There is the possibility that the Rogerene movement, an offshoot of the Anabaptists, had somehow been a factor in the marriage of Catherine Sweezey (many spellings) and Abraham Dayton, but to what extent it influenced or determined the course of unexplained family dynamics is not known. Evidence seems to suggest that most of the Abraham Dayton family had a strong, unexplained attraction to New London, CT.
In 1718/19, daughter Deborah married John Rogers, son of Joseph Rogers and grandson of James Rogers, the patriarch of the Rogers family. This John Rogers should not be confused with John Rogers, the founder of the Rogerenes. At the time of their marriage, Deborah was about 21 and John nearly 25 years her elder. Joshua Hempstead, in his famous diary, noted the event simply as, “Jno & Deb Daton published.”
Rogerenes believed in separation of church and state, so the founder John Rogers maintained obedience to the civil government, except in matters of conscience and religion. When Rogerenes refused to pay a minister’s tax, they were fined, imprisoned, and their possessions confiscated. Hempstead’s diary contains many documented accounts of the commotion. For example, in 1719, Hempstead wrote, “Jno Rogers & his crew made a disturbance…the midst of prayer time, they came in a Horse Cart Commited to prison at night.”
Is it possible that his association could explain Abraham’s mysterious plunge to destitution from his former position of significant wealth? (our book contains a photograph of the Senate’s 1710 response to Abraham’s appeal to collect charity)
Many Rogerenes were ancestors of early LDS converts…[including] Joseph Smith Sr.’s wife, and her grandfather, Ebenezer Mack, had belonged to the Open-Communion Baptist Church in Lyme, Connecticut.
It is evident that Abraham Dayton had formed a bond with his son-in-law John by 1726, as is proven by a record of conveyance in New Haven. Abraham’s support of Deborah’s husband was expressed in the New Haven (CT) Town Records, where it is stated, “June 21, 1726 Abraham Daten of Brookhaven on Long Island in the province of New York…in consideration of the love and good will which I have for my son in Law John Rogers of New London…[conveys to Rogers] all such Right Estate Title Interest Claim and demand…”
We have identified many bits of related information and circumstantial evidence that, when successfully linked with facts yet unrecognized could reveal the much larger story. We are confident that the story will be of great interest and importance to many family lines coming from Abraham.