Shirley Tharp sent in a photo which has previously been unknown. The portrait is of Jessie Belle Dayton, wife of Wilber Thomas Dayton Sr, and my generation’s grandmother. My guess is that gramma would have been about 50 years old in this photo. The photo, then, would have been taken about 1930. Notice that she wore John Lennon iconic glasses forty years before he made them famous to rock and rollers like myself. You were cool, Gramma.
If any of you have any photos which you can contribute, I’d love them, and so would our readers. I’ve got one of my family (15 of us) which I will include in a future edition. I especially covet a portrait digital image of Elizabeth Dayton, either alone or with Uncle Chip. I only have one photo of her, and it is a cropped photo from a poor-quality snapshot original.. The result is a blurry-grainy photo of such poor quality that you can hardly identify the person in the photo as Aunt Lib. Please, please, send one (or two or three…no amount is too many). I am the self-declared curator of Dayton family photos. I would love photos you can send of your families, both immediate and extended. Also, if you would like a copy of my collection of Dayton photos, then send a blank flash drive (16 gigabytes is sufficient) to Jim Dayton, 8366 Ridgestone Dr., Byron Center, MI 49315. Most photos are identified by name and date. If you want to put your family photos on the drive for me to copy, that would be all the better.
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 5 – Daily Life in Corinth
We soon settled into a comfortable pattern of daily life in Corinth. We walked up the hill to school each day and Mom went to work in Ballston Spa. Since I was in 4th grade, I was downstairs in the school and then “graduated” to the upstairs when school started the next year, and I was in 5th. Another big deal in 5th grade was that we studied French with lessons on the intercom, as we filled in our workbooks in the classroom. From time to time, I would see and wave at Jimmy in the hallways or at lunch and, perhaps, get a glimpse of Keith & Cammie, both two years behind me. Often I would stop at Aunt Lib’s on the way home from school, and she would give me a snack of cookies & milk while we chatted about school or church or our family. Those were very sweet times with her, and she was a special lady! Another memory involved a field trip our class took to local factories—a cement factory and a Coca Cola bottling factory. It was fun seeing mass production and machines that perform tasks over and over without tiring. I even think I talked my Mom into being a chaperone on that one! One other school memory I have is the time that we had a town-wide air raid drill. We were instructed to leave school, walk home quickly and stay inside for a prescribed amount of time. It was a little eerie walking home from school with very little traffic and no one out and around. Mom decided that we could cut our inside time short, load the car and head north to visit Uncle John and Aunt Dorrie (Dayton) Lamos near Plattsburgh for the weekend. So much for following directions!
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 Louwas tragically killed when running into the street and being struck by a car when she was only four years old.
Betty–I’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]
We haven’t written much about Wilber Dayton Jr. He was highly revered by everyone in the Dayton family, but he remained somewhat of a mystery since he moved away from Corinth after college, and we only knew him through letters, phone calls, news clippings and achievements. His wife, Donna [Fisher] Dayton was also highly honored among Dayton women. Whenever we kids thought or spoke of uncle Wilber (AKA Wib), we did so with great respect and admiration. He had an illustrious career in academia, and Christian writing and lecturing. Whenever he announced that he was coming to Corinth, we all counted the days until he and his family, arrived.
Uncle Wib had an infectious smile . It always seemed to me that his smile probably hadn’t changed much since childhood. It was an impish look with an exaggerated twinkle in his eyes. We always had a picnic at Pagenstecher Park in Corinth, and every Dayton relative within 100 miles would attend. The brothers would go off by themselves and laugh and talk. I suspect they were getting caught up on news of Wilber’s latest travels and accomplishments, and reminiscing about a time long past. Wilber was a modest, humble man, but the brothers pried every nugget of achievement they could out of him. It was comical and invigorating to see them exchanging and sharing their affection with one another.
Topping off a perfect day was Mom’s [Ruth Dayton] famous potato salad, and macaroni and cheese, and aunt Lib’s molasses baked beans. We had a huge spread, complete with hot dogs, but Ruth’s and Lib’s contribution was the centerpiece of the feast. As a kid, sometimes I had difficulty understanding what uncle Wilber was saying. He had lived and traveled in academic circles for so long that he no longer communicated as a commoner. In fact, perhaps his brothers strained to translate his eloquent, proper speech too. It was always sad to see him leave, but we all knew the importance of his work and wished him well as he accomplished it.
Some time ago, I wrote a daily email of his accomplishments, and I attached his obituary which was a summary of his accomplishments. It’s included (as follows) again.