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)

Advertisement

Memories-1960

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 jim.dayton@att.net (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.

A house with trees in the background

Description automatically generated

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.

A house with trees in the background

Description automatically generated

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”.

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

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 group of people posing for a photo

Description automatically generated
A picture containing text, newspaper

Description automatically generated

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.

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

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.

Houghton College

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. 

A person riding on top of a dirt road

Description automatically generated

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°. 

A house with trees in the background

Description automatically generated

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).

Conveyer for cutoff saw

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.

Meet Our Cameron Ancestors

DFH Volume 1 Issue 22

A close up of a sign

Description automatically generated

My visit to the land of the Dayton homestead and the gravesite of Henry Dayton [Henry← Charles Erastus← Wilber Sr.]  and his wife, Christie [Cameron] Dayton made me realize that I have not mentioned our Cameron branch of the Dayton family in an earlier Newsletter. The Camerons [our ancestors] are prominent citizens in the Hadley, Stony Creek and Thurman area of Upstate New York.  The Cameron surname is the most often found name in the town of Thurman, Warren County, New York, which the Camerons settled 200 years ago.  Our link to this illustrious family is through the marriage of Christie Ann Cameron to Henry Dayton about 1816.

The name Cameron comes from the Gaelic and Welsh “Cam” meaning crooked and “sron” meaning nose – therefore, a crooked nose. 

Christie’s parents were William (born in Scotland in 1770) and Mary Hodgson (born in England in 1776).  In all, there were eight children, and Christie Ann was the oldest.  Christie’s grandfather was James CAMERON and her grandmother was Christina Ann MORD.  Christie Dayton was no doubt named after her grandmother.  The grandparents also came from Scotland at the same time as Christie Ann’s father.  There were thirteen children in this family and William was 2nd oldest.   It’s not clear why James Cameron chose Thurman to live.  They were from the Scottish Highlands and this may be why they chose the Adirondacks. 

The author of THE CAMERON FAMILY OF WARREN COUNTY, NEW YORK, Gloria Bailey Jackson, provides a possible explanation for the Cameron’s emigration from Scotland.  James emigrated about 1770 and settled in Thurman in 1773.  At the time, Thurman was a part of Queensbury located in Washington County.  The aftereffects of the Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746 included the British determination to clear the Scottish Highlands of the clan system.  The Cameron’s probably lived in Lochaber under the protection of their chief Donald of Locheil.  Following the Battle, the Duke of Cumberland declared that the “people must perish by sword and famine.”  The Cameron’s fled after they experienced plundering and burning of homes in their own clan.

Once settled in America, James began lumbering the wilderness.  (Chip and Paul resumed the lumbering business 6 generations later).

In his will, William wrote, “to my eldest daughter Christian Dayton, one cow within one year after my decrease.”  Joel Dayton, brother of Henry, was a witness to the will, dated 1 April 1816.

The following article is copied from an internet article titled “James Cameron – Pioneer woodsman farmer, written and published by the Warren County Bicentennial Celebration, URL http://warrenny200.org/towns/thurman/cameron.php  

Among the earliest residents were Scottish immigrants, among whom were the Camerons. They came in 1773, bearing a letter of introduction from John Thurman. They settled on a large tract of land along the river often referred to now as “the Gillingham farm,” working the relatively rich bottomland and using cascading streams to power mills for sawing wood and grinding grain. James Cameron, often referred to as “Squire Jimmy,” was a Tory.

A state historical marker on the west side of Warrensburg-Stony Creek Road near the present boundary between Thurman and Stony Creek attests to his importance to the town : “James Cameron – Pioneer woodsman farmer, justice of the peace. Settled in this valley in 1773. Buried 100 feet west of this marker.” Family records indicate that he was 103 years old. The Cameron family still thrives in Thurman; a sawmill first built in the 1860s by Almyron Cameron and his son Henry remains in the family, though the blades are now stilled. Henry’s son Don ran the mill, and in 1938 the structure was destroyed by fire. The mill was rebuilt, with a new water wheel. In 1946 Don turned the mill over to his sons Myron and Don, who again replaced the wheel, but also added the option of diesel power to the existing water power. Don died in 1988, and Myron continued to operate the mill for some years.

Almyron Cameron lived in a log cabin on the flats below the mill, and after the cabin burned, he built a plank house, which he and his sons gradually enlarged. In the 1830s it became a destination for guests, a tradition they continued until the 1930s. Before one wing was removed, it boasted 16 guestrooms. Guests flocked there to enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, swimming, playing shuffleboard and croquet, and standing around the Tonk piano singing songs. Vegetables, milk butter and eggs were raised on the farm to serve the guests. Generations of the family ran the facility. When the Farmhouse was unable to accommodate all who wished to visit, the Camerons built what was known as the “Lodge”, a long structure with ten more bedrooms that was built on the hill behind the house.