Dr. Lewis P. Dayton, M.D. was Mayor of the City of Buffalo, New York, serving from 1874 to 1875. He was born on his family’s farm in the town of Eden, New York on October 10, 18221, one of nine children in the family. As a youth, he worked on the farm, attending local school during the winters. He then attended Springville Academy, graduating in 1840. He then began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. Timothy T. Lockwood, of Potter’s Corners, now Orchard Park, New York. He subsequently moved to Buffalo and studied there for a time with Dr. James P. White. He then attended the Medical Institution of Geneva College in Geneva, New York, graduating in 1843. That same year he moved to the village of Black Rock. In 1845, he was elected school commissioner for Black Rock.
Black Rock having been annexed to the city of Buffalo in 1854, Dr. Dayton was elected to serve two terms with the Buffalo Board of Aldermen in 1856 through 1858, serving as President of the body in 1857. He became a member of the Erie County Medical Society by 1849, becoming the society’s Vice President in 1858, and its President in 1859. He was returned to the Board of Aldermen for the 1864-1865 term, again serving as President in 1864. He served two years in the New York State Assembly, and he was Erie County Clerk from 1865 to 1867. In 1868, Dayton was appointed to the first Board of Park Commissioners.He served on that board through 1873. He was also selected as the Health Physician for the City, serving from 1872 through 1873. On November 4, 1873, Dayton was elected Mayor, on a Democratic ticket, serving from 1874 to 1875. As mayor, he was again ex officio a member of the park board. Dr. Dayton did not seek a second term as mayor, and he retired to his private medical practice.
He was married three times. His first marriage, about 1846, was to Grace Webster Holley, who died quite young. He later married Mrs. Alice Maud Hayes, a widow, but she died after only about one year of marriage. Finally, in 1892, he married Margaret Vogt. Dr. Dayton suffered a heat stroke in 1892, and his health was very adversely affected. Having become an invalid, he subsequently died on May 14, 1900. He was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, survived by his wife Margaret and two children.
1 Dr. Dayton’s birth year has been variously recorded as 1819 or 1821 in his obituary notices and biographical sketches published shortly after his death. His U.S. Passport application dated 21 January 1881 lists his full date of birth.