Remembering Corinth-Part 1 How we Came to Corinth

DHF Volume 1 Issue 10

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Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s.  Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA.  He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin.  He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.

Our family moved to Corinth in the fall of 1958.  My father (Quentin “Kent” Hayes), a new Army chaplain, had been stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, for a year and a half when he got orders to report to Thule, Greenland, for twelve-month unaccompanied tour.  In the service, this is considered a “hardship assignment,” since the family cannot be there with him.  So we (Mom—Izzie Dayton Hayes, my brother Keith and I) needed to live somewhere for a year.  It seemed only logical to relocate to Corinth since Mom’s father was then the pastor of the Wesleyan Church there, and she had other relatives in the same town.  Besides, that’s where she had been born, so it really was like “coming home.”  The three of us moved into a recently-constructed apartment at the bottom of the hill on Walnut Street and settled into our new home-for-a-year in Corinth.  I was in 4th grade, and Keith was in 2nd . We entered Corinth Central School as the “new kids” half way through the year.  Mom got a job as a case worker in Ballston Spa with the Saratoga County Social Services Dept., returning  to the work she had done in Clinton County near Plattsburgh, NY, following her graduation from Houghton College and subsequent marriage.  We settled in, and became absorbed into small town life in Northern New York State, while Dad was north of the Arctic Circle in frigid Greenland.

Next week Part 2-Going North, Y’all


The Apocalypse

DFH Volume 1 Issue 10

by Jim Dayton

The scariest moment of my life was about 1958 near the height of the cold war with Russia (U.S.S.R.).  I was about 10 years old.  We used to have bomb drills at school, a getting-down-on-all-fours spell under our desks.  I guess the theory was that if we were going to be vaporized, debris wouldn’t hurt us during our bodily meltdown.  During that same era, the camp meeting evangelists took advantage of our fears during altar calls.  They would do their best to scare us to the altar.  A car was going to crash, a train would derail, a boat would sink, the Russians would attack, and we would “slip into eternity” without Christ.  It left us kids shaking in our boots.  Nowadays the evangelist would be arrested for felony emotional child abuse.  After a particularly frightening altar call, my mom tucked me into bed.  I think she could sense that I was worried and afraid.  As I lay there in the blackness of the room, in a flash, the room was bright with light shining through the window.  My heart started to pound so hard I thought it was going to jump out of my chest and start running.  I was certain the Russians had just started the apocalypse.  Within a very short time, maybe 10 seconds, I realized that my mom was on the back porch hanging out the wash on the clothes line.  I had survived to face another evening of Stony Creek camp meeting horror.  Apparently my friend, Carl Timpson, had the  jitters even worse than  I did.  He went “forward” every time there was an altar call.

The Rapture

DFH Volume 1 Issue 10

by Cammie Luckey

When I lived in the Corinth parsonage, my parents were often away on church business at the time I should arrive home from the little K-1st brick school house on Main St.  I was no older than seven, probably six. It was standard procedure on such days for me to go straight after school to the nearby Ralph home (my father’s sister-in-law) to be babysat, and I was always told so in the morning before school. One day I wasn’t told, or I forgot. I went straight home to River Street after school, but home was empty. No one was there. I sat down on those concrete steps by the side door facing Grandpa’s garden and tried to figure out my future. I had no doubt — the Rapture had come and I’d been left behind.

1998 Dayton Family Reunion- Flossie [Dayton] Denton’s Family

During the 1998 reunion, we photographed the offspring of each of the children of Wilber and Jessie Belle Dayton who attended the reunion.  The following is the Florence “Flossie” Gertrude Denton family.

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Flossie [Dayton] Denton’s husband was married twice.  He and his first wife (Mary E Palmer) gave birth to Elizabeth “Liz” [Denton] Bortner. Liz’s mother died during child birth.  George married Flossie two years later. Flossie gave birth to Shirley and Robert. Robert moved to Florida shortly after high school and he remained there until his death in 1990. Liz and Shirley married brothers, Roland and John Bortner.  After living in different parts of the USA, both couples moved to Dothan, Alabama upon their retirements.  Flossie joined them in Dothan and died there in 1987. Both George and Flossie are buried in the Corinth Rural Cemetery.

What or Where is this? [answer]

DFH Volume 1 Issue 9

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This is the Corinth, New York Wesleyan church, completed in 1968, to replace the old church which was shown in last week’s newsletter.  Most of you are familiar with it because we held our 1998 Dayton Reunion there.  Chester Dayton and Paul Dayton were the two men primarily responsible for financially backing the building project, and physically constructing the church.  If it were a hospital wing, it would have been named Dayton Brothers Memorial Wesleyan Church.  About 2012, the church was closed and put on the real estate market.  It sat idle for about two years with no offers.  The price was dropped quite a bit, and our Dayton cousin, Sarah (and Chad) Jerome bought it.  Sarah is the daughter of my brother John Dayton.  The church meant a lot to Sarah, so Chad and she bought it, converting it into their home.  They made major modifications, including converting the sanctuary into a soccer field for her young kids.  They leased out the parsonage.  She and Chad have since divorced, and she moved to Saratoga.  Chad now has possession of the property.  Tragically, the local district administration of the Wesleyan denomination just irresponsibly walked away from the property without removing and claiming anything which was in the building.  Left behind were the ledgers, records of the churche’s business meetings, and the registry of births, deaths and marriages of members going back to the founding of the church in the early 1900’s.  I have tried unsuccessfully, a number of times, to salvage the books on behalf of the Corinth museum.  The museum curator tried to procure them too with no success.  I cannot understand why Sarah wouldn’t release them.

Mark sent the following message regarding the 1968 church: “And speaking of the Corinth Wesleyan church…..I have all of the scale models grampa made of the original and proposed new buildings when the church was deciding how to build the “new” church.  

They were hand made using sanded scraps from the Dayton sawmill and painted white.  He used to let me play with them when I was a kid in the late 60s and early 1970’s.  I inherited them when gramma Dayton passed away in 1981.

Jim Dayton recalls:  “I don’t have many memories of this church.  I only attended there for a few months before I moved away from Corinth.

  • Judy and I were married in this church.  Our’s was the very first marriage in it.
  • The Church youth group was quite large and very active.  We had a high school boys softball team which played against other churches in the area.  We also had a basketball team coached by Roger Dayton (son of Chester).”

I was quite surprised that none of you wrote to me about the Dayton Family Reunion there in 1998.   It was one of the most memorable and satisfying events of my life.

Here are a few of my remembrances of that weekend:

  • The cemetery tour and the trek into the woods to hear dad tell about the discovery and maintenance of  Henry Dayton and his wife Christie’s graves.  A few years after the 1998 reunion, a housing development encroached upon that little cemetery, and so Paul Dayton (with the tedious behind the scenes administrative work from Ray Orton) oversaw the interment of the graves and stones in the Dean cemetery (about 5 miles towards Stony Creek, and one of the cemeteries which we reunion attenders’ also visited as a part of the Dayton ancestors tour).
  • Jenn’s (my daughter) wedding shower was there during the reunion.
  • The last sawmill tour ever given by Paul Dayton was during the reunion.
  • Singing George Washington Bridge which was led by quick witted Keith.  Remember how he said, “Ok, now everyone who ever worked at the sawmill sing”, and  “Ok, everyone named Priscilla stand up and sing.”  Keith (the late husband of my sister, Priscilla, had the funniest sense of humor.  He was one of many associate pastors at a very large church in Milton, Pa.  One day in their staff meeting, all of those present were going around the table telling what their favorite hymn was.  When they got to Keith, he said, “my favorite hymn is Lead on O Kinky Turtle.  I hope I didn’t just offend anyone.  It was not my intent. It’s just that he was just a down to earth, loveable teddy bear.
  • Chester Dayton’s rendition of the Guido Giuseppe story (complete with English as a second language accent by an Italian immigrant).
  • The Kazoo orchestra.
  • The coffee mugs (write to me if you still have yours in the cupboard with your other mugs…we do, and Judy uses her’s every day).
  • Dr. Wilber Dayton’s Invocation.

1998 Dayton Family Reunion

DFH Volume 1 Issue 9

In 1998, we Daytons attended a reunion at the Wesleyan Church in Corinth, NY.  There were 128 descendants and spouses from all over the USA.  I won’t attempt to name  the people in this photo, but do you recognize anyone? Seated left to right are : Mr. and Mrs. Chester and Marjean Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Carolyn Ruth Dayton. 

I have a photo of each of the families (Florence “Flossie”, Charles “Chop”, Chester “Chip”, Wilber, Jr. “Wib”, and Paul).  Next week we will continue this series with a photo of the Flossie Denton family.

Letter to the Editor–Chip whittled Too

DFH Volume 1 Issue 9

Regarding the Shanty Man article, Mark commented, “Grampa (Chip) loved to whittle as well.  Now we may know why!  Over the years he and I made several “tree-branch” whistles. (Actually, he made them and I used them!)”   

EDITORS NOTE:  The following are Chip’s words about woodworking from a taped interview with him in the mid 1990’s. 

“I was always interested in the sawmill ever since I was a small kid in school. You used to see ads for one man sawmills in nearly every magazine you’d pickup. I used to send to Belsaw to get all of their literature on sawmills and edgers and planers. I knew almost all of those books by heart. I was always interested in woodworking of any kind. I learned a lot about sawmills before I had any practical experience with them at all. There were a lot of little tips that came in handy after I started actually working at the sawmill. The first mill we had was the little Belsaw on Hadley Hill.”

“Wild Paul” & “Crazy Paul”

DFH Volume 1 Issue 9

By Jim Dayton

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“How in the world could the stoically proper Dayton family have a wild side?” one might ask.  The answer is, we may not, but my dad got as close as it gets.  In 1956, my dad, Paul, bought a new  “two tone” baby blue and white, two door Ford Fairlane.  At the time he was driving a 1952 ugly looking green Ford.  He decided he had to sell the ’52 (a “sale by owner” transaction), before he put the new car on the road.  So, the ’56 sat in the garage for what seemed to be an eternity, although it was probably less than a month. 

Dad was only 33 years old at the time, but he was living a mid-life fantasy.  While the new Ford was waiting in the garage, he put some aftermarket personal touches on it.  The first was a Bermuda bell within an easy stretch from the clutch on the driver’s side floor.  When he stepped on the stem of the bell, a reverberating “ding-dong” rang out in an unmistakable signal that Paul Dayton was coming.  It was like having a bicycle bell on steroids.  Then came the mud flaps.  In the ‘50’s, mud flaps were not installed to keep your car clean; they were a symbol of “coolness”.  They were a statement, to the world, that “this car is really cool”.  Next came the lifter springs on the back of the car.  These springs jacked up the rear-end of the car so it sloped slightly downhill from rear to front.  It was another sign of “cool”.  But the quintessential modification was the addition of a glass pack muffler.  The muffler didn’t muffle hardly anything.  The Ford thundered down the street with a sound so loud that it was annoying to the average person.  If the engine “backfired,” the resounding “boom” added another notch on the “cool scale.”  As an eight-year-old “rebel kid,” I thought my dad had the coolest car on planet earth.

In about that same era (1956 to 1960), my dad yielded to the urge to do 360° donuts in the snow in at least one unplowed intersection any time we were riding home from church.  I also remember the time at a church youth group skating party on a local lake.  Dad loaded the car with kids, drove down an icy embankment onto the frozen lake and then went berserk.  He slipped and slid and did skids and donuts all over the ice.  We were all afraid the ice would break, and we would sink, which made the ride even more heart throbbing.  Obviously, I survived although I didn’t think I would at the time. Paul must have been, at least by Dayton standards, at that special moment, the “wild and crazy guy!”

Where or what is this? [Answer]

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DFH Volume 1 Issue 8

Last week I asked you to identify the building and tell a story about it.  It was the old Corinth Wesleyan Methodist Church located at 292 River St. in Corinth, NY.  The church was built around 1900 and was last used in 1968 when it was bulldozed, burnt and buried.  For me that church brings back a flood of memories.  I attended there from birth (in 1948) until it was destroyed in 1968.  I meant to include a photo of the new church too, so most of us could participate.  Therefore, next week we’ll do the new church.  Let me tell you a few of my memories about the old church.

  • My first memory ever in my life was when Rev. Howard Chapman picked me up and deposited me on the hat rack high above the coat rack.  I was amazed at how strong he must have been to do that—and—incidentally, how far away from the floor I was!
  • When I was about 6, I used to rush to Bob and Cora Flanders before every service.  I’d check to see if they had a toy for me from the cereal box.  Now as I look back on it, the quantity and variety of toys was such that they must have dumped the cereal into the trash or ate it with every meal.  They were elderly and childless and they were an unusually sweet and dignified couple.
  • When we were teens,  my friends and I sometimes sat behind “Buggy” Bosford, and we counted the number of lice in her hair for entertainment.  I can’t even remember her given name because one of us called her “Buggy” and the name stuck.
  • Our family faithfully attended prayer meeting on Wednesday evening.  We always had a long “season of prayer,” and we always knelt in our pew on the hard oak floor during prayer. That could get kids into all kinds of mischief.  When transistor radios came out, they were the perfect size to fit snuggly in a pocket.  Jim Elliott and I used to put in an earbud and listen to a New York Mets baseball game during what seemed an interminable time on our knees.
  • And who can forget sharing in a summertime march, nearly 100 kids—2×2—singing a rousing “Onward Christian Soldiers” and following the Christian flag into Daily Vacation Bible School under the watchful eye of  our pastor’s wife  as the trusty Drill Sergeant? It was a really a cool thing that we kids enjoyed.
  • My best friend was Jim Elliott.  He was the preacher’s kid, and his dad didn’t want him to get into mischief, an ever present danger. So Jim sat on the front pew, left side of the church.  We teens usually sat in the back right corner of the church.  During one service, Bruce Madison and I had a bad case of a stomach cramps that produced noxious fumes but no accompanying sounds, which are especially disruptive in church. We were somewhat proud of our creation.  All of  a sudden, the pressure became unbearable, and the attendant noise rang out through the church.  Jim Elliott started laughing uncontrollably.  His mother kept poking him in the ribs, which only made him laugh harder. I suppose the beautiful moment ended with a hymn.
  • My sister Priscilla remembers “bursting through the front doors as soon as the last hymn had been sung, the concluding prayer had been said, and running ecstatically around the church and through the parking lot. Pent-up exuberance!!!”
  • But above all else, and in spite of the preceding casual remarks, it’s where I got my spiritual wings.  I thank God for the training I got in that little church.  All of the wonderful teachers and leaders that helped shape the spiritual man I am today.  My parents, Paul and Ruth Dayton, Florence Timpson, Dora Washburn, Jo Dayton, Charles Dayton, Nina Madison, Laura Bolton, Harold Smith. Lela Smith, Madeline Gilbert, Chester Dayton, Elizabeth Dayton, Everett Elliott, Sarabel Elliott and a score more.

Yield Not to Temptation…Part 2…She Didn’t

DFH Volume 1 Issue 7

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Jessie [White] Dayton, my grandma and wife of Wilber Thomas Dayton, Sr., was a very attractive young woman.  In 1902, she was a 22 year old, single, and working in a nearby hotel (see news article at above). A dam was being built in the area (Spier Falls Dam between Corinth and South Glens Falls, built from 1900 to 1903 and 15-20 miles from Hadley Hill)  At the time, it was the largest hydroelectric dam in the world1.  Men from outside the area were hired to work on the construction of the dam. Many probably stayed at the quarry hotel referenced in the news item at the left.  Jessie would more than likely have  been a chamber maid, although she could have also been a waitress.  Either way, she had plenty of interactions with men who had not been with a female for many days or weeks.  Can you imagine how many times she was propositioned?  She must have been under a great deal of pressure with  many tension-filled emotional moments.  We’ll never know for sure, but I’ve got to believe she remained chaste.  She was a  very religious woman.  Thank you, Grandma, for knowing right from wrong, and for taking that summer off.  She married Grandpa two summers later (21 Aug 1904).  Family folklore has it that grandpa had proposed to her about 6 years before they were married.  She declined the offer, but later realized how much more of a true man my grandpa was.  He was a man of good intentions and good, honest character.  I imagine she learned that from observing the men at the quarry hotel..