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 William W Hays

William W Hays

Death 1916 (aged 75–76)
Burial Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Plot Sec 4
Memorial ID 83463587 · View Source
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Pioneer Settler and One Time Sheriff Expires At His Home in Tacoma, Wash.


W. W. Hays, pioneer Sedgwick county miller, and for whom Haysville, Kan., was named, died at 9 o'clock Wednesday night at his home in Tacoma, Wash. He was 76 years old. Before going to Tacoma nine years ago, Mr. Hays had resided in Sedgwick county nearly 35 years. While here he helped to build up the community, both commercially and politically.

Word of the death reached Wichita early yesterday morning in a telegram to Mrs. Charles Knorr, a daughter who resides at 1618 Fairmount, avenue

W. W. Hays was born near Jacksonville, Ill. in 1840. In 1870 he came to Sedgwick county with his wife and two children, settling on a claim on the land which later was incorporated into the town of Haysville. He operated a ranch on his claim for several years, but in 1876 he decided to plunge into the milling business. When he began building a water-powered flour mill on the Cowskin the natives laughed. They had never seen such a plant before in this part of the world, and declared there was not enough water to develop power in the old Cowskin. But Mr. Hays showed them. He built the mill, and operated it successfully. Later he built two more such mills, this time on the Ninnescah. He operated all three successfully until the spring of '77. One morning after a deluge, Mr. Hays awoke to find three of his mills gone. They went down the rivers on the crest of a flood. The mills were never rebuilt.

Later that same year President Hayes was petitioned to place a postoffice at Haysville, and to appoint W. W. Hays postmaster. The idea struck the President as a novelty, so he acted on the request. President Hayes appointed W. W. Hays postmaster of the station and gave the place the name of Haysville, after both himself and W. W. Hays. At the time it was thought that Haysville was destined to be the Peerless Princess of the Plains, but fate played to Wichita, making Haysville impossible as a great city.

Mr. Hays was a Republican, and took an active part in all campaigns, though not as a candidate. He sought office once. That was in '85, when he was elected sheriff of Sedgwick county. He served two terms as sheriff, and made a very efficient official. Afterwards he served several years as deputy sheriff. Syl Dunkin, baker on East Douglas, and an old friend of Mr. Hays, told yesterday of some of the pioneer's early day experience. Once, Mr. Dunkin said, about 30 years ago, Mr. Hays went to the jail door in the evening to meet a mob of men and boys who demanded that a prisoner be turned over to them for a "party." Mr. Hays refused. The mob surged against the doors, angry and violent. The pioneer called his daughter, Anna, to the door, and sent her back for two Winchesters. By the time she got back to the door, Mr. Dunkin said the mob was nearly in the jail, and Mr. Hays and his daughter leveled the guns on the crowd, and it dispersed quietly.

Mr. Dunkin said that Mr. Hays in the early days won an enviable reputation as a buffalo hunter. He also loved to trap and fish. When the Indians came across the prairies Mr. Dunkin said that Mr. Hays was one of the few who could handle them when the fire water began setting their heads a whirling.

Mr. Hays was married to Juliet Cavanaugh at Franklin, Ill., in 1865. Besides the widow, Mr. Hays is survived by two sisters and five children. Mrs. Henry Grosh, of Haysville, and Mrs. M. A. Cloud, of Pond Creek, Okla., are the sisters. The surviving children are: Mrs. W. R. Rehm and Mrs. J. E. Darnall, both of Tacoma, Wash.; Mrs. Charles Knorr, of Wichita, and William and Dick Hays, of Tacoma, Wash. Dick Hays formerly was a reporter on the Eagle and is well known among business men in Wichita.

Burial will be made in Tacoma tomorrow.
The Wichita Eagle, May 19, 1916, page 14.

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  • Created by: NWpioneer
  • Added: 15 Jan 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 83463587
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William W Hays (1840–1916), Find A Grave Memorial no. 83463587, citing Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by NWpioneer (contributor 46896368) .