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John F. Dayton


Posted By: Roseanna Zehner
Date: 3/2/2004 at 08:56:33

Dayton, John Franklin, was born at Hadley, Saratoga County, New York, on the 10th day of January, 1849. His parents were Dr. Simon N. and Lydia (Houghton) Dayton. His ancestors were of old New England stock, a detailed statement of the Dayton family being given in the biography of Henry Dayton, in this work.

Nathaniel Houghton, one of the great-grandfathers on the maternal side, was a native of Massachusetts, and removing to Vermont, became a captain in the continental service, and was a member of the victorious army of General Gates. William Mitchell, his other maternal grandfather, was an officer in the invading army of Burgoyne, and taken captive in the surrender at Saratoga; taught school in the vicinity, married, and became a citizen of the United States.

The parents of Mr. Dayton removed to Saratoga Springs in 1850, where his father was engaged in the practice of medicine until 1858, when the family removed to Rockford, Illinois. Mr. Dayton attended the public schools of Rockford, graduating there from in 1867, and taught school while preparing for college. He attended Beloit College for two years, and in 1871 began the study of law in the offices of Messrs. Brown & Taylor, of Rockford. In 1873 he came to Waukon, Iowa, and was admitted to practice, and formed with Henry Dayton the firm of Dayton & Dayton, which has since been continued.

October 13, 1875, he married Miss Laura Hewitt, of Rockford, Illinois

Mr. Dayton was elected as the first mayor of Waukon, Iowa, upon its incorporation, and served three terms in that capacity. He was the representative of Allamakee County in the Twenty-second, Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth General Assemblies, and took an active part in the legislation of the Twenty-second with reference to corporate control. He was the chairman of the committee upon railroads and commerce in the Twenty-third General Assembly, and the nominee of the democratic party for the speakership of the Twenty-fourth. He was also the candidate of the democratic party for the office of district judge of the Thirteenth judicial district, in the election of 1894, but was defeated by the great republican vote of that year. In 1897 his name was presented to the democratic state convention by the delegates of the Fourth congressional district, as their choice for the nomination for governor, and he received a large vote in the convention.

In addition to the active practice of his profession, Mr. Dayton carries on one of the largest nurseries and fruit farms in the northwest; he is particularly interested in the growth of small fruits, which are shipped to many distant points in Iowa, Minnesota and Dakota. He keeps constantly in his employ a large force of assistants, and in the time of berrypicking a small army of pickers is marshaled, making the enterprise of great value to the community. Mr. Dayton makes a special study of new varieties of fruits, and experiments largely with all recent introductions, with the purpose to select those kinds, which are particularly valuable for cultivation in Iowa and in the northwest, and deals largely in the plants and trees, which he finds adapted to our trying climate. This experiment station is entirely his private enterprise, and is conducted without state or government aid, and promises to be of great advantage to the citizens of the community.

- 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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