JOHN W. HAY.
John W. Hay is one of the best known and most substantial citizens of the state of Wyoming. His rise from a modest position to a place among the leading bankers and stock raisers of the west might seem to be phenomenal and yet a careful analysis of his career shows that his progress has been the result of close application, indefatigable energy and persistency of purpose guided by a laudable ambition.
A native of Illinois, he was born in Fairfield, September 11, 1864, a son of Lawrence P. and James (Borah) Hay, the former a native of Kentucky, while the latter was born in Illinois. The father removed to Illinois in early life and there he spent his remaining days. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Fairfield, and although he had been educated for the profession of the law in Louisville, Kentucky, he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits after becoming a resident of Illinois, taking up his abode upon a farm near Fairfield. His attention was successfully given to the work of tilling the soil until after the outbreak of the Civil war. when feeling that his first duty was to his country, he enlisted in 1861 and was mustered out at Washington, D. C, in 1863, after four years' military service in defense of the Union cause. He participated in many hotly contested engagements, in which he proved his valor and his loyalty and, winning promotion from time to time, he held the rank of lieutenant colonel at the time of his discharge. His wife died in Fairfield, Illinois, in 1905, after which Mr. Hay became a resident of Ohio, where he passed away in 1907. In their family were ten children.
John W. Hay, who was the seventh in order of birth, spent his youthful days upon the old homestead farm in Illinois, dividing his time between the duties of the schoolroom, the pleasures of the playground and the work of the fields. He early became familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops, but at length he determined to follow some other line of business than agriculture and upon leaving home he took up the study of telegraphy and later was employed at various points in California and in Arizona. Eventually he became telegraph operator for the Union Pacific Railroad Company at Medicine Bow, Wyoming, and subsequently was made train dispatcher, chief dispatcher and train master, which position he filled for a number of years, his record being most creditable by reason of his systematic efforts. He was next made assistant superintendent for the Union Pacific at Cheyenne, Wyoming, with jurisdiction over the district from Cheyenne to Ogden, Utah. In 1900 Mr. Hay left the railroad service and removed to Rock Springs, where he took up the live stock business, having a large ranch in Sweetwater county. In the intervening years he has become one of Wyoming's most prominent and successful live stock men, his interests in that direction increasing rapidly owing to his careful management and his wise investments in stock. A man of forceful and resourceful ability. He has extended his efforts into still other fields, purchasing the Rock Springs National Bank in connection with several other substantial business men. He was chosen president of the institution and has won a place among the leading financiers of the state. He has studied banking with the same thoroughness that has characterized everything that he has undertaken and has inaugurated a policy that has led to the rapid developement of the business of the bank, which now has a capital and surplus of two hundred thousand dollars and is one of the strongest banks in the state. He is likewise a director of the First Bank at Superior, Wyoming, and the State Bank at Pine Dale, the State Bank at Big Piney and the First National Bank at Laramie, Wyoming. He has thus continually broadened his activities in the field of banking and his opinions are largely recognized as authority upon many of the complex problems of finance.
On the 20th of November, 1892, Mr. Hay was united in marriage to Miss Mary Blair, of Rock Springs, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Blair. Eight children have been born of this marriage: Archibald, who was born in Green River, Wyoming, in 1893, is now with the United States national army at American Lake. He was graduated from the Grace Episcopal high school at Alexandria, Virginia. The others of the family are: Beulah, who was born in Green River; Lucy, who was born in Green River and was graduated from the high school at Rock Springs, while now she is a student in Rowland Hall at Salt Lake City; Mary, who was born in Rock Springs and is a high school pupil; Jane, also attending public schools of Rock Springs; John, who was born in 1900 and is in school; and Leonard, who completes the family.
Mr. Hay is an independent republican, usually supporting the men and measures of the republican party yet not considering himself bound by party ties. Fraternally he is connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and in Masonry he has taken the various degrees of York and Scottish rites, and that he has rendered most valuable and important service to the craft is indicated in the fact that the honorary thirty-third degree has been conferred upon him.He is today one of the prominent representatives of Masonry in the west. His life activities along many lines have brought him a very wide and desirable acqaintance. His ability has been recognized and his qualities are those which make for leadership. Starting out in a humble capacity, he has advanced step by step, utilizing every opportunity that has come his way. In business he has displayed quick discernment and the faculty of separating the important features of any subject from its incidental or accidental circumstances. Longfellow has said: "The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well without a thought of fame." In this sentence might be summarized the life work of Mr. Hay, who in faithful performance of each days duties has found inspiration and strength for the labors of the succeeding day, and at all times his business has balanced up with the principles of truth and honor, and his constantly expanding powers have made him at length a strong factor of the community in which he moves.