The Hays House is named for Thomas Archer Hays, a prominent attorney and merchant of the town of Bel Air, whose family lived in the house for one hundred and forty years. Thomas Hays made it his home from 1811 to 1861. At his death the house passed to his unmarried daughter, Pamelia, who lived there until her death in 1875. By the terms of the will and since Pamelia had no children, the home passed to her sister, Elizabeth Hays Jacobs. The house remained in the Jacobs family until 1957 when it was sold to Anna McCleary. Ms. McCleary sold the home in 1959 to the Safeway Company. Threatened with demolition in 1960 to make way for a supermarket, the house was saved and moved to its present site.
The Hays House is the oldest home is Bel Air, but it is not on its original site. It demonstrates the living conditions of a family of rural gentry in the County seat from 1788 to 1825. Currently, it is used to teach children and adults about the life of a family, and the living conditions during that time period, and the history of the colonies and the early United States. A photograph of the Hays House (1996) before recent additions is given below.
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