The Rev. J. M. Hayman, a pioneer settler of Bartow, Florida, was the preeminent Baptist circuit rider of 19th century Polk County and neighboring counties.
Jeremiah Madison Hayman, who in adulthood generally was known by his initials J. M., was born on December 28, 1822 in Bryan County, Georgia. With his parents, James and Delila (Martin) Hayman, in 1837, he moved to Madison County, Florida. During the Second Seminole War, he enlisted as a private at San Pedro, Madison County on February 12, 1838 in Capt. M. C. Livingston's Company of Florida Militia and was mustered out August 1838 at Fort Dickson. He then enrolled as a private on August 12, 1838 in Capt. M. C. Livingston's Company at Fort Jackson and was mustered out with his company at Fort Jackson on November 12, 1838. Jeremiah, as a corporal, enlisted on May 20, 1839 at Magnolia in Capt. William J. Bailey's Company of Florida Militia and was mustered out with his company September 20, 1839.
Under terms of the Armed Occupation Act of August 4, 1842, Jeremiah M. Hayman and his father, James Hayman, in January 1843 received permits, respectively, 216 & 222 for land near Lake Lindsey in (now) Hernando County where they settled and farmed.
On July 7, 1844, Jeremiah was baptized at Lake Lindsey by the Rev. John Tucker, a Missionary Baptist preacher. About September 1845, a Baptist church was constituted at Lake Lindsey, and J. M. was chosen as its first clerk, and, afterwards, was ordained a deacon.
In Alachua County, Florida on August 27, 1846, J. M. married Martha Jane Carlton, daughter of Alderman and Martha Maria (Alderman) Carlton. She was born July 10, 1829 in Thomas County, Georgia.
About 1850, J. M. sold his farm and moved to a place on the Alafia River in Hillsborough County. The 1850 census of Hillsborough County, dated October 29, 1850, enumerated the Haymans in the Alafia Settlement. On May 20, 1851, J. M. Hayman registered his mark & brand: crop & two splits in one ear, crop & half crop in the other "H." On May 24, 1851, he was selected for a two-year term as a justice of the peace and qualified August 6, 1851.
Alafia Baptist Church was near his home, but it did not have regular preaching. The members of the church began to insist that he preach for them so he finally yielded. At the session of the association in Hernando County on November 10, 1851 he was ordained to preach, and his ministry commenced.
On November 22, 1853, the Baptist Association, at its session with Olive Church, Thomas County, Georgia, passed the following resolution: "Resolved that it is the unanimously expressed opinion of this body that it is proper, expedient, and practicable to form an association to be styled the Florida Baptist State Convention." The West Florida and Alachua associations concurred in the resolution. Elder J. M. Hayman was appointed a delegate from the Alachua. On November 20, 1854, the Florida Baptist State Convention was organized at Concord, Madison County, Florida. J. M. Hayman, of the Alachua Association, was one of seventeen delegates who participated in this organization meeting.
In 1854 and 1855, Rev. Hayman was employed by the Southern Baptist Association. During this time, he moved from Alafia to Tampa and then to the Socrum Settlement in (now) Polk County. In the fall of 1855, he moved to present-day Bartow to assume the pastorate of Peas Creek (now known as Peace Creek), which had been organized September 4, 1854 by a presbytery of Rev. Hayman and Rev. R. N. B. Wooley.
With the outbreak of the Third Seminole War, he, about January 1, 1856, moved to Tampa where he worked as a carpenter and painter. On November 19, 1859, he was elected for a two-year term as clerk of the circuit court of Hillsborough County. He also preached to the churches in the area: Salem, Alafia, Thonotosassa, Peas Creek, Clearwater, and Tampa. In the fall of 1858, a yellow fever epidemic with a very high death rate occurred. While others took refuge in the country, Rev. Hayman felt duty bound to remain. Although he did not contract the fever, his wife did, but recovered. His mother-in-law Martha Maria Carlton died from the fever on December 13, 1858; also, a daughter of the Haymans died with it.
In 1859 J. M. began to promote the idea of the building of a Baptist church in Tampa where services were sometimes held in the courthouse and in a room under the Masonic hall. Through the efforts of Martin Cunningham, a lot was given by the county commissioners. In July 1860, Dr. Joseph S. Baker came to Tampa, and he and J. M. organized the First Baptist Church. In 1862 he moved from Tampa to his former residence near Bartow, Polk County, Florida where he remained until his death. He was elected on October 6, 1862 clerk of the circuit court of Polk County and re-elected October 5, 1863. On September 1, 1875, the Concord Church of Christ, later called the First Baptist Church, was organized in Bartow. J. M. Hayman was its first pastor and served until 1883.
A circuit rider, the Rev. Hayman's work was that of missionary and pastor. During his 50-year ministry, he traveled approximately 38,000 miles, preached about 2,200 sermons, and baptized about 425 persons. His half century ministry was one of Christian service as he received only about $2,500. Some of the sites Rev. Hayman preached at included: Eden, Bethseda, and Spring Hill in Hernando County; Long Pond (Valrico), Hillsborough County; Lee County; Fort Hartsuff, Fort Ogden, Joshua Creek, Manatee, and Maple Branch, all then in Manatee County; Bartow, Eloise, Fort Meade (Pine Grove), Gapway (Enon), Homeland, Lake Drain (Medulla), Socrum (Bethel), Winter Haven, all in Polk County. Rev. Hayman also ministered to Negroes at Bartow. His last recorded sermon was in the pulpit of his son-in-law, Rev. Owen J. Frier, in Kissimmee in January 1902.
J. M. received income from other sources. The appreciation of land in Bartow allowed him to realize revenue from sales of his surplus and unimproved lands. He had a good bearing grove until ruined by the freezes in early 1895 which led to debt and the sale of his old homestead, except a ten-acre tract. He was a beneficiary of the Baptist Ministers' Assurance Association for several years. On August 15, 1892, he had applied for a pension from his service in the war with the Seminole Indians. He gave his address as Bartow, Polk County, Florida. Nathan Boyett, a 77-year-old resident of Peru (now Riverview) in Hillsborough County, gave a supporting affidavit that he had served with J. M. Hayman in Capt. Bailey's Company. His claim was approved at the rate of $8 per month, commencing July 27, 1892, certificate no. 2958.
A Mason, he was a charter member of Bartow Lodge No. 9 (the predecessor of Tuscan Lodge No. 6), organized June 12, 1865.
Martha Jane Carlton Hayman died May 21, 1895 at Bartow, Florida. Rev. Jeremiah Madison Hayman died on July 9, 1902. They are buried in Oakhill Cemetery, Bartow, Polk County, Florida.
Rev. O. J. Frier, his son-in-law, eulogized: "He was one of the happiest, most cheerful Christians I ever knew, and especially during this period of his life, notwithstanding his blindness, etc., was this noticeable. It was a benediction to be with him and talk with him on the subject of religion. He always found so many things to be thankful to God for, and his mouth was continually filled with praises to God for his goodness. He was a man full of faith and the Holy Ghost."
Issue of Rev. & Mrs. J. M. Hayman:
References: O. J. Frier, A Memorial Sketch of the Life and Ministerial Labors of Rev. J. M. Hayman; pension application of J. M. Hayman from the National Archives; Polk County Historical Commission Book 3, page 254; Kyle S. VanLandingham and Virginia Westergard, Parker and Blount in Florida, 1983; John L. Rosser, A History of Florida Baptists,1949; Edward Earl Joiner, A History of Florida Baptists, 1972; Maude Hayman.
- Alderman Hayman, born Nov. 8, 1847; died Nov. 9, 1847.
- Martha Jane Hayman, born Jan. 29, 1849; died Nov. 19,1849.
- Susan Rebecca Hayman, born April 15, 1852; died June 16, 1879; married July 2, 1868 Felix J. Seward.
- Sarah Judson Hayman, born April 17, 1854; died after 1948; married Dec. 28, 1876, Polk Co., John Churchill Blount, son of Riley and Jane (Varn) Knight Blount.
- Mary Anne Hayman, born Feb. 12, 1856; died June 21, 1856.
- Josephine Hayman, born June 16, 1857; died Nov. 18, 1858.
- William Cunningham Hayman, born Nov 11, 1859, Tampa, Fla.; died June 29, 1946, Dade City, Pasco Co., FL; married at Eloise, FL, Oct. 3, 1894 Dian McNair, daughter of Robert Morrison and Rebecca Jane (McCallum) McNair.
- Lillie Oregon Hayman, born June 16, 1861; died Sept. 1941; married (1) Felix J. Seward, May 21, 1880; (2) Pete Oneal.
- Georgia Virginia Hayman, born Jan. 2, 1864; died Oct. 3, 1903; married in Polk Co. July 9, 1882 Rev. Owen Judson Frier.
- Edgar Leroy Hayman, born May 11, 1867; died Feb. 8, 1868.
This is adapted from the author's articles in The Herald-Advocate (Wauchula, Fla.) of May 26, 1988, the Polk County Historical Quarterly (Bartow, Fla.) of March, 1995, and Lineage of John Carlton (1998).