Jane's parents are Elizabeth Gillespie, daughter of Elizabeth Allen and Colonel George Gillespie of Tennessee, and Nathaniel Hays, parents unknown. Jane's parents Nathaniel and Elizabeth were married ca. 1792 in Greene County, Tennessee. Their gravesites are unknown. Jane's siblings are Charles, born ca. 1794,Greene County, TN, Patsy and Nathaniel.
Due to research by the Hermitage historians and past Wilson-Hays family research, the story passed down in our family about Jane knowing and spending time with Andrew and Rachel Jackson has been proven to be true.
Nathaniel Hays signed the Cumberland Pact at "Nashborough" settlement, Davidson County, Tennessee and staked a claim to one square mile in 1780. He was forced to leave due to the danger from Indians, but eventually came back to the property with his wife, three children and a couple of slaves. He and his slaves built a two story cabin, cleared land and grew cotton.
He traded at the Hunter's Hill store owned by Andrew Jackson, whose property was next to Nathaniel's. Evidence shows that the Jacksons were friends, as well as neighbors, to the Hays family and their children.
In 1804 when Andrew Jackson was in debt and Nathaniel Hays was talking about selling his land, Jackson found a way out when he sold his more expensive Hunter's Hill for $10,000 and bought the Hays property for $3,400.
Andrew and Rachel remodeled and lived in the two story cabin for a number of years before building the Hermitage mansion, also on the former Nathaniel Hays property. In recent years the cabin has been restored at the site where Nathaniel and his slaves first built it.
Family lore also says the Andrew and Rachel Jackson wanted to adopt Jane after the death of her parents, but her uncle said no. We know nothing about Nathaniel's family, but some believe Hugh Hays was the "uncle" in that story. Apparently Jane's mother Elizabeth died before her father did, and it is thought Nathaniel died sometime around 1810-13. Jane would have been a teenager at that time. The Jacksons, not having children born to them were known to adopt or become guardians of several children. So, the story is very possibly true.
Jane Gillespie Hays married John Wilson August 6, 1820 in Greene County, Tennessee. After her death, John followed his son Charles Franklin to Moline, Kansas where he is buried.