HON. THOMAS HAYS, of Butler, Pa., recent representative in the Pennsylvania Legislature of the Forty-first Senatorial district, comprising Butler and Armstrong counties, is one of the foremost citizens in public life and business in his section of the State. Though he has been a resident of Butler county since shortly after the close of the Civil war, he is a native of Armstrong county, where the Hays family settled nearly a century ago. The name Hays in that and its various other forms, de la Haye, Hay, Hayes, is found all over the United Kingdom, and meant originally dweller at the hedge or hedged inclosure. The branch of the family here under consideration came to this country from Ireland, and had a coat of arms and crest, a representation of which the founder brought with him.
Hayes of County Donegal, Baronet of Drumore Castle. Arms: Argent, a chevron, between three griffins� heads, erased, sable. Crest: A griffin�s head, erased between two dragon�s wings, sable. Motto: Dieu me conduise.
The family of Hay (or Hays as they generally spelled their name after making their new home in the North of Ireland) have prominent place in the history of Scotland. It is said that about the year 980, in the reign of Kenneth III., the Danes having invaded Scotland, they were encountered by the king near Lancarty, in Perthshire. The Scots at first gave way and filed through a narrow pass, where they were stopped by a countryman of great strength and courage and his two sons, with no other weapons than the yokes of their plows. Upbraiding the fugitives for their cowardice, he succeeded in rallying them, and the battle being resumed the Danes were defeated. After the victory was obtained, the old peasant, while lying on the ground, wounded and fatigued, cried, �Hay, Hay�, which word became the surname of his posterity, and the king, as a reward for his signal service, gave him as much land in the carse of Gowrie as a falcon should fly over before it settled; and a falcon being accordingly let off flew over an extent of ground six miles in length, after called Errol, and lighted on a stone, still called �falcon stone�. -- This is taken from the �Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames� by Clifford Stanley Sims.
The first of the family to settle in America was George Hays , who came from County Donegal, Ireland, town of Raymelton, where he was born. By occupation he was a framer. He was accompanied by his wife Elizabeth (Bettie), also of Raymelton, County Donegal, where they were married; her maiden name was also Hays, but they were not related. About 1821-22, with their family (then consisting of six children -- David, the youngest, was born in Washington township, Armstrong county, Pa.), they started for America, embarking on a sailing vessel at Londonderry, Ireland, and they landed at St. John, N.B., after a six weeks� sail. After remaining there a couple of months, during which time Mr. Hays worked in a tobacco factory, they proceeded to Quebec, Canada, and there reshipped to Norfolk, Va., thence continuing their journey to Baltimore, Md., where David Hays, his wife�s brother, had a wholesale grocery business.
A short time afterward they came overland by way of the Baltimore and Pittsburgh pike, through Gettysburg, Chambersburg, Greensburg, and from there by way of Freeport to Kittanning. The old Miller farm was the first place Mr. Hays looked at, but he refused to buy it because the timber was too small. He continued north on the Kittanning and Wattersonville road to the home of his sister�s husband, John Foster, where the family stopped a few days. One and a half miles from there George hays found land to suit him, 125 acres, heavily timbered with chestnut, oak, etc., about one mile northwest of Sherrett, in Washington (formerly Sugar Creek) township. He soon built his log cabin, began to clear out a farm, and made a permanent home, living there with his family until his death, which occurred in 1828, when he was aged about fifty years. His wife survived him, dying in 1841, and they are buried in the Union Presbyterian cemetery at Cowansville, in East Franklin township, Armstrong county. We have the following record of their family:
(1) Hannah, the eldest daughter, married David Johnston, a printer by trade, of Pittsburgh, and they passed the rest of their lives in Allegheny -- now the North Side of Pittsburgh. They left three daughters, all married and well-to-do. David Johnston bought land in Sugar Creek township from Philip Templeton Aug. 25, 1812, and sold same to Patrick Graham. Johnston obtained, on Feb. 4, 1815, a patent for 153 acres, sixty perches of the large tract surveyed to one John Johnston March 6, 1805, and in December of the same year sold it to Rev. John Dickey and John P. Quigley, receiving altogether $435.
(2) Samuel, the eldest son of George Hays, went South to New Orleans and died there soon after. He married a Miss McDonald, but left no children.
(3) Fanny married Alexander Foster, of Washington township, a son of John Foster, a distant relative of her mother, and they settled in that township, where Mr. Foster engaged in farming. They brought up a family of children, their eldest son, John, who served during the Civil war in the 103d Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, dying in Andersonville prison in 1864. Mrs. Fanny (Hays) Foster, who died at a good old age, left her eldest daughter, Mary Foster, who is now (1913) living in the East End, Pittsburgh, at the age of seventy-six years; her second daughter, Mrs. Nancy (Foster) Cloak, is living in Butler county, Pa.; her son George Hays Foster, who served three years as a soldier in the 139th Pa. Vols., is now living in West Kittanning, and has served a term of three years as treasurer of Armstrong county; her son Alexander Foster (who was a private in the 139th Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil war) lived on the old farm of his father until a few years ago, and is now a resident of West Kittanning; her daughter Betty and her son Robert died when they were children.
(4) Robert is mentioned below.
(5) Margaret married William Boden, of Pittsburgh.
(6) Bridget became the wife of John Foster, who died in 1854. She then married James McClatchey, and had one son, Robert McClatchey, who is living now on his father�s farm, in Washington township.
(7) David, the youngest, was married to Elizabeth Plat about the year 1850. He died in the year 1864 at Annapolis, Md., after being in Andersonville, a prisoner of war, for eleven months. His widow is still living at Corry, Pa., with her granddaughter, in good health.
Robert Hays, fourth in the family of George and Elizabeth Hays, was born Aug. 16, 1812, in Ireland, and came to this country with his parents, with whom he lived on the farm in Washington township, eventually buying the old place. He followed farming all his life. On Feb. 9, 1836, he was married by Rev. J. Reddic to his neighbor, Deborah Jane McKee, who was born July 27, 1815, in Armstrong county, daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Blaine) McKee, of Sugar Creek township, and he purchased a farm from his brother David near by, and moved onto it. There he resided for many years, and there her reared his family of nine children, seven sons and two daughters, viz.: Eliza Ann, born Dec. 3, 1838, lived all her life after he marriage to William Storey (which occurred Feb. 14, 1867) in and near Fairview, Butler Co., Pa., and is now deceased; Thomas, of Butler county, Pa., is mentioned below; John Milton, born July 22, 1841, of near Parker City, married Lizzie Campbell Sept. 24, 1868; Margaret, born April 2, 1844, became Mrs. R.O. Shira, of North Washington, Butler Co., Pa., and is now deceased; James Harvey, born Nov. 2, 1845, of North Washington, now deceased, married Flora Harold Dec. 8, 1870; W.G., of Los Angeles, Cal., married Jennie Hart Dec. 25, 1872; Robert, who married Catharine Helm (now deceased), is a resident of North Washington; S.W., of Butler, Pa., married Mattie Leard Dec. 30, 1875; David R. lives at McFarland, W. Va., and is married to Catherine Spies.
The father of this family, Robert Hays, born Aug. 16, 1812, died in 1877; the mother�s death occurred March 10, 1883. They were Presbyterian in religious connection. In politics he was first a Whig, later becoming a Republican, and he took an active part in the administration of public affairs in his neighborhood, serving fifteen years as school director, and holding other local offices.
Thomas Hays, eldest son of Robert Hays, was born Jan. 19, 1840, in a log house on his father�s farm, in what is now Washington township. Passing his early life on that place, he assisted with the farm work in summer, and carried on his studies during the winter, attending public and select schools in the county until he reached the age of eighteen. In 1861 he was elected by the school directors of his own township to teach the Wattersonville school, but it was not long before he got the war fever, and felt that he must enter the service of his country. Resigning his position, he enlisted, Sept. 16, 1861, in Company B, 103d Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, with which command he served for fourteen months. Two days after his enlistment he reported at Camp Orr, Kittanning, with his brother John M. and twenty-five or thirty of his schoolmates and neighbors, all in the same company, carrying their own blankets and traps. Leaving Camp Orr Feb. 28, 1862, with the regiment, they arrived that evening at Harrisburg, and pitched their tents on about a foot of now and ice, where Mr. Hays slept on his blankets in the Sibley tent overnight. The next morning the �boys� kindled their first hard coal fire--hard coal being new to them. They received their uniforms and guns, etc., and their flag was presented to them in front of the old capitol by �War Governor� Andrew G. Curtin. The story of the Company B flag is given in a later paragraph.
In one week they were sent to Washington City, where they camped the first night on what is now the site of the Congressional Library, and the next morning the imprints of their bodies were lift in the mud. Thence they changed to Meridian Hill, Washington, D.C., and a few days later marched to Alexandria, Va., thence to Fortress Monroe, on Old Point Comfort. Mr. Hays was in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac and the Peninsular campaign, going with McClellan through Yorktown to Williamsburg, where they met the Rebels in the first battle, May 6, 1862. The enemy evacuated that night. Next they fought in the engagements of Fair Oaks and Seven Pines, and then in the Seven Days� battle, winding up with the battle of Malvern Hill. This ended the battles of the Peninsular campaign. On Nov. 13, 1862, he and his brother John M. Hays were transferred to Battery L, of the 4th United States Light Artillery (with which they engaged in the siege of Suffolk, Va.), and served in the Army of the James under General Butler, took part in the battle of Drury�s Bluff, and in June, 1864, were transferred with the battery to join Grant�s army at Cold Harbor, engaging in battle there. In this engagement Mr. Hays�s battery lost thirteen horses and fifteen men in about thirty minutes. General Grant, in describing the battle, states that for the time the battle lasted it was the bloodiest in the war. Mr. Hays and his brother escaped, as did the four neighbor boys, subsequently serving in front of Richmond and Petersburg, Va., and he was mustered out in front of Petersburg Nov. 13, 1864, at the expiration of their term of service.
Coming home at the close of his service, Mr. Hays was soon managing the farm of his uncle, David Hays, in Maryland, near Baltimore, being thus employed for two years, during which time he came back to Armstrong county and married. Then he removed to near Fairview in Butler county, Pa., in 1867, purchasing a farm which he still owns and operates, and where he engaged in general agricultural pursuits and later in the horse and cattle business, raising and breeding. In time he became interested in the production of oil and gas from the property, as well as on some of the adjoining farms. He owns and operates many wells in Butler and Armstrong counties, some of which has been producing oil for forty years. During the period of twenty-eight years that he resided on the �Haysville farm� at Fairview Mr. Hays became, through his enterprise and versatile ability, one of the prosperous and reliable business men of the district, and since his removal to the town of Butler, in 1895, he has augmented that reputation steadily. He has become closely associated with real estate, manufacturing and banking interests in Butler, being a stockholder in many of the manufacturing plants there, a director of the Farmer�s National Bank, and a stockholder in the Merchants� National Bank. His competent management of his private affairs attracted the attention and confidence of his fellow citizens to such an extent that they called upon him for public service, and he has not disappointed his supporters in the quality of his work or his stand on questions affecting the welfare of his constituents. He was elected to the lower house of the State Legislature for the terms commencing in 1903 and 1905, and for the extra sessions of 1906, and was elected to the State Senate to represent Armstrong and Butler counties, in the Forty-first Senatorial district, for the terms commencing in 1909 and 1911, completing eight years of acceptable service in the State Legislature, four in each branch. His influence and support were always found on the side of the common people, and opposed to special class privileges or anything that contained the elements of graft and perquisites not enjoyed by all. In political connection Mr. Hays has always been a Republican. He and his wife are leading members of the Presbyterian Church at Butler, in which he is a ruling elder, and socially he holds membership in the Masonic fraternity (Argyle Lodge, at Chicora) and Grand Army of the Republic, being one of the most prominent members of Post No. 107, in which he has filled various offices, including that of commander.
Mr. Hays had the honor of being chosen to make the presentation speech when, on Jan. 30, 1912, the flag of his old command in the 103d Pennsylvania Regiment was given to Memorial Hall at Pittsburgh. His wife, Mrs. Keziah J. (Foster) Hays, who had helped to make the flag more than fifty years before, was also present, as were many of the men who fought under it. As noted above, Mr. Hays was in the same command as a number of his schoolmates. When the Civil war began Keziah J. Foster and a number of other schoolgirls made for Company B the first American flag of the 103d Pennsylvania Regiment, which was then recruiting in Camp Orr, Kittanning, Pa., and presented it to the company with the charge to shoot on the spot any one who attempted to pull it down. This flag was always held in high esteem by all the boys, and was carried through all their battles in the war. At the battle of Plymouth, N.C., the regiment was surrounded by a larger force of the enemy, and after many days of fighting, with the loss of many killed and wounded, it became necessary for the regiment to surrender or all die. When the surrender took place the boys took good care that this flag did not fall into the hands of the enemy. It was concealed around the waist of the custodian, Conrod Petzinger, and carried by him eleven months while in the Andersonville prison, and when the regiment returned from prison at the close of the war and was discharged from the army, the flag was still treasured carefully. Now, inclosed in a neat frame, it may be seen at Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh, where it occupies an honorable place.
On Dec. 21, 1865, Mr. Hays was married to Keziah J. Foster, of Cowansville; she was born in Sugar Creek township, on the old Foster homestead farm, and attended the same school as her husband. They have had a family of six children:
(1) Jennie L. Hays, born Jan. 16, 1867, was married Oct. 22, 1890, to Dr. V.F. Thomas, of Evans City, Butler Co., Pa., and they have had five children, Lister Hays (born Nov. 25, 1891), Ethel (born Aug. 9, 1896), Allen (born April 13, 1899), Genevieve (born March 31, 1903) and Frank (born Sept. 27, 1905).
(2) Christopher F. Hays, born Dec. 13, 1868, is engaged in farming and the oil business. On April 20, 1899, he married Lilley Logan, and they have one child, George Thomas Hays, born may 22, 1901.
(3) Robert N. Hays, born Nov. 13, 1870, farmer and oil producer, resides on the old �Haysville� farm. He married Iva Brackney Feb. 10, 1897, and they have one daughter, Audrey Ivetta Hays, born July 26, 1898.
(4) Maud B. Hays, born Oct. 16, 1872, married Dr. John V. Cowden June 27, 1906.
(5) Thomas Henderson Hays, born Dec. 19, 1874, died Aug. 24, 1901, unmarried.
(6) Charles Frederick Wells Hays, born Nov. 12, 1876, died Nov. 24, 1902, unmarried.
In maternal lines Mr. Hays in connected with other families whose names have been prominent in the history of Pennsylvania, the Blaines, McKees, Fosters, Galbraiths and Chambers all having borne their part in the activities of the early days in the Commonwealth. His grandmother, Margaret (Blaine) McKee, was a daughter of James and Deborah (Baird) Blaine, and a cousin of Hon. James G. Blaine.
Col. Ephraim Blaine, who was the great-grandfather of James G. Blaine, was born in Ireland in 1744, and was but one year old when, in 1745, his parents brought him to America, the family settling in Cumberland county, Pa., at or near Carlisle. He had two brothers and one sister, Alexander (who had two children, Mary and Elizabeth), William (who had three children, Isabella, Alexander T. and Ephraim) and Ellen (married Col. Samuel Lyon). The name of Ephraim Blaine appears in the list of men residing at Fort Pitt July 22, 1760. He became one of the prominent citizens of his region, serving his county and country with honor and fidelity. In 1771 he was sheriff of Cumberland county. In the earlier years of the Revolution he was a resident of Carlisle.
The following extract is from the new American Encyclopedia: �At the time the Revolutionary war was inaugurated Col. Ephraim Blaine was living at the princely estate at Middlesex, in Cumberland county. He at once offered his personal services and means to the patriotic cause, and he was forthwith commissioned by the Continental Congress as colonel and attached to the Pennsylvania Line of troops, and did not �ground arms� until the contest was over and the victory won. His services were gallant and patriotic. He was with General Washington in many of the most trying scenes of the Revolution and enjoyed the confidence of his chief. During the dark winter at Valley Forge the preservation of the army from starvation was in a great degree owing to the exertions and sacrifices of Colonel Blain. Gen. George Washington and Col. Ephraim Blaine were warm personal friends and kept up a correspondence for fifteen years. Many letters to Colonel Blaine from General and President Washington are in the possession of Colonel Blaine�s descendants�.
In the spring of 1777 the appointment of sub-lieutenant of Cumberland county was tendered Colonel Blaine, which he declined as follows in his letter to President Wharton: �The difference of sentiment which prevails in Cumberland county about the constitution and the ill-judged appointment of part of the sub-lieutenants are my principal reasons for not accepting for the present the position your honor and the council are pleased to offer me of the lieutenancy. I shall, however, study to render the public every service in my power�. He was later (1778) appointed deputy commissary general for the middle department, with the rank of colonel, and served as quartermaster, as shown by a letter of Nov. 3, 1780, to him, from Colonel Brodhead. During the �dark winter� at Valley Forge the preservation of the army from starvation was in a great degree owing to the exertions and sacrifices of Colonel Blaine. In February or March, 1780, he was appointed commissary general, which position he probably filled until the close of the war, and he had the distinction of being the personal friend and confidant of Washington, who visited him during the Whiskey Insurrection. They kept up a correspondence for fifteen years, and many letters to the colonel from President Washington are in the possession of Ephraim Blaine�s descendants. He was an original member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati. Colonel Blaine once owned two lots in Pittsburgh just below where the Point bridge terminates on the South Side, which he wold to Isaac Craig and which formed part of the site of the first glass works erected in the city. (The name of one of Ephraim Blaine is found on a list attached to a petition addressed to the managers of the United States Bank at Philadelphia �from citizens of Pittsburgh for a branch at that place, 1817�. It was successful.) Two tracts of land containing 400 and 474 acres, respectively, were surveyed to Ephraim Blaine in Wayne township, Armstrong Co., Pa., Glade run traversing the territory of which the northern (the larger) tract consisted, in a westerly and northwesterly course. The Timothy Pickering & Co. tract, covered by warrant dated May 17, 1785, was a part of Gen. James Potter�s estate, which became vested in his son, James Potter, who covenanted May 9, 1795, to convey it as containing 1,000 acres to Ephraim Blaine. His heirs, believing that he made a deed therefor that was lost, for the purpose of confirming and ratifying their father�s agreement, executed March 20, 1837, a deed to John Hays and Rev. Adam Gilchrist, whose wives were daughters of Robert Blaine and granddaughters of Ephraim Blaine, who were desirous of obtaining a patent and perfect title. The tract was found to contain 1,099 acres. Ephraim Blaine had paid for 1,000 acres, but these heirs considered that the excess of ninety-nine acres would be a fair equivalent for obtaining the patent, and completing the title. They therefore conveyed to Hays and Gilchrist the entire tract, which subsequently became vested in John Hays, of Carlisle, Pa., partly in his own right and partly in that of his children, Mary W. Hays, afterward the wife of Captain West, U.S.A., Robert B. Hays and John Hays, Jr. John Hays, Sr., conveyed his right in that trust to David Ralston March 23, 1839, for $7,375, and by virtue of an act of Assembly, approved July 5, 1839, he conveyed as guardian the interests of his wards therein, Oct. 5, then next, to David Ralston, for $1,000. John Hays, Sr., was the son of John and Mary Hays, the latter the famous �Molly Pitcher� of the Revolution.
Ephraim Blaine died at Carlisle in 1804 (in 1808 according to the new American Encyclopedia). He and his first wife Rebecca (Galbraith) are buried at the Meetinghouse Springs Church (of which they were members), on Yellow Breeches creek, about one and a half miles from Carlisle, Pa. The site of Colonel Blaine�s old home is near by, and he had a distillery on the creek. His second wife was Mrs. Duncan, widow of Judge Duncan. He had two children, both born to his first marriage, James and Robert, the former marrying Margaret Lyon (their son Ephraim was the father of James G. Blaine).
Robert Blaine, son of Ephraim and Rebecca (Galbraith), lived in Washington county, Pa. He married Anna Susan Metzgar, and had the following children: (1) Rebecca married Rev. J. Chamberlain, D.D., a distinguished Presbyterian minister who served as president of Center College, in Kentucky, and of Oakland University, in Mississippi. They had children: Susan, Mary, Martha, Clarissa and John. (2) Anna S. Married Hon. Samuel Alexander, of Carlisle, for many years a leading lawyer and able jurist of Cumberland county, and their children were Robert and Jane Byers. (3) Ephraim. (4) Ellen married Levi Wheaton and (second) John Hays (she being his second wife; he was a son of John and Mary Hays, the latter the famous �Molly Pitcher� of the Revolution), and had five children, two by her first marriage, Ellen Blaine and Mary Blaine, and three by the second, Robert, John (married Jennie Smead) and Mary Blaine (married Richard Mulligan and had a daughter Sophia). (5) Mary married Rev. Adam Gilchrist and had children, Susan, Maria and Fanny. (6) James married Deborah Baird. (This record of Robert Blaine and his family is taken from a �Family Memorial� published in 1867, containing �fragments of family and contemporary history�, and some records of the Robinson, McCord and Blaine families).
James and Deborah (Baird) Blaine had the following children: Joseph, William, John, James, and daughters Nancy Blaine Hannah, Mary Blaine Anderson, Margaret Blaine McKee. We have the following record of the four sons: (1) Joseph Blaine�s sons are Dr. Cyrus Blaine, of near Butler, Pa., and James, John, Ephraim and Samuel, all of Butler county. (2) William Blaine lived in Armstrong county, Pa., and died at the age of ninety years in Illinois; his sons are James, Edward and John Blaine. (3) John Blaine, formerly of Armstrong county, lives in Illinois. His children are sons William and Harvey, daughters Eliza, Ellenor, Jane, Deborah, Nancy, Margaret, Bell and Hattie. (4) James Blaine lived in Armstrong county, Pa., and died at about the age of eighty-eight. children were Morrison Blaine, the eldest son, who has been dead for some years, his children now living in Missouri; Dr. J.M. Blaine, of Denver, Colo.; Harvey Blaine, now living on the old home farm in Armstrong county; Hattie Blaine Fleming, living at Slate Lick, Pa.; Mrs. Bricker and Mrs. Adams, living in Pennsylvania.
James and Deborah (Baird) Blaine both died in Sugar Creek township, Armstrong county, and are buried in the Union cemetery at Cowansville.
On Oct. 29, 1813, one Frederick Shoop agreed to sell to James �Blain� 100 acres, for $300, in four annual payments, a part of each to consist of one cow, to be valued by two neighbors, if the parties could not agree upon the price....Shoop�s administrators conveyed to Blain the parcel which Shoop had sold to him, to Deborah and Joseph Blain, executors of James Blain, which he had vested in Joseph Blaine, and was included in his conveyance to the Brady�s Bend company.
On Oct. 29, 1813, one Frederick Shoop agreed to sell to James �Blain� 100 acres, for $300, in four annual payments, a part of each to consist of one cow, to be valued by two neighbors, if the parties could not agree upon the price....Shoop�s administrators conveyed to Blain the parcel which Shoop had sold to him, to Deborah and Joseph Blain, executors of James Blain, which he had vested in Joseph Blain, and was included in his conveyance to the Brady�s Bend company.
The will of James Blaine, of what was then Sugar Creek township, recorded in Armstrong county Will Book I, pages 17-18, devises to wife Deborah and to sons and daughters of William Blaine, John Blaine, James Blaine, Polly Anderson, Peggie (Margaret) McKee and Eleanor.
In August, 1797, James and William �Blain� made an improvement and settlement on a tract in Sugar Creek township which was surveyed to them by George Ross as containing 410 acres, 20 perches, Nov. 17, 1803. The whole of the Blain interest seems to have become vested in James, and in his will (above), dated March 27th and registered Dec. 6, in 1815, he devised his purpart equally to his sons James, John and William. The two last named conveyed their interests to their brother James March 3, 1839, for $150 each.
On Sept. 1, 1848, Elijah Davis conveyed 230 acres, 47 perches to Joseph Blain for $1,100, ten acres of which Blain conveyed to Thomas H. Foster Aug. 11, 1855; on June 28, 1858, he conveyed to Foster 145 acres, 103 perches, for $1,747.50. The rest of the Blain purchase was subsequently owned by Thomas Patton and D.C. Mobley.
Andrew McKee, great-grandfather of Thomas Hays in the maternal line, and his son Thomas McKee, father of Mrs. Deborah Jane Hays, are fully mentioned elsewhere in this work. (See McKee family).
The Foster family, to which Mrs. Keziah (Foster) Hays, wife of Hon. Thomas Hays, belongs, is descended from Alexander Foster, a native of Ireland, who settled in Sugar Creek township, Armstrong Co., Pa. He married Elizabeth Harrold, whose brother and sisters were: Lucinda, wife of John Clawson, of Indiana county, Pa.; Christopher Harrold, of Wayne county, Ohio; Sally, wife of John Laird, a farmer of Franklin township, Armstrong county; and Mattie, wife of Oliver Laird, a farmer of the same township. Mr. and Mrs. Foster had children:
(1) Martha married James McGarvey.
(2) Christopher A. is mentioned below.
(3) Thomas married Martha Morrison, sister of his brother Christopher�s wife.
(4) William married Mary Ambrose.
(5) Katherine married Matthew Brown, who had been her school teacher and had also taught her brother Christopher and the parents of Thomas Hays, the schoolhouse standing on the farm of Alexander Foster, grandfather of Mrs. Thomas Hays.
(6) Eliza became the wife of Harrison Gibson, a farmer.
(7) Sarah married William Morrison, son of John.
(8) Phoebe married Harvey McKee.
(9) Margaret married William McClatchey.
(10) Nancy died when a young girl.
All of the family is now deceased. The Fosters were all Presbyterians in religious association.
Alexander Foster early settled in Sugar Creek township on a large tract originally conveyed to Charles Campbell, who on June 14, 1821, conveyed 100 acres, 25 perches to Foster for $10. The latter acquired title to the rest of the tract (comprising 356 acres, 37 perches) except about ninety acres in the northwestern part, which constituted the farm on which he lived at the time of his death, and which by his will, dated April 17, 1828, and registered may 19, 1838, he devised to his sons, Christopher, Thomas and William, which he directed to be divided into three equal parts as to quantity, and allotted the part on which was the house, in which he then lived, to Christopher, the west end to Thomas, and the northeastern part to William. Christopher Foster�s name figures in later real estate transactions in Sugar Creek township. We also find record of the John Craig tract, No. 3652, called �Leeds�, 245 acres of which Alexander Foster purchased May 24, 1828, for $612.50. Craig�s run traverses it in a southerly course nearly through, a little west of, the center.
Christopher A. Foster, son of Alexander, was a near neighbor of Thomas Hays, who subsequently married his daughter Keziah; they were schoolmates. Mr. Foster was a farmer, later a merchant at Cowansville and was prominent in the public affairs of his locality, serving as justice of the peace (fifteen years) and school director. He was a Republican in politics and Presbyterian in religion. He married Isabel Morrison, daughter of William and Margaret (Barnes) Morrison, of Armstrong county. Mr. and Mrs. Foster had children as follows: Keziah J., wife of Thomas Hays; Phoebe, who married Matthew McGarey, of Butler county (both are deceased); Elizabeth, wife of C.W. Jordan, of Cowansville; Sarah B., deceased, wife of William Luton (he resides on the Thomas Hays farm, �Haysville�); Nancy, who died when fifteen years old; and Mary A. and Alice, who died in infancy.
Through Rebecca Galbraith, wife of Col. Ephraim Blaine, Mr. Hays traces his descent from another family of sturdy Scotch-Irish origin which has long been settled in Pennsylvania. The Galbraiths have long been established in America, and in the old country date back to the remote antiquity of Scotland. The name is derived from the Celtic and originally belonged to the Lennox in that country. The Galbraith chiefs had their residence in the parish of Baldernoch. The Galbraiths of the isle of Chiga descended from those of Baldernoch, as may be traced in the ancient records, having fled thither with Lord James Stewart, youngest son of Murdoch, Duke of Albany, from the Lennox, after burning Dumbarton, in the reign of James I. of Scotland. They continued to hold that island until after 1500. The following lines from the Scotch show the estimate in which the name was held:
Galbraiths from the Red Tower,
Noblest of Scottish surnames.
There is a small town of Scotland called �Inch (Island) Galbraith�. Upon it are many ruins of castles and villages, the strongholds built by the clan when war was the rule.
When Hon. W.A. Galbraith, of Erie, Pa., was traveling in Scotland, hearing that a family by the same name lived close to where he stopped, he went to call on them. He had with him a coat of arms preserved by the family in America, which he showed them, and they immediately produced a precise counterpart, the arms showing three bears� heads, muzzled, on a shield surmounted by a knight�s helmet and crest with the motto, which, translated, is, �Stronger from opposition�. Thus the origin of the family is established without doubt.
James Galbraith, the first of the line under consideration to settle in America, was born in 1650 in the North of Ireland, son of John Galbraith, and emigrated in 1718 with his family, settling in Donegal, Lancaster county, Pa. He was a man of influence and prominence in his day, and was among the founders of the old Derry Church, in what is now Dauphin county, Pa., near Derry station, and is buried in the old graveyard of that church. He died Aug. 23, 1744. The first regular pastor of this church, Rev. William Bertram, died May 2, 1746, and is buried near the church. Rebecca (Chambers), wife of James Galbraith, was a daughter of Arthur Chambers, who with the Allen, Allison, Armstrong, Boyd, Berryhill, Barnet, Bell, Black, Campbell, Clark, Carother, Crain, Carson, Calhoun, Craig, Cadwell, Cunningham, Cochran, Dixon, Dickey, Daugherty, Elder, Espy, Foster, Ferguson, Gilmore, Goven, Gray, Graham, Galbraith, Henderson, Hayes, Hampton, Jones, Johnson, Kelley, Laird, McCormick, McClure, McNair, McKeehan, Mitchell, Murray, McKee, McCreight, McDonald, McArthur, McMurray, McKnight, Montgomery, Ramsey, Rogers, Rutherford, Reed, Sloan, Sterett, Snodgrass, Strain, Stewart, Smith, Simpson, Sturgeon, Todd, Wilson, Wallace, McMahan families settled in the district just referred to between 1720 and 1730. Five children were born to James and Rebecca (Chambers) Galbraith, viz.: John, Andrew, James, Jr., Elenor (married Patrick McKinley) and Rebecca (married a Stewart).
John Galbraith, son of James, born 1690, resided where the Mount Joy and Marietta turnpikes cross Donegal run; he owned a large tract of land. he was elected sheriff of Lancaster county in 1731 and was a prominent man in his locality. He died 1754. In 1757 Janet, his widow, and James Galbraith sold the mill which he built to John Baley. Andrew Galbraith, son of James, born in 1692, lived near his brother John, his home being on Little Chicques creek. When Lancaster county was organized he was appointed the first coroner, and he and his brother John were members of the first jury drawn. In 1730 he was appointed one of the justices of the peace and of the Common Pleas court, which position he filled with honor until 1745. In 1732 he was elected a member of the Assembly in a spirited contest, in which his wife took an active part. Mounting her mare �Nellie� she rode around among the Scotch-Irish, who followed her to Lancaster, to the polls, where she addressed them effectively. He was afterward reelected without opposition, serving several terms in succession.
James Galbraith, Jr., was born in the North of Ireland in 1703 and died June 11, 1785, in East Pennsboro township, Cumberland county; he is buried in the Derry graveyard. He took up a tract of land in what is now Derry township, Dauphin county, on Spring creek, not far from Church Oleon, the warrant therefor being granted him March 13, 1737. The early provincial records of Pennsylvania speak frequently of him, for he was prominent in military circles and served in 1742-43 as sheriff of Lancaster county, where he was also justice of the peace for many years. He took an active part in the French and Indian war, serving as an officer from 1755 to 1763, and during the Revolutionary war, in which all his sons served, he was appointed lieutenant of Cumberland county, being too old for active duty in the field; his long experience as an officer gave him considerable prestige and authority and he was frequently consulted during the Revolution on matters pertaining to the prosecution of that war.
On April 6, 1734, James Galbraith married, in Christ Church, Philadelphia, Elizabeth Bertram, who was born in 1714 in the North of Ireland, only daughter of Rev. William and Elizabeth (Gillispie) Bertram. Mrs. Galbraith died Feb. 2, 1799, in Derry township, Dauphin county, the mother of the following children: William, Bertram, Robert, Dorcas, Elizabeth, Thomas, John and Ann. Robert Galbraith�s daughter Rebecca married Col. Ephraim Blaine, and they were the great-grandparents of Hon. James G. Blaine.
Bertram Galbraith, second son of James Galbraith, Jr., was first lieutenant in Lancaster county during the Revolution, doing excellent service for his country in that capacity. He was the progenitor of a branch of the Galbraith family now represented in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania.
Source: Pages 640-647, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Lisa Strobel for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
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