Evaluating the evidence
Concerning Bea Elizabeth Phillips being the daughter of James Lewis Dalton and Adeline Lee Younger.
- The Bible pages (suspicious – requires impartial examination)
- Lee Phillips' death certificate ("Mrs. Dalton")
– looks suspiciously like Bill Phillips' handwriting.
- Jack Phillips' social security application giving his mother's name as "Edna Dawlton".
To be fair to all those fooled by Bill Phillips, were I to receive one of the Bible pages and the death certificate of Lee Phillips, that would be enough for me to accept the family's relationship to the Dalton family. But, were I to discover two different versions of the Bible page – and were I also denied access to the original – I would begin to be suspicious. Fortunately, we now have so much more which contradicts these two evidences and implies one or both are falsified documents.
The favorable evidence really is not very favorable.
- The death certificate of Lee Phillips is weak evidence as (1) it gives "Miss Dalton's" birth place as Texas and no DALTON child was born in Texas and (2) it does not identify the Dalton family to which she belonged (father's given name is missing). See the Handwriting Analysis for proof the Dalton reference was forged.
- The Bible record is suspicious because (a) two versions of it were presented to two different historians, (b) neither researcher was permitted to see the original and (c) part of it is in ballpoint ink, which didn't exist at that time.
- All of the above was presented by Bill Phillips, the man responsible for the rest of the distortion of historical facts.
- The social security application of Jack Phillips is the only thing left, but it is difficult for he gives his mother's name as "Edna Dawlton" and he gives his birth date as being three months after Bea Phillips died. Assuming he just made a mistake on her first name and lied about his birth date, how can we be sure he didn't make a mistake on her last name also? Further, one should not dismiss the strong evidence showing that Bea Phillips was born in Texas so, even were her maiden name DAWLTON or DALTON, she still could not be the daughter of James Lewis Dalton and Adeline Lee Younger.
Bill Phillips gave two different versions of the Bible record to researchers Mark S. Pannill and Nancy Samuelson. If that weren't suspicious enough, add the apparent ball-point pen entries, which was impossible before WW-II.
The 1931 death certificate of Alford Lee "Lee" Phillips only says "Miss Dalton" for his mother (and it looks suspiciously like Bill Phillips' handwriting), and no state vital statistics were kept in 1894 and no funeral records from that funeral home exist prior to 1948 so there is no additional information for us. Were it true that her surname was DALTON, there is no way of knowing from which Dalton family she came, and his death certificate agrees with all the census data that his mother was born in Texas which proves she cannot be the child of James Lewis Dalton and Adeline Lee Younger for all their children were born in Missouri and Kansas.
If one can say the funeral home record and the two death records of his brothers giving her surname as HARRISON are mistakes, then one can also say this single reference to DALTON is spurious.
- Proof she was born in Texas, not Missouri (The Daltons were never in Texas. See Finding Bea.)
- Proof her surname was HARRISON or HARRIS
- John Phillips' 1938 social security application (her maiden name HARRIS)
- John Phillips' 1963 death certificate (her maiden name HARRISON)
- 1966 application for SS benefits for John Phillips' widow (her maiden name PHILLIPS)
- John Phillips' death record (her maiden name HARRISON)
- Jack Phillips' death certificate (her maiden name HARRISON)
- Jack Phillips' funeral record (her maiden name HARRISON)
- Absence of any data
- no paper trail whatsoever (except questionable data at left)
- no correspondence to or from Dalton relatives
- no census data
- no newspaper mentions, no obituary
- no funeral or burial record
- no wills, no probate, no land records
- not mentioned in any Dalton records
- no mention of DALTON relation in any Phillips family obituaries (except two falsified obituaries created by Billy Murl Phillips)
- Falsified data
- Bea Phillips' delayed death certificate
- Jack Phillips' amended death certificate
- Handwriting Analysis
- Altered newspaper article
- Adeline's obituary
- Leona Dalton's memorial
- Slim Phillips' obituary
- Loyce Phillips' obituary
- "Replacement" tombstones
- Bill Phillips' genealogy
- Bill's Campfire Yarn to NOLA
- U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
- Dalton family records (from which she is missing entirely)
Application of Genealogical Proof Rules to the Bea Elizabeth Dalton Hoax
See Genealogical Proof to understand how to evaluate genealogical evidence. The untainted evidence for Bea Elizabeth (last name unknown) who married Tom Phillips is sparse, but useful and trustworthy. The oral family history and other evidence presented by the Phillips family, such as the Bible page, violate the most basic genealogical proof principles.
See Evidence Overview for a more detailed evaluation of the evidence.
|Evidence||Type of Proof||Confidence Level|
|census, tax records, social security apps||government record||High|
|Emmett's list of children||first-hand knowledge||High|
|Jane Bliven Dalton's list of siblings||first-hand knowledge||High|
|death certificates (secondary evidence)||government record||Medium|
|Newspaper obituaries||second-hand knowledge||Medium|
|U.S. & International Marriage Records||unsourced, unsupported||- None -|
|Phillips family list of children||no evidence||- None -|
|death certificates from Phillips family||falsified||- None -|
|tombstones||falsified||- None -|
|Phillips family oral history & "explanations"||no supporting evidence||- None -|
|obituaries from Phillips family||altered & falsified||- None -|
|Phillips family timeline of Bea's travels||illogical, unsupported||- None -|
|Phillips family genealogy||unsourced, unsupported||- None -|
Knowing she was born in Texas is all that is needed to prove Bea Elizabeth is not the daughter of James Lewis Dalton and Adeline Lee Younger.
All the available evidence supporting the claim of Bea Elizabeth Phillips' relation to the Dalton family has been presented by her grandson Billy Murl Phillips. There is abundant proof of manipulating and inventing evidence on his behalf, including his masquerading under at least three falsified aliases: Bill Dalton, William Dalton Phillips and Bill Dalton Phillips. Then there is the falsifying and altering of documents and having tombstones replaced with inscriptions favorable to his goals – and it's likely that not everything he has done has yet been discovered. Any one of these actions should cast suspicion on any other evidence he might present. How can we believe anything from him?
There is an abundance of evidence for the family of James Lewis Dalton and Adeline Lee Younger, but we find no (valid) evidence whatsoever for anyone named Bea Elizabeth, with any surname, who was born in 1856 in Missouri (or Texas). No one by that name has been found on any census, newspaper article, obituary, probate record or will. She should have at least appeared on the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses. Missing a census isn't unusual, but missing three or four consecutive censuses is unlikely. Like Bill Dalton Phillips, this lady is a ghost, an apparition.
Bill, in the NOLA article and using one of his falsified aliases, indicates his grandparents were in I.T. "around 1883", but his grandfather is on the 1881, 1882, 1883 and 1885 tax roll in Kerr County, Texas and has not been found in Indian Territory before 1900. Their children were all born in Kerr County, Texas – 1882, 1884, 1886 and 1890. It's quite a stretch to think they traveled more than 350 miles one way in 1883 from Kerrville to Fort Sill or Ardmore and then back to have the rest of their children.
How can so much information exist for the Dalton family and its members without one single mention, anywhere, of Bea Elizabeth, not in any government record, not a newspaper article, not in any Dalton obituary and not in any Dalton family record – an alleged daughter who lived to adulthood, supposedly married a Texas Ranger, lived nearby and had children who would have been grandchildren, nieces and nephews of that family?
The printed books and articles containing this false information that will linger in libraries for generations are troublesome as are the tombstones and monuments that have been erected in various places in Oklahoma. Printed on paper and etched in stone, for all to see, is the false proof that Bea Elizabeth is the daughter of James Lewis Dalton and Adeline Lee Younger.
This is genealogical fraud at its worst. The man who does not exist, Bill Dalton Phillips, has done an admirable job of making fools of his neighbors, genealogists, and even his own family, and for what? A few moments of local fame, bragging rights, some notoriety gained by association, or what? His notoriety comes from his own efforts – the deception he has committed and the embarrassment to his family and community will live on.
What can be said for Bea Elizabeth Phillips being the daughter of James Lewis Dalton and Adeline Lee Younger? We must conclude there is no evidence supporting this claim and, sadly, must recognize that all we have is falsified evidence.