The Church Pews

DFH Vol 1 Issue 2

By Camilla Luckey

Dad was the District Superintendent  of the Champlain District of the Wesleyan Church in Upstate New York during my high school years.  We  lived in the District Superintendent’s home adjacent to  the  West Chazy Campground, our church retreat center. Dad grasped every opportunity to secure furniture and equipment for the camp (for “Free  or next to nothing!”).  Once he brought a truckload  of secondhand church pews complete with cushions he’d bought at a bargain price some place near Albany. All the big churches with fancy pews were located there, not in the country churches in and around the Adirondack Mountains that made up most of his District. It was  the dead of winter, and the snow was hard packed. He felt we had to get them into the tabernacle, the camp Worship Center. So we dragged them there. As I remember, it was all the way from our driveway, but that part could be a faulty memory because what I recall is the extreme effort required,  since we were on snowshoes. I don’t remember if anybody helped. If so, it was likely Bob (the Rev Robert) Finley who was always ready to “run down” from Ellenburg Depot at a moment’s notice when his DS needed him.

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Potato Patch

DFH Volume 1 Issue 1

by Jim Dayton

At first glance, the garden (see left) seems overrun with weeds and rocks.  It’s a potato patch.  In the spring a slice of a potato, with tuber, is buried.  The potato is left to grow, without tending it until it is harvested in the fall.  Here grandpa is digging up the potatoes, as can be seen laying on top of the soil.  I can remember seeing the potatoes in the potato bin in his cellar.  The bin was near the coal bin.  In this photo, he appears to be emaciated…perhaps 130 pounds.  This  certainly isn’t Paul Dayton’s description of him as being “all man.”  During his healthy years of adult life, he had a physique similar to Uncle Chip. (Chester).  Chip was probably 160 to 170 pounds.

Who Ran the Farm?

Charles Dayton died Sep 26 1882 at the young age of 50.  His death certificate indicated that he died of “conditions of the liver and kidneys.”  He left behind a wife, Nancy, and 5 children: Delbert 24, James 20, Jennie 16, Wilber 12 and Carrie 10.  Delbert had moved to Iowa, but the rest of the children remained at home.  Six months later, on March 17 1883, Nancy died of heart disease (heart attack).  The children were orphans.  It is not clear at this point who assumed the head of household duties.  Family tradition has it that Wilber took charge of the farm and ran it.  Jim was of age by this time and it not clear what role he played.  Jim never married.  He and Jennie moved to Greenwich to live with their Aunt Irinda at some point.  Now Wilber and Carrie were alone.  Carrie married in 1892.  It is thought that Wilber then leased the farm until 1904 when he married Jessie Belle White, and moved back to the farm.  He again leased out the farm around 1908 until it was sold in 1914.  The following is an advertisement for the sale of the farm.

  No. 751—Farm of 123 acres, located 5 miles from Hadley P. 0., 2 miles from railway station at Wolf Creek, on line of D. & H. Ry., mile from school, 5 miles from churches. Highways, somewhat hilly but good. Nearest large village, Luzerne, 5 miles distant, reached by highway. Surface of farm rolling. Soil, sandy loam. Acres in meadow, 65; in natural pasture, 33; in timber, 25, maple, beech, poplar and pine. Acres tillable, 65. Fruit, pears, cherries, apples, plum, % acre of strawberries and 12 currant bushes. Best adapted to potatoes, buckwheat and corn. Fences, pole and wire, fair condition. House, 26×32, kitchen and woodshed 20×30, fair condition. Outbuildings: horse barn and wagon house, 20x 60. hay barn and cow stable, 30×40, fair condition. Watered, house and barn by water piped from creek. Occupied by tenant. Price, $1,000. Terms, $200 down. Address Wilbur T. Dayton, Palmer Falls, N. Y.                    

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, have you any Wool?

by Jim Dayton

When Christie Ann Dayton, wife of Henry, died in 1865, Christie’s son, Charles, took over the managing of the Dayton Farm.  That year, the farm pastured 8 sheep and 7 lambs.  The farm produced primarily grains, produce and dairy products.  Charles had different ideas for the farm.  Fifteen years later, in 1880, Charles had turned the pasture into a sheep farm.  His herd included 57 sheep and 80 lambs.  That year, the enumerator of the 73rd New York District reported Charles herd this way, “In sheep husbandry, Charles Dayton, of Hadley Hill excels.  He reports 57 sheep and 50 lambs.”[1] 

Two years later, he died unexpectedly, from heart failure.  Six months later, his wife, Nancy, died.  The orphaned teenagers weren’t equipped to run the farm, and it soon fell into disrepair.  It was finally sold in 1913 by Wilbur Dayton Sr.  

1 The Weekly Saratogian, Saratoga, New York, July 1, 1880


[1] The Weekly Saratogian, Saratoga, New York, July 1, 1880

Why Cambridge?

by Jim Dayton

It’s been a mystery to me, for 40 years, why David Dayton Jr passed through Cambridge New York before he finally settled in Hadley in 1796.  David was born in Brookhaven in 1766.  In 1782/3 his dad, David Sr, died since a letter of administration was filed in Surrogate Court in 1783.   He was the last Dayton of our line to live on Long Island.

David Jr first appeared in Cambridge, Albany Co., NY in the 1790 census.  The census indicated that he had a male child under 16, and a free white female in the household.  David had married Chloe Skiff  December 29, 1789 according to Donald Line Jacobus and Arthur Bliss Dayton in their book, The early Daytons and descendants of Henry, jr.   They offer that date without citation.  Joel, David and Ann’s oldest son, was born 29 Aug, 1790, very shortly before the 1790 census was taken.

Why did a youthful David Jr. remove to Cambridge?  I set about doing a study to determine if the youthful David could have relocated to Cambridge with another family sometime before the 1790 census.  My study method was to determine if an older individual could be found first in Brookhaven, NY and then Cambridge, in the appropriate timeframes.  My study yielded one such man…Benjamin Havens.  Benjamin Havens appeared as a signer of the Association in Brookhaven in 1775/6 and the 1776 Brookhaven census.  A Benjamin Havens also appeared in the Cambridge in 1790.  Thus far, I have been unable to prove that the Brookhaven Havens and the Cambridge Havens are the same man.  We do know that David’s younger brother, Telim, appeared in the 1800 Cambridge census.  Since he was younger than David, he would have lived as a boy under 16 in another’s household in 1790.  We also see another brother settling in Middletown, VT, about 40 miles north of Cambridge.

The trail has grown cold at this point.  I challenge a Dayton researcher to consider this hypothesis in more detail, or to develop a hypothesis of your own.  Finding more about David and his brother’s removal may yield information on the whereabouts of his mother Ann and his sisters.