Captain Joseph Hayes Family Association of Indiana / Ohio 114th Annual Reunion

Sunday, October 7th, 2018
Greendale Cabin, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
12:30 - 4 pm.

The early settlers of the Big Bottom area lingered in the memories of the elders as the 20th century dawned. At a reunion of students, teachers and community member at the Mount Nebo School in September 1904, it became evident that many of the participants had a common family legacy - that of Captain Joseph Hayes. That year they decided to host the first Hayes family reunion. Many at those early reunions recalled their memories and passed down well worn family stories. The family, even from the earliest days, tended to be long-lived. Captain Joseph lived to be 80. The reunion became an annual affair, held each October on the first Sunday.

The family reunion is steeped in tradition and little has changed over the years. It begins with the Pledge of Allegiance and is closed by singing "God Be With You". An early tradition was distributing a commemorative ribbon starting in 1907. At one point someone took leftover ribbons from 1941 through 1951 and sewed them together to form a colorful banner. A registry book has been kept that includes the names of participants from 1933 through 1997. There is a business meeting and annual elections, followed by the always abundant "pot luck" dinner.

Many of the reunions have been held in the Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, Ohio. The reunion would meet in the church, and then move over to the school building next door for a luncheon. Over the years the group has met in other venues in Cleves, Whitewater, Miamitown, and North Bend, Ohio. The 100th annual reunion was held in the Greendale Cabin, located on land owned by the Hayes and donated to the town of Greendale by Ezra G. Hayes to create Greendale Cemetery. The 101st reunion was held in Shawnee Lookout Park on the grounds of the 1805 historic "Dunn cabin", the first log cabin built in Elizabethtown.

The Hayes Family Association has helped preserve the history and legacy of Captain Joseph for subsequent generations. Around 1920 Joseph W. Hayes urged the reunion to publish the genealogy of the family. Jacob Carroll Hayes, from West Chester, Pennsylvania offered his Ohio cousins materials from the Bi-Centennial book to use in their project. Royal S. Hayes, the local school teacher and history buff helped organize and nurture the project. With the participation of a large number of supporters, in 1928 the family published The Hayes Family, Origin, History and Genealogy, compiled and edited by Royal. An updated genealogy and reprint of this book was published by the family in 1981. A new book was published to commemorate the 100th Annual Hayes Family Reunion and to update the genealogy. Furthermore, the group has worked to repair and preserve the Miller Pioneer Cemetery where Captain Joseph Hayes and many of the original settlers are buried.

For over a century Hayes cousins have gathered to share their family stories and preserve the family memory. Many still live in the area while others travel hundreds of miles to attend. All because a common ancestor lived larger than life and reminds us still that courage, faith and tenacity help shape the American dream.

50th annual reunion of the Hayes Family Reunion, October 1954, in front of the Elizabethtown, Ohio Methodist Church.
Hayes memorabilia on display at the reunion Royal S. Hayes

For more information on the Hayes Family Association, contact Robert Allan Stevens, President, at or Nancy Dalrymple, Secretary/Treasurer, at

Copyright © 2007 The Hayes Family Website Design by Oksana Yatsiv