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The HAYS/SIMS Families

of Rutherford/Wilson Counties, TN

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New information (June 2002) graciously shared by Jean Meaney, E-mail:, who descends from Col. Robert Hays and Jane Donelson through their son Stokely Donelson Hays. Jean sent data from an article called Robert Hays, Unsung Pioneer of Cumberland County published in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Fall 1967. Here is more from Jean:

I am descended from Col. Robert Hays (1758-1819) and Jane Donelson (1754-1834) through his son Stokely Donelson Hays. They were married Jan 27, 1786. He died in Haysboro a few days before Sept. 18, 1819. His wife Jane went with her son Stokely Donelson Hays to the new town of Jackson, TN in 1822 where she died in 1834. (She is listed as head of household on the 1830 Census there and there is a large vault/lot in the old Riverside cemetery devoted to Hays' burials). Their 6 out of 10 children who made it to adulthood were:
--Rachel Hays (1786-?) married Col. Robert Butler who was the Andrew Jackson' Adjutant General in the Battle of New Orleans; they went to Jackson in 1822 and then on to Florida where he was Surveyor General of the state for many years.
--"Patsy" Martha Thompson Hays (1791-1857) married Robert's younger brother Dr. William Edward Butler, the founder of Jackson, TN and Surgeon General to Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. She died in Jackson.
--Stokely Donelson Hays (1788-1831) married Lydia Butler (sister of Robert and William Edward) actually on the same day as Wm Edward married Patsy-- May 15, 1811. Stokely died of "bileous fever" in the home of William Edward Butler in Jackson in 1831. Lydia went with her daughter Sarah Jane Hays (1814-1860) who married John Hutchings Rawlings to Memphis in 1848 and was buried in there in Elmwood Cemetary in 1865. Stokely and Lydia's son Richard Jackson Hays (1822-1899) stayed in Jackson and became its first mayor and fought in the Mexican War.
--Narcissa Hays (1795-?) died unmarried in Jackson aft. 1850.
--Samuel Jackson Hays (1800-1866) died in Jackson. Married to Francis Pinkney Middleton. Letters from A. Jackson to Samuel exist, one talking about Stokely D. Hays. Also have a book with a picture of Stokely from a miniature. Also Samuel J. contributed much to our knowledge of Robert and the family by his letters to Draper "Draper Papers".
--Elizabeth Hays (1805-1841) married Robert J. Chester (a friend of A. Jackson's and hero of the War of 1812--a county in TN is named after him). They lived in Jackson also.
I don't believe Harmon was descended from Col. Robert Hays as he is not listed in any document I have seen.
The Butler children were all wards of the Andrew Jackson's after their father Col. Thomas Butler died in 1805. Note that all three of them married the Hays children, who were nieces and nephews of the Jackson's. The Jackson's came to Jackson, TN to visit all of them in 1825.
There is much recorded of Jackson's correspondence with Col. Robert Hays who was not only his brother-in-law but also close friend. There is a three volume set on the Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert V. Remini (who collected the Jackson papers for the Hermitage) that has many exerpts from the these letters and mentions of the Hays.
The Madison Co. TN Website is a great wealth of information. Also, an out of print book Historical Madison by Emma Inman Williams, published by the Madison Co. Historical Society in 1946.

Jean also shared this interesting information:

According to Putnam, History of Middle Tennessee or Life and Times of General James Robertson (Nashville, 1859), p.490-491: (footnote from the article by Dan M. Robinson in the TN Historical Quarterly, Fall 1967)- The station of "Granny Hays" was at a spring a short distance south of "Hermitage Church." According to Putnam, there is strong circumstantial evidence that "Granny Hays" was Mrs. Elizabeth Hays, widow of Samuel Hays. Samuel Hays, a veteran of the North Carolina Line, established a station (near the Hermitage--about a mile east) in 1783; took up a preemption grant of 640 acres on Stone's Creek in 1786, and was killed by Indians 'near the door of John Donelson's house' on Feb. 24, 1793. Putnam describes "Granny Hays" as an elderly woman "who never knew fear or how persons felt when they were frightened." The settlement of Samuel Hays estate shows that he left his widow Elizabeth and five sons. Andrew Jackson was named guardian for the three younger sons (Andrew, Campbell, and Charles Hays); the other two were not mentioned by name. They presumably were Robert and David Hays, who are known to be brothers. Incidentally, this article says Col. Robert Hays had only 6 children who survived to adulthood

Another researcher from Col. Robert Hays, Amy, E-mail wrote in July 2004: "...I am the great(x5) grand daughter of Col Robert Hays....
Col. Robert Hays gave us
Samuel Jackson Hays gave us
Gen. Robert Butler Hays gave us
Millus Hayes gave us
Oddie Hayes
I do know the entire line that comes after Oddie. And I know the names of their wives and the rest of their children." So, if you are interested in her line, send her your query.

August 16, 2007, another researcher from Col. Robert Hayes line, Carol Pafford wrote the following:

Col. Robert Hays married Jane Donelson, as your site says. They had a daughter Elizabeth Hays and a son Samuel J. Hays. My family are decended from Elizabeth. I've copied the info that I have that was printed in the WHIG AND TRIBUNE, Jackson, Tennessee, April 17, 1875 . . Also, her dates of birth and death aand her sons are. .

Colonel Robt. I. Chester md. Elizabeth Hays, Jan. 20, 1825. Ch: 1. Mary Jane Chester, died Dec. 1846, md. Geo. W. Bond and had son, Chester Geo. Bond.
2. John Chester, b. May 18, 1827; md. Aphia Taylor, 1848; several children.
3. Robt. Hays Chester, b. April 27, 1829: md. Mary Long; several ch.
4. Martha Butler Chester, b. June 3, 1832; md. Dr. L. Battle, 5 ch.
5. Wm. Butler Chester, b. Aug. 10, 1834; md. L. O'Connor; several ch. <-- this is my family line
6. Andrew Jackson Chester, b. May 29, 1836, d. Oct. 8, 1856.
7. Samuel Hays Chester, b. Feb. 24, 1840; md. Ella Ragland; children.
Col. Chester md. (2) Jane P. Donelson (b. Apr. l0, 1812), Jan. 22, 1855; dau. of David Royster of Campbell Co., Va.

Robert I. Chester was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on the 31st of July, 1793. He grandfathers, Robert I. Chester and Samuel Greer, were natives of Ireland and served in the Pennsylvania line during the war of the American Revolution. His father, John Chester, was united in marriage with Mary Greer on the 10th day of September, 1792, in the town or Carlisle. They removed from Pennsylvania to the town of Jonesboro, Washington County, Tennessee, in the autumn of 1797, where the Cherokee Indians still lingered. The subject of our notice received such educational advantages as the rude school cabins of the time and place afforded. In 1813 he was employed as clerk in the store of David Deaderick, one of the first merchants of Jonesboro. In the fall of 1814, during the war of 1812, a requisition was made on East Tennessee for two regiments. In the eastern division the call was responded to and Col. Samuel Bayles raised the 4th regiment of East Tennessee volunteers. . . .
This regiment was mustered into the United States service in Knoxville in November, 1814 and was afterward ordered to Washington, Rhea County, Tennessee, to build boats to descend the river for the defense of New Orleans. After being there a short time the command was ordered to Mobile, Alabama, where it arrived in January 1815, after a long march by land. While preparations were being made for defending Mobile in March, 1815 the news of peace was received, when months were required for the transmission of news across the Atlantic by means of sail packets. Col. Chester returned to Jonesboro and again resumed his peaceful pursuits of a merchant's clerk in the store of John McAllister, until July 1816, removing to Nashville in that year and settling in Carthage, Smith county, Tenn., where he engaged in merchandizing with his uncle, Robert Allen, remaining there until the spring of 1820. . . .
On the 22d of June, 1823, he arrived in Jackson and participated in a Masonic celebration, on which occasion there was a speech, supper, and ball in the log court house. he determined to make Jackson his home but was so circumstanced that he did not do so until May, 1824 when he purchased property and made arrangements for removal. On the 20th of January, 1825, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth hays, daughter of Col. Robert Hays, her mother being a sister of Mrs. Gen. Andrew Jackson. Soon after his marriage he located his residence on the hill north of Jackson. In 1832 he built the house now occupied as a residence by John S. Miller and afterward sold the property to his brother-in-lay, Gen. Samuel J. Hays.


A wonderful old site - Search Lisa's Sims Database! I wish you could have visited her website by clicking on the unlined URL, but the page seems to have been off-line for quite awhile now. I found the following entries that connect to this part of Tennesse we are searching:

Nancy Louisa Sims, b. 15 Jun 1815 Blue Ridge Mts, VA or NC, d. 29 Nov 1880 Marion Co., IL., dau. of William Chesley Sims & Elizabeth L. Brown., m. James McHaney 24 Nov 1836 Wilson Co., TN. Source: Chesley Web Link or Descendant Report-Gedcom, Record ID: 4253. Another child to this couple, James T. SIMS, may be the man listed living near Lydia SIMS HAYS on the 1840 Wilson Co., TN census (see above census data). Lisa's page shows: James Turner Sims, b. Unk., d. TN. Those same files indicate William Chesley SIMS was b. c1770 Granville Co., NC., d. after 1840 in TN. His father was Thomas SIMS & Unknown wife. William m. c1790 in NC to Elizabeth L. BROWN. More on this line: Thomas SIMS was b. 1 Jul 1744 Hanover Co., VA., d. 1842 Wilson Co., TN.

Another entry from Lisa's site, of special interest to my HAYS/SIMS cousins: Briggs G. Sims, b. 11 Apr 1809 Granville Co., NC, d. 1 Nov 1880 near Pea Ridge, Benton Co., AR., m. abt 1829 Bedford Co., TN., Matilda S. Allison. His listed parents: Briggs Sims & Frances (Frannie) Duke, source: GEDCOM submitted by, Record ID: 56266. One the same page: Burrel Duke Sims, b. 1820 NC, d. 4 Jan 1894 Pea Ridge, Benton Co., AR, also a son of Briggs Sims & Frances (Frannie) Duke. He married 30 May 1854 Greene Co., MO to Elizabeth Ann Montgomery. Notes: "ADAM SYMES 1860C Hickory Barrney Twp, Greene Co., MO 1870C Sugar Creek Twp, Benton Co., AR 1880C Dist 13 Sugar Creek Twp, Benton Co., AR He had Catarrah REL: Methodist Episcopal Church South, Preacher INFO: 1832, Came to Polk Co., MO from TN with father's family. 10/11/1842 Burrel D sims to George Creson $270 80 acres NW Lot 1 NE1/4 Sec 10 Twp 30 Range 21W, Greene Co. 1846, Burwell Duke Sims & brother Zachariah appointed Adm. of brother John M Sims estate. 10/10/1849 Burrel D to Zachariah Sims $300 34 acres W1/2 W1/4 Sec 9 Twp 30 Range 21W 6/11/1849, All heirs of Briggs Sims gave all rights to Burwell Duke Sims of property of Fanny Sims had $10 NE1/4 & NW1/4 Sec 9 Twp 30 Range 21W Greene Co., MO Near Mt Comfort Church, 10 miles north of Springfield, MO 23/9/1859, B D & E A Sims to Thomas H. Tiller $700 payment NE1/4 SE1/4 Sec 8 Twp 31 Range 21W 2/4/1866, B D & E A Sims to Thomas Johnson $1 Rrelinquish Rights W1/2 SE1/4; NE1/4 SE1/4 & SE1/2 S1/4 Sec 8 Twp 30 Range 21W Burrel D Sims started to move from Greene Co., MO to Texas and went part way, turned back & returned to Pea Ridge area because he liked it so. It has been reported to have owned 2500 acres including Elk Horn Tavern. 15/8/1866, Burrwell D Sims bought from Foster Wiley & wf Assora in Benton Co., AR $850 140 acres pts of Sec 27 & 28 Twp 21 Range 29W & SE SW Sec 27 Township 21 Range 21W 1862. The house of Burrel Sims was robbed & his family abused by Confederate raiding party. Some money was taken. The same raiding party committed other depridations in this twp. in Greene Co. By 1870 Burrel Sims moved his family to Benton Co., AR living near Twelve Corners Church (1st Bapt) which had been established at Elk Horn Tavern in 1842 which later was on the corner of the famous Pea Ridge Battle of the Civil War (My note: click here to visit my Battle of Pea Ridge website.) and worked his children hard 6 days a week, then made them go to church Sunday. Once he forgot when Sunday was, and sent the children to work, which pleased them. But when he saw people going to church, he whipped the children for not telling him it was Sun. Burrel was so strict he would't let William Richard have a violin. He got one anyway & when his father found it , he broke it." Notes from Joan Koonce Zachariah R. SIMS, was b. 02 Jan 1815 Bedford Co., TN, d. 02 Nov 1882. He m. Elizabeth M. ADAMS 17 Mar 1839. Their children: Dotson Adam Sims b. 1840; Frances Jane Sims b. 1841 m. Marshall C. MURRY 17 Mar 1858; Sarah Sims b. 1843; Mary Ann Sims b. 1845; Briggs P. Sims b. 1846; Leonard Henley Hims b. 1847; Archibald Clinton Sims b. 1849. Zachariah's second wife was Susan UNKNOWN m. 30 Jun 1857 in MO. This family is found on the 1850 Greene Co., MO census.

Still another interesting entry: George Franklin Sims, b. 27 Feb 1854, Nashville, Davidson County, TN., d. 1 Mar 1933 Compton, Newton County, AR., m. 31 Aug 1876 Clay County, TN to Judy Annach Rich. George was the son of Thomas Jefferson Sims & Adeline Plumlee. Notes: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 1, Ed. 1, Tree #4928, Date of Import: Aug 4, 1996] (My note: also in Vol. 11) George may have obtained his training as a miller at his father-in-law's mill in Clay County, TN. The following information was obtained from Clay County TN Marriage Records and from Mrs. Nancy Martin Rich Eads, and Mr. E.M. Dale during a visit by Mrs. Ruth Jerryne Curnutt Jones to Celinas, Tennessee in July 1961. Mrs. Eads stated the original Sims family came to America from Ireland and settled in what is now Clay County Tennessee. At that time it was a portion of North Carolina. According to a Mr. Scott, who had spent considerable time working on local geneologies, there is still a tract of land known on the surveyor's maps as the Sims Tract. Part of it lies in Clay County but is primarily in Monroe County Kentucky. This tract does not belong any longer to any of the Sims family and Mrs. Jones could not determine if it was the original plantation. In Mrs. Eads' words, "The Sims family were wealthy slave owners who were financially ruined by the Civil War." G.F. Sims and Usibius Rich (brother of Judy Ann Rich) posted the Marriage Bond as shown below, copied from the marriage records on file in the Clay County Tennessee courthouse, Celina, Tennessee. MARRIAGE BOND Know all men by these Presents, That We ____G.F. Sims___ and ____Usibius Rich___ are held and firmly bound unto the State of Tennessee in the sum of twelve hundred and fifty dollars. We bind ourselves, our heirs, jointly and severally by these presents to be void on condition that there be no lawful cause why the above bound ___G.F. Sims___ and ___Judian Rich___ should not be joined together in family wedlock, also remain in full force and virtue. This 26th day of August 1876. Signed: G.F. Sims Usibius Rich He built his mill, which was washed away twice during his life (grist mill). The last time, it was not replaced. Raymond said it used to scare him to death to go into the mill when it was running because it was noisy and vibrated and was dark. It had a dam with a swimming hole below it. --Sources Birth: Br»derbund WFT Vol. 1, Ed. 1, Tree #4928, Date of Import: Aug 4, 1996 Death: Br»derbund WFT Vol. 1, Ed. 1, Tree #4928, Date of Import: Aug 4, 1996 Index: S, Source: Roger Sims, William Symes.

Matthew Simms b. c1769 Larne Co., Antrim, Ireland, d. 18 Aug 1860 Lebanon, Wilson Co., TN, m. c1811 Lebanon, Wilson Co., TN to Elizabeth WILEY. His parents: William SIMMS Sr. & Elisabeth GILMORE(?), also from Lisa's page. Notes: --Other Fields EVEN: Military DATE: 1812, Index: S, Source: Gil Carrick Record ID: 4221. This Matthew SIMS may have been the one listed in Hanover Co., VA census 1782 Pg. 29. Another Mathew SIMS "of Hanover", was b. aft 1765 to Mathew Sims III & Mary Coleman (Kate Blacklock's GEDCOM at One other entry from Kate Blacklock's GEDCOM: Mathew (Mathias) Sims b. 1769/1770 to Elisha Sims Sr. & Sarah Ann Howard. He married Sara Wilson and supposedly was the man listed (see census above) REF: Arnot 1830C Wilson Co., TN (125) 22100001- 0012001. There was a marriage listed in Wilson Co., TN: Elisha SIMS m. Ann Clopton 1817 (see above marriages). This Elisha was also a reported son of Elisha Sims, Sr., and Sarah Ann Howard. One source listed was Jean Koonce Elisha SIMS, Sr. was reportedly the son of John SIMS & Sarah BULLOCK (m. 1762 Butte Co., NC, source: Kate Blacklock's GEDCOM at, b. 1748 Hanover Co., VA, d. 1810. Notes: From Jean Koonce "For Elisha Sims Jr. I have these notes: Eli Sims to J.M. Cowan all his account Books Jul.1860 (Pp. 637-638) Trust DeedBook MM as printed in Wilson Co. Tenn. Trust Deeds, 1828-1868 by Thomas Partlow, Southern Historical Press 1997. More notes from Kate Blacklock's files: Elisha Sims b. 1782 NC m. Barbara Scott 27 Mar 1790 Goochland Co., VA (son of Elisha Sims Sr. & Sarah Ann Howard, but he couldn't have married at age 8!): notes: REF: Mrs. Amos 85 Arnot 1850C Franklin Co., TN (842-126) INFO: 20-1-1824 Elisha bought from Alanson Twigg, 117 Acres on Fall Creek, Wilson Co., TN for $702 Elisha Jr. migrated to Bedford Co., TN with Briggs, Isham, Leonard Hendley & Swepson Sims. Lived 7 miles no of Winchester on Rd to Murfreesboro, 30 miles from Briggs & Mr Wiggins (brother-in-law) By a letter, Mr. Wiggins was a brother-in-law to Elisha Jr. "was brother-in law to David Royster" neighbor of Briggs Sims. No children were listed in for Elisha Sims and Barbara Scott. Elisha Sims (1762 VA-1810 TN) and Sarah Ann Howard's children (from, submitter - Leonard Saunders Sims, Mathew (Mathias) Sims, Chelsey Sims, John Sims, Herbert Sims, Zacharia Sims, Guilford Dudley Sims, Julius C. Sims, Irene Sims, Thirsa Sims, Mahala Sims, Susan Sims, and Molly Sims. The only children listed for Matthew Sims and Sara Wilson: William and Matthew H. Sims. Children of John SIMS and Sarah Bullock m. 1734 Hanover Co., VA: William, Elisha, Nathaniel, Leonard Henley, Agnes, Dorcas, Sallie, Susanna, Mary, Lucrecia, Cynthia, Francis, and Euphrates Sims. (My notes: see the MURRY page for the 1850 Greene Co., MO census.)

Important HAYS/SIMS notes

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