Henry Orin Dayton


Henry Orin Dayton was born at Hadley, Saratoga county, New York, November 10, 1834, and died at his home in Waukon, Iowa, January 24, 1901, of typhoid fever. His boyhood days and early manhood were spent in his native village. He received his education at Greenwich, New York, and at the seminary at Charlotteville, that state.

In 1856 Mr. Dayton came to Iowa, arriving at Hardin on July 1, where he engage in surveying, assisting his brothers, Joel Dayton, who was county surveyor. His first work was on the town plat of Hardin. He followed surveying henceforth as his chief occupation, although engaging in various other enterprises. In the winter of 1857-8 he taught the Decorah school, at forty dollars per month. He had one hundred and eighteen pupils enrolled, and one assistant, a Miss Farmer. He proved very successful, and his school exhibition of the closing day, April 2, 1858, drew a very large crowd. In 1858 he taught the summer school at Hardin, after which he again took up surveying until December, when he commenced teaching at Milton, or Village Creek, where he taught three winters, and then took the Lansing school for two years. During the intervals between schools he put in his time surveying.

In the fall of 1864 Mr. Dayton organized a stock company for establishing a woolen factory, and the following year they built a large stone building and commenced operations early in 1866. Severe floods interfered with their work from time to time, and the mill was twice destroyed by fire, the last time in 1875.

Mr. Dayton was often honored with offices of trust. He was county supervisor from Lafayette township two years; county surveyor eight years; and clerk of the district court six years.. When elected clerk of the courts in 1874 he removed to Waukon, where he continued to reside until his death in 1901. Here he served several years on the Waukon school board. After his third term as county clerk he operated a creamery at Village Creek, and later at Waukon, where he also established and operated a canning factory. Upon retiring from this he again took up civil engineering, in which he was actively engaged up to the time of his last sickness.

On August 27, 1866, Mr. Dayton married Miss Maria Aldrich, a most devoted wife and mother, and a woman loved by all who knew her. Mrs. Dayton died June 3, 1911. To them were born six children, of whom three remain, vis: Walter, of Salt Lake City; Mrs. Leona Heath, of Dallas, Texas; and Mrs. Anna Davenport, of Clear Lake, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Dayton were members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Waukon, and he was one of the official board for a quarter of a century. It may be truly said that Mr. Dayton was known throughout Allamakee county, in his home life, as a neighbor, as a citizen, and as a public official, and that no man in the county had more friends than he in all the walks of life.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

Return to 1913 biographies index