Venturing Into Family History 101

DFH Volume1 Issue 6

By Jim Dayton

Are you ready to take the first baby steps into Dayton family research? If you are, then you may want to explore collections of ancestral information on the Wilber Dayton Sr family. I have a vision for preserving my family history information, which I’ve been collecting for forty years, so that future generations can enjoy it as well.  Fifty years, maybe even two hundred years, from now, I want descendants of Wilber Sr. to be able to view our information and even to add to or change it. The internet medium I’ve chosen to make this possible is a web site called  It is a website developed and maintained by the Mormon Church [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]. I have chosen this site because:

  1. It is free, and most likely always will be.
  2. You and future Dayton decedents can add or change information as new information emerges.
  3. The Mormons have much research available, including Birth, Death, Marriage, Immigration, land records, and probate records just to name some..
  4. The website will last as long as there is a Mormon church [probably centuries], unless an evil governmental organization destroys the software owned by the Christian Churches.
  5. The Mormons will stay current with the latest technology. Preserving family history is a core belief of the Mormon church and always will be.
  6. The website will do nothing but improve.
  7. The Mormons will always have a passion for preserving my information regardless of what new technology and user desires dictate.
  8. Commercial websites such as will come and go because of financial debacles and bankruptcies, but the well-financed LDS, since church members are required to tithe, will undoubtedly never have a financial crisis. Currently, the LDS  Church has more assets than any Corporation in the world.

NOTE: Do not be intimidated or “turned off” because my plan is affiliated with the Mormons. I have spent countless hours on their website and visiting their Family history Centers inside their “brick and mortar” churches and have never been “approached about their religion.” They teach their volunteer genealogists not to proselytize their patrons because the patrons, you and I, are giving them genealogical information that can feed their hunger for family history data. Their belief system makes Family History a requirement.  Thus, they never bite the hand that feeds them.

In later issues, I will help you with accessing features of, but for this week, click on the following links to view my “work in progress.” NOTE: YOU WILL FIRST HAVE TO ESTABLISH A USER ID AND PASSWORD.  The website is

For Wilber Thomas Dayton Sr:

For Flossie Gertrude [Dayton] Denton

For Rev. Charles Alexander Dayton

For Chester Arthur Dayton

For Wilber Thomas Dayton Jr

For Paul Delbert Dayton

For those of you who are “tech savvy”, you will be able to navigate around the website now.  I’ll teach the rest of you later. Please be advised that for individuals who are alive, none of our information is available to other “prying eyes,” even if we’ve already entered photos etc. on-line. Information for deceased individuals, on the other hand, is available to anyone.

NOTE: If you are concerned that a photo(s) or document(s) which I have added of your loved one is too personal to be shared with the world, please inform me and I will remove it.


Yield Not to Temptation…Well…maybe just a little

DFH Volume 1 Issue 6

by Jim Dayton

A blue car parked in a parking lot

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A close up of a sign

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Uncle Chip’s (Chester Dayton) mid-life crisis spanned the years from the late 1950’s through about 1965, when he was around 45 -55 years old.  In those years, his thing was cars.  In about 1962, he bought a Karmann Ghia.   To a teenage kid, and probably adult boys too, it was near the top of the list of the finest piece of machinery ever built.  It was sold by Volkswagen, which also made Porsches, and it looked just as fast. Of course, the company also sold bugs; the Ghia had the horse power of that putt-putt car and so much class!  It was respectfully fast, but not a killer machine.

In the summer of ’63, when my hormones were racing, Uncle Chip decided he would ride up to West Chazy Camp Grounds with dad (Paul Dayton).  He left that heart stopping beautiful work of art in our driveway.   To make matters tempting, my entire family was already at camp and I was home alone.  And to really make matters worse, Uncle Chip left the Ghia keys on top of the refrigerator.  What do you suppose a kid would do in a situation like that?  That’s right. Steal that gorgeous machine and go on a joy ride, even if he didn’t know how to drive and didn’t even know how to shift a four-speed transmission. 

At first thought, it was a battle of good and evil.  “To steal or not to steal, that is the question!”  Evil prevailed.  I briefly wondered if Chip was testing me and knew the odometer reading. The urge was more than I could bear.  I learned to shift without jerks and grinding gears right away.  Now, where would I go?  More evil filled my mind.  In kayaking, class 5 rapids are as good as it gets, and I was determined to do a class 5 drive. Up and down blind, winding roads, over an unguarded railroad crossing–without peeking left or right for terror… “OK, Wimpy, let’s get it on.”

In a short time, I was bearing down on a slower car.  There was a solid yellow line and a blind bend in the road.  The imp, which now controlled the wheel, screamed, “So what! Go for the adrenaline rush.”  And I did. Then, it was full throttle up West Mountain.  I came down the hill much faster than I went up. Finally, having exhausted my curiosity, I returned home about a half hour later. I suppose I may have logged 35 miles on the odometer.  Again “So what!” I had had a thrill and had survived.  If Uncle Chip wanted to press charges with the town cops, it was OK, and well worth the penalty.  I never heard anything more about my adventure from Uncle Chip or my dad, but about four years later Uncle Chip wanted to sell the dream machine to me.  I was headed to college and needed every penny I could save, so I was forced to decline his offer.  I could tell it hurt his feelings.  Now that I’m much older, and I’d like to think a little wiser, I realize he would have sold it to me for practically nothing.  That’s just the way he was.  Another very generous Dayton. 

Come to think of it, I hadn’t realized how much I missed that Karmann Ghia until I started writing this article.  I may shop for one, even though I’m overweight and too decrepit to get in and out of one.  Perhaps I’ll just get it so my grandson can drive it.  After all…he’s a fifteen-year-old kid with raging hormones. I could accidentally leave the keys on top of my daughter’s refrigerator.

Jessie Belle’s Showmanship

DFH Volume 1 Issue 5

By Camilla [Dayton] Luckey

My dad (Charles) may have inherited a bit of his showman style from his mother, Jessie. I deduce this from a single experience—the one occasion she and I spent alone. For some reason I cannot recall, I spent the night, not just the evening, with her. We slept together in her big bed, she in what I recall as a voluminous nightgown. But that voluminous nightgown memory seems impossible, in retrospect, as just as we were settling in together she said sort of secretively, sort of like I saw my dad do dozens of times, “Come look; I want to show you something.” And whatever she was wearing she pulled it up enough to show me the surprise. It was a Ping Pong-size, bright, shiny red ball, located about where an appendix would be, and attached to her skin. She gave a huge grin at what must have been my dropped jaw. It was awesome. It was, I learned years later, a substitute bladder (or something of the sort). That’s all I remember from that one night, but it’s enough.

A person wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera

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Donna Fisher – Buckeye Hoopster

DFH Volume 1 Issue 5

Donna Fisher – Buckeye Hoopster

A person posing for the camera

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Donna [Fisher] Dayton was the sister of Josephine [Fisher] Dayton. Donna was the wife of Wilber Jr. and Josephine was the second wife of Charles.  You guessed it.  Sisters married brothers.  In 1929, Aunt Donna was a 15 year-old, (probably Freshman) on the Flushing, Ohio women’s Basketball team.  I don’t know if she played college ball, but it’s impressive to think that, during the roaring twenties, women played basketball.  Aunt Donna was definitely a trend setter.  And since she held an M.A. from the  University of Kentucky, we Dayton’s would like to think of her as an Academic All-American.

Question Corner-Mayflower

DFH Volume 1 Issue 4

Q. Many years ago, I remember grandma Dayton talking about us having a relative that was on the mayflower.

What I don’t know if it was on her side or the Dayton side.

Do we have anyone on the Dayton side?

A: Yes, in fact we actually have eight Mayflower grandpas and grandmas who were Mayflower Pilgrims.  Steve Dayton put together a brilliant ancestral chart which shows the lineage from Wilber and Jessie Dayton back to the Mayflower pilgrims (SEE NELOW).  There is just too much information available  to share to share it in this answer.  If you wish to ask more specific questions, fire away.  Deane Dayton has gone through the rigorous process of joining the Mayflower Society whose membership is restricted to members who can prove their lineage  I’m sure that he would be glad to discuss the process with you.  He proved John Billington, the most interesting of all of the “commoners” on the ship. Another Dayton grandpa,  John Howland,  is mentioned on every documentary about the Mayflower Atlantic crossing (including Snoppy’s cartoon version of the crossing).  Grandpa John Howland fell overboard during a fierce storm, and he was miraculously rescued, and lived to tell about it.  Thank you for your question. 

Question Corner-Uncle Jim’s Rope Bed

DFH Volume 1 Issue 4


Q: 40 years ago, grampa gave me “Uncle Jim’s” rope bed.  It came out of grampa’s attic and was used on Hadley hill.  He told me who Uncle Jim was, but I have forgotten.  How is he related?

A: Great Uncle Jim was the 2nd child of Charles and Nancy [Goodnow] Dayton, and he was brother of my grandpa, Wilber Thomas Dayton, Sr. and Jessie Belle Dayton. Jim went to live with his sister, Jennie [Dayton] Roach, in Greenwich New York, after Aunt Jennie’s husband died.  Jim was a bachelor his entire life.  I’ve included two photos of Jim [see beow].  The photo on the left is of Delbert Dayton and his brother, Jim Dayton.  The photo on the right is  a circa 1880 11×14 wall hanging photo, given to me by Jan [Dayton] Manley, who is Dr. Dayton’s daughter.

Letters to the Editor-Comments on Wilber’s Tribute

DFH Volume 1 Issue 4

Letter to the Editor: in response to the March 17, 2019 Tribute to Wilber Dayton, Jr..

Mark writes:

I still remember grampa (Chip) showing my dad (Leonard) the announcement when Uncle Wilber was going to become the President of Houghton.

Grampa was always very proud and pleased to tell everyone about Uncle Wilber’s latest career move or accomplishment!

As an adult, I have often come across people who knew and loved Uncle Wilber at Houghton or through other of his church-related activities.

Definitely a legend!

Steve write:

Living near IWU, I couldn’t tell you how many times people have asked me if I am a relative of Wilber. Most of them knew of him from Marion College, Houghton or Asbury.

Jim write:

An Associate Pastor of my church in Texas (1st United Methodist, Irving, TX) studied under him at Asbury Theological Seminary.  Dr. Dayton enriched thousands of lives.

Priscilla writes:

Imagine my surprise when it was announced during chapel that Uncle Wilbur would be the new president!

Tamara writes:

My sweetest memory of Grandpa (Chip) bragging on Uncle Wilbur was when I was in high school and he brought out a new pre-publication NIV Bible. He held it as though it were a fragile piece of china or a newborn baby – something precious and awe inspiring. “Look what Wilbur has done” in a almost a whisper. His face was beaming. Grandpa was always so proud of Uncle Wilbur’s accomplishments and of Uncle Wilbur personally as a man of character.

I never pick up an NIV without going back to that moment.

Hard Working Dayton Women

DFH Volume 1 Issue 4

by Jim Dayton

The March 3 newsletter, titled No Showmanship Here-Just Toil and Labor, By Camilla Luckey, mentioned that Uncle Chop “admired a lady who was up on the barn roof helping her husband.”  I’ve got a story that I think can top that one.  I wish I had told uncle Chop.  In 1973 at our home in Ephratah, New York, , Judy [Potter] Dayton was  on the roof of our house, with me, putting up a television antenna. She was 7 months pregnant., at the time.   During that same pregnancy, and a month before the antenna incident, she was under the car, with me, putting on a new muffler.  She doesn’t have a man’s strength, but she’s strong in guts and determination.

Sawmiill Brides

Ruth Dyton 1980

After Uncle Chip and Roger ended their employment at Dayton Brothers Sawmill, it woud have been logical for Paul to retire too.  But he loved the work, and so he kept the sawmill going.  By that time, the operation wasn’t thriving enough to hire an employee, so my dad used “slave labor”..…his wives.  My mom, Ruth [Carter] Dayton, worked there until she was diagnosed with cancer;  then his second wife, Carolyn Ruth [Spinner] [Brabon] Dayton, worked there.  Although the burden was lighter, it was still hard work, especially for women in their 50’s and 60’s.  By that time, dad was selling wood for palettes, so the boards were of narrower size and only 4 foot long.  The women didn’t work every day; they only worked when dad needed to fill an order.