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James W. Hays

HAYS, James W. (deceased), formerly one of the most favorably known and cordially esteemed citizens of Bushnell, McDonough County, Ill., was born at Beach Creek, Clinton County, Pa., August 18, 1823, a son of Samuel and Susan (Smith) Hays. Samuel Hays was a farmer by occupation and always lived in the same place in Pennsylvania. He was of Irish descent. The paternal grandfather was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. In youth the subject of this sketch received his mental training in the common schools of Pennsylvania, and remained in that State until 1847. At that period he journeyed west, and for two years plied a boat on the Mississippi River. In 1849, during the gold craze, Mr. Hays went to California, engaging in mining in the famous gold region at Marysville on the Feather River. He was quite successful, and remained there six years. In 1856 he settled in Illinois, locating on a farm two miles from Bushnell, where he successfully followed agricultural pursuits. By diligent and energetic effort and the exercise of careful methods, he produced results which enabled him to lay up a competence of this world's goods. He was an upright, straightforward man, who inspired confidence in those with whom he came in contact. Of a genial, kindly disposition, he won friends and retained their cordial regard. On April 8, 1856, Mr. Hays was united in marriage with Elizabeth Foresman, who was born in Lycoming County, Pa., and this union resulted in three children, namely: William Q., Sadie, and Lizzie (Mrs. S. L. Arter), living at Kewanee, Ill., whose children are: Lois, Hays and Nola. Politically, Mr. Hays was always a Democrat and for several years represented his ward in the Bushnell City Council. Fraternally, he was for a long period affiliated with the A. F. & A. M. He was also a charter member of his lodge of the K. of P., being at the time of his death the oldest member of that body. Mr. Hays departed this life October 29, 1895, leaving a wide circle to mourn his loss.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 901-902, extracted 04 Jan 2019 by Norma Hass.

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