Died: Feb­ru­a­ry 14, 1916.


Born to free par­ents, Lay­ton re­ceived his mu­sic­al train­ing at Round Lake, New York; North­west­ern Un­i­ver­si­ty, Ev­ans­ton, Il­li­nois; and un­der a Dr. Kim­ball and Er­nest Lent of Wash­ing­ton, DC.

He served on the Wash­ing­ton, DC, po­lice force for a few years, then be­gan teach­ing mu­sic in the pub­lic schools. He be­came the first male mu­sic di­rect­or in the Wash­ing­ton col­ored schools, a po­si­tion he held un­til his death.

He al­so sang and di­rect­ed the choir at the Me­tro­pol­i­tan Me­thod­ist Epis­co­pal Church for 43 years, and con­duct­ed the Sam­u­el Col­er­idge-Tay­lor Cho­ral So­ci­e­ty.

He was one of the driv­ing forc­es be­hind the hym­nal of the Afr­i­can Me­thod­ist Epis­co­pal Church is­sued in the late 19th Cen­tu­ry. Most of the work com­pil­ing that hym­nal was done at Lay­ton’s home in Wash­ing­ton, DC, with the help of his wife and Bi­shop James Em­bry.

Layton’s son, John Jr., be­came a suc­cess­ful song writ­er un­der the name Tur­ner Lay­ton.



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