Of my dad’s many stories, one of his favorites focused on Andy Hayes and his wife Martha. Former slaves, “Uncle Andy” and “Aunt Martha,” as they were called, lived near the Daniel A. Troutman family. In fact, the story goes that Daniel gave Andy about 30 acres of land. As family stories often go, this one cannot be proved. No deed exists to confirm that Daniel deeded property to Andy Hays, free or otherwise. However, when I bought my 1898 topographical map of Smyth County showing property owners, my eyes popped open when I saw the name A. Hays just a short distance up Walker Mountain from the name D. A. Troutman. So I wonder. Nonetheless, Andrew Hays did, indeed, purchase eleven acres in 1910 bordering his own property and that of James Clark, John Havens, and A. A. Troutman from Thomas Campbell, another neighbor.
In Dad’s picture collection passed to him from his father, he had a photo of Andy Hays.
Andy and Martha seem to have been well liked by the people of Rich Valley. Andy farmed and Martha made cakes and sold them. She was famous for her cakes.
According to the story, Andy had belonged to the Pratt family before the Civil War, maybe to John Marion Pratt, America’s brother who served the Confederacy in the 50th Virginia. However, I have found no evidence that any members of the Pratt family of Smyth County, Virginia, owned slaves. I did, however, find a slave owner named Calvin M. Hays, and in 1860, one of his slaves was a male child, age 1. The age does not match Andy’s birth date of 1856, but one or the other record could be incorrect, as they often are. Or Andy could have been located somewhere else.
|Slave Schedule, 1860, Smyth County, Virginia, showing Calvin M. Hays and slaves.|
Slave Schedule, 1850 shows two Hays slave owners: James Hays was Calvin Hays’ father.
|Slave Schedule, 1850, Smyth County, Virginia, shows Hays slave owners and slaves.|
In 1870, a young Andrew Hays, age 14, race B, lived in the vicinity of Broad Ford with Jerome Hays, age 28, and Amanda Hays, age 38. He is the oldest of four children including Marion, age 12; Jerome, age 9; and Louisa, age 3. The 1870 census does not specify relationship to head of household, but Jerome and Amanda are likely Andy’s parents, or at least Amanda is Andy's mother.
|1870 Smyth County census showing the household of Jerome and Amanda Hays.|
Jerome and Amanda had another child, Mary, born 15 April 1866 and died 28 May 1866.
Amanda could possibly be the 28 year old female slave owned by Calvin M. Hays in the 1860 Slave Schedule, but if Jerome is her husband, there is no male slave, age 18, listed in the slave schedule who could be his counterpart. Always, the possibility exists that the age was incorrectly recorded in the census. I cannot find any members of this Hays family in the 1880 census of Smyth County. Amanda Hays died in 1872 when Andy was just 16 years old, so her death may have contributed to the family’s absence from the 1880 census. The children could have been living with relatives, and Jerome may have gone elsewhere to find work.
In 1900 at age 43, Andy owned his farm free of mortgage. Andy and Martha had been married 24 years, yet Martha had never born children. A 17-year-old nephew named Edward Hays lived with them, apparently helping with the farm work. Andy could neither read nor write, but Martha and Edward could.
1900 census excerpt showing Andy Hays, M. Alice Hays, and Edward Hays:
|Excerpt from 1900 census of Smyth County, Virginia, showing Andy Hays' household.|
In 1910, Andy and Martha lived in Ellendale, Smyth County, and Andy operated his own farm. They lived next to Daniel A. Troutman’s farm. After that year, I cannot find Andy and Martha in the Smyth County census, so I do not know their death dates.
|1910 census showing Andrew and Martha Hays and their neighbors, Daniel Troutman and Thomas Campbell.|
Why this man was important enough for my grandfather to keep a picture and tell his children about him has always intrigued me, so I have attempted to uncover the mystery. As always, the past cannot be completely fathomed, but every remembered relationship tells a little of the story.
© 2014, Z. T. Noble
 Smyth County, Virginia, Deed Book 35, p. 410, T. J. Campbell, Rilda Campbell, Eli Campbell, and Sallie Campbell to Andrew Hays, 4 March 1910, Smyth County Courthouse, Marion.
 “U. S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865,” John M. Pratt, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 December 2014).
 A search of both the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules for Smyth County, Virginia, show no Pratt slaveholders.
 1860 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, slave schedule, district 60, p. 363, Calvin M. Hays owner, digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 December 2014); NARA, M432.
 Smyth County, Viginia, Deed Book, 5, p. 102, estate of James Hays, 1857; Smyth County Courthouse, Marion.
 1870 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broad Ford Post Office, p. 61 (penned), dwelling 404, family 404, Andrew Hays; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Dec. 2014) citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M593, roll 1679.
 Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, Mary Hays, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 January 2015), 28 May 1866.
 Just to make sure that the transcriber didn’t make a mistake, I scanned through the entire census of Smyth County, all districts, looking for any member of the Jerome Hays family. They are not to be found.
 Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, Amanda Hays, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 January 2015), 3 May 1872. This document names Jerome Hays as Amanda’s husband.
 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broadford Precinct, p. 110 (stamped), enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 1-A, dwelling 9, family 9, Andy Hays; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 December 2014); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728. In this census, the Dan Troutman family is enumerated on the next page as family number 13.
 1910 U. S. census, Ellendale, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 89, p. 1-B, dwelling 15, family 15, Andrew Hays; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 December 2014); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649.
 The Daniel Troutman family was enumerated on the same page in this census as family number 14.