and Martha Thompson, and that does appear to be a better fit, at least as far as the birthdates are concerned. More research is needed to conclusively prove this assumption.
Information on Robert Hays
TENNESSEE Section Let us begin studying all the notes we have collected (many will be added as we go along). We begin with Tennessee in this first section. The next section of this report will then focus on the immigrant HAYS family and his Virginia line. While we don't know yet who the ancestors were for John and Lydia, we have some wonderful clues from Bebe Garcia's son, Tony, an excellent researcher, who shared the following with us on one of the first known HAYS families in Virginia, John HAYS and his wife Rebecca (no connection to our line known at this time, but interesting material). Not all of his first work has been proven, but the clues he gave us have started us down the road to more good discoveries about this HAYS family. This family came to Virginia sometime before 1740, as the evidence will show. Several people have entered the names of the families who descended from this couple in various on-line websites. We will try to present real evidence here, and we will also note whenever we post something which has not been proven by us. It is important to sort out the "provens" and the "unproven" so that you might leave here with well presented facts, not just names.
Here is the very important E-mail, filled with good clues, about one of the early HAYS pioneers in Middle Tennesse, sent to our group by Bebe Garcia - Subject: Notes on Colonel Robert Hays Date: 29 May 1999. My comments are added in bracketts ( ). Bebe wrote:
I found the following notes on Robert Hays that Tony Bohac (my note: Bebe's son) had made: "In 1785 Robert Hays settled on Little Cedar Lick in Wilson County, TN, and quickly prospered due, in part, to his marriage into the influential Donelson family. Through his marriage to Jane Donelson, daughter of Colonel John Donelson and Rachel Stockley, he became a brother-in-law to John, William, Stockley and Samuel Donelson.
Robert Hays was of Scotch-Irish descent. His father, John, of Ireland, sailed with his family and a numerous party of immigrants to the English colonies in 1740 (My notes: documents will show they came earlier than 1740). Robert's mother was Martha Thompson, the second wife of his father (we've found no proof of this yet). Robert grew up in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He later became a Lieutenant in the North Carolina Infantry during the American Revolution. (From the USGenWeb site: Rockbridge County, VA was formed in 1778 from Augusta and Botetourt Counties. However, the settlement within the bounds of present day Rockbridge began in 1737, in Borden's Grant. The area was then a part of Orange County, VA. Augusta County began keeping records in 1745, and covered what is now many states. In 1770, Botetourt County was formed from Augusta. The present Maury River formed part of the boundary. It was then called North River.)
Colonel Robert Hayes erected Fort Haysboro in Wilson County. This fort is about seven miles south of Nashville. This is where he built his pioneer home and it is where several of his children were born. Soon, Colonel Robert Hays was spoken of as a 'wealthy citizen.' One historian has written that 'Colonel Robert Hays, who was brother-in-law to Andrew Jackson....was not only a prominent and wealthy pioneer, but a close friend and associate of the more wealthy and prominent land speculators, William Polk and William Blout.'
It seems that either Robert remarried or that Jane's other name was Rebecca. It is known that one of Robert's sons was named Harmon A. Hays and he was found in the will of Rebecca Hays who called him her son. Rebecca died in 1819. (My notes: Rebecca Hays, adm. of John Hays, dec'd, to Reuben Searchy 33 ac in Wilson Co., it being a part of John Hays' 640 ac deeded to him by Joseph Hendrick, 14 Mar 1812 - so it is proven that this Rebecca was the widow of John, not Robert. Notes from researcher R. C. Dixon: This John, who died 1811 Wilson Co., TN., he calls "Hermitage John". He married Rebecca MAXWELL. Mr. Dixon thinks the children were possibly: Sally, Rachel, Ann, Harmon A., and Thomas T. Hays. However, he thought Stockley Hays was a son in his own line from John1, Charles2, James T.3, Leander4 Hays. Jas. T. HAYS, b.1803-d.1864, is a son of Charles & Elizabath HAYS of Smith Co., TN, and a grandson to John HAYS Sr. who d. 1814 Smith Co., TN. James T. and Malinda Knight Hays are buried in the Cottage Home Cem. in Wilson Co., TN per researcher R. C. Dixon. Hugh Hays, b. c1775-1794 d. c1829, also lived in the area of Smith Co., TN-see below miscellaneous notes).
Following is the known list of Robert (My note: actually these are John & Rebecca's children) Hays' children and it is very likely that there were more children:
1. Stockley Hays - named as oldest brother to Harmon in 1832. 2. Rachel S. - married in (10 Oct) 1809 to Isham F. Davis in Wilson Co., TN 3. Ann - married in 1806 to Julius Alford in Wilson Co.,TN (BM Harman Hays. Julius witnessed a deed for John Hays who sold 130 ac in Wilson Co. to Scion Bass 20 Jun 1807.) 4. Sally - married Mr. Drew. 5. Thomas T. Hays (one of John & Lydia's sons was also named Thomas T.) - born about 1794 and married Sally Drake in Wilson Co. (27 Nov) 1816. He was listed on 1850 census of Wilson County. (My notes: Trust Deed Book EE, p. 420 29 Oct 1835: Britain Drake to John B. Hays, a negro woman named Ferriby & her children, to wit, Martin, Lizzey, Casandra, Henry & Jerry for the benefit of Sally Hays, wife of Thomas T. Hays and the rest of her children, brothers & sisters of said John B. Hays. Named in his father-in-law's will in Wilson Co., TN records 12 Jun 1840 deed Book S, p.496: Britain Drake to John B. Hays and Sarah Hays, wife of Thomas Hays and to the rest of the children, brothers and sisters of said J. B. Hays the tract of land on which the said Thomas T. Hays now lives. Wilson Co., TN Marriage records: John B. Hays m. Eliza H. Gippen 17 Nov 1841 and Elizabeth A. Horn 21 Sep 1849.) 6. Harmon A. Hays - born between 1780-90 at Haysboro in Wilson County. (My Notes: see a report on the CAGE family here, which lists the children of Harmon & Elizabeth as Jack m. Miss CLAVERY; William m. Miss E. STEPHENS; Mary Ann m. J. C. LEWIS; Sarah m. Calvin LEA; Harry m. Bettie CAGE; Robert; and Jane HAYS.) It is said that he was the 6th child to be born to Robert. He died in 1832--"one morning in 1832 a neighbor came running to the school and whispered hurriedly to the master. The Hays children were sent home immediately only to learn that their father was seriously ill. Several days later he died." The family went to live on the plantation of their Uncle Robert Cage. Harmon had married Elizabeth Cage. (My note: 1830 Grainger Co., TN census (found at Rootsweb): p. 372 HAYS, Harmon, Thomas, William. On page 396 is Elijah SIMS. There are several HAYNES men, including Robert & John, who should not be overlooked as a misspelling of the name HAYS) There is the possibility that Robert Hays had a son who he named after his father, John. Maybe this John could have been the father of George Washington Hayes. The name "Robert" is very common in the families of the descendants of of John and Lydia Hays. They named a son Robert D. Hayes and John N. Hays had a son named Robert. George Washington Hayes named his first son after his wife's father, Charles, and he named his second son Robert. Amos also had a son he named Robert.
John Hays, the immigrant, had more descendants who entered Wilson County in its early days. Besides Robert, John Hays had two other known sons--Andrew and James. Andrew was born about 1724 in Ireland and died in 1786. His wife was Prudence Campbell. He had five known sons: John, Charles, David, Joseph and James.
John was Andrew's oldest son and he was born about 1750 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He married in 1777 to Ann (Nancy) Christianson in Northampton County. He moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1804 and died there in 1808. (Nashville borders Wilson County). His sons have shown up in the early Wilson County records. They are Andrew, born about 1780; died in 1843; married, 1st, to Susanna Enoch (My notes: see below marriage data from Wilson Co., TN; 2nd, to Sarah Mims; John Brown, married President Polk's sister, Ophelia Polk; James Campbell; and Michael." (My notes: Col. Robert HAYS m. Jane DONELSON 21 Jan 1786, in TN: source-1 and one other undocumented site said that Col. Robert Hays & Jane Donelson were the grandparents of John Coffey Hays, known as Capt. Jack Hays, one of the first Texas Rangers. Also, there was a Campbell HAYS who served in the War of 1812. His record shows he married Ellen Unknown 14 Dec 1863 in Carroll Co., AR.)
New information (June 2002) graciously shared by Jean Meaney, E-mail: Meaneyplce@@aol.com, who descends from Col. Robert Hays and Jane Donelson through their son Stokely Donelson Hays. Jean sent data from an article called Robert Hays, Unsung Pioneer of Cumberland County published in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Fall 1967. Here is more from Jean:
I am descended from Col. Robert Hays (1758-1819) and Jane Donelson (1754-1834) through his son Stokely Donelson Hays. They were married Jan 27, 1786. He died in Haysboro a few days before Sept. 18, 1819. His wife Jane went with her son Stokely Donelson Hays to the new town of Jackson, TN in 1822 where she died in 1834. (She is listed as head of household on the 1830 Census there and there is a large vault/lot in the old Riverside cemetery devoted to Hays' burials). Their 6 out of 10 children who made it to adulthood were: --Rachel Hays (1786-?) married Col. Robert Butler who was the Andrew Jackson' Adjutant General in the Battle of New Orleans; they went to Jackson in 1822 and then on to Florida where he was Surveyor General of the state for many years. --"Patsy" Martha Thompson Hays (1791-1857) married Robert's younger brother Dr. William Edward Butler, the founder of Jackson, TN and Surgeon General to Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. She died in Jackson. --Stokely Donelson Hays (1788-1831) married Lydia Butler (sister of Robert and William Edward) actually on the same day as Wm Edward married Patsy-- May 15, 1811. Stokely died of "bileous fever" in the home of William Edward Butler in Jackson in 1831. Lydia went with her daughter Sarah Jane Hays (1814-1860) who married John Hutchings Rawlings to Memphis in 1848 and was buried in there in Elmwood Cemetary in 1865. Stokely and Lydia's son Richard Jackson Hays (1822-1899) stayed in Jackson and became its first mayor and fought in the Mexican War. --Narcissa Hays (1795-?) died unmarried in Jackson aft. 1850. --Samuel Jackson Hays (1800-1866) died in Jackson. Married to Francis Pinkney Middleton. Letters from A. Jackson to Samuel exist, one talking about Stokely D. Hays. Also have a book with a picture of Stokely from a miniature. Also Samuel J. contributed much to our knowledge of Robert and the family by his letters to Draper "Draper Papers". --Elizabeth Hays (1805-1841) married Robert J. Chester (a friend of A. Jackson's and hero of the War of 1812--a county in TN is named after him). They lived in Jackson also. I don't believe Harmon was descended from Col. Robert Hays as he is not listed in any document I have seen. The Butler children were all wards of the Andrew Jackson's after their father Col. Thomas Butler died in 1805. Note that all three of them married the Hays children, who were nieces and nephews of the Jackson's. The Jackson's came to Jackson, TN to visit all of them in 1825. There is much recorded of Jackson's correspondence with Col. Robert Hays who was not only his brother-in-law but also close friend. There is a three volume set on the Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert V. Remini (who collected the Jackson papers for the Hermitage) that has many exerpts from the these letters and mentions of the Hays. The Madison Co. TN Website is a great wealth of information. Also, an out of print book Historical Madison by Emma Inman Williams, published by the Madison Co. Historical Society in 1946.
Hays, Col. Robert was born in North Carolina about 1758 and married Jane Donelson 27 January 1786.115 He bought land 6 January 1785.116 He is listed on the 1787 tax roll with 4 taxables.117 He received North Carolina Land Grants.118 "Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Hays . . . acted under Colonel Robertson . . . " in the punitive expedition against the Indians near Muscle Shoals in 1787.119 His name appears on the 1787 military payroll.120 On 7 August 1794 "Robert Hays bought a negro man named Dick from Finis Ewing. Wit. Thomas Hudson."121 Hays was one of the original members of the Board Of Trustees of the Davidson Academy122 and resigned from the Board in 1805, having "served nearly twenty years and had seldom been absent from the meetings. . . . "123 James Robertson, Robert Hays, John Gordon, and Samuel Barton were present at the last meeting of the County Court of the Territorial Government on 16 April 1796. There appears a Nota Bene that "Robt. Hays is wanting." Hays was one of the signers Putnam calls "the Invincibles, or Silver Grays,"124 of an undated document which concludes " . . . we agree to embody ourselves, aged and infirm as we may be, and to offer our services to our country in support of its laws and constituted authorities."125 The signature on that document of "Joe Coleman, Mayor of Nashville," would suggest a date between 1806 and 1808, during which years Coleman was the first mayor of Nashville. Hays owned two Town Lots in Haysborough.126