Using the Archives Contact Us Search Site Index -
College Archives
Published Resources
Teaching Resources
Records Management
Outside Links
About the Archives
library links
RG 30/209 - Dutton Family Papers

Philip Drew Dutton (1891-1975)

Philip Drew Dutton, son of Charles Henry Dutton (B.D.1910) and Marcia Jane Drew Dutton was born in Ashland, Massachusetts, on April 20, 1891. After completing high school in Watertown, New York, he studied at Oberlin College, where he was active in the Alpha Zeta Literary Society. He earned his A.B. in 1913 and his B.D. in 1916, thus becoming the third generation of his family to enter the Congregational ministry. While still a seminary student, he served as a summer pastor for the Congregational church in Barrie, North Dakota (1913,1914), and Nobel Road Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio (1915,1916.) After completing seminary, and ordination at Central Congregational Church, Madison, Ohio, he served as minister there for three years (1916-19).

In 1919, he and his wife, Helen Axford Wiley (A.B. 1917) whom he married in 1916, became missionaries in Taigu, Shanxi, China, serving under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, for 22 years, a period that included four years of Japanese occupation. "I was the only American at a North China mission, And because our country was considered a neutral in those years, I was the person through whom relations between the mission and the Japanese were carried on. It was a terrible responsibility."

The Duttons returned to the United States just a few months before Pearl Harbor. Following a two year furlough in Oberlin, Philip Dutton accepted a wartime pastorate at the First Congregational Church in Benzonia, Michigan (1943-47). In 1948, the Duttons returned to China, he to teach in the Fukien Union Theological Seminary at Fuzhou, but two years later, being forced to leave by the Communist invasion, they settled in the Philippines where he taught at the College of Theology at Silliman University until illness forced him to return to the United States in 1952. From 1954 until his retirement in 1958, he served as a minister to the First Congregational Church in Jefferson, Ohio. The Duttons then returned to Benzonia where Philip Dutton died on October 11, 1975, after a long illness.

Throughout his career, Philip Dutton was a prolific writer, composing sketches on Chinese politics and society and also maintaining an active correspondence. His class letters (Oberlin Theological Seminary, 1916) and official reports to the American Board of Foreign Missions document his active missionary work.

Philip and Helen Dutton had three children: Thomas Chester (1918-84; A.B. 1941); Jean Marcia (1920-26); and Frank Warner (b. 1924). Two granddaughters attended Oberlin College: J. Marcia Dutton Talley (A.B. 1965) and Alison A. Dutton Markwood (A.B. 1970). Also attending Oberlin College were Philip Dutton's father Charles Henry Dutton (1865-1920; B.D. 1910), sister Ruth Dutton Hayes (d. 1950; enr. 1910-11); and his nephew C. F. Hayes, Jr. (1915-65; enr. 1933-36).

Helen Axford Dutton, nee Wiley (1889-1982)

Helen Axford Wiley was born on December 22, 1889, in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the daughter of Edgar James Wiley and Leona Cummins Wiley. She was a descendent of John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. She attended Oberlin College, where she earned the A.B. degree in 1917 with a major in Greek and economics. She also studied piano and voice in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. While at Oberlin College she was placed in charge of a woman's dormitory and served as chaplain of Talcott Hall where she became experienced at leading prayers and worship services.

In 1916, she married Philip Drew Dutton and became his partner both as a minister's wife and as a missionary. During their years in China, Mrs. Dutton learned Mandarin Chinese, a language in which she became proficient. While her husband served a city church and several country churches, she taught English and music. Later, in the Philippines, she added ancient history to the subjects she taught. She attained these accomplishments while assisting her husband in fundraising and service projects and while raising three children, two of whom were born in China.

Helen Dutton was a prolific writer, keeping several journals of her travels through China (1935-40) and maintaining an active correspondence with her family and friends. She also composed a number of sketches portraying Chinese social patterns and customs. She also became a gifted translator of Chinese poems of the T'ang and Sun Dynasties; a collection of these was published under the title Secrets told in the Bamboo Grove (1940).

In 1979, four years after the death of her husband, Mrs. Dutton moved to Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, where she died on April 14, 1982.

[Family references and details of the Duttons' life as missionaries are included in Philip Dutton's biographical sketch.]

Colonel Thomas C. Dutton, USMC, ret. (1918-1984)

Thomas Chester Dutton was born in Ontario, Canada, just across the border from the family home in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on June 23, 1918. When he was six months old, his parents, Philip Drew Dutton and Helen Wiley Dutton took him to Taigu, China where they were missionaries. He spent the following twenty years there, returning to the United States to attend Oberlin College from which he graduated with the A.B. degree in 1941.

Upon graduation he joined the United States Marine Corps and served as a career officer until his retirement in 1970. During World War II, he saw action in the South Pacific at both Tarawa and Guadacanal. During 1945-46, he studied Chinese at the University of California at Berkeley, and because of his proficiency in the language, he spent two years in Qingdao negotiating the release of prisoners of war. From 1957-1960, he served as the Assistant Naval Attaché to the American Embassy in Taipei, Taiwan. Throughout his career, his specialty was Intelligence, and he taught at various military installations throughout the country. In 1967, he became the senior Marine Corps Representative on the staff of the president of the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where the previous year he had assumed the duties of the director of the Correspondence School and editor of the college's Review. For his work at the War College, Colonel Dutton was cited for his "meritorious service;" in 1969 he received the Navy Commendation Medal.

After thirty years of military service, Colonel Dutton retired in 1970 and spent the following two years as assistant to the president of Southeastern Massachusetts University in North Dartmouth. He continued to live in Newport until he moved to Falmouth MA in 1981, three years before his death on July 17, 1984.

On April 1, 1942, Thomas Dutton married (Lois) Elizabeth Tuckerman (1917-80; A.B. 1939). They had five daughters: J. Marcia (b. 1943; A.B. 1965); Susan E. (b. 1945); Alison A. (b. 1948; A.B. 1970); Deborah D. (b. 1953); and Katherine E. (b. 1957). Elizabeth Dutton died of cancer on February 20, 1980, in her home in Newport, Rhode Island. Subsequently, Colonel Dutton married Sheila Eunis Dutton who survived him.

In addition to the military reports issued throughout his service, Thomas Chester Dutton maintained an active, substantial correspondence with his parents (1937-1964). These are included in the Dutton family papers.

Sources Consulted

Alumni files of Philip D. Dutton, Helen Wiley Dutton, and Thomas C. Dutton in Alumni and Development Records (RG 28).

Oberlin College Seal -