Who Ran the Farm?

Charles Dayton died Sep 26 1882 at the young age of 50.  His death certificate indicated that he died of “conditions of the liver and kidneys.”  He left behind a wife, Nancy, and 5 children: Delbert 24, James 20, Jennie 16, Wilber 12 and Carrie 10.  Delbert had moved to Iowa, but the rest of the children remained at home.  Six months later, on March 17 1883, Nancy died of heart disease (heart attack).  The children were orphans.  It is not clear at this point who assumed the head of household duties.  Family tradition has it that Wilber took charge of the farm and ran it.  Jim was of age by this time and it not clear what role he played.  Jim never married.  He and Jennie moved to Greenwich to live with their Aunt Irinda at some point.  Now Wilber and Carrie were alone.  Carrie married in 1892.  It is thought that Wilber then leased the farm until 1904 when he married Jessie Belle White, and moved back to the farm.  He again leased out the farm around 1908 until it was sold in 1914.  The following is an advertisement for the sale of the farm.

  No. 751—Farm of 123 acres, located 5 miles from Hadley P. 0., 2 miles from railway station at Wolf Creek, on line of D. & H. Ry., mile from school, 5 miles from churches. Highways, somewhat hilly but good. Nearest large village, Luzerne, 5 miles distant, reached by highway. Surface of farm rolling. Soil, sandy loam. Acres in meadow, 65; in natural pasture, 33; in timber, 25, maple, beech, poplar and pine. Acres tillable, 65. Fruit, pears, cherries, apples, plum, % acre of strawberries and 12 currant bushes. Best adapted to potatoes, buckwheat and corn. Fences, pole and wire, fair condition. House, 26×32, kitchen and woodshed 20×30, fair condition. Outbuildings: horse barn and wagon house, 20x 60. hay barn and cow stable, 30×40, fair condition. Watered, house and barn by water piped from creek. Occupied by tenant. Price, $1,000. Terms, $200 down. Address Wilbur T. Dayton, Palmer Falls, N. Y.                    

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Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, have you any Wool?

by Jim Dayton

When Christie Ann Dayton, wife of Henry, died in 1865, Christie’s son, Charles, took over the managing of the Dayton Farm.  That year, the farm pastured 8 sheep and 7 lambs.  The farm produced primarily grains, produce and dairy products.  Charles had different ideas for the farm.  Fifteen years later, in 1880, Charles had turned the pasture into a sheep farm.  His herd included 57 sheep and 80 lambs.  That year, the enumerator of the 73rd New York District reported Charles herd this way, “In sheep husbandry, Charles Dayton, of Hadley Hill excels.  He reports 57 sheep and 50 lambs.”[1] 

Two years later, he died unexpectedly, from heart failure.  Six months later, his wife, Nancy, died.  The orphaned teenagers weren’t equipped to run the farm, and it soon fell into disrepair.  It was finally sold in 1913 by Wilbur Dayton Sr.  

1 The Weekly Saratogian, Saratoga, New York, July 1, 1880


[1] The Weekly Saratogian, Saratoga, New York, July 1, 1880