Clara Stanton: First wife of Chester Dayton

DFH Volume 1 Issue 23

In 1929, Clara [Stanton] Dayton died of tuberculosis a mere one hundred days after her marriage to Chester Dayton.  Clara and Chip were sweethearts at Houghton College where Chip was a sophomore and Clara was probably a senior. (Chip is in the yearbook, but I could not find Clara).   

Clara was born to George and Linnabelle Stanton in Long Lake New York on April 22, 1908 two years older than Chip. Prior to marriage she was a resident of Long Lake.  Long Lake is a tiny village (under 1,000 residents) in the Adirondack Mountains.  It’s a great vacation spot if you want to be away from the crowd and are willing to ”rough it”.

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Since she was born in 1908, she probably entered Houghton College as a freshman in 1926.  Chip entered college in 1927 so they met in 1927.  We know nothing about her from her birth until the following announcement appeared in the newspaper, The Warrensburg News, November 22, 1928.   Crown Point and Broadalbin were locations of sanatoriums where persons with tuberculosis were located.  It is curious why they would send her home, and we don’t know how long she had been a patient at the sanatorium.  This was Thanksgiving time in 1928.  Chip was a sophomore at Houghton.  This was the year of their courtship, but it is not known when the courtship began.  Since the disease is contagious through microscopic droplets released into the air, it is not likely that Houghton would have let her return to school without a clean bill of health.

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A variety shower (nowadays called a bridal shower) given shortly before the wedding had a large crowd and was a festive affair (Warrensburgh News, July 11, 1929).  She and Chip were married July 4, 1929.  Apparently, the tuberculosis was abated to the point of appearing cured or being cured at that point.

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The next time we hear about Clara is when she enters the Homestead Sanatorium in Middle Grove (near Corinth) on October 5, 1929. This was only three months following the wedding of she and Chip.  Note that in October 1929 they were living with Chip’s parents (Wilber and Jessie Belle).  Perhaps my grandma was taking care of Clara while Uncle Chip was working at International Paper Co. 

Her final bout with tuberculosis was first noticed three weeks before her final admission to the Homestead Sanatorium.  Then, sometime around October 16, 1929, Clara [Stanton] Dayton rested from her illness.  I can’t begin to even imagine the pain and anguish that Uncle Chip had to endure.  I have heard, without proof, that he went into seclusion for a while.

Chip eventually began to court Elizabeth Duell, and they married March 7, 1931.  We are all blessed that they did.  My aunt Lib was one of the sweetest and humblest women I have had the privilege of knowing.

Houghton College

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