HAYES II, PLINY DR. (1788 - 1831)

Rutherford B. Hayes Collections

Collection ID: HAYES-34
Location: HAYES-34

(Description ID: 595627)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Dr. Pliny Hayes II


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

The journal of Dr. Pliny Hayes II was donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center by Dorene Hayes Scriven in 2007. Prior to her donation, Ms. Scriven transcribed, edited, and published the journal and an addenda under the title My Father’s Journal  and My Father’s Journal Addenda. Ms. Scriven donated copies of her published work to the Hayes Presidential Center Library.

Biographical Sketch
Dr. Pliny Hayes II was born at Granby, Connecticut, July 8, 1788, the son of Pliny Hayes I and Lucretia Jewett. In 1798, he moved with his father to Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York, where he was educated at the Canandaigua Academy.  He was certified as a “qualified” teacher at the age of 18. He was employed as a journeyman printer in Canandaigua, Utica, and Manlius.  In 1809, Pliny traveled to Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, and Boston, continuing to work as a printer’s journeyman.While living in Boston, Hayes began the study of medicine under Dr. William Gamage.

In 1812, Hayes enlisted at Boston as captain’s clerk and acting surgeon’s mate aboard the Hornet. He made the famous cruise of theConstitution and Hornet under Commodore Bainbridge and Captain James Lawrence to the West Indies and South America.  He took part in the action between the Hornet and the Peacock on Feb. 24, 1813.   

Returning to Boston at the end of his cruise, Hayes resumed his medical studies. He received his degree from Harvard in 1815 and began practice in Boston. He also served as physician to the Boston Dispensary and surgeon to the “Winslow Blues.”  In 1817, Dr. Hayes moved to Canandaigua where he continued to lecture and practice medicine. He married Eliza Stout Wells, daughter of Richard Wells, M. D. in 1822. They were the parents of two sons: Charles Wells and Robert Pliny. Dr. Hayes was a gifted musician and composer and served many years as organist of the St. John’s Church in Canandaigua. Along with several other physicians, he founded a medical school at Auburn. Dr. Pliny Hayes II died July 28, 1831. His wife died November 4th of the same year.  Both are buried in the Old Cemetery in Canandaigua, New York.

Scope and Content
Dating from October 19, 1809 to February 1818, the journal kept by Dr. Pliny Hayes II provides a record of his life and activities from the time he left Canandaigua in 1809 to work as a journeyman printer in Philadelphia until his return in the early weeks of 1818.  Hayes wrote openly and candidly in describing his travels, activities, education, interests, and events taking place around him. Dr. Hayes wrote extensively about his acquaintances; participation in the War of 1812 aboard the Hornet and the establishment of his medical practice in Boston. Intelligent and introspective, Hayes was an acute observer and lively writer. At the close of his memoir, Dr. Hayes describes his work as a “log book of my journey through life – it serves to record the times of particular events…..I flatter myself, therefore, that these scrawls & scratchs will be of some little interest to the reader, especially if he be a descendant, or an antiquarian of the 20th century.”

Hayes divided his journal into 21 volumes. According to his great-granddaughter, Dorene Hayes Scriven, the volumes were later bound into three books (1809 – 1815; 1815 – 1816; 1816 – 1818) by Pliny Hayes’ son, Charles Wells Hayes, author of George Hayes of Windsor, the definitive genealogy of this Hayes line in America

 Ac. 5683
3 items

In preparing the published version of the journal, Dorene Hayes Scriven highlighted topics appearing in each volume of the three books that make up the journal. These have been reproduced as an inventory for easier use of the three books.. 


VOLUME 1 1809-1810

Stage journey to Utica and ship to Schenectady; stages & steamboat via Newburg to Albany; past West Point to Jersey to New York; work as printer; music & theater; sights of New York & Brooklyn; change of employment; journey to Philadelphia via Trenton & Lamberton.

VOLUME 2 1810

Arrival in Philadelphia; job as pressman; FIRE!; joins Philadelphia Typographical Society; Celebration of July 4th; excursions with fellow pressmen around Philadelphia; description of a ship launching; beginnings of a union to fix labor prices; subsequent loss of job as a journeyman; more excursions and descriptions of various factories; account of earnings; another FIRE; by boat and stage to Washington & new job prospect, via Elkton – Havre de Grace – Baltimore.

VOLUME 3 1810-1811

Description of Washington and Capitol; description of House proceedings and Representatives “All hurry & confusion”: “America – blush for thy rulers” excursions near Washington; cultural activities; job ending – travel to Annapolis – Baltimore – Boston & New York; visit to Granby; description of underground Newgate prison in Granby; visit to Grandmother after 13+ years; childhood memories; visiting other Jewett and Hayes clan; return via Hartford.

VOLUME 4  1811-1812

Hartford to Boston; old job; studying French; working at press daytime and studying for medicine in evenings; tutored by Wm Gamage, M.D.; anatomy dissections; August 1812 engaged as surgeon’s mate on U.S. Hornet, but supplanted by Hawks and named Captain’s clerk; description of officers; sailing and meeting other U.S. ships, then Spanish ships; crossing Tropic of Cancer.

VOLUME 5 1812-1813

Crossing the Equinoctial Line; hoisting English colors & going ashore as Englishmen on Island of Fernando de Norouba; description of island & inhabitants; constant sickness on board; San Salvador; meeting with Constitution; description of San Salvador (Bahia); December 30: hoisting English colors and then American when English captain of ship doesn’t obey, firing and capturing brig Ellen; meeting Constitution several times; escape from The Montague.

VOLUME 6 1813

Cape St. Augustine; Hoisting English colors upon sighting English brig The Resolution, while pretending to be The Bonne Citoyenne; captured British brig, took contents and set her afire; several encounters sailing past Guiana; more engagements; exchanging broadsides with English The Peacock; Peacock submits in 15 minutes, with Captain & much of crew killed; attempt to save from sinking, but lost some prisoners & Hornet officer who had boarded Peacock.  Hayes below deck entire time, passing powder.  Many injuries of crew of both ships; amputations; heading home past Barbados to Martha’s Vineyard and New York.

VOLUME 7 1813-1815

Hornet returns to New York Naval Yard; captured British officers paroled; discharge; journey to New Brunswick by steamboat & stagecoach through Trenton – Lamberton to Philadelphia; sights & sounds of Philadelphia; attending medical lectures; return to New York through Jersey; packet to Hartford, then Granby to visit Jewett & Hayes relatives; return to Boston for more medical study & practice with Drs. Gamage, T.C. Warren, Channing; joins Harvard’s Boyleston Medical Society; rumor of British attack on Boston; appointment as Surgeon on a privateer cancelled: peace declared; big celebrations.

VOLUME 8 1815

Peace celebration in Boston; revival of commerce; death of Dr. John Warren of Harvard; sailing to Ellsworth for possible position as physician; description of inhabitants & countryside; attending sick; collecting plants; return sail to Boston.


VOLUME 9 1815

On board schooner to Boston; weather forces landing near Portland; Cape Elizabeth’s fort and fortifications; description of Portland; mail stage to Boston; stop in Sacco to collect debts; Kennebunk – York – Kittering –Portsmouth – Newburyport – Salem – Ipswich – Boston; public exams for M.D. candidates; assistant to Dr. Warren (cheap as possible); expenses requested by Dr. Warren.

VOLUME 10  1815

Stage journey Westward to Albany: Concord – Stowe – Lancaster – Winchester – Brattlesborough.

VOLUME 11 1815

Attempt to get chaise & horse to Bristol & father’s house; arrival home; trip to sister Lucretia’s in Prattsburg; trip to Warsaw to see sister Lurinda; sister’s illness, unsuccessful attempt to treat; Guinilda comes to help; viewing 80-foot falls nearby; additional attempts to treat sister; necessary return to Bolston; last farewell to ill sister.

VOLUME 12 1815

Having to leave Bristol; apprehension about sister; return to father’s; the brook on fire (methane?); riding to Canandaigua, to Geneva; arrival in Utica by stage; to Albany, Chester & Boston to work for Dr. Warren.

VOLUME 13 1815-1816

News of Lurinda’s death, Guinilda ill but recovered; medical meetings in Boston; joining Handel & Hayden society; Grand (Masonic) Lodge meetings; increasing dislike of Dr. Warren; trip to Medford April 1816; conflicts; trip to Brighton; return to Boston; disappointment concerning Medford; apology to the future reader.

VOLUME 14 1816

Trip to Plymouth by stage for possible position; visiting with inhabitants; description of town, return to Boston; details of bad conduct of Dr. Warren; decision to practice in Boston; visiting Miss “J”.

VOLUME 15  1816

Relations with Miss J continued; again; letters back and forth; tarrying with Miss “L”; social activities; other ladies; inability to marry (sans money).

Book III

VOLUME 16 1816-1818

Summary of expenses, debt Oct ‘15 – Oct ‘16; appointment as Dispensing physician; officer in Mass. Lodge & its activities; medical lectures; Handel & Hayden society; public hanging; getting deeper in debt, reduced eating, changing lodging, sleeping at office; thoughts of moving to south or west; taking on student; move to other office and board; considering position of surgeon for Northwest Fur Company (8 miles up the Columbia River).  [Volume written later in Canandaigua, Feb. 1818] 


More consideration of N.W. Fur Co. surgeon; change in pay offer & rules against leave fort for botanical excursions; decision against; conversations with Dr. Channing; President Monroe’s visit to Boston; more dalliance with Miss L.; description of glass-blowing factory; attending sick child overnight with Miss L.

VOLUME 18 1817

Guilty conscience re: Miss L; slight increase in practice; Masonic Lodge activities; summation of last year’s expenses; trip by packet re: possible position in Yarmouth, Cape Cod; description of Cape & trip to Barnstable; unable to return by ship – hiring chaise.


Description of Yarmouth & people of Cape, and return trip by chaise & stage in rainstorm:  Plymouth – Quincy – Boston; decision to go to Yarmouth but inclined toward Canandaigua opportunity for second physician; getting affairs in order for departure; getting letters of introduction; guilty conscience re: leaving Miss L; taking her to Lodge installation of officers, description.


Settling affairs, changing money from Eastern States bills to New York money; saying good-bye to Miss L; stage to Canandaigua (“2nd Journey to Westard”) – Framingham – Worcester – Brookfield; stage passengers; North Hampton – Pittsfield – shaker village – Greenbush: delivering letters; stage to Schenectady – Manlius.

VOLUME 21 1817-1818

Continuing stage journey – Marcellus – Waterloo – Geneva; reminiscing & thoughts about going to Yarmouth instead; arrival in Canandaigua; delivering letters, talking to other doctors & Judge Atwater, Judge Gorham, meeting others; trip to Bristol to see father, losing way; arrival home; seeing family; return to Canandaigua; business & social calls; partnership proposal with Atwater; trip home to reflect & back to Canandaigua; acceptance of partnership & posted agreement Jan 1818.

VOLUME 22 1818

Borrowing father’s horse & cutter for trip to Prattsburg via Bristol – Naples; arriving Prattsburg & treating Guinilda’s child; returning with Guinilda & proceeding to Canandaigua; meeting more people, women & old acquaintances; slow beginning-situation dreary; address to future descendants, great, great, great grandchildren.