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William Hercules Hays (August 26, 1820 – March 7, 1880) was a United States federal judge.

Hays was born in Washington County, Kentucky. He read law in 1845. He was in private practice of law in Springfield, Kentucky from 1845 to 1851. He was a county judge in Washington County from 1851 to 1859. Hays was in private practice of law in Springfield, Kentucky from 1859 to 1860. He was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1861. He was in the United States Army colonel from 1861 to 1866. Upon the resignation of its first commander, Hays became commanding officer of the 10th Kentucky Infantry. During the Battle of Chickamauga, Hays assumed command of the II Corps and eventually command of the 2nd division. He rose to the rank of general officer [1].

Following the Civil War he was State inspector general of Kentucky from 1865 to 1866. He was an iil and gas entrepreneur, in Springfield, Kentucky from 1866 to 1867 and in private practice of law there from 1867 to 1879.

Hays was a federal judge to the United States District Court for the District of Kentucky. Hays received a recess appointment from Rutherford B. Hayes on September 6, 1879 to a seat vacated by Bland Ballard. Nominated on December 1, 1879 he was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 10, 1879 and received his commission the same day. Hays died on March 7, 1880 in Louisville, Kentucky.



  1. ^ Civil War Regiments from Kentucky and Tennessee, 1861-1865, ISBN 1932157395

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