1849–1916

February 14, 1916.

Layton, a composer, 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 C. Em­bry.

Layton was born to free parents in 1849, and 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.

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

  1. Amo Te
  2. Dulciana (harmonizer)
  3. Embry
  4. Jesus, Lover of My Soul
  5. Layton
  6. Metropolitan
  7. Nazrey
  8. Steward