John Hair

John Haire was Richard White's 2-great grandfather.

According to his grave stone, John Haire was born somewhere in Georgia on 15 September 1825.  In public records his surname was generally spelled "Hair", but it appeared at least once (in the 1865 record of the surrender of the 1st Florida Reserve Infantry Regiment), as "Hare".  As can be seen in the photograph near the foot of this page it appears as "Haire" on his gravestone.  One of his sons, John Levi, spelled the surname "Hare".  Another of his sons, my great grandfather James Daniel, spelled the surname "Haire" but James Daniel Haire had one son (John Alexander) who spelled it "Hare" (and that son's brother... my great uncle George Washington... to me once facetiously called him "B'rer Jackrabbit" as a consequence, and stated that the spelling historically had been "Hair"), so there is no consensus within the family as to how their surname should be spelled.  In this page, below this paragraph, I will attempt to conform with the spelling used in various documents where referring to them, but will use the spelling "Haire" in general discussion. 

I've spent over 30 years now trying to figure out my 2-great grandfather John Haire's relationship to other Hair/Hare/Haires in the area, and only fairly recently have I had any degree success at all.  Many of the other Haires living in and around the same area were children of Raiford/Rayford Hare, and their surname generally (but not necessarily always) appeared under the "Hare" spelling.  Among these were John (a different John, who served in Company B of the 5th Florida Cavalry Battalion and married Polly Darby and later Elizabeth Dean), Wiley, William, Elija L. (who married Rachel A. Kemp), Daniel who married Phoebe (last name unknown), and Queen Ann (who married Owen S. Glenn.  Queen Ann and Owen's photographs can be seen in the Florida State Photographic Archives). 
Littleberry/Little Berry (who married Susan F. Darby), was a son of Raiford/Rayford as well, but there was also another Littleberry Hair in the area.  That other Littleberry Hair was originally known as Littleberry Rogers but was legitimized as a son of William W. Hair of Early County, Georgia, by an 1839 act of the Georgia legislature.

Besides the John Haire who was Raiford's son another John Haire at least passed through Gadsden County, Florida, in this general time frame.   That third John Haire served in the Company A of the 29th Georgia Cavalry Battalion which was raised in Bainbridge, Decatur County, Georgia and was organized and trained at Camp Lamar Cobb near Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida, in 1863.  About 1886 this John Haire moved to Denton County, Texas, and his Confederate pension application made in Texas specifically stated that he was born in Baker County, Georgia.  That John Hair was a son of Jesse Hair (more on Jesse is below).

The John Haire who was my 2-great grandfather first appeared clearly in records (any records anywhere, that I have been able to find) in Gadsden County, Florida, in 1850.  He married my 2-great grandmother Eliza E. Butler there on 26 September 1850.  However, paradoxically, neither John nor Eliza appear in the 1850 census, either in Gadsden County, or anywhere else in Florida, Georgia or Alabama.

Eliza E. Butler was born in Florida on 4 January 1835.  Her father was Levi Butler who was born in Georgia about 1811, who appeared on the first U.S. census in Florida in 1830... as a resident of Gadsden County, and who on 13 October 1836 bought 40 acres of federal land on the southeast side of the road that runs from west from Concord (which existed then) to Havana (which came into existence decades later), in northeastern Gadsden County, making him an "original landowner" in that county.  The name of Eliza E. Butler's mother is wholly unknown to me, but the best evidence indicates that she was born in Florida, also about 1811.   One of Levi Butler's closest neighbors was George W. Kemp.  James Butler, one of Levi's sons by his second wife, Nancy, eventually married George W. and Mourning Kemp's daughter, Georgia A. Kemp, in Wakulla County.   I believe that like Elija L. Hare, Levi Butler's first wife (my 3-great grandmother) may have been a Kemp, however I have no actual evidence to support that belief.  Whoever she was, there is some contradictory evidence that she was born in Georgia, but in this case I do not consider that to be the best evidence.  The earliest information from the source that knew best (most likely being Eliza E. Butler) said "Florida" and I believe that to be the case, even though that was more about a decade before the United States completely wrenched Florida away from Spain (the Adams-Onis Treaty was executed in 1819 but was not ratified and did not become effective until 22 February 1821.

Levi Butler's first wife apparently died around the late 1830s to early 1840s, and Levi remarried to a Nancy (last name unknown).  By 1850 Levi had also died, and apparently his land at Concord had been sold (there is no record of this sale, so it must have been recorded before the Gadsden County courthouse burned on 12 November of 1849).  By 1860 Nancy, her children by Levi and some of the younger children of Levi's first wife, Eliza E. and John Hair all moved to the Blue Creek area of Liberty County, Florida.  This is in the vicinity near today's town of Hosford.  There Nancy Butler acquired 80 acres of land, 40 acres of which was in cultivation in 1860, and as best as I can figure, my 2-great grandfather John Hair, who owned no land of his own at that time, farmed this land for her.  A good bit of vagueness comes about, because of the Gadsden County courthouse fire on 12 November 1849, and the Liberty County courthouse also burned sometime... I think sometime in the 1930s.  Depending on when the Liberty County land was actually purchased, though, the record may have perished in the Gadsden County courthouse fire because most land included in Liberty County when it was created in 1855, came from Gadsden County.

The thing that seems to have brought Eliza E. Butler and John Hair together, is approximately 260 acres of land that was owned by Jesse Hair.  It lay slightly south of Concord and was probably about 2 miles from Levi Butler's land by road... but the distance was very much closer than that directly from one property to the other, because they fronted on different roads but their backs were towards each other.  I found no record of when or how Jesse acquired the land in Gadsden County, Florida, but from the 1850 census it seems clear that at that time Jesse, his wife Diery (or Dicey) J. Wilson then resided in Baker County, Georgia, and the absence of a record of him acquiring the land taken with the date of the Gadsden County courthouse fire suggests that he acquired the Gadsden County land before 12 November 1849... a time when Levi Butler's widow Nancy was still living in Gadsden County.  Jesse and Diery sold that land on 24 March 1868.  I have been unable to find Jesse and Diery anywhere in the U.S. Census of 1860 but it is my belief that they resided in Gadsden County, Florida, at that time, most likely on that land.  In fact it is probably living on that land that explains John's absence from the census in 1850 and Jesse's absence from the census in 1860.  Perhaps the house  on it was not visible from the road?  Certainly, at the time Jesse and Diery sold the 260 acres in Gadsden County, it was their homestead, because the sale was not complete without a separate and independent signature from
Diery.  Interestingly the land was sold to Norman T. Scott.  I don't know exactly who Norman T. Scott was as regards his place in the Scott family, but there were family relationships between the Haires and Scotts going back to the Carolinas and back quite a distance in time, and this sale tends to confirm that John and Jesse fit somewhere within that extended Haire family from the Carolinas.  Norman T. Scott went on to serve in the state legislature as a representative for Gadsden County, and was a signer of Florida's 1885 Constitution.

Further search for records concerning Jesse turned up an 1845 Baker County tax digest, in which Jesse Hair paid 1 poll tax and property tax on 500 acres of land "for (presumably on behalf of someone else) J. Hair" in Land Lot # 322, and John Haire paid 1 poll tax.  However, the poll tax was paid only for slaves of both sexes and of any age under 60 years (payments for slaves were noted as such, and there was no such notation in this case) or adult (over age 21) white males... and if the birth date on his grave stone is accurate my 2-great grandfather John Haire did not become 21 years old till 15 September 1846.  Birth dates on grave stones in that era cannot be taken as gospel, however.  Even the gravestone my great grandfather, James Daniel Haire, one of John's sons, has a two year discrepancy in birth date from that shown on his death certificate.  I believe it most likely that, this John Haire who paid a poll tax in Baker County in 1845, was indeed Jesse Haire's brother and my 2-great grandfather.  I thought for awhile that the "J. Haire" (who was apparently neither John nor Jesse) might have been another John Haire and possibly my 3-great grandfather, but I had nothing in the way of "proof" of that nor have I been able to find a John Haire of that generation in census records of the area.  I now believe that John and Jesse were sons of Elijah Hair who appeared on the 1830 census for Decatur County, Georgia, with only two children in his household, both males in the right age bracket  to have been John and Jesse.  Who the presumably "other" J. Haire was, I haven't a clue except just to guess that "J. Haire" might have been Jesse and John's mother.  That could explain the tax on land owned by this J. Haire, but no poll tax payment... because females couldn't vote and did not have to pay poll tax.  But frankly, that's just a guess.  If J. Haire was an adult male... say a cousin or uncle, and for all I know that is also possible... he could have resided in another county and voted there, thus having no need to pay a poll tax in Baker County.

If there is any way to know for certain I have yet to find it, but I believe that William W. Hair, Thomas Cason Hair, and Edmond Hair, Jr., who were consecutively enumerated in the 1830 census for Decatur County, Georgia, were half brothers to Elija Hair.  In that census Elija was enumerated 8 households away from the nearest of them, and besides two very young male children there were two adult females in his household, one Elija's age and one a good bit older.  It is my interpretation that the woman his age was his wife, and that the older woman was Elija's mother... and that she was probably also step-mother to William W., Thomas Cason, and Edmond Hair, Jr.  To butress this interpretation, between them William W., Thomas C., and Edmond owned some 186 slaves, making them collectively fairly large slaveholders for this area, or anywhere, actually.  By contrast, Elija owned ZERO slaves... and that difference could easily be explained by an inheritance that came down to William W., Thomas C. and Edmond, Jr., from their mother's family, and thus did not involve Elija if he was their half brother by a different mother.  This is an interpretation that is consistent with the known facts, but it is unfortunately nowhere near the only interpretation that could be made from those fact, which are quite scanty.

I also have no actual "proof" that Jesse Hair and my 2-great grandfather John Hair were brothers, but there are a good number of small bits of circumstantial evidence that make it clear that of the various Haires in the area other than his own children, Jesse and his children were the ones most closely related to my 2-great grandfather John Hair.  Though I cannot definitively prove their relationship I am virtually certain that Jesse and my 2-great grandfather John Haire were brothers.  The "third" John Haire... the one who served in the 29th Georgia Cavalry, was Jesse and Diery's son; as were James Calvin Haire who served as a sergeant in Company D, 17th Georgia Infantry (also raised in Decatur County, Georgia), was severely wounded at Chattanooga and recuperated at the Confederate Hospital in Quincy, Florida, and after the war settled in Thomas County, Georgia; and George Washington Haire, who served in Company D of the 5th Florida Cavalry Battalion and was married to "Sallie Haire" in Gadsden County on 14 May 1864 (this marriage does not appear in Gadsden County records but was supported by a sworn affidavit in the Florida Confederate pension application of Sallie Haire which does not include her maiden name... but I believe that it may have been Baker), lived at Concord, Gadsden County and in Leon County, Florida, after the war, and died in Bainbridge, Decatur County, Georgia, on 17 September 1891.  Besides these sons, Jesse and Diery also had daughters named Diery (or Dicey) and Rosa.

My 2-great grandfather John Hair was enrolled in Company A (the "Liberty Rangers") of the 6th Florida Infantry Regiment when it was mustered into state service from Liberty County in April of 1862, but when the regiment was mustered into Confederate service in May of 1862, he was "rejected by the Confederate inspector" with no reason for the rejection noted.  This rejection in essence fulfilled any obligation for John Hair to perform service for the Confederate national government, but he was still subject to be called upon for state service.  He was enrolled in Company L of the 1st Florida Reserve Infantry.  This company was filled mostly with recruits from Gadsden County, but there were other men who served in it who resided in Liberty County.  There were actually two Haires who served in this company (and perhaps not coincidentally, a Kemp from Santa Rosa County, near Pensacola), the other being Rayford Hare's son Elija.  David Hartman and David Coles, the compilers of the Biographical Roster of Florida's Confederate and Union Soldiers 1861-1865, suggested that both the John Hair and E. Hair who served in that unit may have died "of disease" during the war.  I cannot say one way or another about Elija, but it is very likely that he did die from some cause either during or shortly after the war, because it seems that he disappeared about that time and that what appears to be his then minor children can later be found scattered about in Jackson County, Florida, and perhaps in Alabama, in the censuses of 1870 and later.  But unnoticed by Hartman and Coles, John HARE appeared in the roll of men surrendered with the 1st Florida Reserve Infantry... with no company specified, and this appears to have been my 2-great grandfather, John Hair.  The surviving records of the 1st Florida Reserve Infantry Regiment are incredibly sparse, making identification of particular individuals even harder than in most Confederate records, but I am fairly confident in this identification... because though in general John Hair/Hare/Haires were and are "as common as rain", my 2-great grandfather was the only one besides the other two who can be more definitively identified, who is known to have been in the area at this time.  His identity as the John Hair who enrolled in the 6th Florida Infantry Regiment is very clear, and his rejection from service with that unit made him available to serve in a state unit.  As was very common for men who served in the 1st Florida Reserves, John Hair appears to have not waited around for the formal surrender, but when it was obvious that the war was over... he, and many others just went home.  Because of this there are very few parole documents on file for the 1st Florida Reserve Infantry Regiment, and there was none for John Hair/Hare, which is a shame, because from a family photograph including him which was taken about 1892 (see below), he was probably somewhat dark complected and apparently was rather tall (notice how in the photo his hands and feet stick out of his shirt and "britches"), and those physical characteristics could have helped to confirm his identity.

The First Florida Reserve Infantry did not take part in the Battle of Olustee, but some of its companies (not, so far as is known, Company L) were involved in the Battle of Marianna.  So far as is known the entire regiment was present and actively engaged in the Battle of Natural Bridge.  Most of the men of the regiment cannot be individually confirmed as definitively present at Natural Bridge, and John Hair is among those; however, so far as can be determined, presumably, he was there.

This photograph of John and Eliza E. Butler Hair(e) was most likely taken in 1892 or earlier because it includes only two of their younger sons.  I'm not sure if the one (far L) is Henry or my great grandfather James Daniel Haire.  I am uncertain if Henry lived to maturity.  If he did, he was married in 1892, but after that I lost track of him.  My great grandfather James Daniel Haire was married in 1886, so my "best guess" is that the older boy seen in the photo was Henry Haire, but I'm not certain of that.  Doctor aka Thomas D. Haire (far R),  was married in 1892 and I have a later photo of him.

John & Eliza's grave stone in Butler Cemetery south of Whigham, Grady County, Georgia.

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This page was created by Richard White on 16 August 2004.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on  10 June 2007.