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Merton Majo, US Navy, 1944

Merton Elmer Majo

3 December 1908 - 3 February 2000

Grandpa Mert

As winter weather moved into Northern New York and Christmas ads filled the local newspapers, Merton and his twin sister Mary were born in Three Mile Bay on the third day of December, 1908. Their parents, Louis Day Majo and Pearl Angell Majo now had a sizeable family of five children.

Merton grew up working on the family farm and attended rural schools on Pillar Point. He was an avid hunter and fisherman.

He married Gladys Slate in 1932 and the couple would welcome a set of twins of thier own with the birth of daughters Jane and Joan in 1936. A third daughter Elaine would follow eight years later.

In 1944 he was called to Naval duty in World War II, sailing on two supply ships as a gunner.

Mert worked for many years as a carpenter at the Black Clawson plant in Watertown, where they made machinery for paper mills. He also served as Dexter village policeman, becoming a face synonymous with the community.

In retirement, Mert was always busy -- helping out a neighbor, mowing a lawn, mending a roof, sharpening a saw, clearing winter sidewalks up and down the street. All done with a smile and a story or two. I had the good fortune of witnessing much of this first-hand and soaking up all the knowledge he was so willing to share.

Here's a timeline of some of the milestone events throughout his life:


Merton and twin sister Mary are born in Three Mile Bay, New York on December 3rd. They are the 4th and 5th children of Louis Day Majo and Pearl Angell Majo.

Pearl Angell Majo with her twins Mary and Merton, born December 1908

Birth records have yet to be found, but Merton and Mary are listed in the New York State Birth Index -- although incorrectly. In the right column below, you'll see Mary listed under the last name of "Majon" on December 3 in Three Mile Bay. The error for Merton (in the left column) is much worse as there is no mention of Majo at all. They have filed him under "Elmer" -- his middle name. This is a classic example of the widespread errors that exist in vital records and indexing. While Mary's listing was easy to find with just an extra letter added to the end of the name, the only way I was able to locate Merton was by searching for 1908 births in Three Mile Bay.


Merton, his five siblings and parents living on the family farm in Brownville Township, 1920.

Majo family, 1920 Census


At 23 years old, Mert married Gladys Slate on June 12, 1932 at Stone Street Presbyterian Church in Watertown.

1932 Marriage Record

Mert Majo, circa 1930

Mert Majo with twins Joan and Jane, circa 1938

Gladys and Merton Majo, 1955


In 1940, Gladys and Mert are living in Dexter with their twin daughters, Joan and Jane.

Majo family in the 1940 Census, Dexter, New York


Naval Service in World War II - Coming Soon


The Majo family at 505 Sterling Street in the village of Dexter, 1950.

Majo family in the 1950 Census, Dexter, New York


In the spring of 1978 at the age of 69, Mert was awarded the Dexter Citizen of the Year honor in recognition of his many years of service to the village, both in official capacity as a policeman as well as his many selfless acts of kindness to his neighbors and community.

Dexter Fire Hall, May 19, 1978

Merton Majo
Gladys Slate
(married 1932)
Joan (1936) • Jane (1936-2015) • Elaine (1944-2018)

Mert and Gladys Majo at Dexter Cemetery