“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


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

John Jacob Hays (1770-1836) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, October 1, 2019
2. John Jacob Hays (1770-1836) Marker
Next to the Cahokia Courthouse sign
Click or scan to see
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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 The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, the St. Clair Historical Society, the Illiniois State Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #04 James Madison, the Former U.S. Presidents: #09 William Henry Harrison, the Illinois State Historical Society, and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation Markers ✡️ series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1770.
Location. 38° 34.211′ N, 90° 11.545′ W. Marker is in Cahokia, Illinois, in St. Clair County. Marker is at the intersection of Elm Street and West 2nd Street 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 walking distance of this marker. Cahokia Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Illinois in the American Revolution (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cahokia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lewis and Clark in Illinois

John Jacob Hays (1770-1836) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, October 1, 2019
3. John Jacob Hays (1770-1836) Marker
To the left of the marker is the Cahokia Courthouse Visitors Center.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Revolutionary War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); St. Louis Downtown Airport (Parks Airport) (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cahokia Association for the Tricentennial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Parks Air College (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cahokia.
More about this marker. Marker was dedicated on May 17, 2019. It was unveiled by St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson.
Regarding John Jacob Hays. 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
Credits. This page was last revised on November 8, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 18, 2019, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Maryland. This page has been viewed 154 times since then and 20 times this year. Last updated on October 2, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. Photos:   1. submitted on May 18, 2019, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Maryland.   2, 3. submitted on October 2, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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May. 18, 2021