The John Hay Cigar brand was originally established in 1882 by prominent cigar manufacturer W.W. Stewart & Sons, after receiving the personal endorsement from John Hay.
W.W. Stewart & Sons produced many popular brands of cigars at the time—including John Hay Cigars. Originally located in Newmanstown, Pennsylvania, the factory moved to Reading, Pennsylvania in 1898 and continued producing cigars until the 1950s.
Craig Stewart, the great-grandson of W.W. Stewart, re-introduced the John Hay cigar brand in the early 1990’s. In 2004, Craig sold the company to his sister-in-law & her husband, Lauren and David Patrick.
John Hay Cigars are named for the American Diplomat and Statesman, John Hay (1838-1905). Hay was born in Salem, Indiana in 1838. He graduated from Brown University and began practicing law in Springfield, Illinois in 1861. When Abraham Lincoln became President, he made Hay his Assistant Private Secretary. After Lincoln's death (Hay was at his bedside when he died), Hay entered the diplomatic service. In 1870, Hay became an editorial writer for the New York Tribune. For several years he spent most of his time writing. Hay wrote a ten-volume book entitled, Abraham Lincoln: A History and several volumes of poems and essays.
In 1897, Hay was appointed United States Ambassador to Great Britain. From 1898 until his death in 1905, he served as Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. John Hay is best remembered for his Open-Door Policy in China and establishing the diplomacy that prepared the way for building the Panama Canal (Hay-Pauncefote Treaty).