- Born: Cir 1800
- Marriage (1): Arthur Williamson Hayes in 1815
George Ryan notes:
Arthur Williamson Hayes was born in 1796 in Limerick, Ireland; he married Mary Carroll in 1815.
They had 4 children : Henrietta (Jan 1816), Charles (Oct 1817), Catherine (Nov 1818) & William (Sept 1820).
However, Arthur Williamson Hayes abandoned his family in 1823, never to be heard of again by them. He moved to London, where, in March 1831, he taught singing at 56 Upper John Street, Fitzroy Square.
In mid-1852, Arthur remarried, to Anne Caroline Leigh, in Canterbury, UK. They moved to Wales, where they had 3 children (as per your website) :
Elizabeth (b. 1852 in Swansea ; d. August 1852 in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales)
Arthur Charles (b. 22/07/1853 in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales)
Ellen (Helen) Caroline Hayes (b. 14/01/1856 in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales ; Marriage to Philip Gard in 1885 in Harwood Island, near Macleay, NSW Australia ; Died: 26 Aug 1933, Home of Peace, Marrickville, Sydney, NSW Australia ; Philip Gard died on 28 May 1940 in Sacred Heart Hospice, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW Australia) Children : Frederick B. 188, Philip E. 1889, Eva C. 1891, Helen F. 1893
Meanwhile, in Limerick, his first wife, Mary Hayes (nee Carroll), raised her children by working for the Earl of Limerick, who would later ignite Catherine's career by funding her stay in Dublin to study concert performance. Her obvious talent quickly transported her and her mother to Paris, where she studied under Manuel Garcia-who, a few years earlier, had helped Hayes's mentor, Sweden's Jenny Lind, to refine her soprano style. When she moved to London in 1849, then an emerging European centre for performing arts, she was as popular as Lind and Henrietta Sontag. Her repertoire was vast, including Donizetti's Linda, Verdi's I Masnadieri and Meyerbeer's Le Prophéte. Despite warnings of the health risks in famine-stricken towns and villages, Hayes returned to Ireland several times. When she made her Irish operatic debut in Lucia di Lammermoor, Dublin critics effused about the homegrown prima donna. In Limerick, crowds piled outside her hotel, calling her the "Irish Queen of Song."
Catherine Hayes spent many years abroad, beginning with her American tour in 1851. Though several Irish male performers had preceded her, she was the first Irish soprano to perform from the Eastern seaboard to New Orleans and up the Mississippi River; in San Francisco, one fireman paid more than $1,000 for a ticket to Hayes's show. The tour gained a romantic twist when her future husband William Avery Bushnell became her agent after she lost a lawsuit to her original agents, London's Cramer & Beale. Bushnell was a grassroots type of promoter and assured Hayes packed houses when they traveled to Hawaii, Australia, and Singapore. When he died less than a year after their wedding in 1857, she consumed herself with a performance schedule even more rigorous than her four concerts per week while abroad.
Hayes maintained a repertoire and persona infused with Irishness. Even when critics consistently mistook her for an "English" prima donna, she seduced audiences with a deliberate sampling of Italian arias, opera excerpts, and Irish ballads. When Queen Victoria requested an encore, she delivered an Irish song. Off stage, Hayes was philanthropic, frequently holding benefit concerts on the last day of a visit to a particular city. In New Orleans, she helped Father James Mullon raise funds to complete the building of St. Patrick's church, which still stands today.
At a time when Irish women had few opportunities to be independent, Hayes-who became fluent in French and Italian-played both bookkeeper and agent. She left no personal journals and only a few letters. In the end, it is clear that Hayes was an intelligent, discerning woman.
Mary married Arthur Williamson Hayes, son of Patrick Hayes and Unknown, in 1815. (Arthur Williamson Hayes was born in 1796 in Limerick, Ireland UK.)