A to Z Blog Challenge
E is for Elizabeth “Elly” Hays
Elly was born in North Carolina in 1774 to Nicholas Hays and Ally Steele. It’s been very difficult finding a paper trail of her young years. The first I’ve found is her marriage certificate 20 Dec 1790 to James Rodgers Jr, which is signed by her brother Samuel Hays. This is in Greene, Tennessee. All of the family records bounce back and forth between Tennessee and North Carolina, so I suspect the state border was blurred at that time.
Once she married, the paper trail becomes clearer.
She gave birth to Elizabeth in 1791, Hays in 1793, a female who is listed in James’s will as “my deceased daughter” in 1794, Absolom in 1796, Margaret Peggy in 1797, Susannah in 1799, Harvey in 1800, Martha Ellen “Ellie” in 1801, Polly in 1806, Napoleon Bonapart in 1808, and Andrew Jackson in 1810, and finally, Lavenia in 1819.
In 1811, the family, yes, all thirteen of them (Lavenia wasn’t born yet), moved by wagon from Tennessee to Clarke County, Alabama. At the time, Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory as Alabama did not become a state until 1819. The area was a wild frontier, filled with the Creek Indians who were causing all the mischief and death they could to keep the white man from encroaching on their land. This was also a few months before the War of 1812 began. In the south, the war was between the Americans and the Indians, who were armed by the British.
The family suffered through serious harassment by the Creek Indians. Their livestock was raided and it is reported their home was burned to the ground. This was at the time both of her older sons, Hays and Absolom, were off serving in the Mississippi Militia and were not home to help.
When the boys were discharged in 1818, Elly packed her family and moved west to Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to the land of the gentle Choctaw Indians.
Following her husband’s death in Mississippi in 1826, Elly moved back to Alabama and lived with her eldest daughter, Elizabeth.
An abstract of her husband’s will is as follows:
WILL OF JAMES RODGERS
Copiah County, Mississippi, August 7, 1826 – Page 180
In the name of God Amen, I James Rodgers, doth find myself weak and infirm in bodily health, though strong in recollections and understanding doth therefore recommend my soul to God, my body to the Grave and my worldly effects to be deposed as follows–
To my dearly beloved wife Elly Rodgers
My oldest daughter Elizabeth Matlock
My Eldest son Hays Rodgers
William H. Wilson, the husband of my daughter and deceased, I give $1.00,
My son Abslum Rodgers
My daughter Peggy Rodgers
My daughter Susanah Rodgers
My daughter Ellie Kirk
My son Harvey Rodgers
My daughter Lavina Rodgers
My daughter Polly Hendricks
My son Bonapart Rodgers
My son Jackson Rodgers
Lastly I, constitute and appoint my son Hays Rodgers and John Deaton, Executors.
Elly died in Grove Hill, Clarke County, Alabama in 1839.
The exact date of her death is unknown. Her burial place is unknown.
Elly is my 5th great grandmother.
I wrote a book about her called “Elly Hays.”
It’s available at Amazon. Click here.
I was struck by the name Napoleon Bonapart for one of the children, a lot of politics tied up in that name. Do you know why they chose it?
You are fortunate to find so many documents from the period.
Fellow A to Z-er
I don’t know why they chose it. I guess Napoleon was a hero even in America. It seems strange that when news traveled as slow as it did back then that someone on another continent would know his name, even if he was the Emperor of France. Makes me want to research the newspapers and journals of the time. 🙂