Elijah Hayward served about 10 months on the Supreme Court of Ohio in 1830, but served far longer as a newspaper editor and state librarian.
He was born Nov. 17, 1786 at Bridgewater, Mass. to Elijah and Mary Tomson Hayward. With limited education, he supported himself as a merchant. In 1811, he traveled to England and was in the House of Commons when Bellingham shot the Right Honorable Spencer Percival, Prime Minister of Great Britain. He studied law under Chief Justice Theophilus Parsons of Massachusetts and, in 1818 he again visited England as part of his mercantile pursuits. When he returned to the United States, he continued to study law and moved to Ohio where, in 1820, after reading law with Judge Mitchel, he was admitted to the Ohio bar and opened a practice in Cincinnati with David E. Wade.
Although trained in law, Hayward’s interests were in politics. Hayward served as the editor of the National Republican and Ohio Political Register from Jan. 1, 1823 to December 1826. Although initially a Dewitt Clinton supporter, Hayward eventually became a staunch Andrew Jackson supporter, both personally and through his editorship on the Republican.
Hayward served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1825 to 1830, advancing Jacksonian prospects whenever possible, and was probably instrumental in Jackson carrying Ohio in the 1828 election. He was elected by the General Assembly to the Supreme Court on Jan. 30, 1830, and commissioned on Feb. 17, 1830 to fill the vacancy left by Calvin Pease.
In October 1830, while serving on the Supreme Court, President Andrew Jackson appointed him commissioner of the General Land Office. He resigned from the Supreme Court on Nov. 6, 1830, and took over his responsibilities at the General Land Office on Sept. 30, 1830 (although the commission appears on Dec. 16, 1830 in the U.S. House Journal). The General Land Office at this time was undergoing tremendous change, in part due to the impact of the Pre-emption Act of 1830 and in part due to earlier staff reductions. The act led to the increase of annually secured acreage from 2,623 acres in 1829 to 242,979 acres in 1830 and the already understaffed office became severely impaired. Hayward’s first annual report to Congress outlined the situation and requested appropriations to answer the demands, and although this request met with favor initially, eventually support f dried up and the situation became more than Hayward could manage. He served until 1835, when he resigned and, after traveling to recover his health, returned to Ohio. He served for a short period in 1836, as the examiner of the Bucyrus Land Office, investigating allegations of mismanagement.
By the late 1830s, Hayward had settled in McConnellsville and, in 1841, took over the editorship of the Muskingum Valley Democrat. Gov. Reuben Wood appointed Hayward as state librarian of Ohio in April 1851, a position he held until May 1854. Hayward spent the majority of his later years documenting the genealogies of Massachusetts families in southern Ohio.
Hayward married Eliza Kingman on Nov. 13, 1809, in Bridgewater and they had a son, Fred. Hayward died in McConnelsville on Sept. 22, 1864. He is buried in the McConnelsville Cemetery.
b. Nov 17, 1786
d. Sept 22, 1864
17th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio