The past couple of times I have come to you all with a mystery stemming from the lack of information in our system. However, that is not the case today! I have actually found something in our system that not only has information, but I would even say that it has an over-abundance of information. Because of this, today I will be telling you all about Seth Dayton, and his interesting, fun, somewhat unfortunate life.
Seth Dayton was an early settler of Perry in 1854. He built his own brick house on Lake Robbins Road that also served as stagecoach station on the Des Moines to Fort Dodge line. The house was two stories, so Mr. Dayton probably had a fair amount of money to his name. He was married twice, and had nine children in total, three with his first wife and six with his second. So far, it seems like Seth had a pretty normal life for an early settler. However, his story quickly becomes very interesting. Let us start with his nine children.
Now having nine children is not a surprising detail about an early settler, since families often needed as much help as they could get around the house and farm. The names of his first three children were Ellen, Frank, and Isabelle, and the names of five of his other children were Harry, Adeline, Eva, Jane, and Minnie. All of these names are, without trying to sound mean, common for the time and do not seem very interesting. It is his last son that has a name that stands out from the rest: Pharaoh Israel “Fez”. This name is amazingly unique. There are few people that I know of who are named Pharaoh (aside from all of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt), and even less people who have the nickname “Fez”. Unfortunately, there is little else to say about Pharaoh, since the article in our system is about his father and not him.
Yet Seth Dayton’s family is not the only part of his life that is noteworthy. His house, aside from what I have already told you, is also very interesting. First, according to the article, Seth was a great horse race fan, and because of this, he had two horse race tracks next to his house. These tracks would get him in some big trouble later in life. According to the information in our system, he lost his farm because of horse racing: he actually bet it on a race and lost. This may not be the only reason that he lost his farm, however. According to the newspaper clipping, Seth had also built his house next to a knoll that was the site of an old Native American burial ground. I hope that I do not have to explain why this could be a problem (think Pet Sematary and the Poltergeist). It may even be possible that losing the farm in a bet was actually a good thing for the Dayton family: maybe they desperately wanted to get away from what they thought was a haunted house and farm.
What about you, readers? Have any of you ever thought that you lived in a haunted house, and would do anything to fix it or leave the house? If you have, leave a comment in the space below! In addition, the house itself is still standing and is even being restored. If you want to learn more about the house, you can go to the Dallas County Conservation site by clicking here, or even drive out to see it for yourself!