Compiled by Stephenie Flora
copyright © 2010
Mrs. Rebecca Hayes, Adult; emigrant of 1847; it has been stated that her husband had died on the trail but no mention has been found in any diaries to substantiate this claim. Whether it is true or not it appears she arrived alone except for her children. There has been much conflicting information on the existence of the second child. He has been referred to as Rapoleon, which was possibly meant to be Napoleon. If he was just a baby as Catherine Sager has stated, it is possible that in the hubbub of the mission life that he failed to create enough problems to warrant mention. Based on the fact that she only had two small children it is assumed that she may have been born about 1823. After the massacre it appears she dropped out of sight. There are several references to a Rebecca Hayes living in the Oregon Territory but upon examination the references are to a much younger woman. (see notes below)
Henry Clay Hayes first appears in the 1870 California census. If it is the correct Henry Hayes he is shown as b. Jul 1845 and his occupation is listed as a photographer. In 1880 he is boarding with a widow that later becomes his wife. They are apparently married shortly after the census as the 1900 census shows them as having been married 20 years.
Hayes b. c 1847 d. Dec 1847
1870: Napa, Napa Co, CA; Henry Hayes, 28, s, laborer, $200, MO
1873 Rebecca A. Hays served as witness to marriage performed by Spokane missionary Elkanah Walker on 12 may 1873 in Washington Co OR where groom was Norman Martin and bride was Emily McLin. the other witness was Lawrence Woodruff; [note: this is the wrong Rebecca Hays, she was b. 1848 and was married to William Hays]
1880: Dist 92, San Francisco, San Francisco Co, CA; Amelia Maldonado, 29, CA Can MX; Alfred, 10, CA CA CA; Isidore, 12, CA CA CA; Frances Ewing, 52, servant, Ire Ire Ire; Kate, 12, servant, CA Ire Ire; Henry C. Hayes, 38 (28?), boarder, photographer, NY NY NY
Land Patent: #1216 Columbia Co, WA Oct 2, 1888 Henry C. Hayes; E1/2 NW S12 T10N R40E
1900: Dist 74, Portland Ward 9, Multnomah Co, OR; Henry C. Hayes, Jul 1845, photographer, MO MO MO; Amelia, Sep 1851, m-20yrs, 2-2, CA Can Mex; Alfred Waldonaldo, Jun 1870, stepson, 29, s, hardwood finisher, CA Mex CA
1920: Portland, Multnomah Co, OR; Joseph Hayes, 51 (31?), accountant (city), CA MX CA; Louisa, 31, saleslady dry goods, KS KS KS; Harry, 8, OR; Joseph R., 6, OR; Amelia, mother, 66, wid, CA Can MX
“Rebecca Hays, a widow, arrived with a four-year-old son called Henry Clay—but she could cook, and the good Lord knew that Narcissa needed help in the kitchen. Whitman put Mrs. Hays in with the Peter Halls (and five children) who lived in what was called `the mansion house’ that Gray had built.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.310]
The Mansion House was 400' to the east of the
Mission House. It was built in the early 1840s by William Gray for his
bride. Ever since Gray had left the mission in 1842, Whitman had used the
neat, adobe building as a store house in summer and to house the emigrants in
the winter. It housed 29 people in November 1847:
“There were the Saunders and four children; the widow Rebecca Hays and young son; the Peter Halls with four children; and the Nathan Kimballs with five offspring, including an attractive sixteen-year-old girl called Susan. There was a widower, too. He was William (sic) Marsh, who ran the gristmill, and in his charge was an eleven-year-old daughter and a two-year-old grandson, Alba Lyman. Three bachelors completed the ménage: Jacob Hoffman, the tailor Gilliland, and the French-Canadian Joseph Stanfield, who had been employed by Whitman for some time. . [The Great Command by Nard Jones, Boston, 1959, p.311]
“With all this manpower around, Marcus saw he would have to employ a cook. He found her in the person of a widow, Rebecca Hays, who brought with her two children.” [Shallow Grave At Waiilatpu: The Sagers West by Erwin N. Thompson, The Press of the Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon, 1985 p.90] Note: he references the two children as per the account of Catherine Sager Pringle.
“….living at the station at the time of the massacre……Mrs. Hays and two children….” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Catherine p.46]
“Mrs. Hays and her son, Henry Clay, were outfitted with a couch in the kitchen.” [Shallow Grave At Waiilatpu: The Sagers West by Erwin N. Thompson, The Press of the Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon, 1985 p.90]
“As Mrs. Hays brought the first covered bowl from the kitchen to the living room, Narcissa appeared from the parlor. Her large gray eyes were clear, and it seemed to the Sager girls and Mary Ann and little David Malin that the room seemed brighter.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.328]
“On Wednesday, about noon, Helen M. Meek died, and was buried in the evening of the same day. Soon after, Mrs. Hays’ baby was carried to the grave. It died with the measles. So death walked among us.” ….” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Catherine Sager p.70]
“In the kitchen, washed up for the noonday meal, Joe Stanfield hung about Mrs. Hays, who was trying to knead bread dough while watching the simmering pots on the stove. The French-Canadian was much smitten by the plump widow, who had lost her husband on the trail. Stanfield had, in fact, proposed marriage and been smartly turned down. But he continued his suit, and the widow felt she had to suffer it. He had been employed by the Whitmans far longer than she, and Mrs. Hays did not intend to assume the authority of ordering him out. Stanfield remained blind to the widow’s intense dislike. At the moment, in that hot kitchen, he smelled of fresh beef blood. But his basic objections to Stanfield were that he had been baptized a Roman Catholic, and was far too friendly with Nicholas Finley and Joe Lewis, the troublemaker.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.327]
“Mary Ann was washing the dishes that Mrs. Hays had stacked before returning to the mission house.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.330]
“Mrs. Hays and Mrs. Hall, who had come in after dinner to help with the sick, now assisted Narcissa in dragging her bleeding, dying husband from the kitchen to a couch in the living room.” [Shallow Grave At Waiilatpu: The Sagers West by Erwin N. Thompson, The Press of the Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon, 1985 p.98]
“The Doctor was not instantly killed; Mrs. Hays, Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Saunders came running to the Mission house for protection and Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Hall unbolted the door, went into the kitchen and brought the wounded man into the living room and laid him on the floor, putting a pillow under his head.” ….” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Matilda Sager p.117]
Mrs. Hays and Mrs. Hall helped Narcissa move Whitman to the sitting room and lift him onto a settee. He was a ghastly sight, but he was not dead. She asked him if he knew her and he replied, "Yes". With a wet towel and ashes from the fireplace she tried to stop the blood flow from the gunshot wound at the throat. She asked, "Can I do anything to stop this blood from flowing?" and he replied "No". Her final question was, "Is your mind at peace?" and he replied "Yes".
Narcissa…“Gathering her courage and strength, she slowly came down the stairs, blood-stained bandages pointing out her pain. Behind her came Rodgers, Rebecca Hays and Mrs. Hall.” [Shallow Grave At Waiilatpu: The Sagers West by Erwin N. Thompson, The Press of the Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon, 1985 p.99]
“The captives were as follows:…..Mrs. Hays with two children (one of them died subsequently)….” ….” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Catherine Sager p.71]
Joe Stanfield “He had known of the massacre three days before it happened. When asked why he did not left it be known, replied it would have done no good. He had fallen in love with Mrs. Hays and had told the Indians that she was his wife. The evening after the massacre he told her this fact, and that she must say the same or they would all be killed. She consented to this in order to save the lives of the rest. He now tried to persuade her to elope with him some night. This she steadily refused to do, asking him what would become of the rest if he deserted them. He replied, `Let them go to hell.’ Mary Marsh was in the family of Mrs. S. Joe came and took her into his room and was seen having private talks with her. It seems he was trying to get her to accompany him and Mrs. H in an elopement; but Mrs. H. still refused to go. He now resorted to another expedient, and one night after she had retired he wrote to a priest at Fort Walla Walla, requesting him to come and marry him, stating that he and his wife had been married by a Protestant clergyman, but being Catholic they did not consider their marriage valid. This letter he sent without her knowledge. The priest had the prudence not to come as requested.” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Catherine Sager p.71]
After the massacre, Joe Stanfield took up his evening chores. “Possibly he hoped to impress Mrs. Hays for his proposals were not at an end.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.339]
“At the mansion house the shocked Vicar-General tried to say words of comfort to the women and children……….They had never seen a Catholic priest, but had heard of them. Mrs. Hays prepared breakfast for Brouillet, and he ate in silence.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.345]
Tilaukait ordered the single women to take chiefs as their husbands. “Just after this council was probably the opportune time for Joe Stanfield to make another proposal of marriage to the Widow Hays. When she refused him once more, he had an alternate suggestion. Clearly a woman so attractive was in danger. But if the Cayuse believed that they were man and wife, she would be safe. The only way to convince the Indians that they were married would be for them to be seen sleeping in the same bed. But the arrangement would be for the sake of appearances only; young Henry Clay would sleep between them. Possibly with the approval of the other women, who may have felt the deception would help everybody, Mrs. Hays consented.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.354]
Joe Stanfield took the opportunity to propose one more time to Mrs. Hays. When she refused once more he reminded her of her vulnerability and suggested to her that for her own protection they should pretend to be husband and wife. The only way to convince the Indians would be to sleep in the same bed but he would allow her to put young Henry Clay between them. With few options left to her, Rebecca Hays agreed.
“On December 29, a small caravan moved out from the mission heading westward toward Fort Walla Walla…….In the lead, Joseph Stanfield drove his friend, Rebecca Hays.” [Shallow Grave At Waiilatpu: The Sagers West by Erwin N. Thompson, The Press of the Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon, 1985 p.117]
While at the Fort “We were distributed as follows: Mrs Hall and family, with Mrs. Hays, Joe Stanfield, Mary Marsh and Mary A. Bridger, occupied one room……”….” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Catherine Sager p.72]
While at the fort..”Mrs. Hays and Mrs. Hall were carrying in a large basket of bread between them, when Joe came and told Mrs. Hays he wanted to speak with her. She told him if he had anything to say, to say it. He asked her if she would marry him. She replied: `No, you nor no other man. My husband has been dead but a short time.’ He died on the plains and she would not marry on that account; that she would not have him anyhow. He turned away saying if he had known that, she might have gone to hell long ago.” ….” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Catherine Sager p.71-72]
“After Mr. Ogeden had taken down all the names, the priest told him to ask Joe which was his wife. He did so, and Joe pointed to Mrs. Hays. She now became acquainted with the fact of his writing the letter. She told Mr. Ogden she never was his wife and never intended to be.” ….” [The Whitman Massacre of 1847 by Catherine, Elizabeth & Matilda Sager, Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, WA 1986 Catherine Sager p.72]
“It seems improbable that the Widow Hays was loquacious about her recent arrangement with Joe Stanfield; yet effort was begun at once to implicate him as a conspirator in the massacre.” [The Great Command by Nard Jones; Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1959 p.360]
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