Submitted by: Sharlynn Gates

John Rayton was born in Germany on April 4, 1831. John Rayton came to the United States from Germany around 1846, at about the age of 15, to escape the Germany draft into the military. 1846-1848 was a turbulent time in Germany. Famine and the failure of the German revolution resulted in the emigration of political refugees to America. The version that was told most was that he came from farmers. One day he was in the field plowing and he just tied up the horse and without telling a soul just left the field to catch a boat to America. He stowed away on a boat in Hamburg Germany to New York. Some say he stowed away with an older brother, but the older brother was caught and sent back while John remained hidden and made it to America. It was reported by family members he did not like to talk much about his past for fear of being deported back to Germany. Some family members have made reference that their side of the family heard John had not came to America as a stowaway but as an indentured servant. Meaning a family paid for his way to America in exchange for working 5 years as a farm hand. We can only guess at the true story. We do know he was very secretive about his past. We are told that the German spelling of the family name was Reichten, but was changed to Rayton when he came to America. He arrived most likely in New York unable to speak English. He probably lived for a short time in New York. He learned to speak, read and write English, how we are unsure. He went to Illinois and lived for a short time about 40 miles from Chicago. We are unable to find John on any 1850 Census. In 1859, he crossed the plains with an ox team to California. He worked mining and such other work as needed. John should be on a 1860 Census probably in CA but we cannot find him on any. We do not know if he changed his name or what name he went by to cover his past. For 5 or 6 years he bought and sold cattle up and down the western coast from California to Washington Territory. When John fist settled in Lewis County he worked for a Jackson Barton who lived near Toledo on the Cowlitz Prairie.

Having accumulated savings with his own farm as the goal he purchased land. In 1865 he came to western Washington and located in the Chehalis Valley. In all, he purchased over 780 acres of farming land. The list of his property accumulation is:

Aug 3 1868 Lewis Co Deed 285 Murry, J. G.

Dec 5 1868 Lewis Co Deed 308 Lemon, Wm. & Wife Claquato Property

Dec 5 1868 Lewis Co Deed 310 Lemon, Wm. & Wife Claquato Property

Dec 8, 1870 Lewis Co Mortgage 443 White Jno M. & Wife

Dec 30, 1871 Lewis Co Mortgage 87 Scott W. & Wife

Dec 20, 1872 Lewis Co Deed 219 Chapman, E & Wife

Mar 14 1884 Lewis Co Deed 306 Vincent Mary Toledo Cowlitz Property near the Mission

In 1868 he purchased his first property in Lewis County making that area his home until death. John is first see on a census in 1970. His name is spelled Raten and mistakenly notes Pennsylvania as his birthplace. Who knows whether he knowingly said PA, maybe he lived there for a time or maybe the census taker miswrote? Some of the property he purchased was at Claquato, apportion of the Chase and Berry Spinning Donation Claim. Later adding farmland 3 miles east of Toledo purchased from James Henriot near the Cowlitz Mission. And Finally purchasing the Glen Rountree farm at Boistfort.

The first year at Claquato, a black man named Lewis helped him clear his land, plant grain and build a new house. The lumber for the house was hauled by wagon from Tumwater. John bartered with individual Indians to clear specific pieces of land in trade for horses. He grew wheat and oats along with vegetables and some fruit trees. John was known to be very skilled with Horses. He often trained teams of horses together and then sold them as a team. He raised cattle, horses and sheep.

John married Angeline Miranda Smith Feb.21, 1875. The Smith family was another local family in the area. Angeline was the youngest child in her family. There was a notable age difference between the two. Her family lived on what is now the Schuber road in Claquato. John was 44 years old and Angeline was 17. It was believed the age difference played a part later in their marriage leading to the divorce. The marriage license was issued in the Court House in Claquato WA.

John’s wife Angeline Miranda Smith was born July 25, 1858 in Lone Rock, Richland Co. Wisconsin. Her Parents were John Parshal Smith and Lucy Rachel Cline Smith. The Smith Family was originally from New York. Their linage goes back Lion Gardiner One of America’s early Settler’s. Angeline was the youngest of 13 Living children. At least two Siblings were said to have died in infancy. John and Lucy Smith brought Angeline to the Oregon Territory as a small child with eight other siblings between 1860 and 1862. Some of the older siblings stayed on in Wisconsin with their married families. The family most likely joined other wagons at fort Kearny Nebraska, followed the Oregon trail through Wyoming to Boise city were they stopped. Then traveling on to Baker County Oregon and to Umatilla Oregon were the family stayed for a while. About 1868, her parents brought the remaining family to Claquato, Lewis Co, WA where they purchased 20 acres for fifty dollars from John D Clinger. The property sits along the south boundary of the now Schuber place.

The Smith family became acquainted with fellow Claquato resident John Rayton who had many property holdings. John was looking for a wife. At the age of 15 Angeline married John Rayton who was 44 at the time. They were married Feb. 15, 1875 at Claquato in Washington Territory. John Rayton had just built a new house on his Claquato property, part of the Chas Berry Spinning land donation. They had 2 other major pieces of property in Cowlitz Prairie and Boistfort. John and Angeline lived as husband and wife in Claquato from 1875-1884, Cowlitz Prairie from 1885-1896 then moving to Boistfort in 1897 roughly based on the children's places of birth. They farmed all properties and had hop farms in Boistfort. They had 11 children listed in the family record. Angeline loved flowers and named her girls after flowers. She named her boys after famous men in history.

They had three major pieces of property together, one in Cowlitz Prairie, Boistfort and Claquato throughout their marriage. They lived as husband and wife in Claquato from 1875- 1884, Cowlitz Prairie from 1885-1896 then Boistfort in 1897 roughly based on the children's place of birth. They farmed all properties and had Hop fields in Boistfort. John was known as a very hard working man. He was tall. He liked his meals at set times 6;00 am breakfast, 12:00 noon for lunch and 6:00 for dinner. He was said to leave the house at 5:00 am milk half the cows come in for breakfast then finish milking the rest of the cows. He did chores until noon ate lunch worked until 6:00 at dinner worked again and came in to retire at about 8:00 just in time to bring in warm milk from the evening milking for the children to drink before bed. John pulled all his own teeth. The family is shown on the 1980 Lewis County Census at Claquato with their first three children, Albert, John Henry and Nellie.

In 1895 residents of Curtis voted the property of John Rayton as the site for a new school. It lay a quarter mile west of Curtis and the crossroads to South Boisfort, Lake Creek and Chehalis. The deed for the school land was purchased from John Rayton and recorded.

John and Angeline had 11 children, listed in the family record. John and Angeline filed for divorce twice. The first filing was in July 1896. It was later dismissed after the couple reunited at Johns request. The reunion did not last long. The two re-filed for divorce again finally divorcing Jan 3, 1900. The divorce papers were filed in Chehalis WA at the Lewis Co Court House. The papers make for interesting reading on the personal issues of the marriage at the time, with bitter accusations. After the divorce he moved into Ben Allenders Iowa Boarding House for a brief time as noted in the 1900 Census. Angeline stayed on the boistfort farm with the children.

John Rayton then married Hannah Smith Barton, Angeline's older sister Dec. 24, 1901 in Olympia WA. They were married 4 years and lived in Chehalis WA proper. They divorced in Nov. 25, 1905.

John later married Anna Louise Wuestney, Oct. 28, 1908. Anna was the first wife of Captain Wuestney former resident of the south fork of the Newaulkum River. They remained married till his death. They lived in Chehalis in a large house with a barn above now what is Sunbirds next to the now fitness center. The house and barn is still standing. John died at age 83 on Sept. 11, 1917 in his home on Coal Creek road in Chehalis WA. Funeral services were held on a Thursday morning Sept. 13, from the Sticklin Chapel: interment in the I.O.O.F. cemetery under the direction of Sticklin & Son. This is now the Claquato Cemetery He is buried next to Anna Wuestney his third wife. John left no will but died interstate. He had $2258. 11 in the bank, personal property of the estate were estimated of value at $6483.11 with property in Lewis County. Leonard Rayton was appointed administer of the estate.

After the divorce Angeline was given the Boisfort property where she stayed on and lived. She enlisted the help of her son Leonard then age 16 to stay on and help with the farm. Angeline told him if he would stay on the farm and run the farm till the age of 21 she would deed over 40 Acers of the farm to him. At age 21 Leonard found the property had an outstanding 2nd mortgage and had to make payments on the 40 acres in order to own the farm. It was also believed Angeline was briefly engaged to another man after her divorce but the gentleman died unexpectedly in a drowning and they were never wed.

Angeline then met Lyman B. Adams. Lyman had been previously married with two children. They were wed November 14, 1906. They lived for a short time on the Boistfort farm and them moved after buying a Boarding House. Angeline and Lyman owned and operated the "Wisconsin Boarding and Lodging" and a "Mammoth Barn" Livery Stable located in Chehalis WA. They purchased the Room and Boarding house and Livery when she sold the remaining of Boistfort farm. They owned and operated the "Wisconsin" and Mammoth Barn" for a few years. They later moved to the Ceres/Meskill area where they lived till death. Angeline died at the age of 82 on August 8, 1940 only 6 months after Lyman's death. She is buried in the Claquato Cemetery near Chehalis WA.

The Children of John and Angeline Rayton were:

i. ALBERT HAYES2 RAYTON, b. March 21, 1877, Claquato, Lewis Co, WA; d. December 05, 1961, Chehalis Hospital, Lewis Co, WA. He married (1) RHODA M. RICE November 10, 1897 in Chehalis, Lewis CO, WA. She was born 1880 in Oregon, and died March 06, 1914 in Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA. He married (2) MAY J. SWAZE HOLLAND August 31, 1915 in Chehalis, Lewis CO, WA. She died December 20, 1962 in Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA.

ii. JOHN HENRY RAYTON, b. May 19, 1877, Claquato, Lewis Co, WA; d. June 26, 1964, Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA. . He married (1) MARY CATHERINE GRAY August 11, 1895 in Lewis Co., WA, daughter of THOMAS GRAY and EDNA SAMS. She was born March 10, 1880 in Loudon, TN, and died April 10, 1952 in Centralia Hospital, Lewis Co, WA. He married (2) ORA MCLAUGHLIN February 14, 1959. She was born May 08, 1884 in Missouri, and died December 11, 1969.

iii. NELLIE MAY RAYTON, b. April 23, 1880, Claquato, Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA; d. October 22, 1949, Winlock, Lewis Co, WA. . She married HERMAN C. DETERING May 05, 1897 in Chehalis, Lewis CO, WA, son of FRIEDRICH DETERING and LOUISE HOFFMEISTER. He was born February 06, 1869 in Mills Co, Iowa, and died February 02, 1960 in Wildwood, Lewis Co, WA.

iv. LEONARD FRANKLIN RAYTON, b. September 19, 1882, Claquato, Lewis Co, WA; d. January 05, 1969, Centralia, Lewis Co, WA. . He married ANNA CAROLINE BLACK October 26, 1904 in Boistfort, Lewis Co, WA, daughter of HOWELL BLACK and NEOMI ALLENDER. She was born October 14, 1880 in Mt. Pleasant Iowa, and died May 11, 1960 in Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA.

v. ROSY RACHEL RAYTON, b. April 23, 1884, Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA; d. June 07, 1971, Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA. She married JOHN DOSSEN MOON August 04, 1901 in Boistfort, Lewis Co, WA. He was born February 16, 1882 in Burnt Woods, Lincoln Co, OR, and died November 06, 1963 in Chehalis, Lewis Co, WA.

vi. ANDREW OTIS RAYTON, b. October 01, 1885, Cowlitz Prarie, Lewis Co, WA; d. September 01, 1949, Curtis, Lewis Co, WA. . He married ELIZABETH S. DETERING 1908 in Lewis Co., WA. She was born June 30, 1886 in Freeland, Indiana, and died May 25, 1974 in Curtis, Lewis Co, WA.

vii. DAISY DIZIRE RAYTON, b. March 10, 1887, Cowlitz Prairie, Lewis Co, WA; d. January 24, 1964. She married OSCAR EDWARD WHITE, son of FRANCIS WHITE and RACHEL BLACK. He was born March 26, 1880

viii. LEROY HARRISON RAYTON, b. April 16, 1890, Claquato or Cowlitz Prairie, Lewis Co, WA; d. August 05, 1942, Tacoma General Hospital, Pierce Co, WA. He married SYLVIA SKEEN October 12, 1915. She was born April 26, 1896 in Wise County, VA, and died June 15, 1943.

ix. LILLIE MYRANDA RAYTON, b. April 10, 1892, Cowlitz Prairie, Lewis Co, WA; d. August 17, 1967, Seattle, King Co, WA. She married WILLIAM WATT, son of ANDREW WATT and JANE. He died March 1913 in McCleary, WA.

x. VIOLET VIOLA RAYTON, b. March 26, 1894, Cowlitz Prairie, Lewis Co, WA; d. May 27, 1973, Centralia Hospital, Lewis Co, WA; m. GEORGE W. KOEBER, April 21, 1919, Lewis Co. WA; b. October 06, 1888, Sandy, OR; d. January 21, 1973, Centralia Hospital, Lewis Co, WA.

xi. MARGRET ANGELINE RAYTON, b. July 20, 1898, Lewis Co., WA; d. December 06, 1910, Chehalis, Lewis Co., WA. . She was struck with a crippling disease called at the time as infantile paralysis now known as Polio. Due to her young age of death, she was never married nor had children.