Joshua Hayes (c1720 – 1797)

Joshua Hayes is mentioned in a book on Hayes families, Hayes and Allied Families, but the author confused him with a different Joshua Hayes.1  This book states he was born in 1741 to a William Hayes who left a will in Chester County, Pennsylvania dated in 1771 and proved in 1783. But that is pretty clearly an error, for our Joshua Hayes was clearly two decades older than that man.

Appears in Northampton County, North Carolina in 1746

Joshua Hayes first appears on 8 June 1746 when he purchased 210 acres on the south side of the Meherrin River from Benjamin Wilson, as a resident of Northampton County, North Carolina.  The land was described as being on the “new county line”, apparently referring to the recently-established border between Northampton and Granville counties, and adjoined a Samuel Hayes, probably a relative.   Joshua and his wife “Silvah” sold this land on 20 February 1753 to Howell Edmonds.  The same day, he purchased 150 acres on Wildcat Swamp and bought another 200 acres adjoining on 16 May 1761.  Joshua and his wife “Selvah” Hayes sold the combined 350 acres on 28 December 1762 to Edward Davis.

Samuel Hayes, the adjoining landowner, was probably a relative, perhaps his father.  Joshua Hayes, Edward Davis, and Samuel Hayes appear consecutively on a muster roll of Northampton County militia, undated but apparently dated about 1755.  Samuel Hayes had sold part of that adjoining land in 1746, describing it as “joining the county line on the riverbank”.2   An article in Historical Southern Families appears to identify Samuel Hayes as a son of Peter Hayes and Elizabeth Flake of Isle of Wight County, Virginia.3 However, the article barely mentions him and provides no evidence that the Samuel Hayes of Northampton County was actually the same person. It includes merely the statement that “Samuel Hayes settled on a creek in the valley of the Meherrin River…the area was first called Chowan, then Bertie, and finally Northampton Co.”   Whether he was  related to Joshua Hayes is unknown.

Moves into Granville County in 1765

Joshua Hayes was on the 1762 tax list for Northampton County, but apparently moved a quite a distance west into neighboring Granville County after selling his land later that year. On 20 April 1765, identifying himself as a resident of Granville County, he bought 500 acres on both sides of Tabbs Creek from Samuel Weaver.4   He appears to have remained on this land for the rest of his life.  He appears infrequently in Granville records. Although several tax lists survive, the lists for the district in which he lived are nearly all missing. The 1769 tax list survives, in which he is listed as “Joshua Haze”.  The only other records of substance are a suit by John Parham in 1765, confirming that Joshua Hayes was residing in Granville by then, and his application for a grist mill on Tabb’s Creek on 2 August 1775.

The state census of North Carolina was taken in 1786 for Granville County.   Joshua Hayes, his son Joshua and Henry Hayes are listed consecutively in the Fishing Creek district, with his son Joseph Hayes nearby in the same district. Joshua Hayes’ household consisted of one male 21-60 (probably his son John), one male under 21 or over 60 (probably himself), and four females (his wife Selvah and daughters Selvah, Sarah and Patty). The 1790 census does not survive, but the 1790 tax list shows Joshua and his sons Joseph, Joshua, and Henry.

The Identity of his Wife Selvah

His wife Selvah Hayes is thought by a few family researchers to have been a daughter of Sherwood Harris, though the evidence is not at all persuasive. The Granville County will of Sherwood Harris, dated 15 June 1763 and proved at the following (August) court, mentions several children explicitly, then addresses Joshua Hayes thusly: …to Joshua Hays, 200 acres of the land I bought of Jonathan White on condition that he pay 60 pounds to my executors…if he fails to do so, then the land [is to be] sold…”5   This is not evidence of a relationship between the two men, rather it seems that Harris was simply making good on a promise to sell the land.  (Indeed, the will also requests that his executors complete a purchase of another tract of land.)  I also note that the will explicitly identifies two sons, five daughters, his wife, a grandchild and one son-in-law. Yet no mention was made of a daughter named Selvah nor was Joshua Hayes identified as a relative. If we need further reason to doubt that Selvah Hayes belongs in this family, we can note that she was clearly considerably older than any of Sherwood Harris’s children, and that she and Joshua Hayes married at a time when Sherwood Harris lived elsewhere. Thus we have sufficient reason to reject Sherwood Harris as a possible father, but no clues as to her actual parents.

1797 Will of Joshua Hayes

Joshua Hayes died on 9 April 1797 in Granville County, according to a court record of August 1797, which indicates that his will was in the possession of Joshua Hutchinson (one of the witnesses) and was “lost or mislaid”.6

The will generated several court records beginning in May 1797 that are filed as loose papers in Granville County.7   Among these papers is a note from Stephen Sneed to “Mr. John Hays, Fishing Creek” dated 15 May 1797 that reads: “Enclosed you will receive the order of the last court relative to your father’s will. You I expect have received the necessary direction from Col. Taylor how to proceed.” Joseph Taylor, attorney for John Hayes, appeared at the May court to request that citations be issued to the heirs to “show cause why the last will & testament of Joshua Hays decd should not be admitted to record.”  The heirs cited were: “Sarah Davis, Olive Moore, Mary Wood, Samuel Hays & John Hays and other heirs of Joseph Hays decd, Patty Haynes, Noel Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Henry Haynes(sic), Joshua Hays, Selia Hays, Mary Inscoe(sic), heirs of Joshua Hays decd.”8  Stephen Hays, Jesse Hays, and Peter F. Farrar were added as heirs in later citations.  The court records separately record subpoenas to these heirs.  One subpoena was issued to Joshua Hutchinson and his wife Susannah and John Parrish and wife Elizabeth.9  Another subpoena names the heirs as: “Sarah Davis, Olive More, Mary Wood, Samuel Hays and Jesse Hays and others as heirs of Joseph Hayes. Polly Hayes, Noel Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Henry Hayes, Joshua Hayes, Sealey Hayes, Mary Inscore. Heirs of Joshua Hayes, Zacharia Higgs and Joshua Hutcherson to answer to the court also”.10  All the persons named in these records were identified as residents of Granville County. Note also that the will below does not address the heirs of the deceased elder son Joseph Hayes, which may account for the apparent dispute over the provisions of the will.

The undated will of Joshua Hayes was eventually proved at the August 1797 court and recorded.11   It gives a lifetime interest in his land, mill, livestock, and household goods to his wife Selvah Hayes.  The land was to go to son John Hayes after the death of Selvah; with the personal property to be split among Patience Johnston, Catherine Johnston, Selvah Hayes, John Hayes, and Mary Inscoe (their relationships to the testator being unstated, but presumed to be children.) One shilling each was given to daughters Sarah Dawson, Hanah Howell, Oliff Moor, Mary Wood, Pattey Hayes, and Sarah Hayes. Daughter Selvah Hayes received one shilling and a bed. One shilling was given to sons Henry Hayes and Joshua Hayes. Executors were John Hutchinson and John Hayes. The witnesses were Joshua Hutchinson and Zachariah Higgs. The uncertainties raised by these records are covered below, but note the apparent slight to the majority of the children of his deceased son Joseph Hayes.

It appears that his wife Selvah was dead by the time the will was proved, for she was not among the heirs subpoenaed. She was surely dead by the 1800 census, for no female aged over 45 appears in the households of the children.


  1. Joseph Hayes (? – 1792) He appears adjacent to his father in the 1786 state census and in the 1790 tax list.12 He died before his father, leaving a will dated 10 June 1792 and proved in November 1792.13  The will left land to sons Samuel, Jesse, Stephen, and Simeon. The home plantation was left to the widow Sarah with reversion to son Simeon Hayes.  After Sarah’s death, personal property was to be distributed among “my children” Samuel, Jesse, Stephen, Simeon, Susanna Hutchinson, Temperance, Mary, Lucy, and Levice. Samuel Hays and Avery Parham were executors and witnesses were John Hayes, Noel Johnston, and William M. Johnston. Loose estate records include several accountings by his widow Sarah Hayes dated 20 September 1798 and later. These accounts mention three of the sons: Stephen, Jesse, and Samuel. The 1800 census shows Sarah Hayes with one male and three females all aged 16-26.

    1.1.   Samuel Hayes (c1768 – aft1850) There were two Samuel Hayes of about the same age in Granville. This Samuel appears to be the one listed in 1800 six names from his brother Jesse (both 26-45) and in 1810 two names from Jesse (both still 26-45). Note that his father’s will had given adjoining land to Samuel and Jesse. He continues to be listed in the Tabb’s Creek area through 1850, when his age is given as 82. I have not pursued his children, but one was the Catherine Hayes who married Thomas L. King in 1822; Samuel gave a negro to his daughter Catherine King in 1826.14  He also made a deed of gift to his son Whitmell Hayes in 1828.15  And Samuel Hayes was apparently the father of a son named Joel Hayes who predeceased, him in 1825.

    1.2.   Jesse Hayes (c1773 – aft1850) Other than his father’s will he is first mentioned on a road jury in 1796 in the same vicinity as his father had lived. He is apparently the same Jesse Hayes who married Judith Farrar by bond dated 4 August 1795. He is in Granville censuses from 1800 through 1850 in the area of Tabb’s Creek, aged 77 in 1850.

    1.3.   Stephen Hayes (c1775?-?) He appears in the 1800 census as a single head of household aged 16-26, consecutive with his mother. He does not appear in 1810 or in later records.

    1.4.   Simeon Hayes (c1780? – by 1830) He was likely the male aged 16-26 in his mother’s household in 1800. He married Mary (Polly) Hester by bond dated 5 October 1803. The 1810 and 1820 censuses show him with a largish family, aged 26-45 both years. He was dead by 5 February 1830 when Henry Tatum, his administrator, filed an accounting. Estate records indicate he was survived by his wife Mary and several children.16  Mary was guardian in 1834 for minor children named Sarah, Stephen, and Mary. Her own 1844 estate indicates that her only living children were sons Stephen, Archibald, and Frank Hayes, and daughters Mary Tippett and Mildred Hobgood, and that Alfred Hayes, another child, was deceased by 1844.17

    1.5.   Susannah Hayes She was called Susannah Hutchinson in her father’s will, already married by 1792. There is a marriage bond for Joshua Hutchinson and “Mrs.” Susanna Hayes dated 15 March 1787. Despite the “Mrs.”, this may be her, as Joshua Hutchinson is enumerated adjacent to John Hayes in the 1810 census and witnessed the will of Joshua Hayes Sr.

    1.6.   Temperance Hayes (c1781 – aft1850) She was unmarried when her father made her will in 1792, but was married by the time her grandfather’s will was proved five years later, having married Peter Field Farrar by bond dated 20 September 1795. According to a book on the Farrar family, he was the son of William Farrar and Winifred Clark.18  Peter Farrar died about 1810, leaving Temperance and several children. Temperance was age 68 in the household of her son Obediah Farrar in the 1850 census of Chester County, South Carolina.

    The three daughters below are probably the females (one 10-15 and two 16-25) in the 1800 household of Sarah Hayes.

    1.7.   Mary Hayes (c1770? – aft1830) She was apparently the “Mary Inscore” mentioned in Joshua Hayes’ will. The will named a daughter Mary Wood, but also made a bequest to “Mary Inscore” whose relationship was not identified. The subpoenas mentioned above appear to identify Mary Wood as a child of Joshua Hayes and Mary Inscore as a daughter of his son Joseph Hayes. A Mary Hayes married Reuben Inscore by bond dated 25 October 1792, a few months after the date of Joseph Hayes will mentioning his unmarried daughter Mary Hayes. Reuben Inscore appears in the 1800 and 1810 censuses of Granville County. The 1800 census shows his wife as age 16-25, consistent with Mary’s apparent age. However, the 1810 census shows a female 16-25 and a female over 45 in his household indicating either that Mary was dead or that one census or the other is incorrect. The 1830 Surry County census shows both Reuben and his wife as aged 60-70.

    1.8.   Lucy Hayes She may have been the Lucy Hayes who married Thomas Dement by bond dated 7 January 1807.

    1.9.   Levice Hayes She may have been the “Levijah” Hays who married William Blackley by bond dated 25 December 1808.

  2. Joshua Hayes (c1759 – aft1825) He is in the 1786 state census with an apparent son and two daughters.19 He is in the 1800 census of Granville with two sons and one daughter, aged 26-45. There is evidence in family records that he was the same Joshua Hayes located in Knox County, Kentucky a few years later. He is on the 1806 tax list of Knox County20, was issued a land grant in 180721  and appears in several records there, including the 1810 census.22 He applied for a Revolutionary pension as a resident of Washington County, Indiana in 1823, giving his age as 64 and testifying that he enlisted in Granville County “sometime in the year 1781 or 1782” and that his family consisted of himself and “his wife, Martha Hayes, aged 60 years.”23  (The pension was denied on the basis that his service was in the militia rather than the regular army.) He declared himself without land, and the court valued his belongings at barely more than $100. A marriage bond for Joshua Hayes and Martha Loyd is dated 18 March 1793 in Granville, with Henry Hayes bondsman and Reuben Searcy witness. The 25 May 1792 will of Mary Lloyd gives one shilling to her daughter “Marthy Hase”.24  He is apparently the Joshua Hayes in the 1820 census of Washington County, Indiana.25  Although there were several children, only one is known to me:2.1.  Joshua Hayes (c1788 – 1867) He married Lydia Schull in Knox County on 15 July 1810 and appears near his father in the 1810 census. According to descendants, he married twice more, having children by each marriage, and died in Sullivan County, Indiana.

  3. Henry Hayes (c1755 – aft1820) He is identified in the book mentioned above as a Henry Hayes of Wilkes County, NC with a wife named Keziah and several children born in Wilkes County. That is surely an error, for he was still in Granville County as late as 1810. He may have been the Henry Hayes who married Mary Payton [Peyton] by bond dated 1 October 1783 and who appeared in the 1786 Granville census near Joshua Hayes with a wife and one daughter.26  The 1790 census is missing, but he was still in the same district for the 1790 tax list. The estate records for Joshua Hayes mentioned above make it plain that Henry Hayes was living in Granville County in 1797. He is presumably the Henry Hayes in the 1800 census of Granville County, aged over 45 with seven children.27  Probably the same Henry Hayes is in the Granville 1810 census, but does not appear in 1820.28  The following children are tentatively identified.3.1.  Peyton Hayes (c1785 – ?) Apparently named for his mother, he appears separately in the 1810 census aged 16-26.29  He married Sally Richardson by bond dated 4 April 1813 with James Hayes the bondsman. The 1825 will of Francis Richardson gives his estate in trust to his sister Sarah Hayes, apparently the same person. Peyton Hayes appears in Granville Censuses through 1840 but not thereafter.

  4. John Hayes (c1767 – c1819) See separate page.
  5. Patience Hayes (c1750s? – ) She was not explicitly identified as a daughter by Joshua Hayes will, so her placement is somewhat speculative. but Joshua Hayes’ estate records tell us she was married to Thomas Johnston (or Johnson) by 1797. There were two Thomas Johnsons in the 1800 Granville census, but only one in 1810. The one absent in 1810 had been located in Tabb’s Creek and was the husband of Patience.  His will was dated 22 September 1806 and proven later that year at the November court.30  The will left the plantation and most of the estate to his wife Patience for life, with legacies and/or reversions to daughters Sally, Patience, Mildred Davis, and Mary Marlen, and to sons William, Thomas, John, and “Isack”.  Patience Johnston appears in the 1810 census in the Tabb’s Creek district, near several of her presumed brothers and sisters. The household consisted of two males and two females, all 16-26, and one female over 45. This seems to fit the 1800 record of the Thomas Johnson of Tabb’s Creek.
  6. Catherine Hayes (c1750s? – ?) Like Patience, she was not explicitly identified as a daughter by Joshua Hayes will, and may have been a daughter of Joseph Hayes. She was the wife of Noel Johnston (or Johnson). Noel Johnston appears in the 1786 state census for Tabb’s Creek, and in the 1800-1820 censuses. According to descendants, they were the parents of at least one child born by 1781 (James H. Johnston), thus were apparently married by 1780 or so. Other children were Aaron, Noel, and Joshua according to these descendants.
  7. Sarah Hayes was called “Sarah Dawson” in her father’s will. She may have been the wife of Jordan Dawson who appears to be the only Dawson candidate in the area.
  8. Mary Hayes Her father’s will calls her “Mary Wood”. A “Mary Inscore” is also mentioned in the will, who appears to have been a younger woman, probably her niece (see Joseph Hayes above).
  9. Hannah Hayes was called “Hannah Howell” in her father’s will.
  10. Olive Hayes was variously called “Oliff Moore” in her father’s will and “Olive Moor” in the estate records. The identity of her husband is unknown.
  11. Selvah Hayes (? – ? ) She was still unmarried in 1797. She was surely the “Sella Hayes” who married Hickman Floyd by bond dated 27 December 1799, with John Hayes the bondsman. There is a Hickman Floyd in the 1800 and 1810 census of Granville County, with an apparent wife and no children. The female in the household was 26-45 in 1800 and over 45 in 1810.
  12. Patty Hayes She was unmarried in 1797, and there does not appear to be a marriage record for her in Granville County.
  1. Hayes and Allied Families, Charles Clifton Hayes gives Joshua Hayes a birth date in 1741 in Pennsylvania, though we know he was born two decades or more earlier. []
  2. Abstracts of Deeds Northampton County, N.C., Margaret M. Hoffman (1968), p265. []
  3. Historical Southern Families, Vol. XV, pp 172. []
  4. Granville County Deed Book H. p224. []
  5. Abstracts of Granville County, NC, “Unrecorded Wills 1746-1771”, p9. []
  6. Granville County Court Minutes 1796-1799, p233. []
  7. Granville Estate Records, NC Archives (loose papers), call number CR 044.508.77 []
  8. Ibid. []
  9. Minute Book 1796-1799, p201 as abstracted in Abstracts of Granville County, NC, p152. []
  10. Minute Book 1796-1799, p223 as abstracted in Abstracts of Granville County, NC, p153. []
  11. Granville County Will Book 4, p132. []
  12. 1786 household: 1 male 21-60, 1 male over 21 and under 60, 3 females. []
  13. Granville County Will Book 3, p13. []
  14. Granville County Deed Book 3, p112. []
  15. Granville County Deed Book 4, p224. []
  16. Estate records filed as loose papers, NC Archives. []
  17. Loose estate records for Granville County, NC Archives. []
  18. Some Farrar’s Island Descendants, James S. Farrior and Alvahn Holmes (1979). []
  19. 1 male 21-60, 1 male under 21 or over 60, 3 females.  He is listed as Joshua Hayes Jr., adjacent to Joshua Hayes Sr. []
  20. Listed adjacent to Willis Hays, perhaps a son. []
  21. The Kentucky Land Grants, Volume 1 “ Grants South Of Green River 1797-1866”, p328. []
  22. Household: 00001-01001, near his son Joshua Hays Jr. 10100-00100. []
  23. Pension File R4792. []
  24. Granville County Will Book 3, p33. []
  25. Joshua Hays Sr.’s household: 000001-00001.  Nearby is his son Joshua Hays Jr.: 310010-00100  []
  26. He is listed 25 names from his father, as Henry Hayes Jr.  Henry Hayes Sr., probably an uncle, is listed consecutively with Joshua Hays Sr. and Jr. []
  27. Household:  31001-21010 []
  28. Household:  31101-30010.  This census includes a land holding, Henry Hayes being shown with 100 acres. []
  29. The household shows one male in the 16-18 column and one in the 16-26 column.  According to the instructions to enumerators, a male 16-18 was to be counted in both columns, though whether that was actually the case in Granville is unknown.  The 1830 census shows Peyton Hayes as 40-50, so he was evidently aged 16-26 in 1810. []
  30. The Wills and Estate Records of Granville County, North Carolina 1746-1808,  Zae Hargett Gwynn (Joseph W. Watson, 1973) page 298. []