Benjamin F. Hays is the son of Peter and Jane (Miller) Hays, and the grandson of John Hays, who came from Pennsylvania and settled in Kentucky. Peter Hays was born in Kentucky, and came to Missouri, Moniteau County, about thirty-five years ago. He married Miss Jane Miller, daughter of Levi Miller, whose wife's maiden name was Miss Brown, and who came from Virginia. Mr. Hays rented land in Moniteau County until 1862, when he purchased 160 acres, and there lived until his death, which occurred July 10, 1864. He was killed in a dastardly manner by bushwhackers, who rode up to the house in the night-time, while his three sons were away from home, went through the house, plundering it of all they wished, and then attacked Mr. Hays, putting seven shots in his body. Who the assassins were has never been determined, although the same men killed two other men that night, and in almost a like manner. Mrs. Hays lived on the place until 1885, when she died, surrounded by her children. Benjamin F. Hays, the eldest son of Peter and Jane (Miller) Hays, remained on the farm after the death of his father, with the exception of a year that he spent in Kentucky, and where he had some interesting experiences with the bushwhackers of that county, and at one time was taken for one himself, but proved his innocence, and was given his freedom. He was married to Miss Rose A. Newkirk, daughter of David S. and Mary (McPherson) Newkirk, and granddaughter of Joseph McPherson, of Kentucky, December l, 1870, and soon bought out some of the shares of the old homestead. Since then he bought the other shares, and has added 230 acres to the original tract, besides erecting fine buildings. He has a fine family of children, eleven in all, and has never lost one. They are named as follows: Minnie Lee, David P., Charles H., James T., Thomas A., Mary F., George F., Joseph A., Rose E., Anna C. and the baby, John Edwin.
History of Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Benton, Miller, Maries and Osage Counties, Missouri, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.