Eva Jay was born in November 1728. She was the daughter of Peter and Mary Van Cortlandt Jay of Westchester County. Eva was not a healthy girl and also was beset by emotional problems. Marriage age passed and Eva remained a spinster living on her family's Westchester estate and also at the family home in Manhattan.
Eva was thirty-eight years old when she became the third wife of thirty-six year-old Reverend Harry Munro in March 1766. At the time, the marriage connected an ambitious cleric with the most prominent families in Westchester County. With their new-born son, she followed Munro to Albany where he had been installed as rector of St. Peter's Anglican Church.
The Munros moved into the new Albany parsonage and she often accompanied her husband to minister to the Mohawks. But by mid-1775, her trips to the Caughnawaga mission were more to see a husband who was less comfortable in Albany's charged and increasingly anti-British climate.
At the outbreak of hostilities, the Scottish-born Munro had been identified as a Tory. Within a year, he was imprisoned. In 1777, he escaped to the British in New York never to return. With the chapel closed and with most St. Peter's parishioners under suspicion themselves, the fragile and aging Eva found little comfort in Albany - even though she was the older sister of revolutionary leader John Jay. She lived out the war with the Jay family in rural Westchester Couty - returning to Albany in 1779 to beg that her departed husband's name not be included in the Act of Attainder - which would deprive her of his property.
Although there was some talk of her joining her exiled husband in Scotland, Eva and her son remained with the Jay family. Her marriage was a casualty of the war!
Eva Jay Munro died in April 1810. Deserted by her husband, she was buried in the Jay family plot in Rye, New York.
first posted: 8/5/02