The Hayes Family
Posted 07 Feb 2016 by marisahutchison on Ancestry.com
Taken from Cen-Silver Celebration - The 125th Anniversary of the Founding of Hazlehurst, Georgia - A Town at the Crossroads Compiled and Presented by the Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Chamber of Commerce, 1995.
STORY OF THE HAYES FAMILY By J. M. Odom Editor's Notes: The following article first appeared in the February 10, 1938 edition of the "Georgia Cracker." It is reprinted here in its entirety. By J.M. Odom, as told by Mrs. B. F. Hayes, one of the oldest survivors of the family.
Mr. Alie Hayes came to Georgia from South Carolina in or about the year 1834. He had heard of West Florida - what a fine country it was - fertile lands, fine stock range and healthy section.
He and his wife decided they would move out there. The opinion is that he got this information from the civilized Indians or some early white explorers, so they mapped out in mind the route best and nearest for them to go, the best he could.
They gathered together their belongings, loaded them on their wagon or cart, hitched up their team, which was very likely a yoke of oxen. They had four or five children, and they set out on this long journey. After they had been on the road a few day, his wife became very ill with a strange disease. She seemed to have fainting spells but she would recover in a short time, so they would move on again. After several days, they reached the Ocmulgee River at Burkett's Ferry, and there they crossed. By this time his wife had got so desperately ill, he thought best to stop until she better. He set to work to find a place to stop. He found Mr. Ben Girtman who lived near the river and ferry. Mr. Girtman arranged for them to have a place to stay, giving them time to improve her health. Mrs. Hayes told them since she was taken sick that she felt like some one had put a spell on her.
After they were at Mr. Girtman's for a short time and she still remained in that condition, they all began to think like she did. Mr. Hayes resorted to all the medical aid he could get. She remained in that condition - up a few days, then in bed again.
A friend of Mr. Girtman came to visit him. He saw the condition of Mrs. Hayes, and had the same opinion they had - that a spell had been put on her. He told them he knew a man who lived several miles down the country that he believed could cure her, and if they would furnish him a horse, he would go and see if he could get him to come and see her. Mr. Girtman furnished the horse. When he reached this man's home, he was invited to get down, the man saying to the rider, "I know what you have come for, but she is better." So he told the man what he had come for and asked him if he would go. The Dr. told him to eat dinner with him and they would go, but she will be up sweeping the yards when we get there. This friend said when they got in sight of the house, Mrs. Hayes was out sweeping the yards. The story is told as being absolutely true. Mrs. Hayes got well right then, and was never troubled with spells any more.
Mr. Hayes learned to like Mr. Girtman, and got well of his Florida fever and stayed there, 3 or 4 years, then he moved out on the Tallahassee Road and lived one year where Mr. C. M. Girtman lives now. He then bought the place from Mr. Cannady that he lived on the remainder of his days. They had twelve children, raised eleven - six boys and five girls. All honorable family of people.
Mr. Hayes was born in 1794 or 95, and lived to be 85 or 86 years of age. He died October 1870. Mrs. Hayes lived to be old. They were both buried in a family burial ground right near their home. I never knew many of their children except B. F. Hayes and Elie Hayes, and one daughter, Miss Syntha. I remember Syntha telling me a funny story that happened to her brother, Elie. He and his brother Ben were both soldiers in the Civil War. Along towards the close of the war, Eli deserted the army and came home, as quite a number of other soldiers did. Now where the fun comes in, Elie was slick enough to dodge the details every time they thought they had him hemmed in.
On one of the trips, the details thought they had him located in or near his father's home. They surrounded the house one night, and early next morning they closed in on the house and demanded the right to search the premises. The details all stood guard except one or two went in to search. The family was in the kitchen - had just finished breakfast. The old gentlemen took the officers to the big house, as they called in then - to start the search. The women saw Elie was in a close place, and Syntha told Elie to go up the chimney and get on the cross piece which had iron rods or chains hanging down with hooks to hang their pots on while cooking. So they failed to find Elie.
The Captain ordered the ladies to cook them some breakfast. He told one of the men to cut wood and build a fire for the ladies to cook for them. The other men were ordered to the barn to feed their horses. Syntha saw that something had to be done quick. She slipped to her mother like she was whispering to her, then she grabbed her bonnet, ran out the back way down a steep hill towards a thick branch just back of the house. The Captain called his men, they all followed her. Elie came down and made good his escape.
In another case in which Elie Hayes outwitted the details were as follows: Mr. Hayes lived near the Ashleys and the Ashleys were considered rich people and owned a number of slaves. Mr. Hayes was not a wealthy man, and as his boys grew up they would work for other people, and Elie began working with Mr. Ashley, and was well thought of by them.
The details were advised that Elie was working with Mr. Ashley and they went in search for him. In those days ladies wore hoop skirts. The young women today does not know any thing of the hoop skirts, but the older ladies do. Mrs. Ashley wore a hoop skirt, and when the details came in to look for Elie, Mrs. Ashley sat in the corner in a chair and Elie crawled under the hoop skirt and remained there until the search was made and the details left.
Syntha married Wm. Johnson. They raised several respectable boys and girls. B. F. Hayes married a daughter of the Honorable Captain Brantley. They raised several sons and daughters. Nat, Tom, Cleave and Cliff, all married in respectable families. One daughter married A. J. Williams, one married T. A. Herrington, one Charlie Towns, one John Sharpe and one Jim Wilcox. All these boys and girls have raised large families, except one or two of the children.