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Hon. Henry Dayton


Posted By: Roseanna Zehner
Date: 3/2/2004 at 08:07:41

Dayton, Hon. Henry, senior partner of the law firm of Dayton & Dayton, Waukon, Iowa, was born September 30, 1836, on his father’s farm in Saratoga County, New York, near Hadley postoffice. His parents were Telem and Lucinda (Fletcher) Dayton. His ancestry is clearly English. In English history the name is preserved by the “Mannor of Deighton,” as early as A.D. 1273. The Deightons or Dightons, came to America about 1639. The spelling of the name, as at present, is a product of early days, as in very early history the “gh” is dropped and later the present spelling seems to have been adopted generally. “Deighton Kirk” is one of the oldest church buildings in England. The ancestral name graces such positions in England as lieutenant-general of India; burgress of Hertfordshire; keeper of the great seal of England, and many other prominent positions. David Dayton, the grandfather of our subject, was a son of Henry Dayton, of Long Island, where he was born March 9, 1766. During his early manhood he moved to Saratoga County, New York, near Hadley postoffice, where he established a home, and married Cloe Skiff December 29, 1789. They had born to them on this farm, eleven children, of which Telem, the father of Henry, was the fifth, and was born August 21, 1797. Telem lived on the old homestead till he was 50 years of age, and then moved two miles farther up the Hudson river and continued farming. He married Lucinda Fletcher, a daughter of Peter and Sarah (Piper) Fletcher, January 10, 1821. She was born in Alstead, N.H., March 13, 1794. The Fletcher family is one of the oldest in America, and came to Concord, Mass., in 1630, where Peter died in 1677, being a very wealthy and influential man. Telem was a democrat, and most of the family continued in that political faith. Henry Dayton received his first schooling in his native country. When 19 years of age he entered Fort Edward (N.Y.) Collegiate institute, and continued till a scientific course was completed. Six months at the New York Conference seminary, soon after, completed his schooling. He taught his first school at Creek Center, N.Y., when 20 years old. He came to Allamakee County in 1857, and taught school at Hardin that winter. In the spring he went to Batesville, Ark., and read law for three years with Byres & Company. Returned to Iowa in 1861 and read law with W.V. Burdick, at Decorah, and was admitted to practice in Howard County the same November. For eight years Mr. Dayton taught school at Hardin, Lansing and Decorah, and acted as deputy surveyor to H.O. Dayton, surveyor of Allamakee County.

The present firm of Dayton & Dayton was formed in 1873, in Waukon, of which John F. Dayton was junior member. Mr. Dayton was married at Waukon, Iowa, May 26, 1874, to Mary M. Wilcox, daughter of Cortes and Rebecca (Palmer) Wilcox. The children born to this union are, Harry Lewis, born January 15, 1875, and Ruby Laura, born February 11, 1878. Harry is practicing law, and Ruby is attending school at Mt. Vernon. Mr. Dayton is a democrat and has been greatly honored politically by his party. He was two years county surveyor; for eight years the board of supervisors appointed him as its attorney. When the office was made elective he was elected county attorney, and held the office for six years. He was elected to represent his district in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth General Assemblies, and no one in those two bodies did more honest and conscientious work.

- source: Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa, Leaders in Business, Politics and the Professions; 1899
- transcribed by Roseanna Zehner


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