Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HAY, John, author, born in Salem, Indiana, 8 October, 1838. His ancestor, John, was a son of a Scottish soldier who left his own country in the beginning of the last century and took service in the army of the Elector Palatine. The son, with his family, emigrated to this country, and two grandsons served with distinction in the war of independence. John Hay took, while in college, high rank as a writer, and after graduation at Brown in 1858, studied law at Springfield, Illinois He was admitted to practice in the supreme court in Illinois in 1861, but immediately afterward went to Washington as assistant secretary to President Lincoln, remaining with him, both as a secretary and a trusted friend, almost constantly till his death. He acted also as his adjutant and aide-de-camp, and served for several months under General Hunter and General Gilmore, with the rank of major and assistant adjutant-general. He was also brevetted lieutenant-colonel and colonel. He was first secretary of legation at Paris, and several times in charge in 1865-'7, and charge de affaires at Vienna in 1867-'8, when he resigned and came home, but was soon afterward appointed secretary of legation at Madrid, under General Daniel E. Sickles. Leaving that post in 1870, he came to New York and became an editorial writer on the "Tribune," where he remained about five years, He was afterward editor-in-chief of that paper for seven months, during the absence of Whitelaw Reid in Europe. He removed to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1875, and took an active part in the presidential canvasses of 1876, 1880, and 1884. Under the administration of President Hayes he was first assistant secretary of state in 1879-'81. In the latter year he represented the United States at the International sanitary congress of Washington, of which body he was elected president. He has published "Pike County Ballads," one of the best known of which is "Jim Bludso" (Boston, 1871), "Castilian Days" studies of Spanish life and character (1871), and has been engaged many years in writing, in collaboration with John G. Nicolay, a "History of the Administration of Abraham Lincoln," which is now (1887) in course of serial publication in "The Century." Colonel Hay is believed to be the author of the anonymous novel of "The Bread Winners" (New York, 1883).
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