Month: October 2019
Shirley (Denton Bortner, Kuhn) Tharp, daughter of Flossie (Dayton) Denton
DFH Volume 1 Issue 23
When, John Phillip Bortner and I married on July 31, 1954, I became a US Air Force military spouse. Phil had served in Korea for a year during the Korean Conflict. Upon returning to the United States he was stationed at Niagara Falls, NY, and we were married during that assignment. Uncle Charles Dayton performed the wedding ceremony at the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Corinth.
Following the wedding we returned to Niagara Falls and lived in North Tonawanda, NY, until his enlistment expired. Our son Stephen Paul was born while we lived there.
Phil had decided not to reenlist, but after 89 days of being unemployed, he reenlisted and was sent to Saratoga Springs, NY. During the next two years, we were blessed with two more children: John Phillip Jr, and Pamela Sue.
Then, in the spring of 1959, Phil was sent to Itazuki Air Force Base in Japan for a 3-year tour. I and the three very young children joined him six months later.
In April 1962, we returned to the States and went to Griffiss Air Force Base, Rome, NY, for another three-year assignment. This is where I began my Civil Service career, which I will tell about later.
At the end of that tour of duty, Phil received orders to go to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines for two years. Again, I and the three children joined him there 11 months later. While there, I worked in the middle school office as secretary to the principal another Civil Service position.
In 1964, Phil was sent to a remote site in Alaska for a 1-year tour. He said that he read 80 books that year! When he returned in 1965, he was assigned to Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in Tullahoma, TN, and we moved our mobile home to Manchester, TN. While there, I worked at Smyrna, TN, and then at AEDC both Civil Service positions.
When we returned to the States in August 1969 to take a new assignment at Fort Lee, VA, I was expecting our fourth child, Rebecca Lynn. She was born in the base hospital at Fort Lee on December 14, 1969. Three months later, I went back to work on Fort Lee and eventually became an Editor of Army technical manuals.
In 1971, Phil retired after 20 years of military service. Phil’s last civilian employment in Virginia was with the I95 Turnpike near Richmond, VA. In 1980, my mother, Flossie Dayton Denton, came to live with us in Hopewell, VA.
In 1983 I accepted a Writer-Editor position at Fort Rucker, AL, and Phil, Rebecca, Mother and I moved to Enterprise, AL and later to Dothan, AL. In 1985, Mother’s cancer returned, and she went to be with the Lord in September 1987. During my years of working full-time at Fort Rucker, I decided to get the transcripts from all of the colleges I had attended over the last several years to see what courses I needed to get my bachelor’s degree. I then attended night school at Enterprise Junior College and Troy State University and finally graduated in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Management). In May 1993, I retired after 30 years of Civil Service employment. After that I worked about six years as Office Secretary for the Nazarene church in Dothan. On July 9, 1997, Phil died at home as a result of a heart attack. We had been married 43 years.
(To be continued next month—November 2019, Vol 1 Issue 24)
DFH Volume 1 Issue 23
This month starts a new feature called Memories. It will include one or two photos from my vast collection of Dayton family photos. If you would like a complete copy of my collection of photos, send a flash drive to Jim Dayton, 8366 Ridgestone Drive, Byron Center, MI 49315. Be sure to include your return address. I would like to continue adding to my collection. Do you have digital images of your family or your parents or grandparents? Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or send them to me on the flash drive which will be returned containing my photos.)
West Chazy Campground–Observance Present, Memories Past
DFH Volume 1 Issue 23
By Camilla [Dayton] Luckey, daughter of Rev. Charles and Josephine Dayton.
AUGUST 2019: It was my high school 50th— Beekmantown Central, the sprawling, district school a few miles south of West Chazy on Rte. 22. Yes, class of ‘69, summer of love, Age of Aquarius, Woodstock. My class! Maybe I’ll get to my part of that story later.
Joyce Timpson Schauer, lifelong friend from Corinth, had mentioned that Norma, her sister, spends lots of time in West Chazy these days. Norma stays on the campground, I believe with Lori, John’s widow, who has Uncle Paul’s cottage. It occurred to me that if I were to attend my Class of ‘69 reunion I might as well pay the campmeeting association instead of LaQuinta, if, that is, the new campmeeting association would allow. They would. Phil Hunter, of that long-faithful Glens Falls family, was my contact, suggested by Norma. Phil seems to be the official groundskeeper, although association members share never-ending tasks such as leaf-raking and roof repair; there are prices to be paid for that glorious old-tree canopy.
I stayed at the Perry “Motel,” built in the sixties-seventies cement-block frenzy that followed whatever year it was that my dad’s autumnal leaf burning ritual—a solo task that year—turned disastrous. One of his several simultaneously burning piles of leaves (he was always a person to multi-task) turned to embers the dorm and two or three cottages that directly faced the tabernacle. In those days, towering shade trees, heavy with leaves, graced the now bare, blistering lawn today used more for parking rather than for picnics. The century-old wooden dorm and cottages were tinder boxes. Dry leaves had collected underneath and lay there, waiting. I remember the afternoon but not the year. I know from other afternoons the crafty, peek-a-boo glint of those sparkly orange snakes as they try to curl their way onto the route and destination of their own choice That day they succeeded, and the campgrounds were forever changed.
The Perry “Motel” was built for tabernacle access, like the wooden dorm it replaced, but the Perry is sited at one side, not the front, of the main tabernacle (Charles Dayton Tabernacle) and is equally close to the Missionary Tabernacle, sometimes called the Ladies’ Tabernacle.
The Perry is located approximately where stood what I believe was the Hewitt cottage, the one with the friendly screened-in front porch, the one that should perhaps be intentionally typo’d ‘perch.’ The Hewitt cottage was heart and center of the campground, a watchman’s perfect tower or a gossip’s paradise. Every flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic was visible and, it seemed, every passerby’s conversation or crunch of gravel was clearly audible. Jo Hewitt’s porch rocker was probably closer to the tabernacle pulpit than was the back row of tabernacle pews, and Jo was anything but a gossip. She was a person of fewer-than-few words and a perfect person to overhear material that needed to be lifted in prayer. She, widow of Rev. Reginald Hewitt, conference president who preceded my father, was a watchman who had suffered much. Reginald had died in 1961(?) in a flaming car crash only a few minutes from West Chazy camp, his destination. My own last memory of the quiet Mrs. Hewitt—remarkable to a child (and to me even as a young adult) for her veined apple-red cheeks and cute little apple-shaped body bestowed dignity by a permanently flawless French chignon and super thick rimless spectacles—was my mother greeting Mrs. Hewitt the summer after Mrs. Hewitt had just endured a winter of chemotherapy. Mrs. Hewitt nodded, not speaking aloud, her cheeks still rosy with red spider veins set now upon a palette of pea greens. Her chignon, maybe a bit thinner, was unchanged. My mother held her horror till we’d passed from earshot. My mother didn’t know, of course, that only a few summers later she herself would have her own pea green chemo pallor.
The Perry, as of 2019, is twenty bucks a night. It’s a little rough but the water’s hot, the sheets clean, very few spiders (nothing worse!), and there were two bottles of water as well as a souvenir frig magnet in my welcome packet. And air conditioning! Alas, to have AC, a window unit, meant the sole window was sealed, at least it could not be opened (!), and thus I could not enjoy the melodious sweet summer breezes which I believe are the campground’s hallmark natural beauty, a glory of the leafy trees.
Those fabulous trees are losing the battle to practicality “Fire and ice” prudent board members have forever intoned, understandably. That’s a lot of leaves to rake. Fires are a proven danger. Just read the above paragraphs! And who will pay for the roof when age or ice brings down a limb from one of these high and mighty beauties? and the roof moss!! I note that several cottages have been given shiny metal roofs, including my dad’s cottage that Shirley Pauling now owns. Cottages that have been let go, and there are several, belong on movie sets, romantically covered and drooping from pretty, green decay. Nevertheless, if you, dear reader, are looking at these lines “in future years” and the pragmatists have won and the entire campground is scalped to a silent but easily mown-and-raked grass green, not moss green, with no standing timber. Be aware that there was another time, a time when Mother Nature (and the Atwood family, local farmers) gifted West Chazy with a sanctuary much bigger than the cement-block tabernacle interior and naked front yard. There was a place where the psalmist would have felt at home, where Nature’s praises of her Creator were in glorious concert. There are just enough trees and just enough space between them to make beautiful worship music, as well as problems.
I was given, besides my Perry key, which I never used, and two water bottles and a frig magnet and registration form, a standardized and very general “holiness” statement requiring my signature. It was so general it presented no problems. Anyway, who doesn’t want holiness? It’s just the type of lifestyle that puts ten-year-old girls into garters that I find problematic!
Anyway, the entire experience felt very strange and very precious on counts too numerous to give in detail. One I will mention: the continuity of some of the population.
(to be continued next month—November 2019, Vol 1 Issue 24)
Clara Stanton: First wife of Chester Dayton
DFH Volume 1 Issue 23
In 1929, Clara [Stanton] Dayton died of tuberculosis a mere one hundred days after her marriage to Chester Dayton. Clara and Chip were sweethearts at Houghton College where Chip was a sophomore and Clara was probably a senior. (Chip is in the yearbook, but I could not find Clara).
Clara was born to George and Linnabelle Stanton in Long Lake New York on April 22, 1908 two years older than Chip. Prior to marriage she was a resident of Long Lake. Long Lake is a tiny village (under 1,000 residents) in the Adirondack Mountains. It’s a great vacation spot if you want to be away from the crowd and are willing to ”rough it”.
Since she was born in 1908, she probably entered Houghton College as a freshman in 1926. Chip entered college in 1927 so they met in 1927. We know nothing about her from her birth until the following announcement appeared in the newspaper, The Warrensburg News, November 22, 1928. Crown Point and Broadalbin were locations of sanatoriums where persons with tuberculosis were located. It is curious why they would send her home, and we don’t know how long she had been a patient at the sanatorium. This was Thanksgiving time in 1928. Chip was a sophomore at Houghton. This was the year of their courtship, but it is not known when the courtship began. Since the disease is contagious through microscopic droplets released into the air, it is not likely that Houghton would have let her return to school without a clean bill of health.
A variety shower (nowadays called a bridal shower) given shortly before the wedding had a large crowd and was a festive affair (Warrensburgh News, July 11, 1929). She and Chip were married July 4, 1929. Apparently, the tuberculosis was abated to the point of appearing cured or being cured at that point.
The next time we hear about Clara is when she enters the Homestead Sanatorium in Middle Grove (near Corinth) on October 5, 1929. This was only three months following the wedding of she and Chip. Note that in October 1929 they were living with Chip’s parents (Wilber and Jessie Belle). Perhaps my grandma was taking care of Clara while Uncle Chip was working at International Paper Co.
Her final bout with tuberculosis was first noticed three weeks before her final admission to the Homestead Sanatorium. Then, sometime around October 16, 1929, Clara [Stanton] Dayton rested from her illness. I can’t begin to even imagine the pain and anguish that Uncle Chip had to endure. I have heard, without proof, that he went into seclusion for a while.
Chip eventually began to court Elizabeth Duell, and they married March 7, 1931. We are all blessed that they did. My aunt Lib was one of the sweetest and humblest women I have had the privilege of knowing.