Oliver was born on May 21, 1783 in South Hadley, Mass. His father was Rev. Joel Hayes of Simsbury, CT, and pastor of the Congregational Church at South Hadley for forty-five years. Oliver's mother, Mary Bliss, of Wilbraham, Mass. is said to have been a direct descendant of Charles Chauncey, second president of Harvard.
Oliver received his education in New England and, for a short time after, practiced law in Baltimore MD. He settled in Nashville, TN in 1808 and became widely known and highly regarded in the law profession. On Feb 3, 1812, he married Sarah (Sallie) Clements Hightower in Williamson County, TN. Oliver was a Freemason and, in 1819, was elected Grand Master Mason of the Masonic fraternity in Tennessee. Later in life (at least as early as 1834), he was ordained a Presbyterian minister.
In the 1820's Oliver purchased the federal-style home, Rokeby, from Judge John Childress. The house, at 1908 Grand Ave., remained in the family until around the turn of the 20th century. Rokeby was razed in December 1950 and is now the site of The Upper Room in the United Methodist Center.
Per Mt. Olivet Cemetery records, Oliver Bliss Hayes was interred on November 2, 1858. A funeral service was held two days later on November 4, 1858.
Nashville Union and American
November 4, 1858 - Thursday - page 3
The friends of the Rev. O.B. Hayes, are respectfully invited to attend his funeral this morning, at half past 10 o'clock, from the first Presbyterian Church. Divine service by Rev. J.T. Edgar.
Note: Additional information regarding three other children said to have also been Oliver and Sarah's children is given on her memorial.
Contributor note: Oliver was my 3rd great grandfather.
Oliver Bliss Hayes was born on May 21, 1783 in South Hadley, Massachusetts. His father was Reverend Joel Hayes of Simsbury, Connecticut, and pastor of the Congregational Church at South Hadley for forty-five years. Oliver’s mother, Mary Bliss, of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, is said to have been a direct descendant of Charles Chauncey, second President of Harvard.
Hayes received his education in New England and, for a short time after; he practiced law in Baltimore, Maryland. He settled in Nashville in 1808 and became widely known and highly regarded in the law profession. On February 3, 1812, he married Sarah (Sallie) Clements Hightower in Williamson County, Tennessee. They moved into a house on High Street; that location today is the Hermitage Hotel parking garage on 7th Avenue North. In 1827 he purchased the Rokeby Estate; the residence stood on present-day Grand Avenue where The Upper Room is now located. They were parents to eight children.
He was a member of Hiram Lodge 7 in 1815. He first appeared at Grand Lodge in 1816; was a Charter member and first High Priest of Cumberland Chapter 1 at its organization in 1818; was appointed Deputy Grand Master by Wilkins Tannehill, and was elected Grand Master for 1819. He retired from law practice at middle age and became a Presbyterian minister.
As an ordained Presbyterian minister, he was heavily involved in the work of the Presbyterian Church. In 1816 he was a founding stockholder in the Nashville Female Academy; though non-denominational it had strong Presbyterian influence. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1819 and served as an active trustee through 1826. While a trustee the Academy grew to be Nashville’s premiere female educational institution. He chaired the first meeting of the newly formed Sunday School Society in 1829 and was elected one of its managers. These societies used the Bible and religious literature to teach reading to the poor who had no chance of attending week day schools. He was a founding member and curator of the Tennessee State Lyceum in 1832 whose purpose was advancing education and learning throughout the state with schools and town or county lyceums. By 1836 he was pastor of the Harpeth Presbyterian Church in Williamson County, TN, when the present building was under construction. In 1849 he was a charter member of the Tennessee Historical Society as well as a member of its predecessors, the Tennessee Antiquarian Society (1820) and the Society for the Diffusion of Knowledge (1835).
In 1835 Hayes was one of three investors in a major paper mill (possibly the first) built in Nashville and held interest in it for 12 years before selling. He was a Director of the State Bank of Tennessee in the 1830s. Hayes also served on the Board of Directors of the Sewanee Mining Company in 1855. One of his lasting contributions to Nashville standing today is his service on the building committee for First Presbyterian Church (now known as Downtown Presbyterian Church) when William Strickland was commissioned to design the Egyptian Revival-style building.
Oliver Hayes died November 1, 1858. Per Mt. Olivet Cemetery records, he was interred there on November 2, 1858. A funeral service was held two days later on November 4, 1858.
Contributor: Ralph Scott (50719945)
Sarah Clements Hightower Hayes