William FLANSBURG, grandfather of Jessie (WHITE) DAYTON, (William1 Flansburg, Anna2, Jessie Belle3 WHITE) was a pure-bred Dutchman. He was born January 30, 1809 in the Town of Day, Saratoga Co. NY. His parents Matheus (Matthew) FLANSBURG and Maria CLUTE were early settlers of the Town of Day.
William was married three times. His first wife, Lydia Lucretia DEMICK, died before 1850 leaving four children. William was about forty years old. He remarried to Charity Rosina JOHNSON, our ancestor, about 1850. Rosina’s parents, Robert JOHNSON and Anna ELLIS are buried in the ELLIS Cemetery in Hadley. William and Rosina had five children (Charles, Mary, Anna (Jessie’s mother), James, Harriet). Rosina died before 1875, but we don’t know the exact date. William remarried a third time to Sara ELLIS.
William had a born-again Christian experience at about the age of 40. This was also about the time of his first wife’s death.
After his conversion, he was called to the ministry. After a brief pastorate in the Free Will Baptist Church in Hadley, William was ordained in the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1853. He was one of the early pastors of the young Wesleyan Methodist denomination that was founded primarily because of its members’ opposition to slavery about ten years earlier.
His daughter Anna once said that her dad, William, corresponded with Abraham LINCOLN and that the President encouraged him to “preach against slavery from the pulpit and I’ll preach against it from the White House.” (Wilber Jr recalled seeing the letter in Anna’s trunk when he was a kid).
William served as pastor to congregations in Johnsburg NY, Warrensburgh NY, Brandon, VT; Goshen, VT; Chester NY, Hadley NY, Stony Creek NY, Corinth NY, Forestdale, VT and probably other locations. He is listed in the 1870 Saratoga County Business Directory as Wesleyan Methodist Minister and Farmer in Corinth, NY.
He had two sons that fought during the Civil War (Henry and James). James enlisted at age 24 in 1862, just after his own wife had died. James was despondent over her death, and he was killed in battle at Fort Harrison. William died September 4, 1897 and is buried in a numbered grave in Day Cemetery.
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.
CORINTH – Sarah K. (Dayton) Jerome, 38, a longtime resident of Corinth, passed away Friday, June 14, 2019 at Saratoga Hospital surrounded by her loving family. Born on Oct. 1, 1980, in Saratoga Springs, she was the daughter of Doreen (Burton) Dayton of Corinth and the late John Dayton Sr. Sarah graduated from Corinth High School in 1999. She was employed in the finishing department at Quad Graphics in Saratoga Springs for 12 years. She attended the Corinth Wesleyan Church for many years. She loved the church so much that, along with her husband, she bought it when it came up for sale and converted it to a home.
Sarah lived for her family and adored her three children. She loved music and listened to it all day. She also enjoyed hiking, the outdoors, and was devoted to her job.
Besides her father, John Dayton, she was predeceased by her paternal grandparents, Paul and Ruth (Carter) Dayton. Survivors include her daughter, Bella Chessare, her father, Dan, her sons, Preston and Keaton Jerome and their father, Chad Jerome, all of Corinth; her mother, Doreen Dayton (Andy Bonavita) of Corinth; her step-mother, Lori (Towers) Dayton of Corinth; siblings, Dianna Petrie (Doug) of Texas, John “Johnny” Dayton Jr. (Shannon) of Corinth, Rachel Rogers (Ryan) of Corinth, Matthew Benjamin of Corinth, Karla Hogan (Greg) of Texas, Sarah L. Allen (Korey) of Corinth, Peter Winslow of Corinth, and Amy Kinns (Justin) of Corinth; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
A celebration of Sarah’s life was held on June 20, 2019, at the Densmore Funeral Home in Corinth with the Rev. Richard Osborne, officiating. Burial was in Corinth Rural Cemetery.
The family thanked Dr. Edward Liebers, Dr. Ayesha Sooriabalan, Deanna Veet, Glad Rag Saloon and staff, and their many friends and family for their countless prayers and acts of kindness given to the family and to Sarah during her illness. The family suggested that memorials take the form of donations to Sarah’s children for their future needs, c/o Chad Jerome for beneficiaries, Isabella Chessare, Preston Jerome and Keaton Jerome, please mail to: Hudson River Community Credit Union, 312 Palmer Avenue, Corinth, NY 12822.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sarah [Dayton] Jerome was the daughter of John Dayton Sr who was the son of Paul Dayton who was the son of Wilber Thomas Dayton, Sr.
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.
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 7 – Life Revolved Around the Church
School life and home life and exploring the town were secondary to the time spent in the Corinth Wesleyan Church. Most of my memories that year are associated with time there and with the special people with whom I interacted at church. Grampa would be up front in the pulpit leading the hymns with unmatched gusto or preaching with fervency & deep conviction or encouraging even the youth to give their testimonies during prayer meeting. Gramma Jo would be sitting in the pews hoping Charles would not make a personal reference or she would be leading a women’s meeting or directing Vacation Bible School each summer. I’d be in the back pews with Jimmy & Cammie & Keith trying to keep a low profile but still managing to goof around from time to time. Everyone was SO friendly and welcoming from the beginning and we felt at home here right away. There were folks that my Mom knew from her childhood & teen years, assorted cousins from both sides of her family and all those precious aunts and uncles who were glad to have Izzie around, if only for a season. They were supportive and gracious, knowing how tough it was to have a husband so far away for so long. That church enveloped us and made us “family” the minute we walked through the door. We had Sunday School and church suppers in the recently completed Education Building and played softball in the summer and went ice skating in the winter out behind the church. When it was time for Bible School, we gathered outside, lining up with our class behind our class banner. We followed the American & Christian flags and the Bible into the sanctuary and pledged allegiance to each before singing the theme song for the year. Then it was off to our classes for Bible stories, crafts, snacks and games. Those two weeks were the highlight of my Corinth summer! It wasn’t until years later, when I was directing my own church’s Bible School, that I again copied Gramma Jo’s formula for marches, pledges and opening songs. What a wonderful tradition I learned there.
Before she was married, and at the age of 24, Jessie was named to be Sunday School superintendent of the newly organized Hadley Sunday School in District 4 on Hadley Hill. This district was a one-room schoolhouse located toward West Mountain from the general populace at the top of Hadley Hill. Her daughter, Flossie [Dayton] Denton, taught there years later. Jessie’s appointment to such an important position of leadership in the local church is noteworthy. In the latter half of the 19th century until the time of prohibition, the Wesleyan Methodist Church was a progressive denomination, leading the way in woman’s rights. Woman’s Rights convention, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, convened July 19-20, 1848, in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York and was attended by 200 women. Stanton joined forces with Susan B. Anthony two years later, and the rest is history. In nearly every other protestant denomination, women were not allowed in church teaching and preaching because of strict adherence to Paul’s instruction in I Timothy 3:11-12, well into the 20th century. My denomination, Christian Reformed, is still struggling with this issue. The Wesleyan Methodist Church was very progressive in those days. From their inception to the late 1800’s, the Wesleyan Methodists were at the cutting edge of woman’s rights, including woman’s rights in church leadership positions. Jessie White was an example of this. Jessie [White] Dayton began her “ministry” in 1904 and continued in church teaching and leadership positions into the 1940’s.
Jessie’s commitment to her church was commendable. The Wilber Dayton family attended Sunday morning worship at the Corinth Wesleyan church. Then they were at the Hadley Wesleyan Methodist Church, five miles from home, by the time church started at 2 pm. After church was over in Hadley, they hurried back to Corinth to attend evening service. Talk about Sunday being a day of rest! Not for the Wilber T Dayton family. It was likely a day of stress. Since grampa didn’t have a car, it’s not clear how they got to Hadley and back. They may have walked, or someone from Hadley may have picked them up. There was no time for the traditional Sunday dinner after church.
Unfortunately, I did not have all the facts for my article about Alexander White’s life, entitled “The Mysterious Alexander White” in the May 12, 2019 issue of Dayton Family History. In it I stated that no one in the family knew anything of Alexander White. I had forgotten the interview with my dad, where he told me of Alex’s passing. Here is his account as paraphrased from the tape. Paul: “I had always heard that story about the man that was out in the field ploughing. And it came suppertime and he didn’t come home. They went out to see why he hadn’t come in for supper. He was dead at age 49. The horses were still standing right there where he dropped dead.
Jim: “Did you ever hear any other things about him?”
So we did know something, at least, of his death. Here are accounts from the local papers:
I suppose that because of his history of fighting with John Costello, the coroner’s physician was very thorough in his examination. The coroner found that Alexander died of heart disease. Of his grandchildren, only Paul admitted to knowing of his “plowing the field” death circumstances. Neither Chester nor Wilber knew that about their grandfather. Don’t you find that peculiar?
Another interesting observation is that the funeral pastor was from the Wesleyan Methodist Church (probably Hadley or Stony Creek). His wife, Anna, almost assuredly attended Hadley, but it is unknown if Alex was a member there. I wonder if Hadley Wesleyan church still has that information in their archives.
I have written the Saratoga County New York Historian to get a police report of Alexander’s arrest for the Costello fight. If I learn of any newsworthy information, it will be reported in a future newsletter.
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 ….
Paul Dayton’s Biography
Paul Dayton was born June 29, 1923, during the roaring twenties. His father was 53 and his mother was 43 when he was born. His oldest sibling, Flossie, was 18 years older. Then came his brother Chop, 15 years older, Chip, 13 years older and Wilber, 7 years older. By the time he reached his teenage years, his father was 66, his mother was 56 and all his brothers and sisters had left home, so baby Paul grew up as though he were an only child, even though he could call four siblings his brothers and sister. His parents raised him with the advantage of a lifetime of knowledge and experiences. His mother and father were in a unique position of experimenting with the phrase “If I had it to do over again, I would…”, with respect to rearing Paul. His parents did have it to do over again, but without the energy and idealism that characterizes youth. In his teenage years, Paul lived through the great depression.
To understand Paul, one needs to understand a little bit of his parents. His father, Wilber, was orphaned at the age of 13. Wilber’s father and mother died just 6 months apart, he of kidney and liver disease in the autumn of 1882 and she of heart disease in spring of 1883. Without adults or government welfare programs to care for them, Wilber, his brother Jim, and sisters Jennie and Carrie had to survive on their own. They had their parents’ farm on Hadley Hill and little else. They fed themselves from the land, had the farmhouse for shelter and clothed themselves with rags. At one point, Wilber missed church and school because he had no shoes to wear. Wilber quit school in the seventh grade when the teacher had taught him all she could about mathematics. He figured if there was nothing new to learn then he had better things to do. His older teenage brother James took care of the family, but it was a harsh, survival existence. Wilber was a very industrious, hard worker throughout his entire life. This came from that survival experience.
Wilber was content with very little in the way of conveniences and possessions. He never owned a car and never had a driver’s license even though he lived until 1957. Although he lived in town, he heated his house with wood and coal. Most houses had long ago converted to oil. He had a very large garden and raised all the produce for his family up to the time of his death at age 87. He worked as a laborer his entire life and preferred this type of work. He was an extremely quiet man. His own family hardly ever heard him speak and he never spoke in public. He seldom smiled. He had the characteristics of chronic clinical depression, although being diagnosed and treated for the illness would have been nearly impossible because of his timid disposition. Wilber attended church regularly, but never took a role in the leadership of the church. He also did not provide the spiritual training at home. He left that for Jessie. But he did provide an exemplary model of humility, integrity and hard work that were his trademark. It is easy to recognize this characteristic in his children.
In contrast, Paul’s mother Jessie Belle was outgoing. She too grew up on a farm on Hadley Hill not far from Wilber. She undoubtedly knew Wilber as she was growing up, although she was 10 years younger. Her father died when she was 26. Her mother was widowed a total of three times and lived her last years with Chester and Elizabeth Dayton. She enjoyed school as a youngster and always wanted to be a schoolteacher. She provided the spiritual training for her children and administered the discipline. She was a great homemaker including cooking, sewing and other domestic skills. Her ginger snaps were my favorite. She made “blueberry grunt” to die for!
Against this backdrop, Paul’s upbringing was very disciplined and strict. He must have been very mature for his age, given the sum of all the conditions I have just described. In fact, he was probably never a baby, but rather emerged from his mother’s womb as a young man. Paul did enjoy toys though. He had a large canister of marbles, bubble gum baseball cards, and Big Little books, including Little Orphan Annie and Dick Tracy. One Christmas he dreamed of having a train. He got a train which, at that time, seemed extravagant beyond reason. He inherited a newspaper delivery route from his big brother Wilber, as well as Wib’s Columbia bicycle. He also earned spending money by picking and selling strawberries. When the banks failed during the great depression, dad had $80 in the bank. He recovered all of it.
He enjoyed many different sports, but never competed in school. The coach encouraged him to play on the soccer team, but his newspaper route came first. He enjoyed participating in soccer, cross-country running, ice-skating, ice hockey and baseball. At Corinth Central high school, he took a college prep course load including math, sciences and Latin. He also took wood and metal shop. He was first chair in the high school band, where he played the cornet. He graduated from high school with a New York State Regents Diploma in 1941.
He had courted Ruth Carter during most of his high school years, and he and Ruth were married on July 18, 1941. As a newly wed husband, working at the International Paper Company, and expecting their first child, the United States Selective Service draft board served notice that he was to report for induction into the Armed Forces. This was during World War II, and Paul recalls that he was convinced that he was going to be sent to a foreign country to die, As frightening as the prospect of an untimely death was, it was magnified a hundred-fold because of his sense of commitment and responsibility to his young bride and unborn child. At the induction ceremonies, only two men were singled out from the many army inductees to serve in the Navy. He did not understand why he had been selected to serve in the Naval Branch. However, death at sea was as real as death in the trenches and foxholes.
Basic training was intense, but Paul persevered. As a part of basic training, the sailors were given a battery of tests. Paul scored high on the tests and was assigned to an electronics unit that was working on the development and testing of radar equipment. Radar was a new technology that was developed to spot air traffic including inbound enemy aircraft and ships. He was again singled out from a very large number of trainees that were bound for assignments on war ships, submarines and naval aircraft to fight the enemy. Instead, he was sent to an electronics school in Grove City College, PA. Upon completion of his schooling, he was sent to Cocoa Beach, Florida, Naval Air station. There, he was a member of a crew who flew missions, in pontoon aircraft, up and down Banana River, near Cocoa Beach. His job was to perform various tests on the new radar technology, so that it would be mission ready for deployment to the fighting forces. They also dropped practice bombs on targets in the Banana River, which must have been a lot of fun.
While there, his wife and new daughter, Mary, were able to join him. They lived in a small one-room cottage in Cocoa Beach. During the height of World War II, when fighting men were deployed and killed all over the globe, Paul, Ruth and Mary were living together, safely within the borders of the United States. Paul was at the leading edge of technological developments. After Cocoa Beach, he was sent to Corpus Christi, Texas. His wife lived at home, but visited him. At the end of the war, Paul was Honorably Discharged and returned to civilian life in Corinth, NY. He had not only survived the war; he had never left American soil. Because of his electronics training, experience and recommendation, Philco Company offered Paul a lucrative job in the Philippines when he was discharged. He refused the offer, and I don’t suppose he even thought twice about it. He felt the Adirondack Mountains calling him to return home, and he followed the call.
Upon his return, his brother Chester (AKA Chip) offered Paul employment in the logging and pulpwood business. Their first job was logging Stone Mt. Later they set-up a sawmill on Hadley Hill on land that was a part of the old Dayton homestead. Chip had purchased the land from “Uncle Jim,” Wilber’s brother. It was a very small-scale mill powered with a Buick engine. While there, Paul had an accident in which he almost lost his leg. While chopping the branches from a downed tree, his ax hit an overhead branch on the downswing. The glancing blow struck Paul in the calf and sliced the calf down to the bone. It left a huge scar on his leg.
In September 1947, Paul and Chip founded Dayton Brothers Lumber Company, purchased land and built a permanent sawmill on Wall St. in Corinth. Many Dayton men can truthfully affirm that they worked on Wall St. in New York during their illustrious careers. It looks impressive on a resume. Their partnership lasted the remainder of their working lives, and Paul remained in the business for 50 years. The greater part of Dayton Brothers lumber went to the International Paper Co. in Corinth, where it was used for many applications including boxcar bumpers, pallets, railroad ties, dam splashboards and various construction jobs. Dayton Brothers also produced lumber for many local home building contractors and Arthur White and Sons Lumber Company in Corinth. Over the years, they produced lumber for many industrial operations in the area – primarily for pallets. They were known for their quality lumber, and they offered it at the lowest cost in the area. Unlike many entrepreneurs, Chip and Paul took care of most of the overhead themselves. Chip kept the books. Paul did the taxes. They both were very skilled mechanics, and they took care of all the repairs and upkeep of the mill and vehicles themselves. Paul handled most of the customer sales. For mill operations, Chip was the sawyer. He mastered the job and produced quality lumber with minimal waste. Paul was the edger. He was on the tail end of the saw and piled the wood after it came off the saw. He also edged and trimmed the raw material.
The sawmill business was very physically demanding. Of the two brothers, Paul had the larger frame and more muscle mass, so he did the bulk of the physical work. He would muscle a log around the rollway with the skill that few loggers possessed. His strength was extraordinary. He never rested either. He usually started work at seven and ended at four. Except for an hour every noon for a lunch break, he was constantly in motion doing some physical job.
Danger and injuries went with the job. He was not careless, but accidents happened. In the summer of 1959, a lumber pile of heavy timbers fell on him, causing a compound fracture of the leg. He was laid up for several months. I recall another time when he came home at an unusual hour when he should have been working. He walked into the kitchen, and it became quickly apparent why he was there. A sliver of wood about the dimensions of a six-inch dagger had penetrated his body just below the armpit. Instead of going to the doctor, Ruth helped him extract it, and then he returned to work. His finger was severely injured when he stuck it into the revolving blades of the large planer in the planing mill. One day he was working underneath his car when the jack gave way. The Lord spared his life, but his knee was injured. One day at the sawmill, the brakes failed on the forklift as he was backing it down a hill. A tractor was at the bottom of the hill with forks raised. The mammoth forklift struck the tractor, and its raised forks pierced the forklift on both sides of him at chest high level. Six inches left or right, and he would have been killed instantly. Sawmill work was physically strenuous and dangerous. It was an honest, yet difficult way to make a living, and Paul enjoyed it.
Dayton Bros. provided employment opportunity for many relatives and a few friends over the 50 years of operation. In no particular order, and to the best of my recollection, the list of employees is as follows: Harold Chapman, Alex Winslow, Art Winslow, Roger Dayton, Steve Dayton, John Dayton, Jim Dayton, Danny Lamos, Andy Fuller, Bill Fuller, Ray Orton, Duane Orton, Priscilla Dayton, Ruth Mary Dayton, Carolyn Ruth Dayton.
The sawmill business provided a comfortable, middle-working class existence. Paul bought new cars every 2-3 years from the late 40’s through 1966. He was partial to Fords during his earlier years and later became interested in any model that was a bargain. He had been living in a very small apartment on the 2nd floor of his parent’s house from the time he returned from the War until 1955. In 1955, we moved into a newly constructed 3-bedroom, single bath ranch home at 7 West Mechanic St. in Corinth. He selected and modified the plans and contracted the job to Beecher Carpenter, a local contractor and carpenter. Beyond the new home and the cars, Paul did not have many other material interests. He simply did not have time for them. In his youthful family days, he frequently attended the stock car races at Menands, Fonda and later Malta. He played on the Corinth Church Men’s softball team. He enjoyed deer hunting. During his first fifty years, he always managed to find some time to fit hunting into his schedule. He and Chip frequently had venison to eat. Paul’s style of hunting was to go to where the deer were, instead of the usual method of waiting for the deer to come to the hunter’s blind. In the process, he hiked several miles during a day’s hunt. Sometimes, a deer was slain miles from the car, and it would be a Herculean feat to carry or drag the deer out of the woods. Although he always carried a compass, he seldom needed to use it. He had an instinct for location and direction when he was in the woods. On many occasions when it was not hunting season, he enjoyed going for rides in the car to spot deer in the wild. He would often drive the family to Sabattus (north of Long Lake, NY) to spot and count the deer between the main road and the dead-end about 10 to 15 miles into the Adirondack wilderness. Once each year, in August, the annual logging show was held in Tupper Lake, NY. It was a real family treat to attend the show on Saturday. We viewed the exhibits that included heavy machinery, chain saws and other logging equipment. If we were lucky, we would run across a booth with a free give-away. There was always a parade that included bagpipe bands and the heavy machinery. As an added treat, we would stop at Lake Eaton Campground for a picnic and a swim.
Paul was a family man, but his business prevented him from taking the typical family vacation that most working people enjoy. We children never felt deprived of attention or deprived of family outings. The few special overnight occasions that occurred were memorable. At least once per year, dad took the family to a baseball game in New York city. Although we usually went to Shea Stadium, the most memorable events took place at Yankee Stadium and the old Polo Grounds. In 1964, dad and I boarded a bus in Saratoga and attended a twi-night double header at Shea Stadium where the NY Mets played the Philadelphia Phillies. We arrived at Penn Station in Manhattan and took the train to Shea Stadium. We were early, and the World’s Fair was underway adjacent to the Stadium. We spent a couple hours at the fair and then attended both games. After the second game, we took the train back to Penn Station, and from there returned by bus to Saratoga. The entire trip must have taken at least 16 hours, but I don’t remember being tired. The trip with dad was exhilarating.
In about 1961, we made a family trip to NYC. It was over Labor Day weekend. The centerpiece was a double header at Yankee Stadium with the Los Angeles Angels. We sat in the right field bleachers, very near Roger Maris. My dad, Paul, was very amused by a spectator giving Maris verbal abuse. During the same trip we stayed in a Motel in the Bronx. Paul navigated the NYC subway system for most of our travel. We went to Coney Island, Times Square, 42nd St., Grand Central Station, rode the Stanton Island ferry, and visited the Bronx zoo. At the zoo, a man with Parkinson’s disease gave us a guided tour. My father paid him $20 at the end of the tour. Paul was a generous man. Around 1960, we went on a three-day vacation including the weekend to Maine and New England. We stayed at a cottage called “Dayton’s by the Sea” at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. We also visited Plymouth, MA. In 1958, we went to Wilber Dayton, Jr.’s home in Wilmore, KY for Christmas. 1953 found us in Marion, IN. Wilber Dayton, Jr. was the President of Marion College, and we visited him. I believe we may have been attending the graduation ceremonies of one of Paul’s nieces or nephews, but I am not sure. I spent a good portion of the trip resting in the ledge across the top of the back seat. We visited Houghton College on several occasions for graduations and other special events. Paul attended the West Chazy, NY church campgrounds as frequently, and for as long as he could be away from business at Dayton Brothers Lumber Co. If he was a church delegate, he spent the last week of June there. Otherwise, he was there for both weekends and often on the 4th of July. He also attended many church sponsored events including national Sunday School conferences and General Conference of the Wesleyan Church.
Most frequently, we did something as a family on Saturday. Often it was simply going shopping, and I remember that it was always a special time. We all packed into the car (seven people in a two-door coupe) and headed for Glens Falls shopping, or on more infrequent occasions, we would go the Montgomery Wards in Menands, NY. In those days, there was not the proliferation of fast food restaurants. When we went to Glens Falls, it was a real treat to eat hot dogs from the New Way Lunch on South Street. Mom would pick up an order to go and we would eat them in the car because they sold beer, and it was the “skid row” of Glens Falls. On trips to Menands, there was a White Castle Hamburger restaurant across the street from Montgomery Wards, and we always looked forward to eating those little nuggets of beef. About three or four times while I was growing up, the family would venture into downtown Albany to the State Museum. At least once each summer, the family went to a local amusement park. We would ride the tilt-a-whirl, the whip, the merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel. Paul tested his strength at the midway booth that was a tower with a bell at the top. The swing of a wooden mallet propelled a metal ring towards the bell. Often, he could clang the bell. His brother Chop rang the bell consistently. All these events were very happy times.
One summer, Dad decided that we children needed to do something recreational on Saturday. He got us out of bed at 6:30 AM on Saturday morning and at 7:00 AM we were at the Lake Luzerne beach. Of course, we were the only people at the beach, and we swam or waded for an hour. Dad was a good swimmer, but none of us children knew how to swim. At about 8 AM we returned home, where mom made us a large breakfast. This routine only lasted about 4 or 5 weeks before our protests ended the project. When I played High School football, dad and mom made it a point to attend all the games, even though they didn’t know what was going on. They wanted to show their support and were proud of their son.
More than any other single thing, what set Paul Dayton apart from other men and made him very special was his unwavering integrity and generosity. Paul was raised in a spiritually fundamentalist, holiness practicing, conservative Protestant household. The denomination, Wesleyan Methodist (later Wesleyan), broke away from the Methodist church over the issue of slavery in 1843. Later on (after Prohibition) the “Wesleyans” shifted from a progressive church at the cutting edge of social change such as abolition of slavery and women’s rights, to become the “spiritual right-wing” of the Methodist Church. Paul’s family attended all church services. In addition, bible reading, scripture memorization and prayer were routinely practiced in the home. In this environment, Paul became “born-again” as a young child. From the moment of his conversion, he was determined to live a holy lifestyle. Jesus Christ’s principles for living became the centerpiece of his life.
It was natural that as Paul and Ruth raised a family, church activities and spiritual training at home was the couple’s number one priority. If there was a church service, Paul and his family could be counted on to be there. In addition to local church activities, they also attended local camp meetings and district church activities.
Paul administered discipline in the home. He was considerate and tolerant of childish misbehavior like spilling drink or bouncing a basketball through the house, but he had no tolerance for sin, as defined by the Ten Commandments. If we were caught lying or stealing, we were immediately disciplined. We would be taken to a private place like a closed bedroom. Then we would receive a spanking that was memorable, yet not abusive. He would always say that “this is going to hurt me more than it does you,” and I knew he was sincere. After the spanking, he would ask the culprit to pray and ask God’s forgiveness for the sin. Every day, we conducted a “family altar.” We would all gather in the living room, usually after dinner. We would be read either scripture or a Bible story. Then we would get on our knees and each take a turn in prayer, in sequence from oldest to youngest. We ended the session by reciting the Lord’s prayer.
Although he took his lumber business very seriously, Dad never worked on Sunday. Sunday was the Sabbath—a day of rest. He did not buy or sell, watch television or attend activities other than church on Sundays.
Paul was very active in his church. He held positions of Trustee, Church Board of Administration, Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, Church Bus driver, Young People’s Society sponsor, Choir member, special music duets with his wife, orchestra organizer and leader. In addition, he plowed the snow from the parking lot and performed many maintenance tasks. He performed much of the skilled labor during the construction of the church’s Educational Building and the new sanctuary. For many years, he taught the junior boys Sunday School class. He gave every boy a new Bible. His instruction and example left a lasting impression on the youth of the village of Corinth even after they “grew up” and “outgrew the need to attend church.”
In addition to his stewardship of time and service, Paul was a very generous donor. The Dayton Brothers donations to the local church went a great way toward support of the local building program and the underwriting of the local church operations. Paul Dayton lived a simple life, yet his actions, conduct and teaching have served as a model of moral, Christian living. He has influenced hundreds of lives in a positive manner that few men ever can.
As told by his son, Jim Dayton, September 1998.
About the Family: His wife Ruth
Ruth was born July 9, 1923, in Northumberland, NY. She moved to Corinth when she was about 3. Daughter of Archie and Blanche Carter, she had four siblings, Ernest, Harold, Marion and Arthur. She enjoyed basketball and earned a varsity letter in it. Just a month before she was to graduate from high school, Ruth quit school because she didn’t have confidence that she would pass her exams and didn’t want to face the humiliation of failure. Based on Christian Education courses she taught, and Church financial responsibilities and leadership later in life, there’s no question that she was a bright woman. She was a humble servant from the time she developed personality until the time she passed away. She always did for others and did very little for herself. She was the most selfless woman I ever knew. She always felt most comfortable being domestic, whether it was cooking, or cleaning up after messy kids. She left all discipline to Paul. She was a very emotional person, laughing hysterically at something funny until she cried. That is a common affliction in many sensitive people. Her life centered around church and family. She was a Children’s Sunday School teacher her entire adult life. She was Sunday School Treasurer and Women’s Missions Treasurer. She was church pianist, assistant organist and sang duets with husband Paul. Ruth received recognition from the Wesleyan denomination for successfully completing all courses in their Christian Education curriculum.
Mary was born June 23, 1943, in Corinth. In high school, she played the reed woodwinds, but was most accomplished on the bassoon. She graduated from Houghton Academy in 1961. Mary worked for quite a while in administrative positions at Adirondack Hospital in Corinth. She was also layout editor at The Penny Saver newspaper in Corinth. She was on the board of the local library for years. In the mid-1980’s Mary began terrible suffering from the pain of fibromyalgia. Added to that was a back injury suffered in an automobile accident. These two injuries left her mainly homebound and in constant agony. She is an avid reader, some might say a fanatical reader, and enjoys music, especially playing her piano until she could no longer sit up for extended periods of time. When she can venture from the house, she enjoys dining at local restaurants, and would make a very good restaurant reviewer for a local newspaper. Her husband Bill and she love to host guests in their home. Bill’s early career found him in ever advancing, managerial and sales and administrative posts with local and regional companies. From the mid-80’s through the mid-90’s he held several different elective positions, including mayor of Corinth. After that he held the position of Village Treasurer until his retirement. Since the beginning of Mary’s two painful illnesses, Bill has been a constant caregiver to Mary. He is the role model for good and selfless caregiving. He performs all domestic tasks. He encourages her and is a patient and loving companion. My wife has Parkinson’s and I want to be just like Bill, but no one else can be as good as he. We siblings appreciate him more than he will ever know.
Second in birth order is Jim, born July 9, 1948, in Corinth. Does his birthday look familiar? It’s the same as Ruth’s. That’s right, he was his mom’s birthday present. She probably wishes she had re-gifted him several different times. He enjoys sports and participated in some of them during high school. His favorite was football. After graduating from Corinth Central School in 1966, he attended Houghton College for two years, was graduated from Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University), A.B. in mathematics, 1970. Judy Potter and he were married August 17, 1968, in Corinth. He and Judy have two daughters, Kari and Jennifer, six grandchildren and one great granddaughter. He was employed by GTE until retirement in 1999, where he held various engineering, administrative and financial positions of increasing responsibility. He enjoys family, especially grandchildren and gr-grandchild. His soulmate and he celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2018. Judy was the daughter of Bob and Becky Potter. Judy’s career was in operations and finance for Bank of America and its two predecessor merger acquisitions. She was an assistant vice president. In her year of retirement, she earned the prestigious Employee Excellence Award—only 50 employees out of 200,000 did so. She graduated from South High in South Glens Falls and attended Houghton College. She enjoys family activities and reading.
The third child of Paul and Ruth was Priscilla born July 19, 1953 in Corinth. Priscilla is musically gifted. She played the flute and the guitar. She earned her B.A. in Social Science from Houghton College. In her early career, she was a social worker. She married Keith Tyler July 14, 1979, in her home church in Corinth. Keith was a professional musician and later a Music Pastor, so Priscilla and her family (daughter Mary and Son Sam) moved several times, including Moncton, New Brunswick and Fort Wayne, IN before settling in Milton, PA. Priscilla home schooled her children Mary and Sam. Keith died in 2007, and Priscilla, Mary and Sam still reside in Milton. Her church family has become a large part of her family, and Priscilla is manager of her church’s bookstore. She is also the glue which holds our Paul Dayton family together.
The fourth child was born Jan. 12, 1955. He graduated from Corinth Central high school in 1974. Although John never pursued a career in mechanical engineering, he was a mechanical genius. Among other technical feats, he would dismantle watches and reassemble them for fun. He also made wooden clocks without patterns or instructions. He also enjoyed making wooden projects, and his creativity knew no limits. However, each project had to be made from Dayton Brothers lumber. He was a gadget guy who couldn’t resist anything truly unusual. He had a passion for the New York Mets baseball team. He collected their memorabilia, and his man cave was loaded with Mets treasures. He was a fast-pitch softball pitcher for the tri-county area church softball league. John had the following children: Diana, John, Jr., and Sarah, and stepchildren Karla, Sarah Leigh, and Peter. John and his wife Lori had a passion for Children’s Christian ministries. Lori taught children at local churches in a multitude of capacities for many years. She is also the Director of Children’s Ministries at the Holiness Association Camp Meeting at West Chazy NY each July. John worked year-round, behind the scenes, to make wooden crafts for the children to assemble and paint. Lori worked in janitorial services at Corinth Central school for several years. John died on October 20, 2018, in Saratoga Springs Hospital.
The youngest child is Steve, born December 29, 1956. He earned his B.A. in History from Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). His post graduate work was at Penn State, with a certification in Institutional Research Analysis. Steve is currently the Institutional Research Analyst at Taylor University. He resides in Gas City, IN, with wife Nancy. Steve collected US Presidential Campaign memorabilia for 30 years. His collection has been exhibited at local libraries and was presented to college and high school groups. He enjoyed riding Triumph motorcycles until deciding lack of strength and flexibility should prevent it. He married Nancy Klinger August 17, 1991, and the couple has three children. Catie graduated from Taylor 5/18/19, and twins Sam and Grace are freshmen there. Dr. Nancy Dayton earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from Miami University, in Ohio. She is presently Professor- of English Literature and Chair of the English Department at Taylor University. Steve is the author of Our Long Island Ancestors, The First Six Generations of Daytons in America 1639-1807.
Wilber was the patriarch of all the modern-day Daytons in our lineage. Nearly all the people featured in this newsletter, and the subscription list for this newsletter, descend from him. He was born October 30, 1870, on Hadley Hill, in Saratoga County, New York, to Charles and Nancy Dayton. He didn’t have much of a childhood. He was forced to become an adult when he was orphaned at the age of 13. In those days, there were no government social services or welfare programs. So, he and 3 of his 4 siblings ran the family farm in order to survive. His older brother Jim, two younger sisters, Jennie and Carrie and he lived together at the farm. The sibling’s oldest brother, Delbert had moved to Iowa so he was unavailable to help them. Family lore has it that Wilber quit school when he was 13. The teacher ran out of new material towards the end of the school year and so started teaching the same material over again. Wilber had “learned that already” so he decided he had more important things to do. According to his daughter, Flossie, he once stopped going to church one summer because he didn’t have any shoes to wear. Wilber stayed at the farm until he was married to Jessie Belle White on August 31, 1904.
After he and his siblings sold the farm, he had enough assets to buy and sell several properties around Hadley, Luzerne and Corinth. They settled down at Mechanic St. in Corinth around 1920. In his early life, he mainly cut pulp wood and sold it to International Paper Company in Corinth. Paul marvels at the fact that Wilber cut all the pulpwood with an axe. No saw. No machines! He must have had extraordinary strength and endurance. My dad called him, “all man.” Later, he was employed by the paper company in Corinth where he worked until he was in his 70’s. Wilber never owned or drove a car. He never even had a driver’s license. He did have a horse and buggy until probably about 1915-1920. At one point, he had a horse named Pontiac that ran away. Grampa knew right where to search—down the road a short distance a water trough had summoned his errant beast. He was thirsty.
He and Jessie reared five children. In birth order, they were Florence (Flossie), Charles (Chop), Chester (Chip), Wilber Jr. (Wib), and Paul. Wilber and Jessie and their children were faithful members of the Wesleyan Methodist church in Corinth. Wilber never had an opportunity to learn social skills, because he wasn’t around adults growing up, he was shy and withdrawn his entire life. Some, including my dad (Paul), suspected that he may have also suffered from clinical depression. Unwelcome personality traits are often misinterpreted or ignored.
The following is a page from his pastor’s diary, written at that time, clarifying some of the behavior he often exhibited. This is what he said about Wilber:
I can’t imagine grampa was offended by his pastor. My belief is that grampa had several psychiatric conditions, which manifested themselves in some of his undesirable behaviors. At that moment, grampa was frightened by people. So was his daughter Flossie, who quit school teaching, her love and passion for many years, because she had an inability to cope. I have struggled with similar reactions to stressful situations and are well aware of the merciful benefits of medication. Full acceptance of a need, and the availability of services and treatment for personality disorders is fairly recent.
This tempers my personal take on grandpa’s episode with his pastor. People often let mental issues fester and simmer without seeking treatment; the issues don’t get better, and they don’t go away. It’s possible that we Dayton’s have a predisposition to malfunctions of many types, inherited from Wilber Dayton, Sr. I hope you will forgive me for making that observation about our family, but it needs to be said and understood.
Wilber left the family rearing and discipline to Jessie Belle, who he called “Jess”. He was an extraordinarily good gardener (see Volume 1 Issue 1 of this weekly newsletter). I remember his well-stocked food staples in a separate room in his root cellar. Wilber was well known around the small mill town of Corinth, with a reputation for honesty and a hard work ethic. He died July 18, 1957 at his home. His death certificate sites hypertension-Cardiovascular Disease as the cause of death. That may be medical jargon for saying he died of old age. He was an honorable man who “wore himself out!” A crowd attended his viewing in the living room of Paul Dayton’s home, including the Roman Catholic priest who mentioned what an industrious man of integrity he was. I know it’s fashionable to say something like that of the dead. The big difference in this case, though, is that he was!
At Wilber and Jessie’s passing, here is their parental scorecard …their legacy:
Flossie-School teacher -A.B. degree from what was to become SUNY/Albany;
Charles-pastor and superintendent of his northern district;
Chester-Business Entrepreneur, co-owner of Dayton Brother’s Sawmill;
Wilber-Th.D.-Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, theologian, professor, pastor, writer, lecturer;
Paul-Business Entrepreneur, co-owner of Dayton Brother’s Sawmill.
Not bad for poorly educated, poverty level, orphaned child/man. How could it happen? In a Christ-centered home with integrity, generosity, consistency and LOVE!
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.
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:
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.