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Welcome Dayton Family and Friends

Twenty years have passed since a monthly newsletter named Dayton Family History was published for the enjoyment of the descendants of Wilber Thomas Dayton Sr.  Now a new generation of Wilber’s descendants needs to be told about our rich Dayton Heritage.

It is hoped that the information in this blog will kindle a passion for learning more about our ancestors.. And then you will be on your way to gaining an interest in even older generations.  Those generations are chronicled  in a book  that my brother, Steve, and I published about the first six Generations of Daytons in America.  Its title is Our Long Island Ancestors, The First Six Generations of Daytons in America. 1639-1807. 

In order for the story to continue, we need to raise up a new generation of Dayton researchers who will keep our story up-to-date.  I will be publishing snippets of information that will suffice to continue our story in a second volume of our book.  I challenge you to do so, and to submit new information that will push our story forward.

Baa, baa, sheep, have you any wool?

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 80 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

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, Wilbur 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.  Continue reading “Who Ran the Farm”

Henry Dayton’s Farm

When Henry, 2nd son of David and Chloe Dayton, married Christie Cameron about 1816, he needed farmland for his new family.  He found it on a plateau at the top of Hadley Hill about five miles from his dad’s farm at the foot of the hill.   A massive stone wall can still be seen along the edge of his property in the reforested portion of land that used to be his farm.  Henry died in 1847 at the young age of 55, and the management of the farm passed to Christie. Continue reading “Henry Dayton’s Farm”

Abe Lincoln Corresponds With Dayton Family

When he was a young man in his 30’s, Dr. Wilber Thomas Dayton Jr ran across a letter from Abraham Lincoln in his grandmother’s trunk.  His grandma, Anna Flansburg White Dingman, was the daughter of Rev. William Flansburg, a Wesleyan Methodist clergyman who began his ministry in 1849.  His newly formed denomination had split from the Methodist Episcopal Church  over the issue of slavery.  Flansburg’s new denomination was abolitionist.   Continue reading “Abe Lincoln Corresponds With Dayton Family”

Why Cambridge?

It’s been a mystery to me, for 40 years, why David Dayton Jr passed through Cambridge New York before he finally settled in Hadley in 1796.  David was born in Brookhaven in 1766.  In 1782/3 his dad, David Sr, died since a letter of administration was filed in Surrogate Court in 1783.   He was the last Dayton of our line to live on Long Island.

David Jr first appeared in Cambridge, Albany Co., NY in the 1790 census.  The census indicated that he had a male child under 16, and a free white female in the household.  David had married Chloe Skiff  December 29, 1789 according to Donald Line Jacobus and Arthur Bliss Jacobus in their book, The early Daytons and descendants of Henry, jr.   They offer that date without citation.  Joel, David and Ann’s oldest son, was born 29 Aug, 1790, very shortly before the 1790 census was taken.

Why did a youthful David Jr. remove to Cambridge?  I set about doing a study to determine if the youthful David could have relocated to Cambridge with another family sometime before the 1790 census.  My study method was to determine if an older individual could be found first in Brookhaven, NY and then Cambridge, in the appropriate timeframes.  My study yielded one such man…Benjamin Havens.  Benjamin Havens appeared as a signer of the Association in Brookhaven in 1775/6 and the 1776 Brookhaven census.  A Benjamin Havens also appeared in the Cambridge in 1790.  Thus far, I have been unable to prove that the Brookhaven Havens and the Cambridge Havens are the same man.  We do know that David’s younger brother, Telim, appeared in the 1800 Cambridge census.  Since he was younger than David, he would have lived as a boy under 16 in another’s household in 1790.  We also see another brother settling in Middletown, VT, about 40 miles north of Cambridge.

The trail has grown cold at this point.  I challenge a Dayton researcher to consider this hypothesis in more detail, or to develop a hypothesis of your own.  Finding more about David and his brother’s removal may yield information on the whereabouts of his mother Ann and his sisters.

Shanty Man

The railroad track, on Main Street in Corinth NY, was visible only between sidewalks on the east and west side of the street.  Houses on one side and a church and house on the other side obstructed the view of the train until it was at the sidewalk.  It only passed that portion of track once per day and traveled rather slowly so it wasn’t much of a bother.  A shanty, just large enough to shelter a person from the weather was located along the sidewalk on the church side of the tracks.    An employee of the railroad, run by International Paper Company, sat in the shanty all day waiting for the train.  When the train approached that portion of track, the “shanty man” would stand in the middle of the street with a stop sign, just like a school crossing guard.  The “shanty man”, Wilber Thomas Dayton Sr. who held the job briefly, was my grandpa.  He sat there all day long with nothing to do but wait.  He used to pass the time whittling.

A  knife, fork and hammer which he whittled were in the possession of his son Paul Dayton for years, and the heirloom has now passed to one of Paul’s sons.

shanty-man
Carved by Wilber T Dayton Sr circa 1920

Henry and Christie Dayton graves reinterred

In the autumn of 2000, a new housing development suddenly infringed upon the 150 year old resting place of Henry and Christie Dayton in the back yard of a one family home.  The once peaceful graves of the couple, situated in the forest on their homestead, was now a play area for the family’s children.  Ray Orton and myself oversaw the relocation of the remains and the gravestones to the Dean Cemetery in Stony Creek NY where they are now resting on the burial plot with their son and daughter-in-law, Charles and Nancy Dayton.

Henry was the grandfather of Wilber Thomas Dayton Sr.  Henry died in 1847 on his farm on the plateau at the top of Hadley Hill.  Henry’s father, David Dayton Jr. was one of the first inhabitants of Hadley.  David relocated to Hadley from Cambridge NY.