Hays Crossing log home dates to 1810
By Sherry Hopkins
Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a five-part series about the log houses restored by John and Diane Hudson around Sardis Lake.
Part lll of this series tells the story of the Hays Crossing House. The center and northeast rooms of this log house were moved from the area of Panola County known as Hays Crossing, located in the northeast corner of the northeastern quarter of the county adjacent to Sardis Lake.
Jeff Belding of Louisiana, whom we mentioned in our Part ll story, bought these buildings from Carlton Hays Sr. in 2000. Belding in turn sold them to the Hudson family. The Hudson’s moved them to their present location on their existing property.
They began the reassemble process and the primary reconstruction was done by John Clark Hudson, along with Mark and Clark Hudson, John and Diane’s two sons. Also on site to help were the Daniel brothers from the Pontotoc County area and John Burdette and others. The cedar shake roof was installed by Rev. Ernie Gordon and his crew and the doors and screen doors were built by Jerry Rich, a family friend.
The cypress wood used for ceilings, walls, cabinets etc. was reclaimed wood cut around Marked Tree, Ark., around 1920-30. This lumber was recycled many times by past owners and eventually was used in this cabin’s restoration. Sweet gum felled, cut and sawed on the Hudson property was used for the rafters and decking. This wood was cut at a portable sawmill located on the Hudson’s property.
Carlton Hays, Sr. (1916-2004) stated that the original log house was built in 1810 on what was then Chickasaw Nation land. The northeast room was destroyed by fire, a common theme in the homes, and was later replaced with the sawed log room aforementioned.
Mr. Hays also stated this happened after 1813 when the Hays Crossing sawmill was constructed. A third room had deteriorated beyond repair and a few salvageable logs were reused in other restorations. This log house restoration was completed in 2010.
This cabin having now been restored has all the modern conveniences of electricity, running water and indoor plumbing. It is as close to how it was as one can get.
The outside mimics the 1800’s with tools and utensils, animal hides and antlers just as you would expect to find.
There is an old corn crib that has been moved here from another site and looks right at home as you drive in. The rockers on the porch and the wide expanse of woodland and grasses make this an idyllic setting for family or just as a solo weekend refresh/restart.
You can’t help but be swept up in the history as soon as you step out of your vehicle. You can almost hear the wagon wheels rolling along the dirt roads and the horses neighing as travelers pass by with a wave and a smile.
As you would expect wild turkey, deer, fox, and other wildlife roam freely in this quiet remote setting undisturbed. There is a pond stocked with fish just steps away. The stillness of the water and the gently sloping sides call for a cane pole a hook and a worm, and a leisurely way to spend one’s day.
Next in this series is the corn crib building, another log house and then what’s next for the Hudsons as they contemplate their future in buying and restoring log homes. They still have a few tricks up their sleeves,or in their barn.
Don’t dare miss the next few entries as we wind up this captivating story in Panola County, Mississippi and American history.