Hay Valley is a dispersed rural community on State Highway 36 four miles northwest of Gatesville in north central Coryell County. It is bordered to the north by a low mountain range, to the west by the old Ames community, to the south by the Leon River, and to the east by a state prison installation (see PRISON SYSTEM). George Washington Tanner and his wife, Martha Matilda Smith Gillion Tanner, settled in the valley in 1870. They established a successful farm and stock-raising operation and by about 1878 had completed a two-story rock house up next to the mountain on the north side of the highway. In the late 1980s the house was still kept in good repair by its owners. The nearby Yows home, built in the 1880s, is another beautifully restored building; by the late 1980s it had been occupied by five generations of the Yows family. As Hay Valley was so close to Gatesville, it never had a post office, but it did have a church and a school. Its church, organized in 1881, was originally called the Hay Valley Missionary Baptist Church of Christ, and later the Hay Valley Baptist Church. For a time, the community's school and church met in the same building, but eventually a separate schoolhouse was built. After the children in Hay Valley were transferred to the Gatesville schools, the Hay Valley school building was deeded to the church, which was still using it in the mid-1980s. At that time about a dozen farms occupied the valley, and descendants of early settlers still living there included members of the Davis, Byrom, Quicksall, and Yows families.
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