Hays County Historical Commission members joined Commissioners Court members and others to celebrate the 200th birthday of Hays County namesake Jack C. Hays. Left to right, front row, Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant, Ralph Randow, Trish Randow, Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley, SarahAnn Lowther, Ralph Meyer, County Judge Bert Cobb, M.D., Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark Jones, Historical Commission Chair Kate Johnson, Luanne Cullen, Dr. Henry Oles, Marie Bassett, Marian Oles, Ofelia Vasquez Philo, Jo Ann Lowe, Jerry Moore, (back row) former Texas Ranger Tommy Ratliff, Area Texas Ranger Trampas Gooding, Delbert Bassett, Linda Coker, Cindy Meyer and Eric Beckers. PHOTO COURTESY OF HAYS COUNTY
County’s founder honored on 200th anniversary of his birth
The Hays County Commissioners Court and Hays County Historical Commission Tuesday celebrated the Jan. 28, 2017 bicentennial birthday of its namesake, John (Jack C.) Coffee Hays, with the Court proclaiming Jan. 21-28 as Col. John Coffee Hays Week.
“We’re honored to be named after one of the most famous Texas Rangers and a pioneer in law enforcement on the Texas frontier,” Hays County Historical Commission Chair Kate Johnson said, noting that the Historical Commission devoted countless hours to documenting his life, resulting in a chapter in the Hays County history book as well as the first historical documentary produced by the Commission.
Born in Tennessee, Hays made his way to Texas where he joined a Ranger company and fought under Thomas Rusk and Erastus “Deaf” Smith for Texas Independence.
In 1840 he was appointed a Ranger captain and engaged in battles and skirmishes with hostile Indian tribes as well as Mexican troops. Hays and his Rangers were involved in important actions at Plum Creek, Salado, Enchanted Rock, and the “Woll Invasion” of 1842, among others. He was among the first to use the 1844 Navy Colt Paterson five-shot revolver, making suggestions for improvements to it that led to the Colt revolver becoming one of the guns that helped win the West.
Senator Edward Burleson introduced legislation that on March 1, 1848, created the county named in Hay’s honor from part of Travis County.
Hays left Texas in 1849 and became the first sheriff of San Francisco, California, the first U.S. Surveyor General for California and founded the city of Oakland. Hays died on April 21, 1883, the 47th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. He is interred in the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.
Following the proclamation signing, Johnson invited all to enjoy a birthday cake emblazoned with a photo of the statue of Hays that stands on the Courthouse grounds. She also announced to the Court that the Historical Commission had applied for a historical marker recognizing Hays to be placed on the Courthouse grounds.
For more about the Hays County Historical Commission, visit www.hayshistoricalcommission.com.