Elizabeth Jane Hays went by Jane and was a “granny woman”, according to descendants; she delivered babies in the small, rural community of Iron City in Wayne County, Tennessee.
She was born on May 2, 1845 in Iron City to John Marshal Hays and Sarah Sallie Pigg Hays.
At the age of 14, Jane married William Birt Dalton on October 30, 1859 in Wayne County, Tennessee. On the 1860 census, Jane is living with William and his mother, Millberry. They lived next door to Jane’s parents, Sarah and John Hays. The young couple moved to Mississippi during the start of the Civil War. Their son, Marshal Sims Dalton, was born in February of 1861. He was named after Jane’s father, John Marshal Hays, and William’s father, William Sims Dalton. William Birt Dalton enlisted as a Private with the Confederacy in the 8th Regiment, Mississippi Cavalry. He died November 15, 1862. Jane was a widow at 17 years old.
Jane and her young son, Marshal, moved back to Wayne County, Tennessee after William’s death. They lived with her parents until she married Levi P. Boyd on August 10, 1869 at the age of 24. Her son was living next door to Jane and Levi with Jane’s parents on the 1870 census.
Jane and Levi had five children: Mary “Molly” Carolyn, John Louis “Lou”, William “Dee”, Susan Malinda “Linnie”, and Martha Ada.
She became a widow again at age 37 when Levi died on March 21, 1883. She did not remarry.
Jane lived in a log cabin in Iron City on land that Levi inherited from his father, Jeter Levi Boyd. When Jane’s youngest child, Martha Ada, married John Wesley Dial, the couple lived with Jane. The log cabin became the Dial family’s home where they raised nine children. Jane might have delivered all nine.
In her lifetime, she experienced the loss of both of her husbands and three of her adult children (Molly, Lou and Dee.) A lifelong member of the Iron City Baptist Church, Jane’s devout faith helped her remain strong. She raised six children. She delivered countless babies in the community. She lived through the Civil War and saw the invention of the automobile.
At the age of 84, she fell and broke her hip. She was taken to Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence, Alabama, where she died from complications on August 25, 1929. She is buried in Friendship Cemetery in Wayne County, Tennessee.
I wish I could spend an afternoon with her on the porch at the cabin or under a shade tree to just chat about her life. I would certainly learn a lot from my third great-grandmother. I imagine her to be kind, strong, wise and filled with a lot of great stories she could share.