Somerville Speakup Line: Helping My Wife Find Any Living Relatives of Her Biological Father

Dear Billy T and Somerville Speakup Line,

Im looking for assistance in helping my wife find any living relatives of her biological father.

Sometime November 1955 and June 1956, my wife’s Mother had an affair with a black gentleman that worked for NECCO candy company. That was taboo, as she was white.

As a result, my wife was placed for adoption at Cambridge home for children. They have not been able to provide any information. We know her Mother’s name and have been in contact with relatives on her Mother’s side of the family.

Anyone that may have had any information at all has died. Would you consider running a story in your newspaper about this. We are willing to provide as much information as possible. Thank you in advance for any consideration you may give us.


Dear Billy T:  I thought I would provide some advance information reference my wife’s search for any living relatives on her biological father’s side of family.  The following information is provided about her mother.

Velda Audrey Horton was born 1 August 1925 in Hazelbrook, Queens, Prince Edward Island to Milton Horton and Hilda Belle Meyers Horton.  They immigrated to the Somerville area sometime during 1927.  She had one brother who died at birth.  She married a gentleman name William David Jenkins in Somerville and they resided in that area during the remainder of their lives.  Velda died 31 March 2015, In West Roxbury.

Sometime during her life she started working for NECCO candy company, along with one of her sister-in-laws and they both worked there for over twenty years.

According to a living relative on her husbands side of the family, the sister-in-law suspected she was having an affair with a black gentleman, that was a co-worker at NECCO.  My wife was born June 6, 1956. Her name is Shelley Olivia Cassellberry.  She was adopted at the approximate age of 2 1/2 years of age.  At the time of her birth she was immediately placed in the Cambridge Home for Children.

I have requested any information I could obtain from NECCO, the children’s home and the funeral home, but none of them could provide any information.  Evidently, Velda was a very private lady, with no close friends.

My wife is hoping if you publish an article about an interracial love affair that occurred sometime between November 1955 and June 1956, requesting assistance for anyone that may have heard a story about their father, grandfather, uncle or other relative that may have had an affair, contact you.  In return you could contact us.

She understands that this is a long shot, but it is possible she  may have a half brother or sister, cousin, aunt, uncle or another living relative from her biological father’s side of the family.

I will still call you this coming Tuesday, 9/11, between 8AM and noon.  Hopefully this is enough information.  If not, maybe I can provide more during our conversation.

Thank you,

Phil Harris

Photos:Here are photos of my wife’s mon. The resemblance is uncanny. Because the adoption papers were sealed, she was unable to obtain her original birth certificate until last year. That is when she found out her mother”s name. At one time we lived in Uncasville, Ct. and during an outing to Plymouth, was so close to where she lived, when she was still alive.

Anyone with information contact Billy Tauro at the Somerville News Weekly at (617)293-2016 or email at:

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