John Coffee Hays
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|John Coffee "Jack" Hays|
John Coffee Hays
January 27, 1817|
Wilson County, Tennessee
|Died||April 21, 1883
|Place of burial||Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland|
|Service/branch||Texas Ranger Division|
|Years of service||joined Rangers in 1836|
|Commands held||1st Mounted Texas Rifles
|Other work||Sheriff, politician|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Texas|
Col. John Coffee "Jack" Hays (January 28, 1817 – April 21, 1883) was a captain in the Texas Rangers and a military officer of the Republic of Texas. Hays served in several armed conflicts from 1836–1848, including against the Comanche people in Texas and during the Mexican-American War.
Hays was born at Little Cedar Lick, Wilson County, Tennessee. Rachel Jackson and Andrew Jackson were his Aunt and Uncle, Jack spent much time with them growing up at the Hermitage prior to the Jackson presidency. His father Harmon Hays named his son after longtime family friend and Jackson protégé Colonel John Coffee. His brother was Confederate General Harry T. Hays of New Orleans. His sister, Sarah Hays Lea, was the mother of John Hays Hammond.
In 1836, at the age of 19, Hays migrated to Texas. Sam Houston appointed him as a member of a company of Texas Rangers because he knew the Hays family from Tennessee. Jack met with Sam Houston and delivered a letter of recommendation from his uncle Andrew Jackson.
In the following years, Hays led the Rangers on a campaign against the Comanche and other tribes in Texas, and succeeded in weakening their power. In 1840 Tonkawa Chief Placido and 13 scouts joined with the Rangers to track down a large Comanche war party, culminating at the Battle of Plum Creek. Later, Hays commanded the force against the invasion from Mexico of 1842. During the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), Hays commanded the First Regiment of Texas Rangers at the Battle of Monterrey, established six companies along the northern and western frontier of Texas, and commanded the Second Regiment of Texas Rangers in Winfield Scott's Mexico City campaign. The Rangers excelled during this conflict, gaining nationwide fame.
Marriage and family
The Comanche had great admiration for Hays. Upon news of the birth of Hays' first son in California, Chief Buffalo Hump sent the Hays family a gift, a golden spoon engraved "Buffalo Hump Jr."
When John Hays Jr. married Anna McMullin in San Francisco, two Texas Ranger legacies were combined. Her father, Captain John McMullin, was one of Jack Hays' closest friends; he had followed him to California. In 1850 McMullin was elected the first Sheriff of Sacramento.
The next year the Hayses joined the migration to California. Hays was elected sheriff of San Francisco County in 1850, and later became active in politics. In 1853, he was appointed US surveyor general for California.
Hays was one of the founders of the city of Oakland. In the following years, he amassed a considerable fortune through real estate and ranching enterprises. In 1860, while in Virginia City, Nevada, on business, he heard the news of the First Battle of Pyramid Lake. He commanded a force of volunteer soldiers at the Second Battle of Pyramid Lake.
During the Civil War, Hayes retired from any further political or military activity.
Legacy and honors
Hays County, Texas is named in his honor.
- "A Great Captain and a New Weapon" by Charles M. Robinson, III
- "Unique". Time Magazine. May 10, 1926. ISSN 0040-781X.
- "Chief Placido", San Marcos Record, November 2007
- "John Hays, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, Texas Rangers Website
- Ford, J.S., 1963, Rip Ford's Texas, Austin: University of Texas Press, ISBN 0292770340, p. 60
- Weiss, Harold J., Jr. "Hays, John Coffee (1817–1883).". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- Weinert, Willie Mae (1976). An Authentic History of Guadalupe County. Seguin Conservation Society.
- Jack Hays
- Texas Ranger Hays
- John Coffee "Jack" Hays at Find a Grave
- Gwynne, S. C. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, New York: Scribner, 2010;
- Robinson, Charles, The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers, Modern Library, (2001). ISBN 0-375-75748-1.
- Swift, Roy, Three Roads to Chihuahua: The Great Wagon Roads that Opened the Southwest, Eakin Press (1988). ISBN 0-89015-640-9.
- Webb, Walter Prescott, The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Justice, University of Texas Press, (1965, second ed.).
- Wilkins, Frederick, The Legend Begins: The Texas Rangers, 1823–1845, State House Press, (1996). ISBN 1-880510-41-3.
- Wilkins, Frederick, Defending the Borders: The Texas Rangers, 1848–1861, State House Press, (2001). ISBN 1-880510-41-3.
- Wilkins, Frederick, The Law Comes to Texas: The Texas Rangers 1870–1901, State House Press, (1999). ISBN 1-880510-61-8.