Rev. William Flansburg Bio

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.


We’re Big Dutch and Don’t You Forget It

The Dutch part of our Dayton pedigree has always fascinated me, and our move to western Michigan and our many Dutch friends rekindled my interest in this part of my (and your) heritage.  In addition, five of my grandchildren are over fifty percent Dutch.  The Dutch, and specifically the Dutch Reformed Church, kept meticulous records of births, baptisms and marriages, so we have a nearly complete pedigree of all the branches off the Flansburg line all the way back to the settling of New Netherlands.

Anna Flansburg, mother of Jessie Belle [WHITE] Dayton, was attributed with frequently reminding her children, “We’re big Dutch and don’t you forget it!”  She was obviously proud of her Dutch heritage and wanted all of her kids to never forget it. Well, my great grandma ……now none of your descendants down at least five generations will forget. 

Oh, how I wish I could ask great-gramma Anna what she meant by “big Dutch.”  My interpretation is that she considered persons of Dutch descent to be of a very hardy stock with certain characteristics exceeding the lowly English and other ethnicities.  If we took a poll of the readers of this publication, I’m sure that we would get many other interpretations.  If you feel inclined, leave a comment.  The next three posts will be a continuation of stories about this same Flansburg family and lineage.

DNA says we’re British Through and Through

DFH Volume 1 Issue 20

I took one of those DNA tests which Ancestry advertises.   It revealed I am 64% English [Daytons, Whites, Goodnows, Harris’ and many others], 21% Irish [Camerons, and several on my mom’s side] and 15% Germanic European [Flansburg, Clute and some on my mom’s side].  You are probably different since your non-Dayton parent is different from mine.  It does show, however, what a connection we have with England. Ralph Dayton emigrated from England in 1639, and Nicholas White [Jessie Belle’s ancestor] emigrated from England sometime before 1648, since he was a freeman in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1648.  More will be said about our Flansburg ancestry in a future issue.

The White Family Photo Album

  DFH Volume 1 Issue 16

My dad, Paul Dayton, inherited a Photo Album.  Although never identified, it was obvious from the labeled photos that it was a White Family Album, probably organized and owned by Harriet [Frasier] White.  Harriet was the grandmother of Jessie Belle.  In it were many tin type photos which were unlabeled.  I hired a professional photo identification consultant to help me identify as many as possible.  She was very familiar with fashion and dress from all periods of decades of the 19th century.  She was equally proficient when it came to facial recognition.  Without getting into particulars, She and I were able to identify ancestors in many of the tintypes.   I’m not clear on how to present them to you, so I will do so over many newsletters….Here is the first installment.

A person and person posing for a photo

Description automatically generated

This is Hepzibah and Nahum White II.  Nahum was born in 1797 in Rowe, Massachusetts, and died in 1876 in Stony Creek, New York.  He was the great-grandfather of Jessie Belle [White] Dayton.  Hephzibah [Goodnow] White was the daughter of Stephen and Mary Goodnow.  Hephzibah was born in 1799 in Massachusetts and died in 1873 in Stony Creek, New York.  She is buried in the Schofield Cemetery, Stony Creek, New York.

A gravestone in front of a stone building

Description automatically generated

The Mysterious Alexander White, Part II:Newsworthy Death

Dfh Volume 1 Issue 14

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?”

Paul: No.”

So we did know something, at least, of his death.  Here are accounts from the local papers:

A picture containing text, newspaper

Description automatically generated
A close up of a newspaper

Description automatically generated
A close up of a newspaper

Description automatically generated

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.

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.

A close up of a newspaper

Description automatically generated

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:

A close up of a newspaper

Description automatically generated
A person with collar shirt

Description automatically generated

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.

Yield Not to Temptation…Part 2…She Didn’t

DFH Volume 1 Issue 7

A person posing for the camera

Description automatically generated

Jessie [White] Dayton, my grandma and wife of Wilber Thomas Dayton, Sr., was a very attractive young woman.  In 1902, she was a 22 year old, single, and working in a nearby hotel (see news article at above). A dam was being built in the area (Spier Falls Dam between Corinth and South Glens Falls, built from 1900 to 1903 and 15-20 miles from Hadley Hill)  At the time, it was the largest hydroelectric dam in the world1.  Men from outside the area were hired to work on the construction of the dam. Many probably stayed at the quarry hotel referenced in the news item at the left.  Jessie would more than likely have  been a chamber maid, although she could have also been a waitress.  Either way, she had plenty of interactions with men who had not been with a female for many days or weeks.  Can you imagine how many times she was propositioned?  She must have been under a great deal of pressure with  many tension-filled emotional moments.  We’ll never know for sure, but I’ve got to believe she remained chaste.  She was a  very religious woman.  Thank you, Grandma, for knowing right from wrong, and for taking that summer off.  She married Grandpa two summers later (21 Aug 1904).  Family folklore has it that grandpa had proposed to her about 6 years before they were married.  She declined the offer, but later realized how much more of a true man my grandpa was.  He was a man of good intentions and good, honest character.  I imagine she learned that from observing the men at the quarry hotel..



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.