William Henry Hayes was born 20 March 1806 in Maryland, the youngest of seven children born to William Hayes of Land's End, England, and his wife, Mary Stockett. The elder Hayes, a medical doctor, died 25 Sep 1805. The younger Hayes, also a physician by profession, completed his medical training in Maryland and then moved to Knox County, Ohio in the early 1830s, where he married Anna Riggs. It is possible that he knew the Riggs family from back in Maryland, as that is where they had also come from.
William and Anna had four children: Columbia, William Hampton, Virginia Rose, and John Henry Riggs. Wife Anna died 12 Apr 1861, and William remarried in about 1868, to a woman named Alma D. They had two further daughters, Florence E. and Emily H. William and Alma moved to New York State sometime between 1870 and 1889, and William died in Clarence (Erie), NY on 19 Jul 1890.
In a biographical sketch published in 1881 (Hill, Norman Newell, Jr., "History of Knox County", Mt. Vernon (OH): A.A. Graham & Co., p. 517), we learn the following:
"Dr. William Hayes, from Baltimore, Maryland, came to Milford about 1830. He was at that time a young man, a physician by profession, in somewhat destitute circumstances, and lived for several years with Judson Lamson. he became a successful physician and a minister of the gospel. He preached several years for the Christian church, then several years for the Disciple church, and was also a successful farmer. Having purchased some four hundred acres of land he made wool growing the leading branch of his agricultural pursuits."
In the same volume, on p. 520, we find:
"In 1845 Rev. William
Hayes organized a Disciple church at the school-house in the southwest part of
the township. This church has been known as the First Milford Congregational
(or Simmons) church. Soon after this church was organized a log meeting house
was built where meetings were held until 1853, when the house was destroyed by
fire. In 1854 this congregation built a new house, George Litzenburg, David
Weaver, David Pattison [note: his son and Wm. Hayes'
daughter were married], Benjamin Compston, and ----- Cook were among the
original members. This church from the time of its organization to the present
has been the most prosperous of any church in the township. At the present time
it numbers one hundred and thirty members...
In 1845 Rev. William Hayes organized a Disciple church at the school-house near the Five corners. Emor Hawkins, W.A. Disney, William Hawkins, Stephen Hawkins, and Daniel Hawkins were among the original members. In 1848 this church built a meeting-house at the Five corners, which continued in a prosperous condition several years. At the present time it is in a very weak and sickly condition."
In 1850, Wm. Hays is listed in the federal census of Knox County, Milford Twp., OH, as being a 44-year-old physician from Maryland. This would place his birth around 1805/1806.
William Hayes' will can be found in the Knox County, OH Probate Court Records, Box 253, Doc. #1859. It reads as follows:
"I, William Hayes of
Clarence, County of Erie and State of New York, being of sound mind and memory
and considering the uncertainty of this frail and transitory life, do therefore
make, ordain and publish and declare this to be my last WIll and Testament,
that is to say;
"First. After all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, including a certain promisory note of mine to the trustees of the church of which I am a member, I give and bequeath to my wife Alma D. Hayes the interest of one fourth part of all me estate to be paid to her as it shall accrue, for her support and benifit during her natural life, and direct my executor to hold the one fourth part and after the decease of my wife to pay to each of my five children and their heirs herein after named equally.
"Second. I direct my Executor to sell all my real property of which I shall die seized within two years after my death and keep at interest one fourth part thereof as above provided, and pay the remaining three fourths equally to each of my five children, or sons and daughters or to their heirs share and share alike, to wit, Columbia H. Pattison or her heirs of Indiana, Emily H. Hayes of Clarence, Erie Co. N.Y. Virginia R. Hayes of Kansas, and my sons, William R. Hayes of Fort Scott, Kansas, and John Henry Hayes, late of Knox County, Ohio.
"Third. I direct my executor to give to my daughter Emily all of the household goods and library remaining after my wife's death. Likewise, I make, constitute and appoint Henry W. Dodge of Amherst, Williamsville, Erie Co. N.Y. and also, William L. Bottenfield for and of Knox County, Ohio, for Ohio, to be the executors of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made.
"In witness thereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal the 13th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine."