1998 Dayton Family Reunion-Chester Dayton Family

DFH Volume 1 Issue 12

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 Chester “Chip”  Dayton family.

Chester “Chip” Dayton was the third child of Wilber and Jessie Belle Dayton.  He was born in 1910, during the presidency of William Taft.  Ford’s Model T had been invented only 2 years earlier, so there were very few roads and mainly dirt with ruts, as were all streets in towns and cities.  The preferred transportation was still horse and buggy.  Chip was raised in a home with Christian training and did well in school.  He was one of three graduates to speak at his high school commencement ceremony. He enrolled at Houghton College after high school where he met and fell in love with Clara Stanton from Long Lake, New York.  They married in 1929 when Chip was just 19 years old.  Tragically, just three months after marriage, Clara died of tuberculosis.  After a time of seclusion, Chip rebounded and married Elizabeth “Lib” Duell in 1931. Out of this union, Chip and Lib had Mary Lou, Betty, Nanette and Roger.  Tragedy struck Chip and Lib in 1936, when their 4-year-old daughter, Mary Lou was struck and killed as she ran into the street after getting a piece of ice from the ice truck.

Chip worked at International Paper Company until about 1946, when he decided to launch into a business venture which would fulfill a lifelong dream.  He asked his kid brother Paul, who was also working at International Paper Company, to become an equal partner with him in the Dayton Brothers Lumber Company.  It was a lifelong partnership of best friends.  As far as I know, they never had a major confrontation or disagreement.  Most remarkable!  They were partners for 35 years.  Lib, his wife of 50 years, died in 1981.  He remarried to Marjean Chapman in 1982.  Chip died in 2005, at the age of 95. 

He and Paul loved deer hunting.  They both had a natural harmony with the forest and mountains.  Chip loved being in the outdoors and enjoyed woodworking of any kind.  He was a gentleman and a gentle man.  His strength was his generosity.  He was devoted to the Christian faith in a very active and profound fashion, he was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Corinth, New York. He held nearly all officer positions of the church at various times, even serving as a local pastor to provide assistance in the absence of the senior pastor. His favorite charity was the Gideons, an organization which spreads the gospel and places Bibles in the hands of personnel in the armed forces, hotel patrons and students at educational facilities.  He was unusually generous with both his money and his abilities, not only for the local church, but with family and friends who needed a helping hand.  He was so humble that it was sometimes difficult to recognize what a tremendous contribution he was making.  He was indeed the role model that we all need in our lives.

Children of Chester:

Mary Lou was tragically killed when running into the street and being struck by a car when she was only four years old.

BettyI’m quite sure that Betty got her degree from Houghton and was an R.N.  She and husband Ramon (Ray) Orton had children David, Dennis, Duane, Pamela and Robin.  Betty passed away in 2011.  Ray enjoyed a prestigious career in Engineering at IBM. After a period living on his boat in Virginia, he now lives with his daughter, Pam Pichette in Michigan.

Nanette-Nan first attended Marion College (Indiana Wesleyan University) and then Kentucky Mountain Bible College.   She married Rev. Leonard Humbert and was married for 51 years before Len passed away in 2012. In recent years she went back to Roberts Wesleyan College to receive the necessary education for her ordination.  She has since been ordained in the Free Methodist Church.    Nan is still very active in church and community affairs [81 years old].   She lives in Rose, NY near her son, Mark.   She and Len had children Mark, Maribeth, Paul, and Heidi.

Roger-Roger spent the early part of his career working at Dayton Brothers Lumber company.  After he left the sawmill, he worked in construction for a short time.  He then established Dayton Pest Control which he owned and operated for many years.  Roger and his wife Dale have a blended family of Tamara, Lydia, Katie, Amanda, Stacy. [Roger had carrot top red hair -the envy of many of us in the Dayton family]

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The Mysterious Alexander White

DFH Volume 1 Issue 12

Until this article, we have focused our stories on the Dayton family and for no one older than Wilber and Jessie.  However, Alexander White’s life and death is so intriguing that what I know of it must be told.  I asked Chester, Wilber, Jr and Paul (three of five of Jessie’s children) what they knew about their grandfather White, and the answer was a resounding nada, zip, zero, nothing.

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Don’t you find it curious that Alexander lived until 1906, when Jessie was 26 and knew her father well, yet she spoke nothing of his life or death to her children?  In fact, Jessie had been married two years when her father died, and yet she spared her children from knowing about him.  It seems that most mothers would want to let their children know about the grampa they never knew—-unless there was something to hide.  It seems that there was something, and I’ll now tell you about that. While doing research for something else, my brother Steve stumbled onto an article about Alexander White.  We began pouring over old newspapers and found the following two newspaper articles which were 10 years apart:

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John Costello was an Irish immigrant who married my gramma Dayton’s aunt Martha.  John and his brother-in-law, Alex,  apparently had difficulty getting along.  We found two occurrences of confrontations which were significant enough to be reported in local papers.  There were undoubtedly other unfortunate confrontations between the two men not significant enough to be reported in the newspaper.  Costello nearly died in one altercation, and my great-grampa, Jessie’s dad, appeared to be the aggressor.  There was a great prejudice in America against the Irish in those days, and the establishment considered the Irish to be monkeys and apes. Today, it would be considered a hate crime.  It could be that the altercations were a simple derogatory remark against Costello.  Whatever the case, both men were incarcerated in the jail in Ballston Spa, after at least two of these fights. At the time of the first fight,  Alexander White was 28 years old and John Costello was 42.  The fact that Alexander White was the aggressor in these fights, and that he was incarcerated in the county jail suggests that the White family had something to conceal from future generations.  If not for the press, he would have.  Ironically, Alex’s wife, Anna Marie Flansburg, was the daughter of a minister in the first generation of Wesleyan Methodism, and a godly, Christian woman, a saint.  More will be said about her minister- father in a future issue.

NOTE: I have concluded that Alexander White may have been an evil man.  If you would like to weigh in with your own opinion of this scenario, I would love to publish it, and certainly respect your opinion.  Next week I will publish the circumstances of Alexander’s death, which is equally fascinating.

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.

1998 Dayton Family Reunion

DFH Volume 1 Issue 9

In 1998, we Daytons attended a reunion at the Wesleyan Church in Corinth, NY.  There were 128 descendants and spouses from all over the USA.  I won’t attempt to name  the people in this photo, but do you recognize anyone? Seated left to right are : Mr. and Mrs. Chester and Marjean Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Carolyn Ruth Dayton. 

I have a photo of each of the families (Florence “Flossie”, Charles “Chop”, Chester “Chip”, Wilber, Jr. “Wib”, and Paul).  Next week we will continue this series with a photo of the Flossie Denton family.

Letter to the Editor–Chip whittled Too

DFH Volume 1 Issue 9

Regarding the Shanty Man article, Mark commented, “Grampa (Chip) loved to whittle as well.  Now we may know why!  Over the years he and I made several “tree-branch” whistles. (Actually, he made them and I used them!)”   

EDITORS NOTE:  The following are Chip’s words about woodworking from a taped interview with him in the mid 1990’s. 

“I was always interested in the sawmill ever since I was a small kid in school. You used to see ads for one man sawmills in nearly every magazine you’d pickup. I used to send to Belsaw to get all of their literature on sawmills and edgers and planers. I knew almost all of those books by heart. I was always interested in woodworking of any kind. I learned a lot about sawmills before I had any practical experience with them at all. There were a lot of little tips that came in handy after I started actually working at the sawmill. The first mill we had was the little Belsaw on Hadley Hill.”

Where or what is this? [Answer]

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DFH Volume 1 Issue 8

Last week I asked you to identify the building and tell a story about it.  It was the old Corinth Wesleyan Methodist Church located at 292 River St. in Corinth, NY.  The church was built around 1900 and was last used in 1968 when it was bulldozed, burnt and buried.  For me that church brings back a flood of memories.  I attended there from birth (in 1948) until it was destroyed in 1968.  I meant to include a photo of the new church too, so most of us could participate.  Therefore, next week we’ll do the new church.  Let me tell you a few of my memories about the old church.

  • My first memory ever in my life was when Rev. Howard Chapman picked me up and deposited me on the hat rack high above the coat rack.  I was amazed at how strong he must have been to do that—and—incidentally, how far away from the floor I was!
  • When I was about 6, I used to rush to Bob and Cora Flanders before every service.  I’d check to see if they had a toy for me from the cereal box.  Now as I look back on it, the quantity and variety of toys was such that they must have dumped the cereal into the trash or ate it with every meal.  They were elderly and childless and they were an unusually sweet and dignified couple.
  • When we were teens,  my friends and I sometimes sat behind “Buggy” Bosford, and we counted the number of lice in her hair for entertainment.  I can’t even remember her given name because one of us called her “Buggy” and the name stuck.
  • Our family faithfully attended prayer meeting on Wednesday evening.  We always had a long “season of prayer,” and we always knelt in our pew on the hard oak floor during prayer. That could get kids into all kinds of mischief.  When transistor radios came out, they were the perfect size to fit snuggly in a pocket.  Jim Elliott and I used to put in an earbud and listen to a New York Mets baseball game during what seemed an interminable time on our knees.
  • And who can forget sharing in a summertime march, nearly 100 kids—2×2—singing a rousing “Onward Christian Soldiers” and following the Christian flag into Daily Vacation Bible School under the watchful eye of  our pastor’s wife  as the trusty Drill Sergeant? It was a really a cool thing that we kids enjoyed.
  • My best friend was Jim Elliott.  He was the preacher’s kid, and his dad didn’t want him to get into mischief, an ever present danger. So Jim sat on the front pew, left side of the church.  We teens usually sat in the back right corner of the church.  During one service, Bruce Madison and I had a bad case of a stomach cramps that produced noxious fumes but no accompanying sounds, which are especially disruptive in church. We were somewhat proud of our creation.  All of  a sudden, the pressure became unbearable, and the attendant noise rang out through the church.  Jim Elliott started laughing uncontrollably.  His mother kept poking him in the ribs, which only made him laugh harder. I suppose the beautiful moment ended with a hymn.
  • My sister Priscilla remembers “bursting through the front doors as soon as the last hymn had been sung, the concluding prayer had been said, and running ecstatically around the church and through the parking lot. Pent-up exuberance!!!”
  • But above all else, and in spite of the preceding casual remarks, it’s where I got my spiritual wings.  I thank God for the training I got in that little church.  All of the wonderful teachers and leaders that helped shape the spiritual man I am today.  My parents, Paul and Ruth Dayton, Florence Timpson, Dora Washburn, Jo Dayton, Charles Dayton, Nina Madison, Laura Bolton, Harold Smith. Lela Smith, Madeline Gilbert, Chester Dayton, Elizabeth Dayton, Everett Elliott, Sarabel Elliott and a score more.

Yield Not to Temptation…Well…maybe just a little

DFH Volume 1 Issue 6

by Jim Dayton

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Uncle Chip’s (Chester Dayton) mid-life crisis spanned the years from the late 1950’s through about 1965, when he was around 45 -55 years old.  In those years, his thing was cars.  In about 1962, he bought a Karmann Ghia.   To a teenage kid, and probably adult boys too, it was near the top of the list of the finest piece of machinery ever built.  It was sold by Volkswagen, which also made Porsches, and it looked just as fast. Of course, the company also sold bugs; the Ghia had the horse power of that putt-putt car and so much class!  It was respectfully fast, but not a killer machine.

In the summer of ’63, when my hormones were racing, Uncle Chip decided he would ride up to West Chazy Camp Grounds with dad (Paul Dayton).  He left that heart stopping beautiful work of art in our driveway.   To make matters tempting, my entire family was already at camp and I was home alone.  And to really make matters worse, Uncle Chip left the Ghia keys on top of the refrigerator.  What do you suppose a kid would do in a situation like that?  That’s right. Steal that gorgeous machine and go on a joy ride, even if he didn’t know how to drive and didn’t even know how to shift a four-speed transmission. 

At first thought, it was a battle of good and evil.  “To steal or not to steal, that is the question!”  Evil prevailed.  I briefly wondered if Chip was testing me and knew the odometer reading. The urge was more than I could bear.  I learned to shift without jerks and grinding gears right away.  Now, where would I go?  More evil filled my mind.  In kayaking, class 5 rapids are as good as it gets, and I was determined to do a class 5 drive. Up and down blind, winding roads, over an unguarded railroad crossing–without peeking left or right for terror… “OK, Wimpy, let’s get it on.”

In a short time, I was bearing down on a slower car.  There was a solid yellow line and a blind bend in the road.  The imp, which now controlled the wheel, screamed, “So what! Go for the adrenaline rush.”  And I did. Then, it was full throttle up West Mountain.  I came down the hill much faster than I went up. Finally, having exhausted my curiosity, I returned home about a half hour later. I suppose I may have logged 35 miles on the odometer.  Again “So what!” I had had a thrill and had survived.  If Uncle Chip wanted to press charges with the town cops, it was OK, and well worth the penalty.  I never heard anything more about my adventure from Uncle Chip or my dad, but about four years later Uncle Chip wanted to sell the dream machine to me.  I was headed to college and needed every penny I could save, so I was forced to decline his offer.  I could tell it hurt his feelings.  Now that I’m much older, and I’d like to think a little wiser, I realize he would have sold it to me for practically nothing.  That’s just the way he was.  Another very generous Dayton. 

Come to think of it, I hadn’t realized how much I missed that Karmann Ghia until I started writing this article.  I may shop for one, even though I’m overweight and too decrepit to get in and out of one.  Perhaps I’ll just get it so my grandson can drive it.  After all…he’s a fifteen-year-old kid with raging hormones. I could accidentally leave the keys on top of my daughter’s refrigerator.

Question Corner-Uncle Jim’s Rope Bed

DFH Volume 1 Issue 4

QUESTION CORNER: from Mark

Q: 40 years ago, grampa gave me “Uncle Jim’s” rope bed.  It came out of grampa’s attic and was used on Hadley hill.  He told me who Uncle Jim was, but I have forgotten.  How is he related?

A: Great Uncle Jim was the 2nd child of Charles and Nancy [Goodnow] Dayton, and he was brother of my grandpa, Wilber Thomas Dayton, Sr. and Jessie Belle Dayton. Jim went to live with his sister, Jennie [Dayton] Roach, in Greenwich New York, after Aunt Jennie’s husband died.  Jim was a bachelor his entire life.  I’ve included two photos of Jim [see beow].  The photo on the left is of Delbert Dayton and his brother, Jim Dayton.  The photo on the right is  a circa 1880 11×14 wall hanging photo, given to me by Jan [Dayton] Manley, who is Dr. Dayton’s daughter.

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.

Potato Patch

DFH Volume 1 Issue 1

by Jim Dayton

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