Tuesday, 4 February 1941, Noah B. Hayes was killed in a tragic accident on Highway 60 near Morehouse, Missouri. The Sikeston Herald, a newspaper in nearby Sikeston, Missouri, recounted the incident two days later, thusly:

Crash Fatal to Gray Ridge Man

Chest Pierced by Timber Loosened from Trailer.

Struck by a flying timber loosened from an automobile trailer in a highway accident early Tuesday night, N. B. Hayes, 50-year-old Gray Ridge farmer, was fatally injured and died at the Sikeston General Hospital two hours later. None of the others involved in the accident were injured, and damage done to the vehicles was negligible.

According to the report made by State Trooper Vincent Boisaubin, Hayes was a passenger in a car driven by E. R. Gardner, 39, and owned by Merl Gardner, 20, who was also a passenger. All three lived about 2½ miles north of Gray Ridge. The car was pulling a small trailer.

Running out of gas while traveling east on Highway 60 three miles west of Morehouse, Gardner stopped his car and Hayes got out with a gallon can of gasoline to re-fill the tank.

As he was standing between the car and the trailer, filling the tank, another east bound vehicle, driven by Dempsey Graham of Matthews, grazed the trailer, tearing off some of the sideboards. One of these boards was flung through the air and pierced the chest of the Gray Ridge farmer, caving in his ribs. Graham, who was 20 years old, was accompanied by Julius Graham, 18, and W. A. Overby, 19, all of Matthews.

The injured farmer was brought to Sikeston in the Safety Car of the State Highway Patrol by State Trooper Cletis Bidewell, former Sikeston school teacher. Though fatally injured, Hayes retained consciousness until several minutes before his death at 9:10 o’clock.

Mr. Hayes was born near Gray Ridge on June 11, 1894. He is survived by his widow and five children: Lorene, Louise, Betty Mae, Rebecca and Joe Hayes, all of Gray Ridge. Three sisters, six brothers and his father, Joseph Hayes of Arkansas, also survive.

Funeral services for Mr. Hayes were held this afternoon at Clinton, Ark., and interment made there.

Death Certificate

Mr. Hayes’ death certificate offers some information not included in the Sikeston Herald article.

His name was recorded as Noah B. Hayes – the newspaper article called him only “N. B. Hayes.”

His wife, mentioned in the article but not named, was Noami Hayes, age 36.

Noah was a veteran of the World War.

Hayes Death Certificate Excerpt
Portion of death certificate describing cause of death.

His exact age: 46 years, 7 months, 23 days. The article rounded his age to 50, even though it mentioned his birth date and his precise age could’ve been calculated. He was born in Billings, Missouri.

Time of death was noted as 9:15 P.M. The article reported time of death as “9:10 o’clock.”

His parents’ names were Joe Hayes and Rebecca Bishop.

His cause of death was given as “massive hemorrhage” and “shock” due to “lacerated-contused wound right anterior duct wall + rib fracture + laceration of lung” due to “automobile accident.”

The attending physician was A.P. Martin, M.D.


Noah B. Hayes was buried on Thursday, 6 February 1941 in Salem Cemetery, Van Buren County, Arkansas.

Graham Connection

Dempsey and Julius Graham, the driver and one passenger of the auto that struck the trailer, were the sons of John Jasper Graham and Danner Copeland.


NewspaperArchive.com. The Sikeston Herald, Thursday, 6 February 1941. Retrieved on 30 September 2013.

Missouri Digital Heritage. Missouri Death Certificates, 1910 – 1962; Name: Noah B. Hayes; Date of Death: February 1941; County: Scott; Certificate Number: 4517. Retrieved on 30 September 2013.

Find A Grave. Noah Hayes, Memorial 102976982. Retrieved on 30 September 2013.