John Hay Biography

Kentuckiana Genealogy: Newspaper: John Hay Biography
By Board Administration (Admin) ( on Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 10:27 pm:

Denver (CO) Post, July 1, 1905, p. 1+. NOTE: This edition of the
newspaper contained several articles about Hay and a picture of the home where he died. Noted below is only one and it was abbreviated from the original as noted by the ellipsis. In another of the articles it was noted that Mr. Hay died of sudden heart failure on July 1, 1905, in Sunapee, N. H.


Birthplace. Salem, Indiana
Born.October 8, 1838
Alma mater.Brown University
Began practice.1859
Ambassador to England.1897
Secretary of state.1898
Wrote Lincoln's Biography.1881

John Hay was born in Salem, Ind., on October 8, 1838. He was the descendant of an old Scotch family that had emigrated to Virginia in 1750. He was the third son of the family and grew up with a love for books and learning, his father a prosperous physician and his mother the daughter of Rev. David A.

Young Hay was graduated at Brown University in 1858 taking high rank as a scholar especially in English composition. At the very beginning of his manhood, within a year after he graduated from Brown, he met the great opportunity of his life when, at 21, he was introduced by his uncle, Malcolm Hay, as a student in the law office of Abraham Lincoln at Springfield. Mr.
Lincoln, the "self-made" genius, then the acknowledged leader of his profession and party in the State of Illinois, and with an increasing national reputation, took a liking for the young collegian with whom he seemed to have much in common despite the disparity between them in age, temperament and early social and educational advantages. A gentleman by birth as well as breeding in the conventional as well as the real sense, young Hay had seen only the better side of pioneer life in the little town of Salem, Ind., where his physician father, Charles Hay, had settled after his sturdy grandfather, John Hay, son of Adam Hay, the Revolutionary soldier and friend of Washington, had removed from Kentucky to Illinois because he would not live in a slave state.

Young Hay won Mr. Lincoln's regard immediately and gradually grew closer and closer to him until he became almost like a son. Mr. Lincoln had few intimates with all his friends, and Mr. Hay was just like him in that respect, but they were as intimate together as two such different natures could be and to an increasing degree while Mr. Hay lived at the Whitehouse as a member of the family during most of the war and afterward until his friend and mentor was assassinated.

Soon after President Lincoln's death, Hay was appointed secretary of the legation at Paris and remained there for two years. In 1867 and 1868 he was charged d'affaires at Vienna, and in 1869 he had the same position in Spain.
He returned to the United Sates in 1870 and held an editorial position on the New York Tribune for five years where Horace Greeley declared, "He was the most brilliant writer that ever entered the office"

In 1875, having married Miss Stone, Hay removed to Cleveland, Ohio, and ten years later to Washington. During the administration of President Hayes, he was first assistant secretary of state and was also president of the international sanitary congress. During the latter part of the year he became editor-in-chief of the New York Tribune during the absence of Whiteclay Reid.

When President McKinley first became president in 1897, he appointed him ambassador to England.In 1898 he entered President McKinley's cabinet as secretary of state.

In 1874 Mr. Hay married Clara L. Stone. He is survived by Mrs. Hay and three children, one boy and two girls. His oldest son, Adelbert, was killed by an accidental fall while attending a class reunion at Yale in 1901.

Special thanks to Randi Richardson for this and many others.

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