The Layton surname, often spelled Leighton, is an English name that, depending on location, meant either "settlement by the watercourse" or "leek enclosure". It has long been a very common name, and is closely tied to early Mormon history - Layton, Utah is named after Mormon settlers from our ancestry.
George Layton 1681 - Unknown
George, recorded as both Layton and Leighton, was born around 1681 in Bedfordshire, England. We know virtually nothing about him, as his name only appears with his wife, Alice Deere, on the birth and christening records of their children.
George and Alice's children:
Dorothy Layton, b. 1707
George Layton, b. 1708
William Layton, b. 1710
Edward Layton, b. 1712
Elizabeth Layton, b. 1713
John Layton, b. 1717
Michael Layton, b. 1718
England Births and Christenings
John Layton 1717 - Unknown
Like his parents, the only records we have of John and his wife Sarah Collup are the birth and christening records of his children. Interestingly, while his name is often spelled Layton, his children are recorded as Leighton.
John and Sarah's children:
Elizabeth Leighton, b. 1740
William Leighton, b. 1742
John Leighton, b. 1745, d. 1796
Sarah Leighton, b. 1746
Martha Leighton, b. 1752
England Births and Christenings
John Leighton 1745 - 1796
John Leighton was born in Bedford, England in 1745. He married Elizabeth Nottingham in the early 1780s, and the two had at least three children. All three were given the surname spelling Leighton, but his youngest son, our descendant, is recorded on most documents as Layton.
John and Elizabeth's children:
Thomas Leighton, b. 1784
Maria Leighton, b. 1786
Samuel Leighton, b. 1789, d. 1859
England Births and Christenings
Samuel Layton 1789 - 1859
Samuel was born in 1789 (though some records say 1786) in Bedfordshire, England. In the early 1810s, he married Isabella Wheeler, and they had four children, one of whom would go on to become a prominent figure in early Mormon history. Samuel, too, converted to Mormonism late in his life and migrated to Utah where two of his sons were living. It's interesting to note that of his four children, three converted to Mormonism, while one, my ancestor, vocally refused. Samuel died in 1859, and is buried with his son Christopher.
Bathsheba was born in 1812 in Bedfordshire, the eldest child of Samuel and Isabella. In 1832 she gave birth to a son, Charles. While many records state Charles' father was her future husband, Nathaniel Denton, he was actually William Martin, a man to which she was possibly engaged but never married. While Bathsheba and William did not marry or have more children, their families stayed connected, as two of Bathsheba's siblings married two of William's siblings. Unlike her siblings, however, Bathsheba did not convert to Mormonism nor move to the United States (a letter to her son Charles, in fact, states unequivocally that she absolutely will not ever do so). She married Nathaniel Denton in 1836, and they had seven children together. Bathsheba passed away in 1863.
Bathsheba and William's children:
Charles Layton, b. 1832, d. 1901
Bathsheba and Nathaniel's children:
Christopher Denton, b. 1838,
Samuel Denton, b. 1841
Isabella Denton, b. 1843
Priscilla Denton, b. 1846
Amos Denton, b. 1848
George Denton, b. 1851
Charles Denton, b. 1854
Autobiography of Christopher Layton
Letters written by Bathsheba
England Births and Christenings
Charles Layton 1832 - 1901
Charles was born in 1832 in Bedfordshire, England, the only son of Bathsheba Layton and William Martin. In his late teens or early 20s, Charles converted to Mormonism and joined his uncle Christopher in Utah. Like many Mormons of the time, Charles practiced plural marriage, having at least three wives and thirteen or more children. He worked as a farmer and landlord, and served as a Sergeant in the Blackhawk War. His life, however, seems to have been largely devoted to the Mormon church.
In the early 1850s, he married his first wife, Elizabeth Bowler. The two had eight children, and it is from this line that I descend. In the early 1860s, he took a second wife, Sarah Crockett, and five children were born to them. Interestingly, Charles and Sarah's marriage certificate states they were married in 1896, but they are listed as married in the census as early as 1870. As 1896 is the year his first wife Elizabeth died, it seems as though Sarah was not a legal wife until Elizabeth's passing. One has to wonder how the women felt, often being pregnant at the same time, and having Charles move from one home to the other regularly. Much later in life, he took a third wife, Mary Jarman, but it does not appear, nor seem likely, that any children were born to them. Charles died in 1901 and is buried in Utah.
Charles and Elizabeth's children:
Samuel John Layton, b. 1855, d. 1944
Eliza Ann Layton, b. 1857, d. 1882
Charles Amos Layton, b. 1858, d. 1948
William Isaac Layton, b. 1861, d. 1934
Orson Layton, b. 1863, d. 1929
Phoebe Elizabeth Layton, b. 1865, d. 1927
Timothy James Layton, b. 1867, d. 1945
George Thomas Layton, b. 1869, d. 1949
Charles and Sarah's children:
Edith Layton, b. 1865, d. 1934
Christopher Edward Layton, b. 1867, d. 1958
Nettie Isabella Layton, b. 1869, d. 1884
Ermine Layton, b. 1870, d. 1959
Frank Layton, b. 1875, d. 1965
1870-1900 Census Records
Samuel Layton 1855 - 1944
Samuel was born in Kaysville, Utah, the first child of Charles and Elizabeth. A hard worker all his life, Samuel is listed as a labourer in the 1870 census, at just 15 years old. Over the course of his life, he would own the first general store in Mountain View, Alberta, become the local sexton and undertaker, work as a blacksmith, and serve as justice of the peace.
In 1874, Samuel married Mary Naylor, and they had one daughter. It isn't known whether they divorced or if Samuel practiced plural marriage; less than two years after the birth of their daughter, Samuel was married to Sarah Trappett. In any case, Mary passed away in 1888, so if it was a plural marriage, it was short-lived. Samuel and Sarah went on to have twelve children, seven of whom were born in Utah, and five in Alberta.
Samuel was apparently highly respected and much loved in Alberta - in 1838, an 83rd birthday celebration was held in his honour, and the local newspaper deemed it "one of the largest family gatherings Taber has ever seen", its numbers boosted by the fact that far more than just his family showed up. Most of the town apparently wanted to celebrate with him. Samuel would pass away six years later, and several articles would be written about him in the following years.
Samuel and Mary's children:
Mary Lavinnia Layton, b. 1876, d. 1965
Samuel and Sarah's children:
Sarah Maria Layton, b. 1878, d. 1929
Annie Elizabeth Layton, b. 1880, d. 1979
Clarence Samuel Layton, b. 1882, d. 1954
Maggie Estella Layton, b. 1884, d. 1955
William Ezra Layton, b. 1886, d. 1943
Pheebee Layton, b. 1887, d. 1915
Charlotte Eliza Layton, b. 1892, d. 1985
Thursa Layton, b. 1893, d. 1975
Horton George Layton, b. 1896, d. 1961
Sterling Oliver Layton, b. 1898, d. 1902
Mable Irene Layton, b. 1900, d. 1972
Golden Montagne Layton, b. 1904, d. 1991
1870 & 1901 Census
Clarence Layton 1882 - 1954
Clarence was born in 1882 in Kaysville, Utah. His family moved to Alberta when he was 7, and he was raised near Cardston. When he was 19, he married Minnie West, and they had eight children, all born and raised in Alberta. Minnie passed away in 1929 and the next year, he married Elva Pickett, with whom he had two more children.
Clarence was a jack of all trades, but he was best known as a janitor and handyman for the Taber school system. Affectionately known as "Pop" Layton, students and staff alike seemed to view him fondly. A newspaper article announcing his death in 1954 states that the school flew the Union Jack at half-mast for over a week upon hearing of his passing, and a plaque was set to be erected in his honour. Students and staff mourned his death openly, and many stories of his kindness to cadets, military personnel, students, and teachers quickly flooded the newspapers and school newsletters.
Clarence and Minnie's children:
Dorothy Ann Layton, b. 1903, d. 1996
William Ralph Layton, b. 1906
Hazel Layton, b. 1907
Cecil Clarence Layton, b. 1909, d. 1996
Viola Layton, b. 1911, d. 1993
Irene Opal Layton, b. 1914, d. 1991
Harold West Layton, b. 1917, d. 2012
Orlin Ross Layton, b. 1921, d. 1994
Clarence and Elva's children:
Lynn Clarence Layton
1901, 1906, 1916 Census
Utah Select Marriages
Dorothy Layton 1903 - 1996
Dorothy was born in 1903, the first child of Clarence and Minnie. She attended sewing classes from an early age, and at 22, married George Stalker. They raised seven children on a farm near Taber, Alberta.
Photographs of her as a young woman are plentiful, and show her as fun-loving, with a group of close friends who spent a lot of time together over the years.
I did know my great-grandmother Dorothy, but my recollections of her are vague. I knew her as a very quiet woman with shocking white hair and a strong face. She and George were devoted grand and great-grandparents, attending our many birthday parties and Christmas celebrations. Relatives who knew her when she was a bit younger also say she was quiet, but that she would occasionally crack a joke out of nowhere, surprising everyone in the room. They also remember her as an excellent baker, claiming that she made the best bread they had ever tasted.
Dorothy passed away in 1996.
For information on Dorothy and George's children, please see the Stalker page.