The 'Bays' Name...
There are at least 3 stories explaining how Bays Mountain got its name. Any or all of them might be true… it just shows how the mountain is woven into our lives in so many different ways.
Muriel Spoden covers all 3 theories in her book “The Early Years on Bays Mountain”. We’ve summarized them for you here:
- The ‘Bay’ Horse
Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans in this region told a story of a large bay horse that once lived on the mountain. They tried many times to catch the great animal but they never succeeded. After finding its dead carcass, they said that its ghost/spirit continued to roam the mountain, so they called this Bay’s Mountain in respect.
- The mountain laurels, or ‘Bays’
The French word for berry (‘baie’) sounds like ‘bay’ and can also be used to mean ‘laurel’. So it’s very possible that the name is a reference to the plentiful laurel found on the mountain, as evidenced by nearby Laurel Run Park.
- A ‘Bays’ Family
At least one ‘Bays’ family settled in this region in the mid/late 1700s, but not necessarily on the mountain. We find the names ‘John Bays’, ‘James Bays’, and a generic ‘J. Bays’ mentioned in different sources. But Muriel writes that there is no documentation suggesting that the mountain got its name from a family.