Cammie Luckey is in the process of digitizing her father’s hoard of documents which he collected over the course of his 50 years of active ministry. I am going to send them out as posts so they will be captured as a long term repository on my blog.
This first entry is a tribute from a long-time freind, Ray Smith. Click on the link below.
By Camilla [Dayton] Luckey, daughter Of Rev. Charles and Josephine Dayton.
Gerald Ralph was there, old guard and “extended family”— his mother was sister of Charles Dayton’s first wife, Gladys MacDonald, making him cousin of Izzie Hayes. Gerald was putting vinyl siding over the wood siding my Dad and I long ago salvaged from Chazy’s Miner (Minor?) Institute as it was being razed, early ‘60’s (same era as the cement block frenzy began; same era as my dad built that whole row of four or five cottages). The oak flooring throughout the Ralph cottage is still tight and gorgeous. I remember helping lay it. Gerald has changed the windows to vinyl and added an interior partition. He even has installed a hood above the stove!
Gerald stopped for a break, and we enjoyed a leisurely chat about various Daytons and about campground changes. Gerald told me about the Baptist youth group, I believe numbering a few hundred, that rents the grounds for a week or so annually. The kids are quite the “Jesus Group,” he says. Sounds to me they are what everyone wished my generation to be. Gerald and I also talked about Gerald’s fabulous collection of vintage woodworking hand tools and his and Carol’s recent move from Corinth to a Queensbury condo. They spend a lot of the summer season on the campground. “It’s home,” he said. They’ve had the cottage for more than forty years, first owners.
Carol was antiquing in Canada with Beth and Amy until Sunday morning, when I caught her in her bathrobe on my last lope, my third that morning, ‘round the grounds, looking and listening for sounds of people stirring so I could say good-bye before my own departure. There were lights and sounds (these cottages aren’t soundproof) at the Ralph’s. Carol had been awake for hours, she said, but just relaxing in bed, where Gerald serves her coffee every morning!. My intended five-minute chat became a two-hour heart-to-heart; I was her flower-girl in the ‘fifties.
Saturday afternoon I slipped into the tabernacle, closed but not locked. I sat for a while on the platform steps. They seemed in the exact same place, maybe even the same steps, as in the former tabernacle, the one that collapsed under a heavy snow and was rebuilt as The Charkas Dayton Tabernacle in 1970(?). Lots to remember, lots to regret, lots to wish to re-live. Then I worked out a little minor-key melody on the old upright (piano), right next to a timepiece organ (surely not the Stevenson original?!), and finally I dared stand at the pulpit to pray and pretend. Lots of noise in those rafters and that metal roof when the place is empty, and the trees fan the wind. Of course it wasn’t really empty!
The dining hall was closed except for the men on retreat, so I bought a terrific country breakfast at Guma’s, a sort-of-new (new to me) local restaurant on the edge of town and a fave for campers. Best raspberry jam I’ve ever tasted. I assumed Guma’s was empty, as I walked in at seven a.m. Mine was the only car in the front parking lot and I didn’t know there was another lot at the side. So I was extremely startled when I heard “Cammie! Come join us!” Whoa! Where’s the ghost? And who would immediately recognize me after decades of absence? But the voice was Phil Hunter’s. He and the campmeeting association president were seated, nearly hidden, in the corner booth. After introductions we three embarked on a conversation so engaging my eggs were cold before I touched them Truthfully, I don’t think we really did finish the conversation, just put it on pause. That’s what I hope. I can hardly wait for more. The subject was holiness camps and the Holy Spirit. No chitchat breakfast, that one! I liked both guys and I am pretty sure the new president liked me. He certainly seemed to enjoy our discussion. He is relatively new to West Chazy camp life. His name is Paul Robar.
As you exit the campground, if you turn your head left (as a driver always should, before turning right) you can see, looming large, a silver silo with … ears?…propellers?…antennae for receiving messages direct from heaven? No!….there’s a newly built windfarm on yon hill, in the direction of Altona!!
Other than that, the whole area seems as economically depressed as ever, except for the deservedly popular Guma. But the fields and hedgerows are heaven if you love native plants.
The cow creek (remember the swimming hole in the back pasture?) has shifted course a little and has filled in quite a bit. I can’t imagine Bud Hewitt, nephew of Reginald and childless Jo, taking a dive, as I once saw him do. I think Dad dared him. They use the creek for baptisms now. Looks to me they’d have to prostrate themselves to get their bellies under! And they mow to the creek! The place is packed with lovely buzzing creatures, a few flowers and ferns that look to be on steroids, so rich and free.
Shirley Pauling (in his 90s and, as mentioned above, owner of Dad’s fireplace cottage near the tabernacle, between the Seaman and Stevenson cottages) is the association volunteer who mows the “back forty,” the former cow pasture that stretches to the creek. He has an eye—beautiful job, nice balance between mown grass and waving wildness. We must remember, of course, it was the time of the annual men’s retreat, so the grounds were what is probably unusually spiffy. (Meaning: freshly mown.) I hope the Paulings eventually offer Dad’s cottage to me. I have no idea how much they paid or to whom. Or why they chose my dad’s! I told Shirley Pauling, perhaps not wisely, of the night the priest at St. Joseph’s (across street) noticed a car convoy slowly rolling, lights out, down the campground road beside the dining hall. The priest, good neighbor, called the cops. But by the cops’ arrival the crowd of kids already in the attic of my dad’s cottage was heavy enough that some kids downstairs heard a rafter crack, I learned later. It could have been a catastrophe.
Anyway, before the dissolution of Wesleyan ownership several years ago, long before the association’s re-organization, I, not being Wesleyan, was not allowed to own, either through inheritance or purchase. How things have changed! This summer I recognized approximately half the cottage names. I wonder, how many are still Wesleyan? The president of the board is not Wesleyan. This year’s men’s retreat speaker was. And the Charles Dayton Tabernacle no longer has pews but cushy, stackable chairs!!
“Everybody” was kind enough to welcome me, a non-member never mind a non-man, at the Saturday night end-of-retreat campfire. Imagine, a crackling, ember-tossing open fire right under those trees! And my dad was the pyromaniac?! It was a beautiful stacked-stone pit with a Scout-worthy blaze, located midway between the Perry Motel and the kiddie tabernacle area. That area is now furnished with various genuine playground equipment, gone the stony sandpile and its few rusty toy trucks.
Many Dayton readers won’t see much that is immediately personal or relevant in this West Chazy report. Never mind; I didn’t write it for you but for your grandchildren and my own.
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.
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.
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)
John (Jack) Luckey, husband of Camilla [Dayton] Luckey, has published a new book.
Relationships: The Real Estate of Heavenis available on Amazon.com for all to enjoy (click here). Please take time to read those reviews too. Jack has done an excellent job in allowing us to consider the daily involvement we have with God through relationships whether they be casual or prolonged. I was touched by his quote from Brendan Brusse, a Jesuit priest, “Of two things I am certain; God is less concerned with being understood than with being known and we will come to know God more by experience than by explanation.” Jack allows us to explore this thought through his own personal experiences and encounters. It is a quick and enjoyable read that you won’t be able to put down. Give it a try.
Jim Dayton comments: I’m in the process of reading it and am inspired by Jack’s etherealand very game changingencounter with God through his bicycle experience. Jack teaches us what it means to have relationship with God. A teaching and touching read. He knows what relationships are about and inspires us to want them too. Each of my newsletter readers needs a copy of this book. (only $9.97 plus shipping). Buy extra books for your friends and relatives. Offer it in your Church’s bookstore. Put a copy in your church library. And don’t forget to go back to Amazon to leave a review after reading it. Every review left on Amazon is an encouragement to increase sales and readership. This book should be mandatory reading for all Christians seeking a more intimate relationship with our Lord. Thank you, Jack, for teaching us such a very valuable lesson.
Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s. Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA. He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin. He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.
Part 8 – After Church
It wasn’t just “in” church where there are strong memories. I have wonderful recollections of times spent in the parsonage with Grampa, Gramma Jo and Cammie. We would run up and down those stairs and listen to the grownups in the kitchen through the grate in the bathroom upstairs. We would play in the bedrooms and sometimes have sleepovers, too. I loved to spin around in my grandfather’s chair in his study just inside the front door. It somehow felt like a “holy place.” After church, there were often snacks and a time of family fellowship. That was after we got back from helping Grampa take home some of the folks from church. Now THAT was an adventure. We would drop them off at their homes and then Grampa would begin to coast down the hill in neutral to see how far we could go without accelerating. We kids would laugh and encourage the car and even get out to push the extra few feet to see how far we could go. When not coasting, we would be singing a rousing rendition of a hymn or chorus or listening as Grampa told us some outlandish story. It was a magical time and I never wanted it to end! Even after all these years, those after-service trips remain a very special memory. [What got me thinking about those late Sunday evening trips was the picture in the latest Dayton Family Newsletter…the one with the map of Corinth and the corner by the Baptist Church. Grampa was in a hurry one time (surprise!) and he took that corner on two wheels! That moment is indelibly etched into my memory as is that particular corner.]
Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s. Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA. He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin. He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes
Part 4 – Our Corinth Family
The best thing about living in Corinth in 1959,while dad was on a hardship tour in Greenland, was that we were surrounded by family—grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and lots of new church friends! Grampa was now my pastor (from father to grandfather…now there’s a switch) and Gramma Jo was my pastor’s wife. My Aunt Cammie (really, more like a cousin in terms of age and relationships) was a constant companion and new best friend. Then there was Uncle Paul and Aunt Ruth and their kids—my “new” cousins—who lived across town and Uncle Chip & Aunt Lib, who lived just a few doors up from us on Walnut Street. Not only did we see Cammie & Jimmy and the other cousins on Sundays and weeknight prayer meetings, but we saw them passing in the hallways in school and we played with them as “instant family friends.” Jimmy was a year older than I, so we got to explore and bike and run around the town together. After we moved again, a year later, I didn’t see Jimmy until we were in Houghton College together 8 years later! But our time in Corinth cemented our cousin-friendship! Jimmy & Cammie introduced us to the behind-the-scenes places in Corinth, like the supposed Indian burial ground at the top of the hill from the church. Local legend, according to the Corinth kids, was that Indians were buried underneath the big rocks that were on the hillside. We ran around, jumping from rock to rock, thinking that we were somehow part of ancient history. They also showed us the famous Stewart’s Ice Cream shop, where you could eat the toppings off of your make-your-own sundae and then add more on top. Now that’s a yummy memory! And we learned that the town beach (swimming in the Hudson) was next to the town library and just down the street from the center of town. We loved the small town feel and being surrounded by family—all in all, a great place to be for a year!
Much has already been written in previous publications of this newsletter about the Rev. Charles A. “Chop” Dayton, long-time pastor and administrator in the Wesleyan Methodist Church. However very little has been written about the rest of his family. Charles married Gladys MacDonald Feb 3, 1926, in Corinth. Gladys was born in Schroon Lake. They had daughters Isabel “Izzie” (1926) and Doris “Dorie.” (1930). The young Dayton family moved to Chittenden, Vermont, in 1932, when Charles entered the ministry. Chittenden was a small, out-of-the-mainstream, church where unproven pastors were sent to be tested. He proved himself very quickly. Three years later, he was called to Glens Falls, New York, the largest church in the Champlain Conference. The family also pastored in Watervliet, New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts, before Charles became Champlain Conference President of the Wesleyan Church in 1946. His wife Gladys, a loving partner in his ministry, was never physically very strong and passed away in 1949 at age 43, due to “heart failure”
In 1948, Izzie and Quentin “Kent” Hayes were married in West Chazy, New York. Kent began Marion College in Indiana, where both sons, David and Keith were born. Seminary then took the young family to Wilmore, Kentucky, for three more years. Following his commissioning in1957, it was on to Fort Hood,Texas, as a career officer and chaplain in the U S Army. The Hayes family moved a lot. Among other places, the family spent three wonderful years in Italy in the 1960’s. Kent served a one-year tour in Greenland, while his family stayed behind in Corinth. Dave Hayes speaks to their military adventures in the series “Remembering Corinth” elsewhere in this newsletter. Izzie was graduated from Houghton College before her marriage, did graduate work at several universities and enjoyed three exciting careers: social work, teaching and editorial work on a Chesapeake Bay magazine.
Younger sister Doris “Dorie” was married to John Lamos in 1951. John joined the US Army a./ s a band member for General MacArthur in Post-War Japan. Following his graduation from Marion College in Indiana and his ordination, he served several churches including Springfield, MA, Plattsburgh Turnpike Church and Corinth, NY. Dorie’s career choice was nursing. After earning her R.N. and B.S., she worked for a time in several hospitals. She was probably known best as the mother of five lovely children, four of whom have served, or are still serving, as pastors in the Wesleyan Church.
Charles’ first wife Gladys, a loving partner in her husband’s pastoral work, was never physically strong. She succumbed to heart failure in 1949 at age 43 .
The following year, Charles married Josephine Fisher. Josephine was the sister of Donna Fisher who was Wilber Jr.’s wife. Yes, the Fisher sisters married Dayton brothers. Jo graduated from Asbury College in Wilmore, KY, and taught elementary school before joining the flood of young professional women to our nation’s capital during WWII, to help the war effort. She got her master’s degree at Northern Baptist Seminary in Chicago and taught at Nyack Missionary College. In 1951, Camilla was born to “Chop” and “Jo” during Charles’ time as pastor in Springfield, Massachusetts. A year later, the family moved to Corinth, New York, where Charles pastored the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Charles had come full circle, and he was home again. The family remained in Corinth until 1960, when once again, he was elected to another term as President of the Champlain Conference.
Cammie graduated from Houghton College, where she met her future husband Jack Luckey. Following their marriage, they moved to Washington, D..C.; Jack completed law school and began his career as an attorney at the Library of Congress. Two children were born to that marriage, J.C. and Alexis. After a Peace Corps assignment in Africa, Alexis, the younger daughter, will be married this fall. J.C. has a very rewarding career as a spokesperson for a conglomerate of hospitals in the Tampa, Florida, area. It was those two young sons, Hayden and Joe, that influenced Grandpa and Grandma Luckey, i.e., Jack and Cam, to locate in retirement in nearby Clearwater. Cammie spends large blocks of time in Israel where she is cataloging and writing a book about antiquities at the Jerusalem Library. Jack, despite a heavy-though-delightful commitment of time
to his grandfatherly duties, recently published a book of his spiritual journey. It’s well organized, extremely readable and one tender description of a man’s seeking and finding truth and meaning in life. Despite my short attention span, I didn’t want the book to end. The title: Relationships, The Real Estate of Heaven. The author: John Luckey. Address: 1828 Union Street; Clearwater, FL 33763 Ave. (amazon.com)
When I lived in the Corinth parsonage, my parents were often away on church business at the time I should arrive home from the little K-1st brick school house on Main St. I was no older than seven, probably six. It was standard procedure on such days for me to go straight after school to the nearby Ralph home (my father’s sister-in-law) to be babysat, and I was always told so in the morning before school. One day I wasn’t told, or I forgot. I went straight home to River Street after school, but home was empty. No one was there. I sat down on those concrete steps by the side door facing Grandpa’s garden and tried to figure out my future. I had no doubt — the Rapture had come and I’d been left behind.
The March 3 newsletter, titled No Showmanship Here-Just Toil and Labor, By Camilla Luckey, mentioned that Uncle Chop “admired a lady who was up on the barn roof helping her husband.” I’ve got a story that I think can top that one. I wish I had told uncle Chop. In 1973 at our home in Ephratah, New York, , Judy [Potter] Dayton was on the roof of our house, with me, putting up a television antenna. She was 7 months pregnant., at the time. During that same pregnancy, and a month before the antenna incident, she was under the car, with me, putting on a new muffler. She doesn’t have a man’s strength, but she’s strong in guts and determination.
After Uncle Chip and Roger ended their employment at Dayton Brothers Sawmill, it woud have been logical for Paul to retire too. But he loved the work, and so he kept the sawmill going. By that time, the operation wasn’t thriving enough to hire an employee, so my dad used “slave labor”..…his wives. My mom, Ruth [Carter] Dayton, worked there until she was diagnosed with cancer; then his second wife, Carolyn Ruth [Spinner] [Brabon] Dayton, worked there. Although the burden was lighter, it was still hard work, especially for women in their 50’s and 60’s. By that time, dad was selling wood for palettes, so the boards were of narrower size and only 4 foot long. The women didn’t work every day; they only worked when dad needed to fill an order.
Another Virginia story. You have to know the crazy Beltway around the D.C. metropolitan area to appreciate this. My dad, already in his eighties, had a flat tire during rush hour, on his way to our home in Falls Church. He pulled onto the skinny CENTER SHOULDER, those few feet adjacent to the concrete jersey barrier, and changed that tire all by himself.