Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Exciting Discovery: Andy and Martha Hays' Tombstone

Oh, what you can do with a little help from your friends!
Originally, I intended to write only one blog post about Andy Hays (or Hayes), but more information keeps popping up. The folks who contact me offering additional information on my subjects are part of the fun of blogging. My Find A Grave friend, Barry, searcher of nooks and crannies that don’t occur to me, alerted me to the gravesite of Andrew and Martha Hayes recently posted on Find A Grave. How cool is that?! I'm saving the best for last.
 On my own, I uncovered some long forgotten notes I took years ago, bits of information I had collected about Andy and Martha Hayes from various people, including my father, his sister Neville, and Rich Valley residents, Garland Lamie, and Ben Clark.
Lamie and Clark said that Andy delivered flour on his horse to a little country store in Rich Valley. According to Clark, Andy was "liked and respected by all. They [Andy and Martha] were plain people, good to everyone, never had a bad word to say about anyone."
Martha’s cooking was famous in the valley. She prepared the wedding supper for Clark's parents, he recalled. Aunt Neville remembered her father, Clint Troutman, telling about Martha giving him a delicious hot, buttered biscuit when he went to her house one day. His mouth was still watering at the thought of that biscuit.
Clark said that Andy and Martha attended the Presbyterian Church in Rich Valley, where, as was customary in those days, they sat in “a special pew” in the back. Indeed, I found an entry in the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church session minutes of 12 December 1897: “A. J. Hayes (col.) appeared before the Session, and was examined as to his experimental acquaintance with religion, which examination proved satisfactory, and he having made a profession of his faith in Christ, was admitted into the church.”[1]
Andy had a reputation for being a fine Christian man, my dad said. Jacob Myers, a magistrate in the area and my mother’s maternal grandfather, told Dad that he believed in Andy's word as truth in any situation.
Finally, Barry alerted me to recent Find A Grave memorial to Andy and Martha Hayes with a picture of their gravestone.[2] This is a treasure I thought I would never find.
Marker for the grave of Martha and Andrew Hayes, Shannon Cemetery, Adwolfe, Virginia. It reads, "At Rest: Hayes, Martha, 1860-1927; Andrew, 1858-[?]."
The photo taken by Find A Grave volunteer, Shannon Rogers Simpson, was posted on February 5. The cemetery where she found the stone is located near Adwolfe, Virginia. She notes that she is going to keep searching for the broken piece that contains Andrew’s death date.
That’s about it, for now, but you never know what might surface next.

[1] Minutes of the Session of the Presbyterian Church of Rich Valley, Virginia, Vol. 3, 13 June 1836-31 March 1918, p. 94: 1897, Dec. 12; Rich Valley Presbyterian Church, Saltville.
[2] Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 11 February 2015), photograph, memorial page for Andrew Hayes (1858-????), Find A Grave memorial no. # 142226635, citing Shannon Cemetery, Adwolfe, Virginia; photographs contributed by Shannon Simpson.

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