Knowing is better…

Hays House

“That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beats the hell out of never trying.”


John and Elizabeth Hays built this structure in 1883 and operated it as the Hays Boarding Home. It was sold to Lyman Lee sometime around 1900, and it became known as the Lee-Carter Boarding Home. It sits very near what was once known as the Cracker Trail – a main travel route for Cracker cowmen moving cattle to market – and the Orange Belt Railway. The kitchen had a reputation among the Cracker cowmen for having “some of the best biscuits you ever put in your mouth”, and they often stopped by to add some to their saddle bags.

Hays Boarding Home c1900

(Members of the Lee and Carter Families at the Boarding Home in the early 1900’s. Standing, left to right: Lyman Lee, Josephine Carter Lee, Louanna Lee and Emmitt Carter. Photo courtesy of FloridaPast, via the What Was There Project)

[Sumter County, FL 1883]