This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of John C. Hays

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


JOHN C. HAYS owns a fine farm of eighty acres on section 16, Ayers Township. He is the son of Rankin and Hannah (CRANCE) HAYS, and was born in Fayette County, Ohio, Dec. 14, 1825. His father was a native of Ohio and his mother of New York. They were both devoted Christians and members of the Methodist Church. His mother died in 1860 at the age of sixty-three years, and his father in 1864 at the age of sixty-five. They had a family of ten children, namely, John C., Matilda, Sherman, Andrew, David, Michael, Electa, Elizabeth, Angelina and Mary.

John C. Hays resided with his parents until he was twenty-one years of age, receiving a good education in the common schools, and assisting in the labor of the farm. Aug. 16, 1849, he was married to Miss Deborah MORRISON. She was born June 5, 1825, and is the daughter of David and Deborah (VAN GORDER) MORRISON, natives of Pennsylvania; her mother died in 1828. David Morrison married a second time and became the father of twenty children, named as follows: Margaret, Elizabeth, James, Jacob, Rachel, Deborah and David by his first wife, and Seth, Harriet, Nancy, Amy, Martharancis, Alexander, Hannah, Ella, Caroline, Willis, George, and one who died in infancy, by his second marriage. His family were members of the Old School Presbyterian Church.

John C. Hays and his wife had nine children, of whom James, who was married to Miss Alice BLAIR, was accidentally killed in early manhood at the stockyards in Chicago, where he was employed. He died in Cook County Hospital at 9:10 P.M. of the evening he was hurt, and just ten minutes before his wife arrived. When the accident occurred, it was found that the only way to relieve the unfortunate man from his terrible situation, was by cutting away a portion of the caboose. An ax was accordingly parocured, and a noble-hearted brakeman, named Miller Reed, wielded it with such good effect that Mr. Hays was soon extricated. During the ordeal, the injured man patiently waited for his release, not uttering a groan, yet perfectly conscious. Those who witnessed the sight declared his bearing to be heroic. After being moved to his boarding-house, he asked for a cigar which was in his pocket, and coolly smoked it. Deceased was twenty-four years of age, and had been married just three months at the time of his death. The names of the other children of our subject and wife are, Martha, married to A. C. THULLBERRY; Verlin, who died at the age of sixteen months; Andrew J. and Ellen, twins; Phillip E., Margaret E.; America and Adeline, twins; the former died at the age of four years and six months, after a severe illness of twenty-five days.

John C. Hays came to Illinois in 1849, but was not a resident of this township until 1869. He is a man of great executive ability and is actively interested in public affairs. During the last four years he has been Mail Contractor.

It is not often that we are called upon to record the incident of an entire family devoted to the service of Christ. Mr. Hays, his wife, and all of his children are faithful members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which he is one of the Elders. He is a Democrat and his political views partake of the Old Jeffersonian School.

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