Former Captain of the Texas Rangers John Coffee "Jack" Hays sits out the war, and I can only speculate why.

Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
john hays.jpg

If you've ever read about the Texas Rangers you've probably heard of John Hays.

Born in 1817 in Wilson County TN, Hays was the son of a veteran from the War of 1812. At the age of 19 Hays moved out to the newly declared Republic of Texas, he was familiar with Sam Houston through his family. Houston put him with a company Rangers, and the role stuck. Later on, he and his Rangers went to war with the Comanche and through much loss stopping the raids on Texas settlements. He fought in continuing disputes with Mexico, and in the Mexican-American War gaining national acclaim. In 1849, he was appointed Indian Agent to the Gila River country in the Arizona New mexico territory, and a year later would join a party of Forty Niners to go California. A new sheriff of San Francisco county, then an active member of California politics, Hays moved to Virginia City Nevada in 1860. He heard of a battle that recently happend between locals and the Paiute, so he and 500 other men led an offensive against the local tribes. A battle was fought at Pyramid lake Nevada, the volunteers and Hays emerged victorious.1861 arrives, Ft. Sumter is fired upon, Hays decides to sit out what would've be our Country's greatest schism.

Captain John Coffee "Jack" Hays could do it all, he had been there and done that. Revolutionary, Ranger, Explorer, there might have been few men in the country as capable as Hays, but When it came time for another date with history, he turned it down.

Why would a man that was so suited to lead in combat turn down another chance to add to his legacy? I imagine it could be few things. Having seen to much death and conflict, obligations to family, or maybe just not caring. Could it have been that Hays took the stance of neutrality stance that Sam Houston took? Consider that Jack Hays' brother was Confederate Brigadier General Harry T. Hays of New Orleans, though. California seems far but there many that went eastward to join either side, so I dont think that was the reason.

John Coffee Hays wasn't alone in sitting out the War between the states, there we're tens of thousands, each with their own reasons. Hays though? In my opinion his case is curious. Why? Why did he choose this? Food for thought.

Thoughts?
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Would imagine age and identity, he had lived in NM, CA, NV for 11 years, he may considered himself a westerner and not a Texan anymore. Don't think many Californians or Nevadans served.

Alot of those making the trip in 61 were stationed out west so 1-were still active duty and 2 duty station is not necessarily the same as choosing to live somewhere as home.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Would imagine age and identity, he had lived in NM, CA, NV for 11 years, he may considered himself a westerner and not a Texan anymore. Don't think many Californians or Nevadans served.

Alot of those making the trip in 61 were stationed out west so 1-were still active duty and 2 duty station is not necessarily the same as choosing to live somewhere as home.
Good insight.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
I doubt he felt too old but did have family, friends, politics, and real estate holdings in California. It probably felt like a differant world out there, a thousand + miles from the war. Why risk it?
Maybe he could've had some sentiment towards Texas and the South, or Maybe his new found state of California that formed some units that fought for the Union. Who knows.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Many southerners, if given the opportunity to defend their own doorstep and hearthstone would do so. I believe he had gold fever in 1849, liked elections due to winning an elective post as sheriff, moved to Nevada and settled in Virginia City which was a major stagecoach line for gold shipments, and decided his position within his community was more important.
Lublliner.
 
Top