The later life of Robert "Bobby" Paton is an open-book and exemplary. He, like fellow Vale and Scotland footballer, John McGregor, became a local councillor. He was also President of the local, Jamestown Liberal Association and a great advocate of temperance. Indeed, on his early death in 1905, aged just fifty or fifty-one, his funeral was attended by both the Vale footballing great but also the local, political good.
However, in sharp contrast there are no records of Bobby as a child, one as a teenager and one as a young man, his marriage to Christina Orr in 1882. The first recording is in 1871, when he is registered as seventeen, so born in 1853 or early1854, and boarding in Bonhill with the family of John Bain and his wife, Jane. And his married certificate shows him as aged twenty-seven, so born 1854 or 1855.
However, there is one very additional piece of information of on that same marriage certificate. His father is noted as Robert Paton, deceased but his mother was still alive and none other than Jane Bain. She on that 1871 census is recorded as aged thirty-two, so born in 1839 and in Glasgow, with her husband just twenty-six. It would mean that, if Bobby were not actually a "boarder" but her son, she would have had him aged just fifteen, he presumably illegitimate. Furthermore still in 1871 John and Jane Bain had several Bain children, the eldest of whom was five. But the couple had only been married in Jamestown in 1868 so at least one of their children had been born out of wedlock and, moreover, she, recorded on that wedding day as Jane McMahon, is aged 28, so again born in 1839-40 and still fifteen on Robert's birth. But there is a complication. In 1861 a Jane McMahon is recorded in Bonhill but she is aged twenty-six, which means, if they are the same, she lied on the her marriage and for the 1871 census, was actually born in 1834/5 so was nineteen on Bobby's birth but with still illegitimate.
Bobby and Christina Paton, another Valedweller born in Drymen in Stirlingshire, would have four children, three daughters and son. Bobby would meanwhile work his way up from Print-field Worker to Drapery Warehouse baler and finally quality-checker. But before that he would from 1874 to 1881 have a unique, footballing career. In 1875 he, as a forward, is credited as, for The Vale, the first to score a goal against Queen's Park. It marked the rise of his club, which would take it to three successive Sottish Cup victories from 1877, he featuring in the first and also scoring the winner. He would also win two Scottish caps, both in 1879, before stepping back from the game at the age of just twenty-seven, suggesting injury.
On his death Bobby Paton was buried in Vale of Leven Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, who would die, still in the Vale in 1919.
1854 - Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
1861 - N/A
1881 - N/A
1882 - Jamestown, Dunbartonshire
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