1837–1907

Introduction

portrait

Born: Ju­ly 19, 1837, Lou­is­ville, Ken­tuc­ky.

Died: Ju­ly 23, 1907, Louisville, Kentucky.

Buried: Cave Hill Ce­me­te­ry, Louisville, Kentucky.

Pseudonyms:

illustration

Biography

Hays at­tend­ed col­lege in Han­o­ver, In­di­a­na; Clarks­ville, Ten­nes­see; and George­town, Ken­tuc­ky. His first song, Lit­tle Ones at Home, was pub­lished in 1856, while he was stu­dying at George­town Col­lege.

After col­lege, he be­came a re­port­er for the Lou­is­ville, Ken­tuc­ky, Dem­o­crat. Dur­ing the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war, he was jailed in New Or­le­ans for writ­ing songs sym­pa­th­etic to the south­ern cause.

After the war, he worked on steam­boats on the Mis­sis­sip­pi and Ohio Ri­vers, and rose to cap­tain of the ship Gray Ea­gle.

Later, he spent three decades as a col­um­nist at the Lou­is­ville Cour­i­er-Jour­nal.

Works

Hays re­port­ed­ly wrote ov­er 350 songs in his life­time. One of them, Mol­lie Dar­ling, sold ov­er a mil­lion co­pies, an in­cre­di­ble fi­gure in that day. Among his oth­er po­pu­lar ti­tles were Lit­tle Old Log Ca­bin in the Lane, Su­san Jane and Oh! Sam.

Sources

Lyrics

Music