Today’s post find’s two characters, Chip and Chop Dayton, daring each other to cross the Hudson River by walking across pulp wood blocks which filled the river. I’ll leave it up to you to decide the outcome. These brothers were the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn of the Hudson River. If I had to guess, about 90% of you chose the correct outcome of the story. It’s always fun to listen to Chip, the master story teller, recount the event.
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.
Dr. Donald Dayton Rememberances
If you would like to Send a rememberence for me to publish, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wedding-Betty Dayton and Ramon Orton
I thought you might enjoy reading about the wedding of Betty Dayton and Ray Orton. Betty passed away Feb 28 2011.
Janice Waters Dayton (1936-2020)
Janice Dayton, 83, of Lincoln, NE went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Janice was born on May 4, 1936 to Nelson “Pete” and Edith (Chase/Niles) Waters in Hague, NY, where she was raised and graduated high school. Janice married Roger Dayton of Corinth, NY on April 25, 1958. They later divorced. They had three daughters, Tamara, Lydia, and Katie. Janice was a longtime resident of Corinth. She also lived many years in central California, and most recently, for 18 years in Lincoln, NE.
Janice was a woman of many gifts, talents, and great faith. Her passion in life was to use the talents that God gave her to glorify Him and share His love with others, whether by sewing, quilting, crocheting, baking bread, pies or other goodies, or singing God’s praises. She raised her three girls to love and serve both God and others. She believed “Whatsoever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”
Janice was preceded in death by both parents, and her brothers, Francis Waters, Matthew Waters, and Rev. Nelson P. Waters. She is survived by her three daughters, Tamara Dayton of Billings, MT, Lydia Dayton and her husband, George Conner of Norfolk, NE, and Katie Malcom and her husband Jerry Malcom of Avondale, AZ, her sister, Judith (Waters) Kenna of Van Etten, NY, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, three sisters-in-law, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
No service will be held at this time. Family will gather to celebrate Janice’s life at a private burial of ashes which will be held at a later date, when she will be returned home to her beloved Adirondack Mountains.
NOTE FROM JIM: Janice lived in Corinth when I was a teenager there too. I remember her beautiful singing voice, and every once in a while she would let loose. She sang in discantus style to such hymns as Lily of the Valley, and Everybody Ought to Know. She was always the echo, and boy could she echo! I asked Tamara and Lydia what her mom’s favorite hymns were and they said “… every hymn was her favorite.”
As suggested in the obituary, Janice loved her Adirondacks. She wrote of her bond to the mountain’s grandeur in verse seen elsewhere in this tribute.
The Cigar Cutter
Rev. Charles Alexander Dayton, my Uncle Chop, was a man who was bigger than life. He was the Paul Bunyan of Upstate New York country pastors. But in his younger days he was the Huckleberry Finn of the upper-Hudson River. Todays story is a tale of a childhood prank gone bad as told by his younger brother Chip [Chester]….the master story teller.
Faith of Our Fathers
Doreen McCutcheon, my cousin Doris Lamos’ daughter asked me, a couple months ago, what I knew about the faith of our Dayton fathers. I believe we Daytons have a rich heritage of the Christian faith. I’ll tell you what I know of it, and you can decide. Christian faith is difficult to judge because no one can know the heart of others. I will have to base my opinion mainly on outward appearance, about which the Bible cautions us. I believe that most of the time this definition works. I would also add that Dayton females often live their Christian service vicariously through their spouses and their actual teamwork. Christian women are often active as nurses, teachers, supporters of missions and missionaries, Sunday School and VBS directors and teachers, organists, pianists, choir leaders, Bible Study leaders, etc. I KNOW, I know….I’m stereotyping. We have several Dayton female pastors and church lay leaders.
Generosity (births and deaths spanning the years from 1905 to 2009)
The number one Christian trait in the Dayton family is the generosity in both service and finances. There is evidence of this everywhere we look. For example, among Wilber and Jessie’s offspring:
Flossie, the oldest child, was a schoolteacher and faithful member of the Free Methodist Church in Corinth where she was a part-time Adult Sunday School teacher. In her later years, she read her Bible daily in foreign languages: English, Spanish, French and probably German. Her favorite was Spanish. She had daily devotions with the children. She would play hymns on the pump organ while the family sang. Then she and George would pray. What she lacked in formal church activities she more than made up for in a sweet, loving and gentle spirit that oozed her love of Christ from every pore of her being. She was a fine example of the woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 (The wife of noble character).
Charles was a Wesleyan Methodist pastor and church administrator, including terms as President of the Champlain Conference and later District Superintendent of the Champlain District of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. He was the epitome of aid of all sorts to the underprivileged. From his own personal resources, he assisted with shelter, food, personal visitation, transportation, friend and counseling of all types. He often met their needs for sustenance by any means possible, including solicitating help from the likeminded. He also had a vision and passion for planting new churches. He wanted to spread the word as far as he could within the bounds of wise financing. Chop’s generosity was frequently rewarded by the gifts of possession that were repeatedly left to him because the deceased knew he would do good with them.
He was pastor of churches in upstate New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. Following retirement, he assisted wherever an opportunity arose at the Wesleyan Retirement Village in Brooksville FL.
Chester was a lay preacher, held numerous church offices and was much more than a nominal tither at the suggested 10% level. I know, for a fact, that one year he tithed and gifted 32%. Other years could have been even more, but he shunned the public eye in such matters. Chip stood tall in various pulpits as an active Gideon as he shared the importance of distributing Bibles. He was a Sunday School teacher and lay leader of his local Wesleyan Church in Corinth, New York. After his second wife, Elizabeth died, he married Marjean Chapman, who was an ordained evangelist in the Wesleyan Church.
Wilber Jr. was a pastor, a seminary professor, Christian college President and prolific Christian author. He travelled extensively and internationally to lecture, teach and preach. He was renowned on a worldwide scale. He was an active participant on the team of scholars who translated the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) from the original Greek into English. He was affiliated with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, was a benchmark for scholarly endeavors and was highly respected and admired by his peers. His wife Donna held post graduate degrees and was employed in various University capacities including Librarian, and assistant Professor at several Colleges and Universities.
Paul probably held more church offices and performed more gifts of service than anyone in the entire Wesleyan denomination. Besides official church offices, many building projects leadership, fund raising responsibilities, Sunday School teaching and administration, and youth leadership, he did more behind the scenes physical work than even I, his son, can remember. For example, he was electrician, plumber, carpenter, snow plower, infrastructure planner and repairer, vehicle mechanic, bus driver, transportation director, orchestra founder, and conductor, etc. Beyond all that, he was a passionate financial backer to the extent that church donations trumped his own needs. Paul annually contributed much more than the nominal 10% tithe. I believe it was more than double, as, I believe, his brothers might have done also.
So how could poorly educated and poorly financially endowed parents like Wilber and Jessie Dayton raise children who were such stellar members of the Christian faith. It was because of their example and their consistency in rearing their children. Click here to hear what Chip had to say on this subject. Younger generations, please heed Chip’s advice!
My conclusion is that this characteristic of generosity is still at the forefront of Wilber’s grandchildren’s Christian experience, as well as their own descendants. Generosity “rocks” in the Dayton family.
Wilber and Jessie’s Faith (Wilber 1870-1957) (Jessie Belle (1880-1958)
Jessie Belle [White] Dayton, wife of Wilber, wore the spiritual leadership pants in Wilber and Jessie’s marriage. Wilber loved the Lord and was born again, but his shy disposition and backward social skills left the family training largely to Jessie. I am in possession of Wilber and Jessie’s tithe can (see photo). We know they tithed. Despite their poverty, they still gave at least 10% to the church and did it before anything else was paid for. Jessie read to her children from the Hulbert Bible story book, an 800-page illustrated book with beautiful black and white etchings, now in the possession of Stephen Dayton. Family altar was the first priority every day. Family altar was a time when the family got together for a time of Bible reading and prayer. It lasted 30 minutes or more. In Paul’s family, the tradition continued. After a Bible passage or story, each family member knelt and prayed, from the eldest to youngest, and the session was completed with the Lord’s prayer. I imagine family altar was practiced in all the Dayton families. On Sunday, Jessie, Wilber and their children attended the Corinth Sunday School, morning service, “class meeting”, a time of testimony and witnessing, evening prayer service and evening worship. In the afternoon, they attended Hadley Wesleyan Methodist church, where Jessie was Sunday School Superintendent. I doubt they had time to eat until after Corinth’s evening service. They didn’t set aside Sunday as a day of physical rest. They practiced spiritual rest.
Jessie’s mother, Anna [Flansburg] [White] [Ramsey] Dingman (1855-1935)
We know nothing of Jessie’s father’s faith (Alexander White Sr), but her mother, Anna Maria [Flansburg] White, was a Wesleyan Methodist preacher’s kid. Her faith was strong, and she was a devout saint. I personally know little about her specific spiritual attributes, although Wilber and Jessie’s children all knew her since she lived until 1935. She was a member of the Hadley Wesleyan Methodist Church. This could have been the reason Jessie’s family attended there in addition to Corinth. Hadley certainly would have been the church both Wilber and Jessie called their own.
Rev. William Flansburg, Jessie’s grandfather (1809-1897)
Anna’s, father, Rev. William Flansburg (Jessie’s grandfather) became a “born-again” Christian farmer in the mid-1840’s, when he was in his early 30’s. He started his first pastorate just a couple of years later in the Free Will Baptist Church in Johnsburg, New York. In the mid ‘50s, he joined the Wesleyan Methodist church, and thereafter was a pastor in Vermont, and in Hamilton, Warren and Saratoga counties in New York state. O.D. Putnam, his friend and colleague, wrote a wonderful tribute which will appear in next month’s newsletter.
Charles and Nancy Dayton (1832 – 1882)
Charles and Nancy were the parents of Wilber Sr. They died when Wilber was only thirteen, and he never talked about his parents, so we know nothing about them. Charles was a sheep rancher. All that we know of Charles’ faith was inferred in a comical folklore story that Chip tells. Click here to hear that story. That’s all we know about Charles.
Henry Dayton, grandfather of Wilber Sr (1792-1849)
Henry Dayton was the father of Charles. The primary spiritual declaration and affirmation of Henry’s faith is engraved on his gravestone. It reads, “Why stand you weeping round my tomb Wilst I with Jesus rest in peace. When God has called and took me home prepare my friend to follow soon” Obviously, he was a Christ lover and follower. He claimed, with confidence, the presumption that he would be taken to heaven. He challenged all who read his stone to get their own lives “right with God” so that they too could inherit eternal life. Regarding church denomination, we know that he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. Today, the denomination is known as United Methodist.
David Dayton Jr, father of Henry (1766-1807)
We know very little of David Jr.’s spiritual situation. He raised several Christian believer children who were all Methodist Episcopal, so it stands to reason that he too was a Methodist Episcopal believer. I base this opinion on the truth of the adage, “Like father, like son”. The closest church was across the Hudson River on the road from Luzerne to Buttermilk Falls. We suspect that David may have used his buckboard to ford the river at a shallow point just upriver from the church.
David Dayton Sr, father of David Jr (Between 1737 and 1739 – 1782)
We also know very little of David Sr.’s spiritual testimony. In writing our book, Our Long Island Ancestors, The first six generations of Daytons in America 1639-1807, Steve and I have reason to believe that when David and Anne moved to Setauket [Brookhaven] from Egg Harbor, NJ, they attended the Setauket Presbyterian church for a short period of time. However, the pastor, Rev Elam Potter, was an abolitionist; David owned a slave, so we suspect David was not welcome in that church.
Henry Dayton, father of David Sr (1706-1759)
He was a member of the Setauket Presbyterian Church in Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York. I have a family transcript of the members (including Henry) of that church about 1750. Curiously, his wife, Abigail, is not listed as a member. For many of the male members, the roll reads “and wife,” so it isn’t clear why she wasn’t listed.
Abraham Dayton, father of Henry (about 1654 – after 1726)
Records were found of Abraham being a Setauket NY Presbyterian financial pledger both for the salary of a pastor, and the building of a new “meeting house” for the new pastor. These were all within the Town of Brookhaven (Long Island). Being a big donor (there’s that Dayton generosity again), it stands to reason that he was a regular attender and probably at some point was a lay elder.
Samuel Dayton, father of Abraham (1624 – 1690)
Steve and I believe, without direct confirmation and primary sources, that Samuel was a Puritan. We know more about Samuel’s life than any other early ancestor, but there is no mention of a religious choice. He was a Puritan by baptism (in England) rather than through practice.
Ralph Dayton, father of Samuel (about 1588 – 1658)
Ralph was a Puritan. Steve and I have a record of his assignment of seating at the meeting house in East Hampton, NY. (Yes, even way back then, people sat in the same pew every Sunday). Prior to coming to America, he worshiped at St Mary’s the Virgin in Ashford, Kent County, England. He was a dissident Puritan, meaning that he openly opposed the Church of England and the King. These dissidents experienced much persecution, but it is unclear whether Ralph experienced it. It may have been the reason he, and most of his family, sailed to the New World.
Hey Doreen, below is the real answer
Memories-Jessie Studio Photo Discovered
DFH Volume 1 Issue 24
Shirley Tharp sent in a photo which has previously been unknown. The portrait is of Jessie Belle Dayton, wife of Wilber Thomas Dayton Sr, and my generation’s grandmother. My guess is that gramma would have been about 50 years old in this photo. The photo, then, would have been taken about 1930. Notice that she wore John Lennon iconic glasses forty years before he made them famous to rock and rollers like myself. You were cool, Gramma.
If any of you have any photos which you can contribute, I’d love them, and so would our readers. I’ve got one of my family (15 of us) which I will include in a future edition. I especially covet a portrait digital image of Elizabeth Dayton, either alone or with Uncle Chip. I only have one photo of her, and it is a cropped photo from a poor-quality snapshot original.. The result is a blurry-grainy photo of such poor quality that you can hardly identify the person in the photo as Aunt Lib. Please, please, send one (or two or three…no amount is too many). I am the self-declared curator of Dayton family photos. I would love photos you can send of your families, both immediate and extended. Also, if you would like a copy of my collection of Dayton photos, then send a blank flash drive (16 gigabytes is sufficient) to Jim Dayton, 8366 Ridgestone Dr., Byron Center, MI 49315. Most photos are identified by name and date. If you want to put your family photos on the drive for me to copy, that would be all the better.
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 email@example.com (or send them to me on the flash drive which will be returned containing my photos.)
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.
Dayton Brothers Sawmill-“Green” Long Before Its Time
DFH Volume 1 Issue 22
Dayton Brothers’ Lumber Company was an “environmentally green” company as early as the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. This was 30 years before we began to hear about “green” on a national scale. Besides their obvious cash crop of lumber, the brothers sold every scrap product of the log, letting nothing go to waste.
Most obvious was the sawdust pile. Sawdust was sold to farmers for spreading over the floor of the barn’s cow stalls to make cleanup more sanitary. One day a farmer drove his truck into the lumber yard expecting to pick up a load of sawdust. The truck had a Budweiser sign on it. Dad refused to service him because of the sign. Dad was opposed to alcohol of any kind. The farmer came back later with a milk sign on the truck and dad sold him his load of sawdust.
If we did a lot of sawing, then the sawdust pile grew to mountainous heights (25-30 feet). Kids loved to play in it. I remember one time it was covered with newly fallen snow and Roger skied down it. Under pressure and decay from both high concentrations of moisture and lack of sunlight, the sawdust would generate lots of heat. In fact, sawdust piles have been known to spontaneously combust into flame. Kids would dig deep into the pile just far enough to feel its heat. Sawdust serves as an excellent insulator. Around the periphery of the pile where internal temperatures remained normal, you were guaranteed to find snow if you dug down about a foot to two feet…in July and August. I can remember Roger and I throwing snowballs at each other on a hot July day when the air temperature was probably 85°.
When the lumber had been airdried in the yard, it was taken to the planing mill where it was “”smoothed’ on all four sides. The dry shavings were sold to butchers to spread over the flooring of their butcher shops. There was an old, deaf, Afro-American man who used to buy shavings by the large-truckload and resell them to butcher shops. He had exclusive rights (preferential treatment) to Dayton Brothers shavings. Dad called him “the darky.” This was before desegregation and dad meant no disrespect. Dad knew his name, but we didn’t. We knew him only as the darky. When dad had a load of shavings ready, he would call the old white-haired man and tell him that a load was ready for him. Humm…something is suspicious. How could dad call him if he was deaf? Must be his wife answered. He always arrived with a cup of coffee and a doughnut for each of us. Dad would send me to the shaving pile to help the old man fill his truck. He would put the shavings into potato sacks (burlap bags) each weighing probably 20-30 pounds when full. It was my job to pack them into his truck as tightly as I could. I was only a pre-teen, so it was hard work. I remember that one day on a Saturday evening dad and I drove to the sawmill to do a security check and discovered that the old man had left a bird house kit for me in the planing mill. The world would be a far better place if we only had more great men like the darky. He was like a grandpa to me. Even though we couldn’t communicate with speech, we communicated in many other ways like the exchange of genuine, loving grins at each other.
The first cuts of the log are called slabs which are sold as firewood for heating homes and for campfires. Dad would load the “slab truck” and, when it was full, then we would head out across town to deliver it to the person who had ordered it. The slab dump truck was very old and beat up and was an embarrassment every time I rode in it. I hoped I would not be seen by anyone I knew. But it did the job and helped to keep the community green (except for the smoke that was emitted as it was consumed by fire).
The lumber was sold by length, width and thickness (board feet). The lumber’s length was always an even numbered size between 4’ and 14’. So the cutoff saw cut the length to conform to these dimensions. This was perfect for campers. Dayton Brothers had already cut the lumber into a length that could be tossed into the fireplace or firepit. As I recall, the price was $5.00 per pickup truck load. This “dirt cheap” slab wood, kept the slab pile empty or small, which was Dad’s objective. Too large a pile of “cutoff” slabs was a nuisance.
So the Dayton brothers were “Green” long before it was a politically correct treatment of our environment. It didn’t make them rich…it made them responsible community citizens.