1 = Dutch cap n. chiefly seMA, RI
1797 Greenfield Gaz. (MA) 31 Aug /1, Providence, August 12. . . A whirlwind passed through a part of Smithfield and Cumberland, which tore a windmill to pieces; . . a hay cap was removed, and 4½ tons of hay which it covered, with a stack of oats, were taken up and dispersed. 1843 Eve. Post (NY NY) 11 Aug 2/2 seMA, At Taunton, Barney Reed’s new house and hay cap . . was completely blown down, a heap of ruins. 1873 MA Weekly Spy (Worcester) 7 Nov 1/6 csMA, The building in which he preached was a rude structure of logs, twenty feet square, . . the roof coming to a point in the centre, or rather cut off before coming to a point, and surmounted by a cupola, looking like a hay cap, with a little steeple on the top. 1897 (1898) Fisher Men Women 1.316 RI, There was not even a meeting-house [in Providence] until the year 1700, and the one then erected was shaped like a hay-cap, with a fireplace in the middle, the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof. 1939 LANE Map 104 seMA, In southeastern Mass. the square or oblong stack may have a roof sliding on four corner posts, which is called a Dutch cap . . [by 3 infs] or a hay cap . . [by 3 infs]. . . 1 inf, hay cap, consisting of 4 corner posts and a roof, the sides being boarded up to a height of 4–6 feet from the ground. 1951 AmSp 26.251 Upstate NY, Some words whose occurrence in New England is restricted do occasionally appear in Upstate New York. For instance. . . the southeastern New England . . hay cap (haystack).
2 also cap: A temporary cover, usu of heavy cloth, for a small pile of hay or other crop that is drying in the field. chiefly Nth, esp NEng
1847 ME Farmer (Augusta) 21 Jan 1/4, A year ago last summer I used hay caps, that is, pieces of cloth about five feet square, with a stick some eighteen inches long fastened to each corner, and spread one over every cock of hay, and the sticks inserted in the hay, which prevented the wind from blowing them off. This I did every night. 1853 (1864) Thoreau ME Woods 88, The white hay-caps, drawn over small stacks of beans or corn in the fields on account of the rain, were a novel sight to me. 1858 S. Cultivator 16.84 sAL, I provide a sett of “hay caps,” such as hundreds of the best farmers in the North uniformly provide and use. They last for years, and the first cost is almost nominal. . . In the evening, about sundown I hay-cock, and cover each cock with its cap. 1873 in 1874 VT State Bd. Ag. Rept. for 1873–74 2.187, He cures his grass . . the day it is cut, and puts it up in medium-sized cocks for the night, covering each with a “hay cap.” 1903 OH Farmer 103.550, Geo. W. Battles . . asks if I have tried hay caps and how I like them.—Yes, I tried them and abandoned them. 1920 IA Homestead 24 June 15, Farmers who make a practice of curing hay in the cock will get good results from the use of hay caps. 1934 U.S. Dept. Ag. Farmers’ Bulletin 1722.24, Where the acreage is small, alfalfa is often cured in cocks, occasionally being covered with hay caps consisting of a piece of canvas about 3 feet square, which of course increases the labor and expense very materially and is not practical for large acreages. 1966 DARE (Qu. L11, What . . you do to hay in the field after it’s cut) Inf ME5, Some heaped it up and put haycaps of canvas or leather-board on them in case of rain.