Biography of William S. Mays

WILLIAM S. MAYS. This gentleman is a worthy representative of that honest, industrious and law-abiding class that has helped make America the most favored nation on the face of the globe. He has tilled the soil from his earliest youth, and in addition has devoted considerable attention to merchandising, in both of which occupations he has been quite successful. He is a native of the county in which he is now living, his birth having occurred in 1852, he being the only child born to his parents, John and Emily (Tutt) Mays, who were born in Alabama and Searcy County, Arkansas, respectively, the birth of the former occurring about 1826.

He came with his parents to Searcy County where he was married and located on a small farm on Buffalo River, where he was left a widower when the subject of this sketch was about one year old. The latter was placed in charge of his Grandfather Tutt, and Mr. Mays started on the overland journey to California, but when within about three miles of the California line he sickened and died, his death occurring about six months after that of his wife. He was a man of excellent habits, was industrious and upright, and was universally respected. His father, James May, is supposed to have been an Alabamian, from which State he came to Searcy County, Arkansas, when the country was in a primitive condition and located in the vicinity of St. Joe, where he spent the rest of his life as an honest and industrious farmer and blacksmith. He died in 1876 at the age of eighty-five years. He was married five times and reared four different families of children, twenty-one in all. He was a Democrat politically, was a devout member of the Methodist Church, and was of Irish ancestry. The maternal grandfather, Benjamin Tutt, was a Tennessean and came from his native State to Arkansas, being one of the first white settlers of the northern part of this State. He was a typical frontiersman, was very fond of the chase and became a noted Nimrod throughout the State. He died in 1871 at the age of sixty-nine years, having reared a family of seven children: Skelton, who died at Corinth, Miss., while serving in the Confederate Army; James H.; Julia, wife of Jackson Osborn; Rachel, the deceased wife of Dr. Evans; Mary Ann, the deceased wife of C. W. Keeler; Nancy Jane, wife of the above mentioned C. W. Keeler, and Emily (Mrs. Mays). The mother of these children died in 1861, she and her husband having been members of the United Baptist Church, and he a Republican in politics.

The subject of this sketch was reared by his Grandfather Tutt, with whom he made his home until he was seventeen years of age, having up to this time received but limited educational advantages. In 1871, at the early age of nineteen years, he was married to Sarah, daughter of Hiram and Rebecca Baker, Tennesseans, who early settled in Arkansas where the father died in 1858, his widow surviving him. Mrs. Mays was born in this county and has borne Mr. Mays the following children: John, Emily (wife of Robert Terrell), Frank, Jean, George, Edwin, Maud and James W. (deceased.) Mr. Mays is the owner of a fine farm of 310 acres, in several different tracts, some of which is fine river bottom land and very fertile and valuable. All his property has been acquired by his own efforts and he has every reason to be satisfied with the result of his labors. He has resided on his present farm since 1872 and for about four years past has been engaged in merchandising on this farm, and in the latter enterprise has had a partner since 1894, the firm being now known as Mays & Lay. They do a general mercantile business and Mr. Mays is also a member of the firm of Mays & Lutt, millers and ginners. He is a Republican in politics, has held the office of justice of the peace for four years, and socially is a member of the A. F. & A. M. Lodge No. 317, of St. Joe.



Searcy County AR,

A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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