Ralph Dayton’s Last Will and Testament

In 2016, seven Dayton cousins met on Long Island, New York, for the purpose of learning more about our Dayton ancestors and to explore the localities where they once lived. We were fortunate to link up with a distant cousin, Dai Dayton (blue shirt to my right), who is a local resident in the Hamptons, and a local environmental protectionist and “horsewoman.” She has a stable at her home with two or three horses (who love carrots). She warmly greeted us at her home with refreshments, and then acted as navigator, and local Dayton historian on our first day on Long Island. One of the highlights was a visit to the Long Island Collection which is housed in the East Hampton Library. The collection has many Dayton artifacts. We spent several hours rummaging through them. A catalog of these artifacts can be found online at http://easthamptonlibrary.org/long-island-history/digital-long-island/ Foremost among them is the original copy of the will of Ralph Dayton. Ralph was the first Dayton in America. He came in 1639. In the photo above, I am holding that orignal will which was probated in 1658, the same year that he died. See the actual will below.

Steve’s book, Our Long Island Ancestors, The First Six Generations of Daytons in Amercia, 1639-1807 can be purchased at Amazon.com. It contains a transcripton of this will, as well as several other original documents of importance to our Dayton family.


Jim Dayton’s Recollection’s of Growing Up

One of the Dayton-Family-History readers wrote to me, “Here’s a question for you… what was your recollection of growing up in a family of 5 kids?  What memories stick out to you?  Was the age gap a big deal? We’re you close as kids?”

I don’t remember any complicated or unpleasant consequences. Our living, eating, clothing and transportation resources seemed routine.  I guess when you don’t know differently, then what exists is normal.  I suppose our ancient Daytons felt normal living in a two room home back in the 1600’s on long Island. Anyway, our Paul Dayton family of seven lived in a small three bedroom, one bathroom home. I don’t remember it being more inconvenient than other homes I lived in later in life.  I’ll admit it was an inconvenience needing to use the toilet when someone else was using it.  There were no disasters…you accepted all circumstances. 

Meals were at a table built for four (with one leaf) in a very small kitchen, but we ate as much as we wanted and never went away hungry.  We had a larger dining room table with seating for 8, but that was saved only for company. Later on, Judy and I had 2 girls living in a home with 2 ½ baths, 3 bedrooms, large living room, den, kitchen with large breakfast nook and dining room, but we were no more or less crowded than in my growing up house.

Growing up,  our car was a 2 door Ford Fairlane coupe.  It didn’t seem crowded even though there were 3 persons in front and 4 in the rear.  I have a video of everyone getting out of the car.  It looks like a circus clown comedy drill, but we tolerated the accommodations well.  However, once having upgraded, that becomes the new norm and you can’t go back without great inconvenience. 

My life was sports.  The role of a mother as a taxi driver didn’t exist.  I made my own arrangements to get home after practice.  Most of the time it involved walking home.  After football practice, I walked home with a friend who still had about 6 miles to go.  He hitchhiked or walked, after he had walked with me for ¾ miles. It was normal for him.

The age gap for the children in our family was 13-years from oldest to youngest sibling.  We were never a close, touchy-feely family.  The older you get, the smaller the age gap and the bigger in closeness and adoration.  I’m 72 years old and closer to my siblings than ever before… especially my brother who is 9 years my younger.  I didn’t know him growing up.

I was closest to my older sister mostly because of parental intervention.  My parents expected me, as a 10 to 13 year old, to be a protective escort for Mary.  My dad insisted on it. My sister enjoyed taking evening walks after sundown and going to the local diner to hang out with friends from town and out of town. They hung out at a table, drinking coffee and listening to the jukebox for a couple hours at a time. Mary always was telling me to stand erect so I would look taller.  The point is, we got to know each other a little.  My playmates were always neighborhood friends my age. 

I can only vividly remember two instances of direct interaction with my brothers.  I suspect there was daily happy interaction, but it was normal, not memorable. 

I haven’t done these questions justice in this brief account.  I wrote an autobiography for my family a few years ago, and it took about 15 chapters to answer the growing up questions.  I would highly recommend that each of you write or “video” an autobiography so your descendants can carry on your legacy to future generations.

A Biographical Summary of the Life of Donald W. Dayton

by Deane Dayton and Jim Dayton

Just as his father, Wilber Jr. did before him, Donald Dayton raised the bar of Christian Evangelical thought, understanding and teaching to new heights.  He did so on an academic plane that very few Professors, and dignitaries of the faith have the mind and skills to accomplish.  He equipped influential evangelicals throughout the world with the academic knowledge to face its challenges.  He was a “mover and shaker” in Christian Evangelical Academia.

The Paul Dayton family had the privilege of spending Christmas with Wilber’s family in about 1957.  Don would have been about 15 at the time.  When we arrived at their home in Wilmore Kentucky, Don was building a Computer at the kitchen table. In 1957?  He was truly a “beautiful mind.”  

The following is a Biographical Summary provided by his brother Deane Dayton.

Personal Data:

            Name:  Donald Wilber Dayton

            Last Residence:  Pasadena Highlands, 1575E. Washington Blvd., Apt. 813,

 Pasadena, California

            Birth:  August 25, 1942, Chicago, IL

            Death:  May 2, 2020, CA


            Parents:  Wilber T. (Jr.) and Donna Fisher Dayton

            Wife:  Lucille Sider, married June 9, 1969 in the Yale Divinity School

Chapel, New Haven, Connecticut, (Met at Yale Divinity School, divorced in 1980s)

            Son:  Charles Soren Dayton, born July, 1976

            Siblings: Carol Jo Mayer, Deane K. Dayton, Janet Elizabeth Manley


            Houghton College, Mathematics & Philosophy, B. A., 1963

            Columbia University, Woodrow Wilson Fellow

            Yale Divinity School, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, B.D., 1969

            Asbury Theological Seminary

            University of Kentucky, Library Science and Bibliography, 1969

            University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1983

Academic and Ecclesiastical Societies:

            President, Wesleyan Theological Society

            President, Societal for Pentecostal Studies

            Vice President, Karl Barth Society of North America

            Member, National Council of Churches, Faith and Order Commission

            Representative, National Council of Churches, Harare WCC Convention     

Academic & Work Experience:

            Asbury Seminary

            Greenville College

            North Park Seminary

            Northern Baptist Seminary

            Drew University

            Azusa Pacific University

The best source I know for his professional life is the book “From the Margins:  A Celebration of the Theological Work of Donald W. Dayton” edited by Christian T. Collins Winn, published in 2007 by one of Don’s students and Friends.  It contains reprints of several of Don’s papers and a few related papers by others.  I think the most interesting part is Don’s “Autobiographical Response” and a Select Bibliography of Don’s publications, pages 383-430.  The Autobiography is an interesting read and provides a lot in insight into Don’s life.  The book is available for purchase from Amazon or free online at: https://books.google.com/books?id=fiD1BgAAQBAJ  .

Tributes to Don have been published by:

The Wesleyan Church: https://www.wesleyan.org/a-tribute-to-donald-dayton

Christianity Today: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/may-web-only/donald-dayton-heart-makes-theologian.html

His books include:

The American Holiness Movement: A Bibliographic Introduction.  Wilmore, KY: B. L. Fisher Library of Asbury Theological Seminary, 1971.

Discovering an Evangelical Heritage, New York: Harper & Row, 1976 and subsequent editions.

The Evangelical Roots of Pentecostalism.  Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1987. (Don’s Dissertation)

He also edited or authored dozens of papers, articles, book chapters and volumes.  Partial lists can be found in “From the Margins.” (see pages 381-382, 427-430)

Don was an avid book collector.  A large collection of his books and papers are in the Special Collection of the David Allan Hubbard Library, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.

The Donald W Dayton Papers, 1980-2004 document Dayton’s involvement in ecumenical activities, such as participation in scholarly associations and formal dialogues with representatives from differing forms of Christianity. Material formats include Dayton’s published and unpublished essays, correspondence, conference materials, and photographs. The archival collection supplements Fuller Theological Seminary’s purchased acquisition of Donald Dayton’s 22,000 volume library in 1991. The book collection includes strong sub-collections in Holiness and Pentecostal studies, American Evangelicalism, Abolitionism, and Barth studies. The Dayton library was integrated into the Fuller Theological Seminary main collection is available to researchers through local interlibrary loan systems.

The White Family Fishermen

The White’s were fishermen. 

I found an old newspaper article about Alexander (Jessie’s dad) catching 400 pounds of Pickerel.  Holy Mackerel, that’s a lot of pickerel. That’s a serious fisherman. That’s a lot of fish fries.

But it doesn’t end there.  Aunt Flossie (Wilber and Jessie’s daughter) weighed in on this subject too.  She said about her grandma White (Anna), “She loved to fish.”, so it was a family thing. 

As far as I know, fishing ended with the elder White’s. None of Wilber’s family, incuding Jessie, were fishermen. I imagine Jessie knew how to fish and was good at it, but there was no extra time while raising a large family.

If you are a fisherman…leave a comment.

Deer In The Notch

The Dayton brothers loved to hunt deer.  Chip and Paul played “hooky” from work a couple times each fall to hunt, and they hunted most Saturdays and Thanksgiving day.  They never hunted on a Sunday, but their minds may have drifted there during Sunday dinner.  They were at home in the woods. They loved the outdoors…it didn’t matter if they were working at the sawmill, or going hunting.

Nowadays, most hunters hunt from behind blinds.  They set up for the day in a likely speciific location and wait for the deer to come to them.  Not Chip and Paul.  They walked all day long…over mountains, around swamps, though the forest.  They were constantly on the go, tracking them, looking for runways, looking for their beds, driving them…anything to gain the upper hand and spot them.

I asked Chip to tell me a hunting story, and what a treat it was to hear him excitedly recall the event.  It had been many years ago, but he told it like it happened yesterday.  Listen in while he invites us to the hunt one fall day.

Jim Dayton interviews Chester Dayton circa 1990

Dr. Donald Dayton Rememberances

If you would like to Send a rememberence for me to publish, please forward it to jim.dayton@att.net