History of County Monroe / In Dundee, Slayton’s name dates back to the 1700s
By Martha A. Churchill
John Slayton started buying cattle at the age of 14 and continued on throughout his life. He opened a butcher’s shop on Tecumseh Street in downtown Dundee. In addition to fresh meat, he also sold groceries and even dry goods, but his customers probably paid more attention to his sirloin steaks than his cotton products.
John Slayton’s family in Dundee dates back to his grandfather, Ebenezer Slayton, born in Massachusetts in 1792. Ebenezer came to Pennsylvania where he found his wife, Betsy Steele. The two bought farmland in Dundee and traveled there through the wilderness to build a cabin and raise a large family.
John Slayton was proud of his butcher shop. He hired a photographer and stood at the door in his white apron to take pictures. In the photo, the white apron butcher on the left is Dave Martin. The boy is John’s son, Eugene Slayton, playing with his dog. The people in the white aprons on the right are butchers. Eugene looks like he is 10 years old, so the photo was probably taken around 1890.
Before electricity, refrigeration was not readily available, so it was common for butcher shops to hang fresh meat in the open.
When Eugene was 21, he married Harriett Preston, a lady from Dundee. Eugene wrote on the marriage license that he was a “cattle handler”, referring to his father’s cattle, but he didn’t really care about tending the cattle. He and his new wife quickly left Dundee and moved to New Orleans where they lived away from cows and steers.
Later in life, Eugene lived in Florida, working as a real estate salesperson. Eugene’s father was an avid cattle hauler until his death in 1918. John was laid to rest in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee, next to his wife, Harriet, along with the rest of the Slayton clan. John’s son, Eugene, is also in Oak Grove, not far from Ebenezer and Betsy, the ones who started it all.
Martha A. Churchill is a contributor to The Monroe News.