Located at the north edge of the family cemetery on land owned at the time of his death by John "Grancer" Hays, separate from the other graves and oriented north-south, there is a depression in the ground with an uninscribed fieldstone at one end. It is almost certainly the resting place of Grancer Hays.
He was born in South Carolina in 1804, a son of Lazarus Hays and his unknown first wife. The name of Grancer's first wife is also unknown, but he was the father of at least three sons before his marriage to Mahala. Grancer died in 1864, by hanging himself in his barn.
One theory for his suicide is that he was despondent over his wife's apparently failing health. If that was the case, she recovered and outlived him by several years. Another theory is that he chose to deny the "Home Guards" the pleasure of murdering him, a fate they had gruesomely visited on some of his neighbors, who like him, had vocally opposed secession and the War.
As one scholarly paper describes ancient burial practice, even predating the Christian Era, "[t]he body of the suicide has in all times been subject to some sort of penal measures." The position of the suicide's grave to the north of its neighbors is a reflection of the old Catholic and Anglican practice of reading the Gospel from the north side of the sanctuary. As the same paper states "[t]he underlying idea of this is that the Gospel was preached to ‘call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' Hence the side from which the Gospel is read was delegated to those who, having committed crimes, were in greater need of salvation, and those so buried were said to be ‘out of sanctuary.'" Likewise, another penalty exacted in the burial of suicides has often been the orientation of the grave so that it faces away from the east, whence shall come the Resurrection and the Judgment.
Given that this graveyard is on land he owned and on which he died, and given the burial practices applied to suicides, it is highly probable that the one grave placed "out of sanctuary" in this cemetery is that of John "Grancer" Hays.
Andrew Jackson Hays (1828 - 1904)*
William Lafayette Hays (1829 - 1891)*
Eliza Jane Hays Gallop (1830 - 1923)*
Hays Family Cemetery
Created by: Paul Hays
Record added: Mar 19, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67123633