HAYES, JOSEPH W. - Belief in the ultimate future of Sangamon County land has resulted in the accumulation of wealth by many of the agriculturists of this favored locality. One of the men who had the pleasure of seeing his faith amply justified is Joseph W. Hayes, of Section 6, Cartwright Township. He was born on this farm September 27, 1852, in a small frame house, which is now included in his substantial residence. He is a son of Augustus and Mary Ann (Wright) Hayes, both natives of Lancaster, Pa., where they married, after growing up together. Augustus Hayes is a son of John Hayes, a native of the North of Ireland, coming of Scotch and Irish ancestry. They were all Protestants, belonging to the Presbyterian Church.
Augustus Hayes was a man of some prominence in Lancaster County, living as he did in Mt. Joy, where he carried on a general store and operated a canal-boat. In spite of his successful business transactions, however, he decided he wanted a broader field for his children, and in 1848 sold out and moved to Illinois. Seven of his children were born in Lancaster County. All of them are now deceased except Joseph W. and Mrs. Rebecca Fink, wife of George W. Fink. The others were: John, who died in Pennsylvania; Sarah, who became the wife of Dr. Albert Atherton; Mary J., who became the wife of R. J. Rudisell; Charlotte, who became the wife of Isaac P. Smith; Albert, who died in Sangamon County in 1824.The family migration was accomplished by water to Beardstown, and from there over land to Springfield, where the winter of 1824 was spent. In the spring of 1825 they came to Cartwright Township, renting land on the old State Road. Many weary travelers partook of the lavish hospitality of the old pioneer, who never stopped to think of himself, but kept open house for all who needed food and refreshment. In 1826 he bought 640 acres, on which he began to build a home. He had intended to embark in a mercantile business but found that it would not be profitable to do so, as the merchant of those days was expected to carry his customers for a year and then take his pay in coon skins. Therefore, he devoted his energy to the development of his land. Here, as in Pennsylvania, he took a lively part in politics, supporting the Democratic party, and was a recognized leader in local affairs. While not a member of any church, he contributed liberally towards the erection and support of numerous churches. Mrs. Hayes was a devout Christian lady, who passed away firm in the faith of the Methodist Church, in 1880. Her husband died September 12, 1878, after having retired from active labor, on the farm he had made so valuable.
Joseph W. Hayes was brought up on the farm, attending the district school and those of Springfield. For some years he was in a mercantile business but eventually sold out, having more faith in agriculture, and in 1876 he took charge of the homestead. He began farming on his own account after his marriage. This event took place March 12, 1877, when he was united with Miss Fannie M. Pierce, born March 8, 1855, in Duchess County, N. Y., a daughter of Lowe and Louisa (Ferry) Pierce, but the only one of the family now surviving, her father passing away in 1898, and her mother in July, 1900. All her brothers and sisters died in infancy. The family came to Pleasant Plains about 1870. Mr. Pierce was in early life a maker of scythes and sickles by hand, but later was a farmer. He was also a blacksmith, and was well known in this locality.After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Hayes began faming on the property which they still own, and here all their children have been born, they being: Harry D., a farmer of Wyoming; Mary Maud, at home; Karl Lowell, a physician and surgeon of Farmersville, Ill.; August W. a graduate of the agricultural department of the State University, now in charge of the experimental farms in various parts of the State; Zella F., a teacher in the public schools of Tallula, Ill.; Rose Mary, and Oliver H., at home. For fifty-eight years Mr. Hayes has been identified with the best interests of Sangamon County, and since 1824 the Hayes family have been leaders there. He has always taken an interest in public matters, giving his support to the Democratic party. Fraternally he belongs to the Masonic organization, being affiliated with Lodge No. 700, of Pleasant Plains. The family all belong to the Presbyterian Church and give it a hearty and intelligent support. While Mr. Hayes has always refused to permit his name to be used on the ticket of his party, he has given his services for many years as a School Director, and it is largely due to his efforts that his home district has secured such good teachers and the children such intelligent supervision of their interests. His farm contains 185 acres, on which he raises a good grade of stock, including horses, cattle, hogs and sheep. The land is in a high state of development and his crops are astonishingly large. No man stands higher in the community than he as an intelligent and successful farmer and broad-minded, loyal citizen.