Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Basil Hayden

Male 1823 - 1909  (85 years)


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  • Name Basil Hayden 
    Born 29 Oct 1823  Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 14 Aug 1909  Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried St. Joseph's Cemetery, Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I7481  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 20 May 2016 

    Father Lewis Hayden,   b. 20 Aug 1796, Washington, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1849, Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Mother Mary "Polly" Dant,   b. 1795, Nelson, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 May 1879, Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years) 
    Married 13 Feb 1810  [2, 3
    Family ID F1142  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Hardin County newspaper abstract (compiled by Carolyn Wimp), published Oct 22, 1897:

      Basil Hayden is one of the wealthiest farmers in Nelson Co. Lives in the eastern part of the county, 10 miles from Bardstown. He is now 75 years old and has not touched his foot to the earth for over 30 years. He is spending his declining years in solitude. One of his brothers, Raymond H Hayden, for years held controlling interest in one of the most famous distilleries in the United States. He too, had peculiar ideas, and lived a bachelor all his life, and died at an advanced age under singular circumstances. He was found dead in his orchard a number of years ago, a bottle that had contained poison lying by his side. It was thought that he had committed suicide, but there were some who believed that he had met with foul play. Basil "Hermit" Hayden, in his youth, was a social leader. When the war broke out, he entered the Confederate army. When he came back after the war, he changed. He declared that the Lord had dealt harshly and unjustly with him, depriving him of his slaves and out of revenge, he registered a terrible oath that he would never again put his foot to the Lord's ground, and so far has kept his vow. Mr Hayden is described as a fine looking man, with a full beard and flowing hair.

      WASHINGTON COUNTY (KY) NEWS LEADER 2/23/1899
      HEYDON, BASIL:

      A remarkable case is that of Basil Haydon, who has spent 30 years in one Room. There lives in Washington county, we are informed, 6 or 7 miles south of Springfield, one of the most eccentric human beings, we feel warranted in saying in Kentucky. Shortly before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated president of the U.S., on the 4th of March, 1861, Basil Haydon was to have married a young lady in the neighborhood in which he now lives, but before the day set for the marriage arrived she eloped with another man and has never been heard from by any of her relatives. This weighed on the mind of her former admirer, and the day the president took his seat in the White House he went to his room in the second story of the building and declared he would nerver step on the earth again as long as he should live. His father and mother were both dead, and he had been living in the house alone for several months, doing his own cooking. His bitter disappointment he gave as a reason for his seclusion. People at first thought him to be crazy, but, after a sufficient length of time, discovered their mistake. Since he first secluded himself 38 years ago, so far as is known, he has never broken his word. Some say he lives 2 miles form Frederickstown, in the Poplar Flat neighborhood. He being an uncle of Mr. Alex Hamilton and Mrs. George Robertson. He is quite wealthy and looks after his business affairs and has accumulated a large estate. He had a brother who died several years ago who was a distiller and quite wealthy.

      HAYDEN, BASIL
      DAILY IOWA STATE PRESS, IOWA CITY, IOWA 5/1/1899
      A KENTUCKY HERMIT
      OWNS FINE FARM AND IS VERY WEALTHY
      WAS ONCE A LEADER IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD
      SERVED IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY
      SAYS THE LORD HAS TREATED HIM WRONGLY
      HIS QUEER ACTIONS

      Living ten miles east of Bardstown, Ky., is one of the most singular characters in the state. Now in his 75th year, he has not touched his foot to the earth for over thirty years. Living in a comfortable residence, surrounded by many acres of the best land in Nelson county, he is spending his declining years in colitude. Basil Hayden, referred to above, is one of the wealthiest farmers in a district composed of half a dozen counties , and is descended from a family well known in the pioneer annals of the state. Many of them have also been distinguished in the different lines of life. One of his brothers, Raymond Hayden, was the originator of a celebrated brand of whisky, and for years held a controlling interest in once of the most famous distilleries in the United States. He, too, had peculiar ideas, and lived a bachelor all his life, and at last died at an advanced age under singular circumstances. He was found dead in his orchard, a number of years ago, a bottle that had contained poison lying by his side. It was generally supposed that he comitted suicide, but there were some of the opinion that he had met with foul play, and that the poison bottle had been placed near him for a blind. Basil Hayden, or "The Hermit," as he is known throughout the section in which he lives, in his youth was a social leader, and very popular with a circle of friends. When the war broke out he entered the confederate army and made a good soldier to the last end. When he returned home he found his slaves free and his property greatly damaged. The emancipation of the negroes affected him seriously, and he brooded over it constantly. He became silent and morose, declining all overtures of friendliness on the part of his neighbors. He declared the Lord had dealt harshly and unjustly with him in depriving him of his slaves, and out of revenge he registered a terrible oath that he would never again put his foot to the Lord's ground, and so far he has kept his vow. Never since its registration has he appeard without his door, nor will he have intercourse with any save one or two, who are immediately connected with him, and then his words are of the briefest possible character. His landed interests are extensive, and under the management of the competent overseer yield him a handsome income. The overseer makes his reports to the queer old man in his darkened retreat, who gives his directions and orders as tersely as possible. He has never spoken to a woman in any manner since his self-imposed exile, nor will he allow one to be employed upon his place. How he spends his time in his darkened room no one knows, but it is said he is a miser as well as a hermit, and that his chief employment is counting and toying with his money, of which he is said to have a vast amount in silver and gold. Be this as it mauy, a Bardstown banker twice a year visits Mr. Hayden, and through him the recluse settles his financial manners with the outside world. Mr. Hayden is described as a fine-looking man, with a full beard and flowing hair. His confinement has bleached him until his is as white as a infant, and his hands are as soft as raw cotton. He had a sale of mules at his farm recently and a number of animals were sold at fancy prices. A large number of people were present at the sale, among them the writer, but never a glimpse was caught of Hayden. His instructions to the auctioneer were sent out by the overseer, written in a crabbed hand and were very direct.


      HAYDON, BASIL
      OBIT
      WASHINGTON COUNTY (KY) NEWS LEADER 9/19/1909
      45 YEARS IN HIS ROOM, WAS BASIL HAYDON WHO DIED LAST FRIDAY

      Seldom it is the duty of an editor to chronicle the death of one whose life is so shrouded in mystery, as that of Mr. Basil Haydon, who died last week, in Nelson County just over the border line of this county. Mr. Haydon was born in Nelson County eighty five years ago. His parents came there from Maryland in the early part of the nineteenth century, and were among the early settlers of the county, and it was they who purchased the farm and built the brick house where Mr. Haydon was living when he died. Basil was one of twelve children, eight boys and four girls. Of the girls, two entered the convent at Loretto, and one at St. Catharine, the other married Mr. Hamilton and was the mother of Mr. Alex Hamilton and Mrs. G. D. Robertson, Sr., of this place. Basil Haydon grew to manhood in the county of birth and never wandered far from the place of birth. He was educated at St. Joseph's College at Bardstown. In the early days he mingled in the highest society and was very cultured in intellect and handsome in person. He lived as other men and mingled with them until about the close of the civil war, when without any apparent reason and without disclosing to any one his motive he suddenly went into retirement and for the remainder of his days he live the life of a hermit. During this long period of nearly a half century he seldom saw anyone. The house where he lived was built in the early colonial style of those days, situated on his farm of 600 acres, far from the road the way to which lies through a dense forest. Here, far from the madding crowd he was content to spend his days, never leaving his room, seldom talking to anyone. The only persons on the place besides himself was a Mr. Logue Borders and his wife who lived in the house with him and managed his affairs for him. In his habits he was very peculiar, and during the hottest days of the year kept a fire burning in the great fire place. What was the man's motive and what led him to choose so strange a manner of living will never be known for this secret of his life is buried with him. If it was some vow taken to live this secluded life, it was faithfully kept. Though separated from the world and scarcely living in it, he knew what it was doing in every land. He was well informed on all leading questions of the day and conversed intelligently on all subjects with the few who had the privilege of being admitted to his presence. Though never voting, he was an ardent Democrat and always took an intense interest in political subjects. During his life, he had his farm conducted successfully and doubtless made money. Several fortunes were left to him but what disposition he made of his property is not yet known. When death came too close the existence of one who had been dead to the world for nearly half a century, it came not in the form of disease to cut short his existence but as a gentle messenger when life's candle burnt out. Funeral services were conducted at Fredrickstown Sunday by Rev. Father Pieters and the remains were laid to rest in St. Joseph's cemetery at Bardstown. Thus closes the final chapter in the life of a man whose acts no mortal can judge, for his motive was known only to himself and his Savior.

  • Sources 
    1. [S258] Hayden/Rapier and Allied Families: Colonial Maryland, Kentucky, U.S.A., by Mary Louise Donnelly. Ennis, Texas: MLD Genealogy Company, 1991.

    2. [S258] Hayden/Rapier and Allied Families: Colonial Maryland, Kentucky, U.S.A., by Mary Louise Donnelly. Ennis, Texas: MLD Genealogy Company, 1991., says 13 Feb 1810.

    3. [S1290] 100 Years of Marriages, 1792-1892: Washington County, Kentucky by Phyllis Brown. Kentucky Kindred Genealogical Research, 2012.