Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Making Amends: More on Andy Hays

Forgive me, Folks, for I have sinned. I must confess that I’ve committed a genealogy sin of omission. I’m guilty of failing to do a “reasonably exhaustive search” on Andy Hays. For those of you not absorbed in the world the Genealogical Proof Standard and its number one tenet, the reasonably exhaustive search, you can Google the term and find many voices to explain it. Click here for one. Thanks to my Find A Grave buddy, Barry L. Seitz, I’ve been enlightened to other sources that I could and should have used for my post about Andy Hays. I’ll try to make amends.

In February of 1866, the Freedman’s Bureau took a count of men and women of color, former slaves who had never been allowed to legally marry. It’s called the Cohabitation Schedule. This schedule is the first time you will see the full names of former slaves. Here you can find the name of the male head of household, his age, his place of birth, his residence, his occupation, his last owner’s name and residence, his wife’s name and all of the same information for her, plus the names and ages of children in their home and the year they started cohabiting. It’s a goldmine document for anyone who wants to find slave ancestors—and I missed it.

On the schedule for Smyth County is this important entry regarding Andy Hays:

Thomas Hays, age 70; born in Wythe County; lives in Rich Valley, Va.; last owner, Jackson McCarty, from Rich Valley, Va. His wife is “Marie (dead),” no other information for her. His children: Marion, 8; Becca, 30; Mary, 24; and Andy, 10. Unfortunately, no year is listed for the start of Thomas’ and Marie’s cohabiting.[1]

The schedule says children, but I wonder. Given Thomas’ age, were Marion and Andy his children or grandchildren? Knowing Marie’s age when she died might help, but the schedule doesn’t cooperate.

The 1860 slave schedule shows that Enoch J. McCarty owned four slaves:[2]

Number of slaves

Based on the cohabitation list, these four slaves were most likely, Thomas Hays, Becca, Andy, and Marion. Where was Mary? She may have been living with another owner. Also, if Marie had been a McCarty slave, she was apparently already deceased in 1860.
Furthermore (now for my "ah, ha!" moment), Enoch Jackson McCarty’s wife was Laura Pratt,[3] sister to my great-grandmother, America Pratt Troutman.[4]  Andy was owned by a Pratt family member, after all—by a Pratt family member’s husband, that is! There was some truth to Dad’s story, after all.
But why the name Hays? Enoch Jackson McCarty’s mother’s maiden name was Mary (Polly) Hays. Could it be that Thomas Hays’ family was owned by Mary’s parents before Jackson McCarty bought them? Maybe, maybe not. Poring over the list of cohabitants, I notice that very few former slaves’ names were the same as their last owner, probably less than 5%. Maybe a white Hays slave owner is irrelevant.
Finally, why were Andy and his brother Marion living in the home of Jerome and Amanda Hays in 1870? Had Thomas died? What was their relationship to Jerome and Amanda? One can only speculate. Amanda or Jerome may have been another of Thomas’ children. They were not included in the 1866 Smyth County Cohabitation Schedule. More evidence is needed before a conclusion can be made. The exhaustive search goes on.

[1] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Colored Persons Cohabiting Together as Husband and Wife, 1866, Feb 27; Virginia Cohabitation Registers, digital collections, Library of Virginia ( : accessed 26 January 2015).
[2] 1860 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, slave schedule, p. 6 (penned), number 16, Enoch J. McCarty owner, digital image ( :  accessed 26 January 2015); NARA, M432, no roll number.
[3] Kloski and McCarty Ancestors, Enoch Jackson McCarty; RootsWeb ( : accessed 26 January 2015).
[4] 1850 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, district 60, p. 357 (penned), dwelling 261, family 265, Nicholas Pratt; NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 976.


  1. Interesting post, Zola -- amends made, I think! :-)

    1. Thanks, Annette. Your input is much appreciated.