The “Dayton Twins” Reunited

After 70+ years, the “Dayton Twins” reunited in the hills of eastern North Carolina at the wedding of Alexis Dayton Luckey (daughter of Jack and Camilla Dayton Lucky; granddaughter of Charles Dayton) to Ryan Carey in late October, 2019.  Several members of the Dayton and Luckey clans were in attendance but it was the presence of “the twins” that was most noticeable, at least to those two.  Deane Dayton (son of Wilbur & Donna Dayton) and David Hayes (son of Quentin and Isabelle Dayton Hayes; grandson of Charles Dayton) were born in Marion, Indiana, two days apart in May, 1949.  David was born on May 22nd and Deane was born on May 24th.  David’s father, Kent, was a student and student-pastor at Marion College in Marion, Indiana.  Dean’s father, Wilbur (Uncle Wib) was on the faculty there.  When the boys were born, their moms shared a hospital room as well.  Both boys were robust and healthy and were welcomed into their families with great joy.  David was the first child for Kent and Izzie and Deane was the 3rd child in his family with an older brother and sister already at home.  Their lives would briefly intersect later in life but their initial entry into the world would be their first “sustained interaction.”  [An interesting sidelight: five of the people at the table at the wedding reception were born in Marion General Hospital: Deane & wife Carol, Janet (Deane’s sister) Dayton Manley, and David & Keith Hayes.

            Two years later, David’s family moved to Springfield, Mass., (by now, with brother, Keith, two years younger) where Kent pastored and help build the sanctuary of the Wesleyan Church there. After, two years, Kent and family went south to Wilmore, KY, where he attended Asbury Seminary for 3 years.  Feeling called to the chaplaincy, Kent also attended Chaplain School in NY during the summer and became an Army Chaplain in the summer of 1957.  That same summer, before the move to the first assignment, Fort Hood, TX, the Wilbur Dayton family also moved to Wilmore where Uncle Wib took a position on the faculty of the seminary and Aunt Donna served on the faculty of Asbury College and as a public school librarian.  Deane & David played together that summer before the move once again separated them. 

            Fast forward 15 years, past many other relocations and experiences, Dave & Deane, now young adults, met briefly when Deane came to visit Dave’s parents in Phoenixville, PA, while he was stationed at Fort Dix, NJ. He had joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1971 and was sent to Fort Dix for Basic Training and training as a Radio Operator.  While there, Deane used a week-end pass to visit Cousin Izzie & family.  One of his memories of the visit is when, arriving by train, he was told that the nearby movie theater was used as a set for “The Blob” movie.  He also remembered spending a few hours in the basement working on a case for an electronics project he was building.

            At the time, Dave had just graduated from Houghton College and had started his teaching career in a nearby school district while living at home with his folks.  He became engaged to Kathy Harpp at Christmastime, 1972, and they were married the following July.  Dave continued  to teach while he and Kathy both earned Masters degrees (Dave in school counseling and Kathy in elementary education).  The family grew: daughter Heather was born in 1974, son Jeremy in 1977, daughter Emily in 1982 and son Ben in 1983.  In 1979, Dave switched school districts and became an elementary school counselor.  Over his career in education, he taught 5th & 6th grade for 10 years and was a school counselor for 26 years, retiring in 2007.  Twelve years into his counseling career, Dave was invited to be an adjunct professor in the same counseling department he had attended.  He continued to teach part-time at the graduate counseling department at West Chester University for the next 16 years and then for 8 years after he retired from public school.  Meanwhile, Kathy had returned to the classroom, teaching 3rd grade for almost 20 years in a small town with an urban setting, retiring in 2012.      

Meanwhile, Deane’s educational and professional careers were beginning.  He and Carol were married on June 2, 1969, in a roof-top chapel in Louisville in a 17-story building which now bears a huge picture of Colonel Sanders that can be seen from I-65.  They both attended Marion College and then returned to Kentucky as teachers in Nicholasville, a few miles from Wilmore.  While there, Carol earned a masters from Eastern Kentucky University and Deane spent his summers at Randolph-Macon Women’s College where he earned a master’s degree in Science Teaching in a National Science Foundation Summer Science Institute. 

In 1973, Deane & Carol moved to Bloomington, IN, where Carol taught in a nearby school system while he worked on his PhD.  Deane then served on facilities of the University of Virginia and Indiana University.  Their son, Chris, was born there in Bloomington in 1975.  In 1983, they moved to Charlotte, NC, where Deane worked for a company that developed Computer-Based Training.  In 1985 they again moved to Huntsville where Deane worked for Intergraph Corporation (a computer graphics company) to coordinate the development of their end-user technical documentation. In 1998, they moved to Princeton where he worked for Berlitz in their language translation division which had offices in over twenty countries.  During that time, Carol and Deane were able to travel to many of those offices & nearby tourist sites.  From 2002 until 2004, Deane commuted to the office in Washington, DC, where he led the team that provided interpreters for the U. S. Immigration Courts.  In 2005, they returned to Huntsville to work for Intergraph deploying Computer-Aided Dispatch systems for 911 Centers. 

Deane retired in 2013 and have been doing volunteer work archiving local history materials.  Currently, there are more than one million digital images stored on a server in my closet that is accessible to anyone at http://dkdayton.net .

As Deane and Dave were growing up, their mothers reminded them of how “the twins” had shared hospital experience. Deane had only been to Corinth a few times since his childhood while  Dave had lived there for a year while in elementary school and visited when the family traveled between Army assignments.  Carol & Deane passed through on their honeymoon and he and Dave both attended Charles’ funeral in Corinth—another “twin sighting”.   Deane was there for the 1998 Dayton Reunion and he has particularly fond memories of these last two visits.

It would seem that Deane & Dave were destined to see each other infrequently and, due to geography, would be separated, perhaps, forever.  But that didn’t happen thanks to the Dayton wedding in Hot Springs, NC, last fall.  Until they arrived individually, they didn’t know of their impending reunion so the surprise was doubly pleasant.  They reconnected immediately and spent much of their time reminiscing, catching up on each other’s lives and comparing family notes.  They exchanged home and email addresses and phone numbers just to make sure the bonds reestablished in the Appalachians would remain strong.  Along with Deane’s wife, Carol and Dave’s wife, Kathy, it was an extra treat to have Deane’s sister, Janet (and husband, Mike), and Dave’s brother, Keith (and wife, Leslie), share in the celebration along with cousin/aunt Cammie Dayton Luckey—an unexpected Dayton family reunion that will long be remembered.

Deane Dayton, Keith Hayes, Cammie Luckey, Dave Hayes, Jan Manley

 So when someone separates “twins” at birth, don’t be sure that they won’t find each other in the future and reconnect in stronger, more meaningful ways.  That’s just what happened to the Marion Dayton “Twins”—Deane and Dave!

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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-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.)

Video from 1998 Dayton Family Reunion Now Available on youtube

DFH Volume 1 Issue 21

It hardly seems possible that it’s been 21 years since our Dayton reunion in Corinth.  Kids that attended are now married with their own offspring, thus starting a new generation of Dayton’s.  I think especially of the Humbert kids and their cute rendition of “King of the Universe.”  Video of our 1998 Dayton Family Reunion is now available on my youtube channel.  Jan Manley taped the entire event, and now, thanks to her, we can relive that fun time spent together in June in Corinth.  Nearly the entire event has been filmed.  The filming has been broken down into 26 individual videos, so you can only watch what you want.   These are the videos:

  1. Introduction
  2. Wilber Dayton sends his greetings from Macon, GA
  3. Breakfast footage of attendees and table chat with Jan Manley commenting
  4. Tour of Dayton Brothers sawmill led by Paul Dayton.
  5. Tour of Henry and Christie Daytons graves in Dayton cemetery on Hadley Hill led by Paul Dayton with Family History commentary by Jim Dayton.
  6. Tour of Charles and Nancy Dayton’s graves at Dean Cemetery in Stony Creek led by Jim Dayton.
  7. Tour of David and Chloe Dayton’s graves at 9N Cemetery in Lake Luzerne led by Jim Dayton.
  8. Viewing of outside of Wilber and Jessie’s House on Mechanic St by Jan Manley and Cammie Luckey.
  9. Priscilla Tyler leads children’s games (watermelon seed spitting).
  10. Interview with Sam Tyler.
  11. Invocation by Wilber Dayton with accompanying photo montage of reunion.
  12. Chester Dayton reciting Psalm 93.
  13. Congratulatory letter from Governor George Pataki (New York State).
  14. Prayer for Wilber by Rev. Leonard Humbert.
  15. Dinner footage of attendees and table chat with Jan Manley commenting.
  16. Audience participation in singing of George Washington Bridge led by Keith Tyler.
  17. Photo montage set to a hilarious light bulb joke about religious denominations.
  18. Nancy Dayton sings a beautiful rendition of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
  19. Keith Tyler’s little Tommy joke.
  20. Chester Dayton [Chip} reciting Mia Carlotta, by Louis Untermeyer.
  21. Humbert Kids sing “King of the Universe”.
  22. Jim Dayton tells a story about Charles (Chop) Dayton’s strength.
  23. Roger Dayton tells a story a Chop, Gerald Ralph and he on scaffolding.
  24. Chester Dayton Tells the Story of Chop and the Cigar Cutter.
  25. Jenn VanTol presents a plaque containing Psalm 23 and the signatures of the attendees.
  26. Jim Dayton thanks everyone for coming to the reunion.

Here is a link to get to the “my channel” for me (Jim Dayton).  Once there, you can view whatever you would like.  I recommend that you subscribe to the channel so that you can more easily get here and get notifications of new videos.  https://www.youtube.com/user/jimdayton1/playlists?view_as=subscriber

Dr. Wilber Dayton Jr. Interview (1997)

DFH Issue 1 Volume 18

In 1997, I interviewed Wilber Dayton, Jr. for Volume 2 Issue 2 of an earlier version of the Dayton Family History.  Since most of you were not subscribers back then, I repeat it here in this issue as follows:

Interview with Dr. Wilber T. Dayton, Jr.: Remembrances of Dad & Mom

Dr. Dayton, or Wib as the family fondly knows him, was one of the early professors of the Wesleyan Methodist Denomination to receive an earned doctorate – Th.D.  He taught 15 ½ years at Marion College, 13 ½ years at Asbury Theological Seminary, was President of Houghton College for 4 years, Professor of Wesley Biblical Seminary for 11 years and short-term missionary teacher India and South America.  He is the author of books, articles, etc. He is presently enjoying retirement in Macon, GA with his wife Edna.1

I recently interviewed Wib along the theme of his remembrances of his parents – Wilber T, Sr. and Jessie Belle Dayton.  As usual, Wib’s comments are very insightful and give a very comprehensive view using his mastery of language and wit.

DFH: Wilber, Sr.’s parents were both dead by the time he was 13.  Where did he and his brothers & sisters stay, who took care of them, what did he do in his teenage years?

WIB: Thanks for the information that my Dad lost both parents by the time he was 132.  That means that it was over 20 years before Dad married Mom.  I can only assume from what I’ve heard that five children were left to fend for themselves in the old Dayton Place in West Hadley Hill. They probably had to take over the farming and housework to keep eating and wearing clothes.  I don’t know whether there were any relatives close enough to help or not.  I would judge that people were pretty scarce in the area in those days to help with their social, physical and spiritual health.  I never heard much discussion of home training in Dad’s youth.  (I think there was a James Dayton of some prominence in the early days of the Champlain Conference, but I never got a clear picture of his relationship to us3 or to the Judd Dayton who lived around the corner from us in Corinth. Mother was about 10 years younger than Dad and was not married until about 244.  There was no abundance of people for mates – especially of vitally Christian ones.  Rurals spread the Gospel with the Bible and Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible5 – and a concordance.  I don’t know if it was early enough to have made much effect on my parents – except I was told that Mom’s Dad could read only the Bible, and that Dad quit school in the 7th grade when the teacher got far enough into the arithmetic book that she turned back into the part they already had.  Mother finished the 8th grade, I think.  I think Dad had a fairly good ability to handle intellectual concepts, but worked day and night and didn’t have too much relief or encouragement.  Mom was faithful with the Bible and Hurlbut.  She dreamed about being a teacher.  She was practiced and helpful in spiritual matters and carried her end of the load. 

DFH: How did Wilber and Jessie Belle meet?

WIB: I don’t know how the parents met.  I suppose in the small community the few people had contacts.  I remember once that Mother got to thinking that Dad was a “decent man” that was worth considering.  If the standard was respect for virginity, the field was not very broad.  If I understand correctly, both of my parents were patiently waiting longer than usual to find someone that they could trust.  And they were both more spiritual in their choices than their brothers and sisters.  I don’t know how deeply spiritual both of my parents were at the time, but they did cling to the standards of pure marriage, as far as I know, though not all brothers and sisters benefited by the same convictions.

DFH: It is said that his occupations included farmer, woodsman and laborer at International Paper Co.  Can you elaborate on his work life?

WIB: Farming and cutting wood were natural things for people who didn’t have time or inclination to escape the hard work that they grew up with.  So Dad sharpened his skills and worked real hard to make out with thrift to get ahead as he could, and the cash crop was cutting wood.  After he’d get up and do the chores, he’d wade through the snow with his double-bladed axe to a wood lot and cut down and cut up the wood in 4 ft. lengths split and piled in 4×8 piles.  Then he’d hurry back through the snow to do the evening chores.  If he had good luck, he probably made 50 cents for his day’s work.  Some of the money he later gave to help my education was probably saved from his wood cutting.

          As the family grew, he finally thought he would venture to move to Corinth and see if he could better things for himself and the family.  So he bought a lot down in Palmer Falls and bought a load of cut and prepared lumber from Sears and Roebuck and put it together in a house that we lived in for a year or two until he decided to sell out and get a house that he fixed up in downtown Corinth.  He made more money at the Paper Mill but still economy was needed and he worked at odd jobs and raised potatoes and vegetables.  He found the tour work exhausting because when he was home in daylight, he worked all the time and he couldn’t bear to work at night cooped up over a pulp machine.  So he worked on the woodyard at 42 cents an hour for many years.  I used to cash his weekly checks for $20.16 less 25 cents for insurance or $19.91.  So he kept working on neighbors’ yards and gardens and raised potatoes, etc. to get a little extra money to put into the family of 5 children and the bank.  Dad worked in the woodyard at the mill until he was too old.  Then for years he cleaned up offices and recreation facilities until about 80.  Finally the mill thought they couldn’t justify keeping him employed.  So they let him go and gave his job to three younger men.  Finally, at nearly 87, when his body lay in state at the little Corinth house, an amazing number of people came by to express their respect for him and his family.  Even the Catholic priest said more complementary things than Dad ever testified to verbally in Church.

DFH:  What were his and Jessie Belle’s education?

WIB:  He took advantage of the school system until in the seventh grade he ran out of the part of the arithmetic book that the teacher could handle.  When she turned back to the earlier part of the book, he figured he had better use of his time.  Mother faithfully finished the eighth grade.  She appears to have liked school and expressed her desire to be a teacher.  But there was little opportunity, especially when 3 of the 4 parents were already dead before such decisions were possible.

DFH:  Did he ever have a car?  A driver’s license?  How did he get around?

WIB:  No, Dad never had a car in his own possession.  When Dad was in his 60’s, Mom and I thought about getting a cheap used car to go where the bicycle wouldn’t take us.  But when I decided to sample college, that’s where the money went.  Chop and Chip had cars but they were seldom at home any more for convenience of their cars.  So we walked, rode bicycles or used public transportation or friends.  And after the first year in college, I learned to hitch-hike until I was married and had to get a car to go to South Dakota to teach in Wessington Springs Junior College in the dust bowl days.

No, Dad never had a driver’s license.  Born in 1870, he probably wouldn’t have needed a license when he was young.  And the 5 orphans were probably slow getting where they needed or could afford cars.  I don’t know when horse and buggy came into their lives.  But it must have at least by the time of Dad’s marriage at age 34.  At least, I remember tales of horse and sleigh rides which one of the first babies was dumped into a snowdrift, and other incidents of farming with a horse called Pontiac.  Probably Dad disposed of the horse and buggy when he moved to town when I was about 2 – 78 years ago.   At least, I have no memory of seeing the horse.  And I do remember a favored anecdote of an event that took place probably before I was born.  Dad had got down to Greenwich – about 40 miles south of Hadley Hill to help Aunt Jennie (then Roach) on the farm.  In the days of barter, or exchange of gifts, they gave him a heifer to take back to Hadley Hill.   Whatever strain it may have been on his “Dayton ingenuity” Dad saw only one way to get the heifer home.  He tied a rope to the heifer and took off on foot for the 40 miles.  As he passed through one of the towns on the way, someone rebuked him for forcing the beast to trot so far.  His response was that he wasn’t forcing the heifer.  She was forcing him.  So far as I know, Dad never bought a car or applied for a license.  But he must have had a horse or horses that could meet the rural needs of the family. 

DFH:  Did he have any debts or mortgage?

WIB:  If Dad ever had debts or mortgages, it was probably before my days or memory.  I don’t know how he came to live in the old Dayton Place after his marriage.  Uncle Delbert had apparently left the area to make his fortunes elsewhere.  I’ve heard tales of his settling a while in Florida in a bean patch that later became a city.  And he apparently died in Cedar Ridge, Iowa, where I attended the funeral of his only daughter, Ida.  Jim never did marry.  I saw Jim as an old man living on the farm in Greenwich with widowed Jenny.  Aunt Carrie married Dee Harris of Corinth.  They apparently lived a fugal and successful life on a farm in the town of Day – west of West Hadley Hill.  They had one son who died in his youth.  So Dad was the last and most fruitful successor of the Charles Dayton – grandfather.

DFH:  Was he a hunter or fisherman?

WIB:  So far as I know Dad was not a hunter or a fisherman. Though I am his only son who was content to miss deer season every year, Dad and I were otherwise occupied.

DFH:  Did he have any personal interests other than gardening?

WIB:  It is hard for me to report on Dad’s other interests.  I never saw Dad until he was nearly 50 and by that time his interests were pretty well fixed on the survival or development of life and the welfare of his children.  His interests broadened as his children scattered and broadened their interests and capacities.  Basically his interests were people, I think.

DFH:  Did Jessie have any unusual talents or interests?

WIB:  Jessie had a happier childhood with more parental helps.  She took the lead in many aspects of parenting and leadership.  Though she was very aware of professional limitations, she had a lot of practical wisdom that made her a good counselor and disciplinarian.  She saved a lot with her abilities as cook and homemaker and seamstress.  She never lost her interest in people and her desire to be a teacher – though she never had the opportunity for professional training.  Her spiritual example and discipline were more effective and stable than most.

DFH:  You and all your brothers and sister have/had a very strong Christian faith and spiritual daily walk.  What was the extent of your parents spiritual guidance and training?

WIB:  The faithfulness and consistency of the emphasis on spiritual values and rightness of obedience to God was a strength.  The only alternative to holiness was hell , and we didn’t want that.  And a part of the obedience was to attend all the services where these things were emphasized.  Whatever differences existed in the prevailing interpretations of the gospel; we had no doubt of the essentials of the gospels.  The influence of the home was always solidly for the gospel.

DFH:  What church(es) did they attend?

WIB:  The Corinth Wesleyan Church was about my only memory of home influence.  For a while Dad and, I guess, Mom felt less than fully satisfied with Corinth Wesleyan.  But instead of forsaking it, they mostly added Hadley – 5 miles away.  So I went to Sunday School, Preaching Service, and Class Meeting in the morning at Corinth, the same three on Sunday afternoon at Hadley, and back to Corinth for Young Peoples Prayer Service, Young Peoples Meeting and the Evening Preaching Service.  That was normally only nine hours and travel time and altar services.  But most of the time we were served only 6 or 7 hours at Corinth – except for special Revival Services.  But on the whole the church life was positive and helpful.

DFH:  Did either Wilber or Jessie Belle have a favorite hymn and/or Bible verse(s).

WIB:  I don’t seem to be able to recall favorite hymns or verses.  Maybe “Standing on the Promises”, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”, “Rock of Ages” or other “experience” hymns.  Maybe Psalm 23.

DFH:  Who was the family disciplinarian?  What type of discipline was used?  (I know – you were all too perfect to receive any discipline!)

WIB:  Mother was the family disciplinarian of my memory at least.  She was very conscientious and thorough about insisting on the benefits to us.  If she thought misbehavior reflected a willfulness that needed to be broken, she would not “spare the rod and spoil the child.”  The only specific memory I have of the “rod” was when Mom took a leather belt and gave me a little lacing.  She was terribly mortified and apologized when she discovered that there was a buckle on the end of the belt that contacted me.  The only time I remember Dad trying to discipline me was when I must have been about 3 years old.  He was in the process of moving the outdoor privy to clean it out.  I was adding to his frustration by trying to use the privy.  He took a little switch to correct the balance of power.  I have no evil memories of either episode.

DFH:  Did your parents give any financial support for your college education?

WIB:  Yes, my parents did give what they could to my college education.  They had helped my older sister go to the State College in Albany with what the state made available, so they squeezed $500 from their life savings to help with my college expenses at Houghton.  Of course, in the 30’s, it covered vastly more of the tuition than today.  And it showed their heart’s support.

DFH:  Were the children given an allowance? 

WIB: No, allowances for children were not so common 60 or 70 years ago as now.  And money could not be spared out of the paycheck for family.  I did mow lawns and peddle papers about 7 years to save about $400 from which I was refunded about $300 after the bank failed.  That was largely what made college possible.

DFH:  Wilber seemed like a very serious, quiet man.  What was his temperament like?

WIB:  Yes, Dad was a serious and quiet man.  The frustrations and agonies of the parentless and deprived youth cast a shadow over his adult life that burst out in spells of melancholy and despondency.  This was a great burden to Mom and a great pain to Dad.  But, otherwise he was of a good disposition and a good citizen and church member.

DFH:  Describe Jessie Belle’s temperament.

WIB:  Mom was well balanced in temperament.  She was concerned about the problems of others and tried hard to help, but she mostly kept her balance and was kind and understanding.  Her friends and relatives often sought her out for advice.

DFH:  Are any of Jessie Belle’s cooking recipes still around?

WIB:  I doubt if there are many of Mom’s recipes around.  She mostly cooked by memory and instinct.  I can’t remember whether she used a cookbook or file.  She did make delicious meals for healthy appetites, but it is hard to measure a dash of salt a bit of something else as she remembered it.

[EDITORS NOTE:  What about the blueberry grunt?  This was a blueberry muffin about 1 ½ feet in diameter and about 6 inches high.  It was made with a dough that was probably like a Bisquick.  It makes me hungry just thinking about it! Thanks for that one grandma!]

DFH:  Jessie had a life-threatening illness and then lived a normal life span.  Tell me about it!

WIB:  Yes, Mom had ailing health for a long time which she mostly called Female Trouble, which I got the impression that it dated to some extent from Chip’s difficult birth – her abdomen opened clear through.  For many years she had a colostomy, but was put back together for 2 or more decades of mature living.  I think that cancer developed in the need for surgery until it became necessary.

DFH:  How would you describe Wilber and Jessie’s intellect?  Dad (Paul Dayton) always talks about “Dayton Ingenuity.”

WIB:  It is hard to describe the intellect of my parents.  I think they both functioned pretty well in the essentials of life.  They make the best of the situations that overtake them and make life worth living.  They recognize their shortcomings and lack of opportunities.  But they stick to their convictions and never give up.  They didn’t have all of the stimulation or opportunities of our day, but were able to cope with life as they saw it.  And they survived in spite of the difficulties and made possible a better chance for our generations.  And they kept the faith and, I believe, made it to heaven.  They must have been smarter than a lot of godless people who aren’t wise unto salvation.  Given the chance, Dad could probably do better with abstract theory and Mom might be more practical.  But I appreciate both.  Maybe that’s what Paul means by “Dayton Ingenuity”-the ability to triumph over circumstances and “do it anyway.”

Wilber and Edna Dayton

DFH:  Did Wilber ever talk about his parents?

WIB:  No, I don’t remember Dad ever talking about his parents.  I think they died too early to have the impact they probably desired upon the children.  And if the statement I’ll quote is true and not misunderstood that Rev. James Dayton is an ancestor of Chop and me, the early death of grandfather Charles Dayton may have stifled the Christian influence from James Dayton on the development of the orphans (including Dad).

DFH:  Are there any family stories or family lore that need to be handed down to the next generation?

WIB:  I don’t know if there are family stories or family lore that I know that future generations should hear.  Would the accounts of Dad’s trotting the heifer home – 40 miles – by “Dayton Ingenuity” be worthy?  Or would you be more interested in Uncle Chop’s engaging in a mile race of swimming in the Hudson River at Corinth as a young man?  He won third place.  How many finished?  Three.  But he accomplished his goal.  A work-horse completing the race with play-boys who lived in the water.

DFH: Thank you for your candid answers.  I can’t wait until I see them again and thank them for my Dayton heritage.

1(b. 1916 – d. 1999)

2 He was orphaned March 17, 1883

3 He was 1st cousin twice removed from Wilber Sr.  He was a Wesleyan Methodist Minister in the late 19th century. (b.1820-d.1892)

4August 31, 1904

5Hurlbut’s Stories of the Bible was used by Jessie Belle to teach her children.  The book was inherited by Paul Dayton and has now been handed down to Stephen Dayton, and designated for his son Sam.

The Family of Wilber Thomas Dayton Sr.

DFH Volume 1 Issue 17

By Florence “Flossie” [Dayton] Denton (1906-1987)

INTRODUCTION: At our Dayton Family Reunion in 1998, Shirley Bortner, Flossie [Dayton] Denton’s daughter, brought a suitcase full of her mother’s family history, genealogical notes and photographs.  This story, written by Flossie, was among her many notes was the following manuscipt:

On August 31, 1904, Wilber Thomas Dayton, son of Charles Erastus and Nancy Goodnow Dayton, brought home his bride, Jessie Belle White, daughter of Alexander and Anna Maria [Flansburg] White. Wilber and Jessie Belle had just been married in a wedding ceremony at the home of the bride’s parents, who were living on the Lawton farm (now Madison place) on Hadley Hill. The groom was 33 years old; the bride 24.

Wilber and his brother James had been keeping “bachelor’s hall” on the Dayton homestead which had been established by their grandfather, Henry, son of David Dayton, one of the first white settlers in the town of Hadley. The house is no longer there. It burned several years ago, and the area has been divided into several portions. The caretaker’s house now occupies the place where the original house stood.

Wilber and Jessie Belle began their married life in the house built by Henry, while James took the land on the opposite side of the road and lived in a small one room house. Later another small house was moved to the property. Eventually the 2 buildings were combined. As a child, I remember seeing Uncle Jim’s bed which was composed partly of ropes. (NOTE: Now in the possession of Mark Humbert).  He lived there until the death of his brother-in-law, Thomas Roach. Then he went to Greenwich to help his sister, Jennie Dayton Roach, run her farm. He died there at the age of 71.

Jessie Belle and Wilber boarded the schoolteacher the year following their marriage. Her name was Gertrude Austin; hence the middle name of their first child, Flossie Gertrude, born July 19, 1905, who heard from early childhood that she was to be a teacher. I (Flossie) was the last Dayton to be born on the old homestead. About 3 years later the place was sold to Frank Ramsey, who had married my maternal grandmother, Anna Maria Flansburg White, widow of Alexander White. The later had died of a heart attack while plowing his garden on the Lawton place. So my maternal grandmother moved to the house which had been home to my paternal grandparents and great grandparents.

 
Baby Flossie

In 1908 Wilber, Jessie Belle and daughter Flossie, moved to Lake Luzerne, where we lived in part of the Morton house. The large rock over which it stood is still visible on Main Street in Lake Luzerne. I believe mother wanted to be near to a doctor as her second confinement approached. At my birth she had been attended only by a midwife named Mrs. Goodnow. Charles Alexander was born May 4,1908, in Lake Luzerne.

The next winter found us living on Hadley Hill again. This time we were staying at the Kennedy place while dad cut wood for Wm Garner, who own a wood lot nearby. We were living there when the fire broke out on West Mt. My earliest recollection is of spending a night with a neighbor family while the men were fighting fire. Mother and baby Charles were there too. I believe we were at the home of Alford Stewart, who lived on the road that now leads to the fire tower trail. About 1909 mother and dad bought the Lawton place, which, as a bride, mother had left in 1904. I remember the pretty pink locust shrubs that adorned the front of the house and the swing that hung from the butternut tree. My second brother, Chester Arthur, was born on the Lawton place January 6, 1910.  When it became apparent that confinement was eminent, dad hitched the horse to the cutter and drove five miles to Luzerne to get Dr. Thompson. The latter waited to eat a warm breakfast before starting out in the mid-winter snow storm. In the meantime, mother was having difficulty. Injuries suffered at this time affected her health for many years.

Mother did not send me to school until I was nearly 7 years old. She taught me some things at home and encouraged me to sew. We children were brought up on Bible stories. Each time that I memorized a Bible verse, mother would make a garment for my doll. My first school days were spent in a little one room schoolhouse in the East Hadley district. It was toward the end of that term when we moved that summer to Pine Street, Palmer Falls, now part of Corinth. I entered the 1st grade in the Palmer Ave. school at the age of 7.

Our parents had bought 3 contiguous lots, each 50 ft. by 150 ft,  on top of the hill at the lower end of Pine Street. Dad built a small barn in which we lived for a few weeks until the house was habitable. Alon Smith built the house following a blueprint made by mother. Dad painted it pearl grey. However, it is not that color now, and it has been enlarged. It stands at the top of the hill on the right side of Pine Street, as one travels from the mill toward the outskirts of the village.

After working two years unloading wood from the train at the mill, dad longed to get back to farm work. So we sold the house on Pine Street and moved to the Angell District where he took care of Harry Shorey’s farm for about 6 months, Sept. to March. Charles and I attended a one room school taught by Mina Angell. I thought she was perfect. One day at recess the girls were discussing what they wanted to be when grown up. I said, “I want to be just like Miss Angell.” That pleased the teacher. Miss Angell later taught the 6th grade at Corinth school. Finally, she married George Peck and lived in Schenectady. She is buried in the cemetery on the Angell farm.

In March 1914 we moved back to Hadley Hill. Our parents had bought the Gailey place, located between Uncle Will White’s farm and the Gilbert place. In recent years the Gailey farm belonged to the late Mr. Nordmere, so Charles and I and eventually Chester attended the East Hadley Hill school.  The teachers for the next few years were Walter Moore, Ethel Parker, Clara Burnham, Blanche Earls, and Miss Sullivan.  In 1918, I went to Lake Luzerne where I tried the Regents Exams so that I could be admitted to high school.  When Miss Burnham was teaching on Hadley Hill, she gave me private organ lessons for twenty-five cents each.

While we were living on the Gailey place, Frank Ramsey, my step-grandfather, died.  So, my grandmother came to live with us.  She persuaded us to spend the summer of 1916 at her farm, which was the old Dayton homestead.  We did not move our furniture.  One day, as grandma was working in her garden, she told me that there was a cemetery up in the field.  She said some people who used to own that farm were buried there.  Evidently, she did not know they were my great-grandparents.  My father must have known, but he did not hear our conversation. Besides, he did not do much talking. He was very busy trying to earn a living for his growing family. I never knew until about 50 years later whose graves were up there in the field. Imagine my surprise to learn that my great grandparents were buried there.

That was the summer the tornado crossed the valley in front of the house, making a path through the woods and removing a part of Uncle Alex White’s barn roof. He was living at the “vly”, later known as Bell Brook Club. Chester caught his first fish that summer. He was fishing in Dayton Creek across the road from grandma’s house. “I got him! I got him!” he yelled.

We attended Sunday school and worship services in the East Hadley Hill schoolhouse. Billy Green’s wife was the minister, but Billy preached sometimes. He was also the organist, playing a portable organ donated by Mr. Ripley. Rev. Sarah and Mr. Green held services Sunday morning in the West District schoolhouse. In the afternoon they came to the East District. No doubt they held an evening service in the Wesleyan church at Stony Creek. They lived in the parsonage in that village. While we were living at grandma’s house, we were about halfway between the 2 schoolhouses; so some Sundays I attended services at both places.

In the fall we went back to the Galey place, taking grandma with us. She was present for the birth of Wilber Thomas Jr. in October 29, 1916. On December 3rd she married Warren Dingman and went back to her own home. Nobody on Hadley Hill owned a car until about 1917. Uncle Will White was the first resident to buy an automobile. It was a Ford touring car. Although we had no car, we sometimes left home for a day or two. Conklingville, where mother’s sister Bertha Hurd and her family lived, was only about 4 miles away, if one liked to hike, using an abandoned road.

Occasionally dad would hook up the horse and take us up to West Day to visit his sister, Carrie and her husband, Dee Harris. Aunt Carrie wouldn’t sit down to eat until everyone was served. She would insist that you would put plenty of homemade butter on those delicious pancakes and then pour on maple syrup. Her neighbors were impressed by her gas refrigerator. That was before electrification reached their area. I was impressed by the Victrola and the Uncle Josh records. The separator amazed me too. Uncle Dee would come from the barn with milk, pour it into the top of the separator, and turn the crank. Cream and milk would come out of separate spouts! Aunt Carrie raised colts and helped with the barn chores. I thought it was strange to see her wearing men’s shoes.

I remember a trip to Greenwich to visit dad’s other sister, Jennie Dayton Roach and her husband Tom. We took this trip while we were living on Pine Street the first time. Dad, mother, Charles, Chester and I took the bus to Saratoga Springs, where we boarded another bus that took us to Schuylerville. Then we walked about 2 miles crossing the river to Thompson. From there a trolley took us to Greenwich. Then we walked two miles to Aunt Jennie’s farm. My new shoes skinned my heel; so I took them off and walked with bare feet. I remember being impressed by Aunt Jennie’s strutting peacock.

The summer of 1918 we lived on the Charley Kennedy place, which was adjacent to the other Kennedy place where we had resided when Charles was a baby. Dad had sold the Galey farm and was helping Frank Wood do the work on the Ripley farm (formerly Kennedy place). In the fall we moved back to Pine Street, Palmer Falls, so I could go to high school. We repossessed the house we thought we had sold. However, in less than two years we sold it again and moved up town to 11 Mechanic Street, where we were closer to the school, church, and stores. There Paul Delbert was born June 29, 1923. He grew up in that house. When he married Ruth Carter, the newlyweds set up housekeeping upstairs, while mother and dad lived downstairs. Paul and Ruth lived there until they built the home on West Mechanic St.

In my senior year of high school, Mother made arrangements for me to attend the teacher training class in Hudson Falls.    I was to live at the home of the Seventh Day Adventist minister.  During the summer, it was learned that I had been awarded a state scholarship which would provide $100 each year for four years of college.  Harris Crandall, the high school principal, persuaded Mother to let me attend State College at Albany.  Mother accompanied me to the city and found a suitable place for me to live.

My first teaching assignment was in Richmondville, where I taught Latin, History and Civics.  In my second year there, my health broke down and I returned home. The next September I began teaching in the West district on Hadley Hill, living with the Burnhams.  After three years, I started teaching at Porters Corners, but was unable to finish the term.  Much of that year I spent with Mildred and George Archer in Hadley.  In September 1932, I began teaching at Wolf Lake, living at home and driving my car to work.  In February 24, 1934, I married George Denton.   At his request, I resigned my teaching position.

My parents continued to live at 11 Mechanic St until July 18, 1957, when dad died at the age of 86. The following autumn mother went to live with Chester and his wife Elizabeth on Walnut Street. Mother passed away there in January 1958 at the age of 77. Although she had a colostomy in her 60’s, the cause of death was a stroke. For some time, her vision had been poor because of glaucoma.

I have mentioned my 4 brothers only incidentally. However, each has a big place in my heart. In their preteens, Chop and Chip took me over the cliff and down to their secret cave by the river. In later years, they transported me to Hadley Hill when I was teaching there. I remember those walks across the river and above the dam with Charles and Gladys. When I was 19, Chester and I rode bicycles to Greenwich to visit Aunt Jennie and Uncle Jim. Chester taught me to recognize various trees and shrubs. Wilbur was my right-hand man, always doing errands for me at a time when I was suffering from what I now recognize as agoraphobia. Later I was amazed at his scholastic attainments. Paul, who was nearly 18 years younger than I, was my baby brother. I admired his blue eyes and rosy cheeks. One day he surprised me by his dexterity in getting my automobile tire on the rim when I was unable to do so. These 4 fellows, were, and are, quite different in appearance and talents, but so alike in Christian character.

1998 Dayton Family Reunion-Wilber Dayton Jr. Family

DFH Volume 1 IIssue 13

During the 1998 reunion, we photographed the offspring of each of the children of Wilber and Jessie Belle Dayton who attended the reunion.  The following is the Dr. Wilber T “Wib”  Dayton, Jr. family.

Dr, Wilber Thomas Dayton, Jr. was the fourth child born to Wilber and Jessie Belle Dayton on Hadley Hill in 1916.  His sibling pal, Chester, was gone from the Dayton home when Wilber was 13 years old.  His new “pal” Paul was born when Wilber was seven years old. So Wilber never had a sibling close to his age as he was growing up.  Paul, seven years his junior, looked up to his big brother as hero and role model.  Wib took the role seriously and was always very kind and loving to his baby brother. 

I had a chance to witness this love and affection for each other in the final chapter of Wib’s life.  Two weeks before Wib passed away [Nov10, 1999], I took Paul and his 2nd wife to visit Wilber at his nursing home in Macon, GA.  By then, Wib’s dementia was quite advanced, and he and Paul had a great deal of difficulty communicating.  Then it happened.  They started talking about Wilber’s Columbia bicycle, which he used for his newspaper route.  His trademark smile returned for what was probably the final time and a twinkle returned in what were moments before, dead, lifeless eyes.   Dad had inherited Wib’s newspaper route and bicycle, and that common bond was with them till the end.  For all that they had accomplished in their lives, they were still young boys in spirit.  The handing of the paper route from accomplished to novice had cemented a lifelong admiration for each other.

 One of the highlights of the Paul Dayton family was a Christmas journey to Wilber’s home in Wilmore KY about 1958.  Our two families spent about two or three days together…brother with brother…cousins with cousins…wife/aunt/mother with the same.  It was a vacation we never forgot and talked about every Christmas.  On our Kentucky Christmas morning, we woke up to a Christmas stocking for each of us hung on the mantle.  We kept those stockings, and my mom, Ruth, hung them on our mantle every Christmas afterwards.  The stockings weren’t the gaudy style which you buy at a department store.  They were lovingly hand-made by Aunt Donna… she was family…Dayton family.  Good memories of a loving, caring family.

Wilber excelled academically for his entire academic life (1st grade to post graduate studies).   At his high school graduation, not only was he valedictorian of his class, but he accomplished it in three years.  College was no different.  Other educational, academic pursuits and professional assignments were the same.  EXCEL, EXCEL, EXCEL.  A person could be very generous with superlatives and kudos when describing Dr. Wilber Thomas Dayton.  I will let the following three-page resume speak for itself.  NOTE: Notice the spelling of College in the very last word of the resume.  I ALWAYS thought my uncle was academically perfect, but he did make an academic error at least once in his life. He spelled college Collette on his resume.

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What or Where is this? [answer]

DFH Volume 1 Issue 9

A small house on a farm

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This is the Corinth, New York Wesleyan church, completed in 1968, to replace the old church which was shown in last week’s newsletter.  Most of you are familiar with it because we held our 1998 Dayton Reunion there.  Chester Dayton and Paul Dayton were the two men primarily responsible for financially backing the building project, and physically constructing the church.  If it were a hospital wing, it would have been named Dayton Brothers Memorial Wesleyan Church.  About 2012, the church was closed and put on the real estate market.  It sat idle for about two years with no offers.  The price was dropped quite a bit, and our Dayton cousin, Sarah (and Chad) Jerome bought it.  Sarah is the daughter of my brother John Dayton.  The church meant a lot to Sarah, so Chad and she bought it, converting it into their home.  They made major modifications, including converting the sanctuary into a soccer field for her young kids.  They leased out the parsonage.  She and Chad have since divorced, and she moved to Saratoga.  Chad now has possession of the property.  Tragically, the local district administration of the Wesleyan denomination just irresponsibly walked away from the property without removing and claiming anything which was in the building.  Left behind were the ledgers, records of the churche’s business meetings, and the registry of births, deaths and marriages of members going back to the founding of the church in the early 1900’s.  I have tried unsuccessfully, a number of times, to salvage the books on behalf of the Corinth museum.  The museum curator tried to procure them too with no success.  I cannot understand why Sarah wouldn’t release them.

Mark sent the following message regarding the 1968 church: “And speaking of the Corinth Wesleyan church…..I have all of the scale models grampa made of the original and proposed new buildings when the church was deciding how to build the “new” church.  

They were hand made using sanded scraps from the Dayton sawmill and painted white.  He used to let me play with them when I was a kid in the late 60s and early 1970’s.  I inherited them when gramma Dayton passed away in 1981.

Jim Dayton recalls:  “I don’t have many memories of this church.  I only attended there for a few months before I moved away from Corinth.

  • Judy and I were married in this church.  Our’s was the very first marriage in it.
  • The Church youth group was quite large and very active.  We had a high school boys softball team which played against other churches in the area.  We also had a basketball team coached by Roger Dayton (son of Chester).”

I was quite surprised that none of you wrote to me about the Dayton Family Reunion there in 1998.   It was one of the most memorable and satisfying events of my life.

Here are a few of my remembrances of that weekend:

  • The cemetery tour and the trek into the woods to hear dad tell about the discovery and maintenance of  Henry Dayton and his wife Christie’s graves.  A few years after the 1998 reunion, a housing development encroached upon that little cemetery, and so Paul Dayton (with the tedious behind the scenes administrative work from Ray Orton) oversaw the interment of the graves and stones in the Dean cemetery (about 5 miles towards Stony Creek, and one of the cemeteries which we reunion attenders’ also visited as a part of the Dayton ancestors tour).
  • Jenn’s (my daughter) wedding shower was there during the reunion.
  • The last sawmill tour ever given by Paul Dayton was during the reunion.
  • Singing George Washington Bridge which was led by quick witted Keith.  Remember how he said, “Ok, now everyone who ever worked at the sawmill sing”, and  “Ok, everyone named Priscilla stand up and sing.”  Keith (the late husband of my sister, Priscilla, had the funniest sense of humor.  He was one of many associate pastors at a very large church in Milton, Pa.  One day in their staff meeting, all of those present were going around the table telling what their favorite hymn was.  When they got to Keith, he said, “my favorite hymn is Lead on O Kinky Turtle.  I hope I didn’t just offend anyone.  It was not my intent. It’s just that he was just a down to earth, loveable teddy bear.
  • Chester Dayton’s rendition of the Guido Giuseppe story (complete with English as a second language accent by an Italian immigrant).
  • The Kazoo orchestra.
  • The coffee mugs (write to me if you still have yours in the cupboard with your other mugs…we do, and Judy uses her’s every day).
  • Dr. Wilber Dayton’s Invocation.

Donna Fisher – Buckeye Hoopster

DFH Volume 1 Issue 5

Donna Fisher – Buckeye Hoopster

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Donna [Fisher] Dayton was the sister of Josephine [Fisher] Dayton. Donna was the wife of Wilber Jr. and Josephine was the second wife of Charles.  You guessed it.  Sisters married brothers.  In 1929, Aunt Donna was a 15 year-old, (probably Freshman) on the Flushing, Ohio women’s Basketball team.  I don’t know if she played college ball, but it’s impressive to think that, during the roaring twenties, women played basketball.  Aunt Donna was definitely a trend setter.  And since she held an M.A. from the  University of Kentucky, we Dayton’s would like to think of her as an Academic All-American.

Letters to the Editor-Comments on Wilber’s Tribute

DFH Volume 1 Issue 4

Letter to the Editor: in response to the March 17, 2019 Tribute to Wilber Dayton, Jr..

Mark writes:

I still remember grampa (Chip) showing my dad (Leonard) the announcement when Uncle Wilber was going to become the President of Houghton.

Grampa was always very proud and pleased to tell everyone about Uncle Wilber’s latest career move or accomplishment!

As an adult, I have often come across people who knew and loved Uncle Wilber at Houghton or through other of his church-related activities.

Definitely a legend!

Steve write:

Living near IWU, I couldn’t tell you how many times people have asked me if I am a relative of Wilber. Most of them knew of him from Marion College, Houghton or Asbury.

Jim write:

An Associate Pastor of my church in Texas (1st United Methodist, Irving, TX) studied under him at Asbury Theological Seminary.  Dr. Dayton enriched thousands of lives.

Priscilla writes:

Imagine my surprise when it was announced during chapel that Uncle Wilbur would be the new president!

Tamara writes:

My sweetest memory of Grandpa (Chip) bragging on Uncle Wilbur was when I was in high school and he brought out a new pre-publication NIV Bible. He held it as though it were a fragile piece of china or a newborn baby – something precious and awe inspiring. “Look what Wilbur has done” in a almost a whisper. His face was beaming. Grandpa was always so proud of Uncle Wilbur’s accomplishments and of Uncle Wilbur personally as a man of character.

I never pick up an NIV without going back to that moment.