James F. Hays
HAYS, James F. (deceased), formerly a prominent and substantial farmer in Chalmers Township, McDonough County, Ill., was born near Bardolph, Ill., July 7, 1853, a son of Hartwell and Sarah (Smith) Hays, natives of Kentucky. Hartwell Hays was a farmer by occupation. Mr. Hays received his early education in the district school in his neighborhood, and also attended college in Macomb, but was compelled to relinquish his studies on account of sickness when within three days of graduation. When he was a child his parents moved to Missouri, where, as he was wont to recall the fact, his evening task was to drive the cows home, and he could hear the rattle-snakes in the grass at his feet. After recovering from the sickness which terminated his collegiate course. Mr. Hays returned to the home farm, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was very successful in agricultural pursuits and accumulated considerable property.
On November 27, 1884, in Columbia, Ky., Mr. Hays was united in marriage to Bettie Hurt, who was born in that place March 16, 1867. Her father was a prominent farmer, energetic, successful and popular. He was commonly known as "Uncle Bassett," and was noted for his generous disposition. Seven children resulted from this union, namely: Nellie (Mrs. W. B. Hurt), Flora, Carrie, William W., Edward, Edna and Auby. In politics, Mr. Hays gave his support to the Democratic party. His fellow-townsmen honored him repeatedly with their votes, and he was nearly always the incumbent of a township office. He served as Highway Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, and held other positions of public trust. His religious connection was with the Methodist Church. Mr. Hays passed away from earth on January 19, 1904. His life was spent in the faithful discharge of the duties devolving upon him. He was upright, conscientious and public-spirited, and left a spotless reputation as a heritage to his children.
Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, page 901, extracted 04 Jan 2019 by Norma Hass.