WILL S. HAYS
South Kansas Tribune, Wednesday, October 30, 1907, Pg. 1:
Will S. Hays, better known to the old timers as “Bill” Hays, died October 21st at the home of his brother, Robert Hays, neat Center, in Alleghaney county, Pa., aged sixty-four years. Funeral held from the Plum creek church. His brothers are, Robert, Jos. F of Baltimore, Md., and his sister Miss Emma Hays of Union Station, Pa.
Will Hays was among the 1861 volunteers served in a Pennsylvania regiment in the Army of the Potomac, and was in many of the hardest fought engagements of the war. His daring courage, and intense love for the flag led him into some of the hottest of the fights and as a scout far into the enemy’s lines. Late in the 1860s he came to Kansas and in 1868-69 he took a claim on the Verdigris six miles north of this city, and as he prospered added to it until he owned several hundred acres. In the ‘70s he would go to Texas, buy cattle, drive them up in vast herds, and market them, sometimes holding large numbers on his farm and feeding them. He kept on the “trail” for many years, and until the railroads came into use, and in the ‘90s he held large herds in the Territory and dealt in Arkansas cattle. But, exposure and the incidents to a life on battlefields and twenty years on the “trail” or equally rough life in the Territory brought on disease and in the past five years he broke in health fast. A year ago he sold or traded his big farm to S. R. Guthrie who has improved the old Hays place. He was patriotic, and a prominent pioneer, and at one time served the county as commissioner.
From Cutler’s History of Kansas, 1883:
Hays, Will S. Bio
WILL S. HAYS, proprietor of Verdigris Valley Stock Farm, with Verdigris River running through it as a water privilege, in Section 5, Township 32, Range 16, P. O. Independence. He came to Kansas and took a claim of 160 acres, where he resides; in 1868, while the Indians were still in the country, and for many months experienced much trouble with them. His farm consists of 585 acres of choice land, well improved and finely watered by springs. He was born near Pittsburgh, Pa., February 14, 1843, a son of Ephraim and Mary A. (Fleming) Hays, both born and raised in the same place. Will S. enlisted in 1861, in Company C, One Hundred and Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and served some three years, and participated in the following battles: Williamsburg, Va., Chickahominy, Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Black Water, near Petersburg, Va., Kingston, No C., Whitehall, Welden Railroad, Plymouth, etc. After being mustered out, he engaged in the fine horse trade at Pittsburgh, Pa. Finally he came West and engaged in the cattle trade through Nebraska, Texas and Kansas. In 1881 was elected Commissioner of Montgomery County.
Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson
a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence
Public Library, Independence, Kansas.