Although I have not posted for some time, I am not quite ready to leave the problem of identifying the parents and husband of Delitha Hays. Knowing that neighbors can sometimes furnish hints to help solve genealogy problems, I have looked at those around Delitha. Particularly for anyone who was born in North Carolina and perhaps had lived in Tennessee prior to arriving in Mississippi.
In the 1850 census in Tippah Co, MS, Deletha's son Elias Hays [who was my gg grandfather] was living with his wife and child in a veritable nest of Malones, and next door to Gabriel Malone. Now Gabriel has a marriage record to a Lucinda Hays in Hardeman Co, TN, just over the line from Tippah, on 11 Jan 1839. And there they are in 1850, living in the household next to Elias Hays:
1850, Tippah Co MS, Hh 1014:
Gabriel Malone, age 30, b. NC. Lucinda age 20, b. TN [She couldn't have been 20 if she married in 1839 so her age is an error - she and Gabriel likely the same age.]
William H. age 9, Ann E. age 7, John R. age 5, Henry C. age 3, Z. Taylor age 4/12 - all born in MS.
Other Malones in Tippah Co in 1850 included:
Hh 1009: John Malone, age 70, born NC; his wife Anice age 60 b. NC, a son Leonard age 20, b. NC
Online databases show John as the father of Gabriel - I have found no proof but ages and birth places would seem to substantiate this premise.
A Gilbert Malone was on the same page as John and Martin Hays in that 1850 census. He was also said to be a son of John Malone. Gilbert was 36, born in 1814 in NC. Another son of John is believed to be Riley Malone, age 25, also born in NC. John, Riley & Gabriel Malone are all on the same page of the census as Elias Hays. Gilbert Malone was living next door to Martin & John Hays, possible brothers of Elias, a short distance away. There is a Malone widow on the same page as John, Riley & Gabriel. She was Martha F. Malone age 50, b. NC and had four children, John 17, Caroline 14, Thomas 13, and Catherine 10, all born in Tennessee.
John Malone and family seem to have followed the same migration pattern as the Hays family. His youngest son Leonard, born in NC about 1830, then they may have spent some time in Tennessee as the widow Martha's children were all born there beginning about 1833. John Malone & Delitha Hays are both present in the 1840 census in Tippah Co MS.
This Malone family virtually vanishes by 1860. No possible Leonard or Gabriel Malone is found at all.
A Riley Malone found in Tishomingo Co MS was age 30, b. NC [he had been 25 in 1850]. Wife is Emily; wife was recorded as Eliza in 1850, but he is said to have married Emily Carter. Jesse age 3 and John 7/12. He and Eliza had been married within the year of 1850 so this man could possibly be the same if Eliza died within a few years.
There was in 1860 a Gilbert Malone, age 44, born NC [he had been age 36 in 1850]. Wife was Mary; wife had been Susan in 1850. [This agrees with an online database which has the two wives, no surnames.] The 1860 Gilbert Malone was in Christian Twp, Independence, AR. He had two young children by Mary in 1850 and they are not present. Children now are three little girls between ages of 7 and 2 months and all born in AR.
Two of the daughters of John Malone were in Sebastian Co AR in 1860 - Rebecca who had married Dennis Barnes in Jefferson Co TN, 1832; and Lavicy who had married John Booth.
Apparently Gabriel Malone died:
Tippah Co Mississippi Circuit Court Records 1849-1886; p.21
State vs. Andrew A. Turnbow. Mar 1851. Shooting Gabriel Malone, Aug 3, 1848. Death of deft.
There were other Malones in Tippah County as well - the family of Booth Malone who had come from Virginia. Several of Booth Malone's children were born in Alabama, some of them lived in Fayette County, TN. They seem to be unrelated to John and family, but the possibility of some earlier connection remains.
Another researcher had seen microfilm of the Tippah Co tax records and told me that Booth Malone shows as “1 black poll” in MS Tax records for several years – she had concluded perhaps he was Indian. This might indicate he was of no relation at all to John Malone born in NC. [Orange Co NC where John Malone was born was parent county of Guilford which became Rockingham.] However, research on family message boards indicate generations of relationships between the Malone & Booth families going back to Sussex Co VA. I think there’s more to the story about the “black poll”. Booth Malone of Tippah Co is said to have been a minister and I do not think he was Black, nor do I believe he was Indian. He was likely the son of a William Malone whose wife was Mary Booth. Now that I look at this problem again, I realize I need to see those tax records for myself. I think it likely he was past the age [perhaps over 60] for paying his own tax and the poll might have been for a slave, or this may have been after his decease  and his estate was paying this tax.
Records I have found relating to Booth Malone include the following:
[Tippah Co was formed 10 Feb 1836 out of lands ceded by the Chickasaw.] Proven names of some of his children from Land Deed Extracts (LDS Film #1597980) are daughter Margaret P. Baskerville (Deed dated 1845); son Wm. G. Malone (1845); son Richard N/H. Malone (1836 – Richard becomes admin of the estate of Booth who died sometime after the 1845 state census); daughter Elizabeth N. Shaw of Hardeman Co TN (1847) [another deed to Willie G. Shaw of Hardeman for love and affection 318 acres in Hardeman Co on 13 Dec 1843], daughter Lucretia F. J. Cossitt, wife of Frank D. Cossitt (1848). Found in the 1850 Census are William G. Malone, age 37, born in TN and Richard H., age 28 b. AL and their families. Also Gilbert D. T. Malone age 22, b. AL. These three all found on the same page. In the same Census is a widow Mary, age 57 and b. AL who appears to have living with her daughter Marsha Ann, age 25 & John W. age 20, both also b. AL. There are 3 teenagers with Beard for a surname in her home. After the deeds revealing that Booth has died, there are several involving Mrs. Mary Malone, so she was likely married to a son. She had died by Nov 1859.
The following would confirm the wife of Booth Malone. I never found her in the 1850 Tippah Co Census - she had apparently died in March of that year.
Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths: The Nashville Christian Advocate 1850-1851
By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith; self-published; 2003
June 7, 1850 Peggy Malone, widow of Rev. Booth Malone, daughter of John and Jane Narsworthy; born Isle of Wight Co VA, Nov. 2, 1784; married Mar 19, 1801; died in the residence of her son Richard Malone, Tippah Co, Miss., Mar 11, 1850; for years she had a wen under her jaw but only had pain from it fairly recently when it was operated on, developing into cancer [or perhaps already cancerous] which led to her demise.
I would very much like to be in contact with anyone researching either of these Malone families.
An examination of the birthplaces of the heads of household on the same page with Delitha Hays in 1850 reveals a Thomas Smith, age 31 b. TN, an Argyle Mixon age 27 b. TN, a Wesley Mixon age 34 b. TN, Absalom M. McCauley age 39, born in NC as was his wife – they have children born in both TN & MS; William Barton, age 35 b. TN. Others born in Virginia. McCauley would seem to have some possibilities to check out, but I've been unable to find out much more about him - he does seem to have followed a similar migration pattern.
Absalom W. McCauley married P. [Penelope] Caroline Yancey, 8 May 1834, Orange County, North Carolina. John Rich, bondsman Michl. Holt, witness. Several other McCauley marriages were in Orange County.
1850 Census. Tippah Co MS [two entries away from Delitha Hays]
Absalom M. McCauley, age 39, b. NC.
Penelope P., age 40, b. NC
Elizabeth L. 14, b. TN. Mary A. 12, b. TN. Joel 6, b. MS. George A. 5, b. MS.
McCauley was also in Tippah Co in 1840, and still there in 1860.
As you can see, none of the above has as yet provided the missing puzzle piece.