The Story of Bob…

 

Genealogy work is interesting because often you learn the past isn’t what you were told. At the age of 60, my husband got the shock of his life when it was discovered that the person he thought was his biological father actually adopted him. It was through genealogical research that curiosities were revealed about his birth. At the time, his mother was in a nursing home with dementia and could not answer any questions. It was his aunt, Kathy, that laid out the truth as she knew it.

Elizabeth “Beth” Earle Wallace and Lawrence “Shug” Alton Jay

Bob’s story begins sometime before August 22, 1947 with the courtship of Lawrence Alton Jay and Elizabeth Earle Wallace. Lawrence, known as Shug, was from Jacksonville, Texas, the son of Alton Ferris Jay and Frances C. Dean. Alton was a self employed cabinet maker. Elizabeth, known as Beth, was the daughter of Sidney Elton Wallace and Winnie May Watkins. Sidney was a farmer in New Summerfield, Texas. New Summerfied is approximately 10 miles east of Jacksonville.

 

 

Shug Jay and Beth Jay on their wedding day

Kathy told Bob that they were deeply in love which culminated in their marriage on August 22, 1947. The couple lived in Jacksonville, visiting Beth’s family on a regular basis. Lawrence was welcomed into Beth’s family with open arms, he was loved as a son or a brother. Beth’s family looked up to Lawrence and was very happy with Beth’s choice of a husband. Sadly, the same does not appear to be true for Beth and Lawrence’s family as the rest of the story is told.

 

Beth Jay on her wedding Day

In 1952, Beth’s mother became ill. Kathy was only 5 years old at the time, being a late in life baby. Beth left Jacksonville and went to New Mexico to care for her mother, sister, and father as they were living there at the time. As any other young married couple would do, it is believed Lawrence and Beth said their goodbyes in a most romantic and intimate way the night prior to her departure. Beth was be gone for a couple of months. At some point during her stay at her parents, Beth learned she was pregnant.

It is not known if Shug went to Beth’s parents to visit while she was gone. It is not known when Shug became aware Beth was pregnant. What is known is that he denied paternity of the baby. According to Kathy, Shug was convinced by his mother and sister that Beth had an affair while she was taking care of her sick mother, her 5 year old sister, and her father. According to the Jay family, there was no way Shug could be the father of the child.

Beth and her family was devastated. Her excitement of having the baby of her husband was crushed. She was humiliated because the man she trusted and loved believed the lies told by his family. Lawrence Jay filed for divorce on June 6, 1952, waiving all rights and responsibilities to said child. Divorce was granted on August 16, 1952.

Beth Wallace Jay later gave birth to my husband, Robert Dalton. She also married a wonderful man who adopted Bob and raised him as his own.

Fast forward to 2016. DNA is an integral part of genealogy work this day and age. Bob took a DNA test through ancestry.com and has numerous DNA matches to the Jay surname. There are two DNA match showing 3rd cousins with extremely high confidence. One connects Bob with Lawrence’s uncle. The other is a direct line connection to Bob’s second great grandmother, Hannah Smith, mother of Charles F Jay who is the father of Alton Ferris Jay. Three other DNA matches have been researched and all matches indicate shared ancestors of Lawrence Alton Jay.

 

Beth and Shug Jay with unknown child

Robert Dalton

Lawrence Alton Jay

 

Comments

  1. Lawrence Jay was a good friend while He and my sister Beth were still married. He let me drive his car (he 1040 Ford pictured above with Beth). I was about 15 years old at the time. I remember he took me to Dallas with him n 1946 or 1947. We met a former college classmate of his: famous football player Doak Walker. don’t remember many details. But I remember I really loved that 40 Ford. Great car.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I say let no more time pass. Tomorrow isn’t promised, get the closure you need. You never know what blessings you will receive from it. Good luck!

  3. Look Just Like Your Father, Robert . Is He Still Living ? Have You Met any of His Family ? Good Luck !

    • admin says:

      No, he has passed. There are two sons and two daughters, but no attempt to get in touch with them has been made. Still trying to decide what to do.

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