To the People of Republic County,
I’m writing to express to everyone in Republic County my gratitude for the hospitality and wonderful courtesies extended to my son and me during our visit from August 14-17, 2019. We journeyed from the Baltimore, MD area to find our Hay family roots and we did with your assistance. We did not know anyone in the area, but found several living relatives with whom we met. During our visit we also found the resting place of my great grand parents and the rest of the Hay family. It was interesting that those of you, generous with your time and comments, directed us around and simply made our effort productive.
My great grandparents, William & Martha Hay with my grandfather, John S. Hay, emigrated with 3 other siblings from Scotland about 1890. John, as a young boy, grew up in Scandia & Belleville. In 1914, during his mid 30s, he left Republic County and traveled east through Frederick, MD; where he found a bride and settled down to raise a family. My mother, Martha Jane Hay Kommalan, the oldest of their 3 offspring, traveled to Scandia & Belleville in the late 1930s and again in 1973, but there has been no contact since my mother died, however, she had collected information about relatives in the County. It was our interest to rediscover Scandia, Belleville, and Republic County plus make contact with members of the family. We accomplished it all.
Additionally, local people with whom we met and spoke were great and we wish to extend our thanks for everything. The people at the Belleville and Scandia libraries and Historical Societies are the best as they made our time in the area productive as well as enjoyable. Others at businesses we visited were also interesting and available for conversation. Upon arriving, we learned of the 150th Celebration of [Belleville] Republic County’s founding and made certain to be in town for the Saturday morning parade. We cheered on the floats along side our new friends. Finally, we stood on the Court House steps for the group photo. What a feeling.
We left to return home, with the knowledge and understanding from whence our grandfather came. Our experience and new knowledge about Republic County, its people and our roots, will be passed on to our families, siblings and cousins here on the East Coast. Thank you all for your hospitality, and we hope to return again.