C. P. Lycoming County, 705 December Term, 1950. In the matter of the death of John King Hays, Esquire, a member of the Bar of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.


To the Honorable Judges of Said Court:

It is with profound regret and deep sorrow that the Committee appointed by your Honorable Court for that purpose, make formal announcement of the death of JOHN KING HAYS, ESQUIRE, the oldest member of the Lycoming County Bar.

JOHN KING HAYS, Esq., was of the sixth generation of a family of Colonial days, died at the home of his son, John Coryell Hays, Sunday, January 28, 1951, in his 95th year, having been born in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, August 18, 1856.

He was educated in the Public School of Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, and was the oldest Alumni of the Williamsport High School, having graduated in the first class in 1872. He was also one of the oldest alumni of Lafayette College, having graduated from that institution in the Class of 1876.

He was admitted to the Bar of Lycoming County, May 10, 1879 and engaged in the practice of his chosen profession until 1904, when on account of the loss of his hearing he was compelled to retire.

In 1904, he became City Controller and served in that capacity until 1908, when he became City Assessor, a position he retained until 1919. He was therefore, the dean of the former City Officials.

He was a director and Secretary of the old Sun & Banner Co., now known as Sun-Gazette Publishing Company, and he was for a time engaged in the manufacture of an early type of a Gas Engine and formed the Williamsport Gas Engine Company.

For a time John King Hays, was engaged as a contractor and as such he laid the concrete base for the first hard surface street in Williamsport, Pa., being that portion of West Fourth Street between Elmira and Campbell Streets.

John King Hays, is the last member of the now famous Company C. 12th Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard, and between 1880 and 1885, he served as a Sergeant of that Company.

He was a Christian Gentleman and came from an old Presbyterian Family; as such he was the oldest Communicant Member of the First Presbyterian Church of this City and for many years served in the capacity as Sunday School Superintendent and as his obituary said “before most of the present members were born”.

Fraternally, he was made a Master Mason in Lodge No. 106, F. & A. M. located in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, and in 1893, he was elected Worshipful Master; in fact he was the oldest living Past Master, and was among the half dozen oldest Past Master’s of the Pennsylvania Jurisdiction.

He wrote the history of Lodge 106, for its 125th anniversary, his family had the distinction of three generations of Masons, serving as Worshipful Master, as follows:

JOHN HAYS, his Grandfather, 1820.
John Walker Hays, his Father, in 1857.
John King Hays, in 1893.

He was also Commander of Baldwin II Comandry NO. 22 of Knights Templar in 1892 and likewise had the distinction of being its oldest living Commander. He was the oldest living past officer of Lycoming Chapter, NO. 222, and of Adoniram Council NO. 26 of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

He was one of the seven (7) founders of the Howard Club of Knights Templar, and served as its President.
June 25, 1885, he was joined in marriage with Sarah Burrows Coryell, who predeceased him.

He leaves a son, John Coryell Hays, of Nisbet, Lycoming County Pa. with whom he lived, and a sister, Mrs. Charles R. Stearns of Williamsport, six Grandsons, one Granddaughter and six Great-grandchildren.
His daughter, the late Margaret Hays Lamade, predeceased him.

John King Hayes, Esq., was widely respected by all, but late, due to his advanced years and failing health he was precluded from being about.

He was a Christian Gentleman, affable, friendly and intensely interested in his fellow man, one who would always stop to talk and make some laughing, but kindly suggestion to those who knew him.

As a Lawyer he was of the old school which is all but passed.

The Court, the Bar which he so long since graced and his many friends, as well as the City and County at large will sadly miss him.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that in the death of John King Hays, Esq. the Bar of Lycoming County has lost one of its most widely known and beloved members; the City and County who he had served well, and those who knew him well a sincere and valued friend.

Be it further resolved, that in his passing we extend to his son and descendants our great sympathy, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That a copy of these resolutions he spread upon the records of this Court as a proper and fitting memorial, and a copy thereof be sent to his family.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Ira F. Smith
M. Edward Toner
John C. Candor
Seth McCormick Lynn
William E. Schnee