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Eighth Generation

229. PHILENA JOSEPHINE "JOSIE" ALLEN was born on 4 November 1856 in Cove, Polk County, Arkansas.22 She died on 30 May 1935 at the age of 78 in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas.22,190 She was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas.

Marriage records in Polk Co do not contain this one. Crawford Co records begin with 1877, after the fire. I have found it recorded as Jun 1 1876, but I have reason to suspect it was instead, January 1, 1876. A photo of John and Josie in front of their house - he has on a jacket and she is wearing a sweater, has written across the top in Nora Hays Comstock's handwriting "59th Wedding Anniversary, Jan. 2". The 59th year would be 1935. The picture was obviously not taken in June and Josie had died in May of 1935.

Peter & Mary Allen named their children after various people they had known. I spent many years wondering where the name "Philena" might have originated. Her grandfather, Peter B. Allen, had a sister who had married into the Durfee family in New York. The sister, Mary Allen, married Stephen Durfee. I discovered in a database online that Stephen Durfee's brother Edward had a daughter named Philena Durfee born 1819 in Massachusetts, died 1869 in Philadelphia; she would have been born about the time the Allens left New York for Indiana. Philena is a name of Greek origin which means "lover of mankind".

I have her membership badge for Ruby Rebekah Lodge No. 99, I.O.O.F., Uniontown, AR. Daughters of Rebekah, is the women's association affiliated with the International Order of Odd Fellows.

My grand-aunt Minnie Hays Comstock, Josie's youngest daughter, told my mother that Josie lived thirteen years after having radium treatments for cancer of the uterus.

Buried Fairview Cemetery, Van Buren. Services at Wood Memorial Christian church, Rev. Alfred B. Cromwell, pastor.

[Handwritten note in margin: Died May 30th, 1935]
Funeral service for Mrs. Philia Josephine Hays, 78 years old, widely known Van Buren woman, who died Thursday afternoon at her home was held Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Wood Memorial Christian church in Van Buren, with Rev. Alfred B. Cromwell, pastor of the church in charge. Burial was in Fairview cemetery, with the Ocker Funeral home in charge.
Mrs. Hays was a native of Arkansas, and had resided in Crawford county nearly all her life. She was a member of the pioneer Allen family. Mrs. Hays had been seriously ill for the last few weeks and her condition became critical early this week, when out of town members of her family were called here.
Mrs. Hays is survived by her husband, John J. Hays; three daughters, Mrs. David King of Tahlequah, Okla., Mrs. Kenney M. Comstock of Fayetteville and Mrs. Ira V. Comstock of Van Buren; one son, Arthur Hays of Muskogee, Okla. and a sister, Mrs. Martha Williams of Hot Springs.
Active pallbearers were Eugene Hays, Harry Peeler, Graydon Comstock, K. M. Comstock Jr., Earl Hays and W. C. Hayes. Honorary pallbearers were Dell Miller, O. D. Thompson, C. E. Little, D. T. Bryan, S. A. Pernot, W. H. Wallace, Charles White, Gilliam C. Yoes, Othniel Miller, Mark Smith, Luther Buel, Thell Boatright, Dr. J. E. Blakemore, R. W. Gelly and John M. Weaver.

The name Philena is distinctive. I discovered the presence of this name in the Durfee family. Philena's great-aunt Mary Allen had married Stephen Durfee in New York. There is a will in Wayne Co where this family lived.
Will Book A, p.19-20. Edward Durfee of the town of Palmyra, Ontario Co NY. To wife Susannah, one third my estate....Amanda Durfee, Anna Durfee, Mary Durfee, Susannah Durfee, PHILENA my son Abel Durfee $10. To my above Daus. Amanda, Anna, Mary, Susannah, & Phileny. wife Susannah & my neighbour Abner F. Lakey to execute.
11 Mar 1822, signed Edward Durfee
Wit: Samuel Gregg, Abraham Gregg, Curtis Anderws
4 Oct 1823, Wayne Co. Will of Edward Durfee late of Co. Wayne dec'd Granted to Susannah Durfee and Abner F. Lakey

Online databases confirm that Stephen Durfee and Edward Durfee were brothers. The name Amanda also occurs in the Allen family following the union of the Durfee and Allen families.

PHILENA JOSEPHINE "JOSIE" ALLEN and JOHN JEFFERSON HAYS were married on 1 January 1876 in Cove, Polk County, Arkansas. JOHN JEFFERSON HAYS59,191,192,193,194,195,196,197, son of ELIAS B. HAYS and MARTHA FRANCIS CRUTCHER, was born on 5 August 1856 in Clarksville, Johnson County, Arkansas.22 He died on 26 June 1950 at the age of 93 in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas.22,190 He was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas.

On 14 Apr 1880, John J. Hays received the following land patent which had been forfeited in 1870/1871. NE 1/4 of NW Qtr of S36, 10N, 32W - 40 acres in Crawford Co. Issued by the Commissioner of State Lands in Little Rock and filed for record 29 Oct 1880. Certificate #12800 dated 24 Apr 1879. States that he has furnished proof of his improvements as required by law. (Copy in my files.) This land was near Figure Five and the property patented by his father Elias.

1880 census in Jasper Twp, Crawford Co, p.510d. John, age 24, born in Arkansas, both parents born in Tennessee. Josephine age 23, her parents born in Indiana [they were not, they were born in NY]. William H. Hays, age 1.

1890 Crawford County Reconstructed Census shows a "Jonas" Hays - may be John, instead, living in Van Buren.
Paid his Poll Tax in Crawford County AR in 1892, as did his brother Will.
Papers from Gratis Comstock list John J. Hays as postmaster of Uniontown, 15 May 1905.

1900 Census. Mattie, Nora, Minnie & Arthur at home.
Van Buren, Outside City, Crawford, AR, ED 61, Hh 156
John J. Hays, b. Aug 1856, age 43, married 24 years, b. AR, parents b. MS, Farmer
Josephine, v. Nov 1856, age 43, 5 children, b. AR, parents b. IN
Mattie, daug, b. Feb 1882, 18.
Nora, dau, b. Jan 1886, age 14
Minnie, dau, b. Sep 1889, age 10
Arthur, son, b. Feb 1892, age 8.

Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1906 Fran Alverson Warren, p.10
24 Feb 1906 John Hays the hustling Uniontown merchant Monday purchased at private sale the bankrupt Ed E. Briscoe stock of dry goods at 40 cents on the dollar, book valuation. The stock invoice $3,300. Tuesday Mr. Hays disposed of the stock to Reeder & Wood merchants of Shakespeare, who have packed the good and hauled them off to their store.
21 Apr 1906 John J. Hays has sold his store at Uniontown to Marshal & Piece and expects to engage in farming.

1910 Census. Listed with Josie, married 34 years. Minnie & Arthur still at home.
Union Twp, Crawford, AR, Hh 66
John J. Hays, age 53, married 34 years, b. AR, father b. AR, mother b. TN, Farmer
Josie, 53, 9 children - 5 are living {I only know of 6 children. There was a story in the family of one grandmother who had lost twin babies and I've never been sure who that was - perhaps it was Josie.], b. AR, father b. NY, mother b. IN
Minnie F., dau, age 20, b. AR, teaching, rural school
Arthur W., son, 18, b. AR

Warranty Deed dated 21 Mar 1918. Lots 7 and 8, Block 6, GrandView Addition to City of Van Buren. Sold by J. A. and Emma Housley to John J. Hayes for $800. Filed 13 Apr 1918 and recorded Book 91, page 154 by C. M. Bledsoe, Clerk, Crawford Co AR. Emma Housley relinquished dower rights. [no mention of any buildings on these lots]

1920 Census. John and Josie have Kenney & Nora and four of their children living with them (or vice versa). Road, or street, was listed as Mt. Vista. They are renting.
John's occupation is listed as Manager: Gin. He was age 63, as was Josie.
G.M. Comstock was the enumerator [my grandfather's cousin Gratis]

1920 Census of Farm Land Owners
Wanda M. Gray, 1998
HAYES, John & Bill Cotton growers & truck farmers on land at Shibley

1930 Census. John J. and Josie living on Smith Street in Van Buren. Aunt Minnie & Uncle Ira lived next door. John J. stated he was born in AR, his parents born in MS. Josie said she was born in AR, her parents born in Indiana. I believe Mississippi and Indiana to be the places their parents married, certainly Josie's parents were born in New York, and probably John's were born in North Carolina. John J. was operator of a Cotton Gin.

Played the violin which JoEllen still has. Lived out his later years in the home of Ira and Minnie Hays Comstock. Became quite deaf; had no teeth but ate everything anyway. Called "John John" by younger generations.

Told Joe McKim that he remembered while his daddy was away in the Civil War, Union soldiers came and burned them out. They piled everything up in the middle of the floor and then torched the house while the family stood in the yard and watched it burn. Grandson Ike Comstock remembers the story this way....John's father Elias was in the Federal Troops and the Rebels burned the house in retailiation. Either way, it was Martha and the children who suffered.

Northwest Arkansas Times, Fayetteville, AR
Wednesday, 6 Aug 1947
Van Buren Man Observes 91st Birthday Here
John J. Hays of Van Buren celebrated his 91st birthday Sunday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. K. M. Comstock, and Mr. Comstock, 428 North College Avenue.
All of Mr. Hay's children - four - were present, as well as seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Guests were Mr. & Mrs. Ira V. Comstock, Mr. & Mrs. Jim Kilgore and daughters, Betty & Donna Kay, of Van Buren; Mrs. David King, Mrs. Herb Bile and daughter Karien of Tahlequah, Okla.; Mr. & Mrs. John King and son David of Fort Gibson, Okla.; Mr. & Mrs. Harry Peeler of New York City; Harrison Davis of Washington, D.C.; Mr. & Mrs. A. W. Hays and nephew Jim Harlan West of Muskogee, Okla.; Mr. & Mrs. Graydon Comstock and sons, Donny and David Allen; Ira A. Comstock; Mr. & Mrs. Joe McKim and daughter, Karen Kay, all of Fayetteville.

Obituary from Fayetteville, AR, newpaper, The Northwest Arkansas Times; 30 Jun 1950:
John J. Hays
Funeral service was held yesterday at the Wood Memorial Christian Church in Van Buren for John J. Hays, 93, father of Mrs. K. M. Comstock of Fayetteville. He died Monday evening at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Ira V. Comstock, in Van Buren. Service was conducted by the Rev. Clarence Pruitt, pastor of the Van Buren church, and the Rev. Robert Moffett, pastor of the First Christian Church of Fayetteville. Mr. & Mrs. K. M. Comstock attended the service.
Survivors include another daughter, Mrs. David King of Tahlequah, Okla.; one son, A. W. Hays of Muskogee, Okla; 26 grandchildren; 48 great grandchildren; and one great, great grandchild.
Pallbearers were his grandsons. Active were John Q. Hays, John Hays King, A. G. Hays, John J. Comstock, Earl Hays, and K. M. Comstock Jr. Honorary: Graydon Comstock. W. C. Hays, D. R. Hays, Archie Hays, Donald Hays, Era [Ira] Comstock, Paul Hays, Hadley Hays, and Lester King.

Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Van Buren, under the direction of Ocker Funeral Home.

Another obituary of John J. Hays states that he had lived in Crawford County for 84 years. He was born at Clarksville and moved to Crawford County at age nine (1865).




William Henry "Will" HAYS.



Mattie Rowena HAYS.



Bennie Augusta HAYS was born on 18 November 1885 in Cove, Polk County, Arkansas.162 She died on 13 February 1886 at the age of 0 in Cove, Polk County, Arkansas.162

Buried Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Cove, Polk Co, AR
Dau of J.J. and P.J. Hays






Minnie Frances HAYS.



Arthur Wallace HAYS.