“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cahokia in St. Clair County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

John Jacob Hays (1770-1836)

John Jacob Hays (1770-1836) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jerry Klinger, May 17, 2019
1. John Jacob Hays (1770-1836) Marker
Inscription.  John Jacob Hays was born in New York circa 1770. His family emigrated to North America from the Netherlands in 1720. The Hays family belongs to Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish Congregation in the United States.

John Jacob Hays left New York and settled in Cahokia circa 1790. He was merchant engaged in the trade with Native-American tribes in the Mississippi River Valley. Upon moving to Cahokia, he joined the militia, serving under Francois Saucier and alongside his French neighbors.

When Illinois gained statehood in 1818, Hays was the sole Jewish resident of the New State.

He married Marie Louise Brouillet in 1801 in Vincennes. Little is known of his immediate family. In the 1810 census, the Hays household included three children under the age of 10.

He was appointed as the Sheriff of St. Clair County in 1802, and as a Justice of the Peace in 1806. Hays also served on the county Board of Commissioners when the decision was made to move the county seat from Cahokia to Bellville in 1814. He was appointed Collector of the Internal Revenue for the Illinois Territory by President James Madison in 1814. In 1820 Hays was appointed Indian Agent for the Potawatomi and Miami Tribes in Northeastern Indiana.

In 1823, Hays returned to Cahokia where he died in 1836.

Erected 2019 by Sponsored by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, the St. Clair Historical Society, the Illiniois State Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Illinois State Historical Society, and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation Markers marker series.
Location. 38° 34.221′ N, 90° 11.559′ W. Marker is in Cahokia, Illinois, in St. Clair County. Marker is on Elm Street. Located on the grounds of the historic, Old Cahokia Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 107 Elm Street, East Saint Louis IL 62206, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. French-Colonial Home Site Of Jean Baptiste Hamelin (approx. mile away); St. Louis Arsenal (approx. 1.8 miles away in Missouri); Nathaniel Lyon (approx. 1.9 miles away in Missouri); a different marker also named St. Louis Arsenal (approx. 2 miles away in Missouri); Cherokee Cave (approx. 2 miles away in Missouri); Origins (approx. 2 miles away in Missouri); DeMenil Mansion (approx. 2 miles away in Missouri); DeMenil Place During The Gay Nineties (approx. 2 miles away in Missouri).
Regarding John Jacob Hays (1770-1836). First Jewish American in Illinois at time of Statehood. While a pioneer settler and farmer, he became the Justice of the Peace, Sheriff, Indian Agent, Collector of the Internal Revenue and legal representative of the Federal Government appointed by U.S. Presidents. He worked with the Federal and State governments for the development and settlement of the Old Northwest Territory. Hays interacted and supported the early efforts of Lewis and Clark in their mission of exploration. He was a friend of William Henry Harrison, later president of the United States.
Additional keywords. Jewish American, Frontiersman, Revolutionary War, Old Northwest, William Henry Harrison, Lewis and Clark, American frontier history, Jewish American History
Categories. Churches & ReligionNotable PersonsSettlements & Settlers


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Credits. This page was last revised on May 27, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 18, 2019, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Maryland. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on May 18, 2019, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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