Description of Legendary Texas Ranger John Coffee Hays
An eyewitness describes the unremarkable appearance and physique of the legendary Texas Rangers John Coffee Hays, for whom Hays County is named:
"I thought that my eyes had deceived me. Could this small, boyish-looking youngster, not a particle of beard on his face, homely palefaced young man, be the venerable Jack Hays, the celebrated Indian fighter, the man whose name was sung by all the Texians? It could not be, I thought, but I soon found out that it was the venerable Captain Jack."
----- John W. Lockhart re: the physical appearance of Texas ranger John Coffee Hays the first time he met Hays in a hotel in Washington-on-the-Brazos, "Jack Hays Visit to Washington, Texas," in an article published in the Lockhart News, May 14, 1893.
Incidentally, I should add that Hays lead an incredible life. Born in Tennessee in 1817, he came to Texas in 1836, just in time to participate in the Texas Revolution. At Sam Houston’s suggestion, Hays joined the Texas Rangers under Erastus “Deaf” Smith. He served in the rangers until 1846, reaching the rank of colonel, and participated in many skirmishes and engagements with Mexican and Indian forces, including the battles of Plum Creek, Salado Creek, Walker’s Creek, and Monterrey. Hays formed the 1st Texas Mounted Volunteers Regiment at the start of the US-Mexican War in 1846. His exploits during the Republic period in Texas and the Mexican War helped earn the Texas Rangers their legendary reputation as soldiers.
Following the conclusion of the war, Hays moved to California and became surveyor general for California, an Indian agent, and sheriff of San Francisco County. In addition, he helped found the city of Oakland, established a successful real estate business, and attended the 1876 Democratic National Convention. Hays died in 1883 in California. Hays County (where San Marcos is) was named after him.
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.