Faces of Dryden: A mystery in Dryden’s history

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In the winter of 1887, Dryden local Paul Layton was discovered on his property, skull fractured, murdered. Mr. Layton owned a large farm northeast of Dryden Lake where he took care of his livestock. Known for owning spacious, local land, having a “miserly disposition, employing only cheap help with whom he lived, having no family of his own,” and carrying large sums of money on his person, it’s the latter that’s supposed to have led to his untimely death. Following the tragic incident, extensive investigations were conducted to no avail. The culprit was never discovered. Their motive? We’re left to suppositions.


On Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Dryden Village Hall, 16 South Street, you’ll have the opportunity to flex your investigative muscles and offer your own take on this mystery. The Dryden Town Historical Society will be hosting the event, “The Paul Layton Mystery of 1887.” According to Gina Prentiss, President of the Dryden Historical Society, this event will be particularly interesting because of the numerous rumors, ideas, and theories that have surrounded the mystery for many years. Bob Watros, also a member of the Dryden Town Historical Society, grew up hearing stories from folks who had lived at the time of the tragic incident. These accounts, as well as the suppositions and facts surrounding Paul Layton’s murder, will be revisited by Watros and Randy Stewart, with the intent to set the record straight.


For Prentiss, the best outcome would be for a good turn-out, that people will share what they know, and to discover the backstories; the stories you overheard your Great Grandma telling, to share the “what if’s.” Behind every story, there are backstories. Hopefully, we’ll discover some and shed some light on the Paul Layton mystery.


This event is free. Donations will be accepted graciously. There is ample parking and elevator access. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The program starts at 7 p.m. Come early, meet your neighbors, and share your stories. For more information, contact Mary Hornbuckle at 898-3461.

Grants abound
Where can young people visit with a taxidermist, learn first-hand about cultures from around the world, spend the day at a nature center or participate in an age-appropriate history-based book club? Why, right here in Dryden, at a Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund (DYOF) grant funded event, of course.


Since 2004, DYOF has accepted and reviewed applications for mini-grants that provide “long-term benefit to Dryden area youth through innovative and creative programs and activities that go beyond the basic requirements of public education.” These funds have been awarded for a rocketry school for Civil Air Patrol, a youth group mission trip, art club, summer golf, farm field trips and more.


Any group sponsored by a not for profit organization that serves Dryden youth is eligible to submit an application by Wednesday, Oct. 31 for the fall grant cycle. Applications and more information can be found at dyof.org.

Slam dunk family fun
The Town of Dryden Recreation Department and the Dryden Sports Boosters have joined forces to bring the slam-tastic Harlem Wizards to Dryden High School. Town Rec Coordinator Marty Conger explained, “As you may already know, the Dryden athletic facilities are undergoing some major renovations this year. As a result of this, the Sports Boosters will have limited opportunities to raise funds because there is no home field. We are hoping to make this event a huge success so that it will help supplement the loss of revenue. Our sports programs rely on the Sports Boosters to provide needed and supplemental equipment for our teams.”


Dryden High School staff will make up the team taking on the Wizards. This is a fitting first foray for the school’s new Director of PE/Health/Athletics, Todd Kwiatkowski. Joining him are Men’s soccer’s coach Laszlo Engel, celebrated for his 200th Varsity Boys Soccer win just last month, and Women’s soccer and basketball coach Nicole Keator.


The Wizards bring their evening filled with “music, comedy, tricks, hoops & alley-oops” to the Dryden High School Gymnasium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24. General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students. More ticketing options are available, which include reserved seating, autographed team posters and a meet and greet with the players. Visit harlemwizards.com/schedule-tickets/ for those details.

Breakfast of Champions
The Dryden High School Baseball and Softball teams are working together to offer up a triple play of eggs, sausage, and pancakes as they jointly raise funds for their sports program with a series of pancake breakfasts. Step up to home plate and catch breakfast for a good cause from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Dryden Fire Hall. Breakfast costs $8 per person.

Faces of Dryden

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