McLean County, Illinois
GEORGE F. HAY, a resident of Danvers Township, where he is engaged in farming pursuits on section 24, is a native of Todd County, Ky., and was born Sept. 18, 1814. His parents were Peter and Elizabeth (Finley) Hay, natives respectively of Massachusetts and Virginia.
Peter Hay was born in 1770, and died on the 24th of August, 1824, at the age of fifty-four years, in Christian County, Ky. He was by trade a tinsmith, but the latter years of his life were spent in farming pursuits. Religiously he was connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church. The wife followed her husband to the better land on the 1st of September, 1824. She was connected with the Old School Presbyterian Church. The parental household consisted of eight children Jane, John, Susan, Mary, Marcia, Rachel, Catharine B., and George F., our subject.
The early life of George F. Hay was spent on the farm and in attendance at the common schools. When twenty years of age he came to Illinois with Mr. Benjamin Major, settling near Eureka, and assisted Mr. Major in driving cattle from Kentucky to Walnut Grove. In February, 1836, he was appointed to the office of Deputy Surveyor of McLean County, which position he held for four years. Subsequently he engaged in farming pursuits, and at all times employed his leisure moments in the perusal of good and instructive books. In this manner he obtained a fund of useful information which served him well in lieu of a college education, and enabled him to engage successfully as a school teacher, which calling he followed for several winters.
The first purchase of land by Mr. Hay consisted of thirty-seven acres of timber, and his next of eighty acres, which he obtained from the Government. He is now the owner of 217 acres, and has a good set of farm buildings, being occupied in mixed husbandry. In 1856, thinking a change would be desirable, Mr. Hay removed to Woodford County and resided four years, during which time he became Assessor of the county, but finally returned to the old home in McLean, where he has been content to stay since that time.
The marriage of our subject took place March 17, 1836, when, he was united with Miss Elizabeth E. McCullough, the sister of Col. William McCullough, of Bloomington, who was killed at the battle of Coffeeville, Miss.
Mrs. Hay was born in Fleming County, Ky., in 1821, and came to Dry Grove Township, this county, with her parents five years later, in 1826. Her father was the first man who erected a house in said township. Of this township Mr. Hay has also been Assessor at two different times, and served as School Trustee for fourteen years.
Mr. and Mrs. Hay are the parents of one child Elizabeth L., who was born Dec. 27, 1836, and married J. W. Owen, of Chicago, in September, 1853. Mr. O. is doing commission business at the Union Stock Yards. They have had five children, one of whom is deceased.
Mr. Hay became a member of the Christian Church at Noah Springs, Tenn., in 1832. Mrs. Hay became a member of the Christian Church in Danvers, Ill., and they have since been connected with that denomination, Mr. H. having held the offices of Deacon, Elder and Clerk.
Politically he is a stanch Democrat. The parents of Mrs. Hay were Peter and Levina (Crooks) McCullough, natives respectively of Maryland and Kentucky, who located in the former State after their marriage, and removed to Kentucky when Mrs. H. was but a small child.
They came to Illinois in 1826, where the father died in January, 1858 or 1859, at the age of seventy-seven years. The mother of Mrs. Hay died in 1846, aged fifty years.
Of their family of nine children two only are living: Mary M., now Mrs. Perry, of Allin Township, and Mrs. Hay of our sketch. Peter McCullough was a Universalist in religious belief, but the mother of Mrs. Hay was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. Hay relates an incident of his early life which is of considerable interest. While roaming around the country with a young companion and schoolmate they came to the mouth of a cave which had never been explored, but with true juvenile bravado they entered and proceeded some distance, coming out about a quarter of a mile from where they went in. Much credit was given the young heroes for their spirit of adventure.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 397. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.
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