Birthday Surprise

Happy news from the April 10, 1919 Skidmore News, page 1:

A Birthday Surprise.

One of the most pleasant social functions of the season was the Hays reunion which was held last Sunday, April 6 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Argo, four miles west of Skidmore, the occasion being the eighty-first birthday of J. T. Hays of Maryville.

His children had worked a complete surprise on their father which the aged sire highly enjoyed.

The dinner was all that the famished appetite of a hungry man could desire.  We have neither time nor space for particulars, but that chicken pie — Well it simply vanished out of sight like a fog before a Kansas cyclone.

One pleasant feature of the dinner table was the lighting of eighty-one candles which decorated the birthday cake, but the light they afforded gave only faint expression of the joyful countenance of the venerable man in whose honor they were lighted.

Mr. Hays came with his parents and other relatives from Blandinsville, Ill., in the spring of 1859.  They made the trip in ox wagons and were twenty-six days on the road.  They bridged both sections of Grand river and it became necessary to swim their thirty head of stock over these streams.

The party arrived at what is now familiarly known as Burr Oak on Mr. Hays’ twenty-first birthday, April 4, 1859 and he says that there was about one foot of snow on the ground.

The land at that time was entirely unimproved.  A double log house was hastily erected, in which the party lived until a more commodious residence could be built.  Of the original number who came on the above date only three survive.  They are J. T. Hays of Maryville, Joseph Hays of St. Joseph, and Mrs. A. C. Barber of Skidmore.

Those present at the surprise were:  Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Hays and family, Mrs. Vira Dawson and children of Maryville, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl Hays, Mrs. A. C. Barber and Miss Maude Noffsinger of Skidmore, Mr. and Mrs. Z. R. Alexander of Elmo, and Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Sauceman and family.

After wishing Mr. Hays many more such happy milestones in life the party adjourned feeling that such social gatherings are time well spent.

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