WILLIAM PATRICK LAY is a native of Cherokee County, Ala., son of Cumins M. and Elizabeth (McGhee) Lay, was born in June, 1853. The senior Mr. Lay, a native of Tennessee, came to Alabama in 1835, and engaged at flat-boating, and subsequently at steamboating on the Coosa River; and to that business devoted his entire time. He reared seven children, to-wit : John H., carpenter and builder: William Patrick (subject of this sketch); James M., merchant at Rome, Ga.; Washington C., steamboat captain: Sallie B., wife of H. B. Myers; Mary L. and Minnie L. His father, John Lay, was an Englishman; came to America. settled first in Virginia, thence migrated to Tennessee; came into Alabama in 1535, and, in 1559, removed to Dallas, Texas, and there died in 1866.
The subject of this sketch received an academic education, and, at the age of eighteen years, began the machinist trade in the engine department of extensive railroad shops, and worked at that trade six years. From the shop he went on the road as a locomotive engineer; and in 1874 came to Gadsden as a bookkeeper for W. P. Hollingsworth. At the death of Mr. Hollingsworth, Mr. Lay was appointed managing executor of his estate, the settlement and management of which has since that date (1880) required much of his time. He is also largely interested in the manufacture of lumber, is general manager of the Gadsden Electric Light Company, president of the Gadsden Hotel Company, director in the Woodlawn Land Company, an extensive cotton buyer, and more or less interested in various other Gadsden enterprises.
Mr. Lay was married in April, 1876, to Miss Laura J. Hollingsworth, daughter of the late W. P. Hollingsworth, and the four children born to him are William E., Carl S., Tracy H., and Ralph. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Lay is a member of the Order of the Knights of Pythias. Ile has served the city several terms as councilman, and is now chief of the fire department.
Source: McCalley, Henry, Northern Alabama : historical and biographical. Birmingham, AL: Smith & De Land, 1888, pp. 835.