The gift of people helping people rings true in Dayton

As we age, it's so important to know we have supportive folks around us who are willing to be there for us. Our friends and neighbors somehow know when those times we need help come along. I'm so grateful to all my friends that have been so helpful in my times of need.

So it was in the old days in Dayton. You might even be a scoundrel, a no-account kind of person, but everyone knew when there was a need and offered to help. You could drop off your baby and the kid would be safe. I think I liked that kind of community. Dayton still has that sense of community and is visible when folks need a helping hand.

Emma Nevada Loftus writes in her yearly diaries about folks being kind to folks. The best example was the Hankammer children abandoned by their mother, left with their aunt, Sybil Barton. Sybil was married to Chester Barton, Emma's son, and when she and Chester divorced, Chester continued taking care of the kids. They all grew up to be fine people, because the community cared.

There were other examples of ranchers taking in youngsters during the Depression. They made sure they were clothed and fed and most importantly, schooled. I think Dayton has always been a good-hearted community.

As Emma and her husband Jack grew older, Emma needed help with Jack. People would come and sit with Jack so that Emma could get away for the day. They saw the need. After Jack passed away there was a constant stream of people who came to see if she needed help. Through the years, Emma was there for people and it only made sense that people were there for her. Her selfless attitude showed in all her diaries and came back to her when she needed help.

I hope Dayton continues to have that sense of community. Newcomers remark to me often when they visit the museum, they feel the same sense of caring. Viva la good neighbors.

The Dayton Museum is located on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. Hours: Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1p.m.-4 p.m. The Web site is daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-8382 or 246-0441. The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets every third Wednesday of the month at noon. Please call for location. Visitors are welcome.

• Ruby McFarland has lived in Dayton since October 1987, she serves as a board member of the Dayton historical society and a docent at the museum.

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