We finally may have located the origin of the insertion of “Parsons” into our Samuel Dayton’s name. Since this idea has been introduced to the internet, it is proliferating, causing much confusion. For reference, Samuel Dayton is the son of progenitor Ralph Dayton, baptized at St. Mary’s, Ashford, Kent in 1624.
The earliest reference we have found to “Samuel Parsons Dayton” can be seen on the Editorial Page of The East Hampton Star from November 14, 1968. In a column entitled “Looking Them Over,” I believe it is editor Everett T. Rattray who states,
“The puzzle here is, who was Isaac’s [Hedges] wife? I have her listed as Mary Parsons Dayton, daughter of Samuel Parsons Dayton, born 1669, died Oct. 8, 1744, married Isaac Hedges 1685, and had a son Samuel born about that year who died March 9, 1755. Where does wife Sarah come in?
Looking back into the Daytons, I do not find Samuel Parsons Dayton or his children. Some of the children and grandchildren of that first Ralph Dayton in our town moved to western Suffolk County, to Shelter Island, and to Connecticut.”
Rattray does not mention where he picked up the idea for the name, but it sounds as if he had jotted it down as a reminder for himself to investigate later. When he did research the name, he says he discovered no such person. For the record, there was a Samuel Parsons living at that time and there could have been a Samuel Parsons Dayton living there a few generations later.
Unfortunately, Rattray mentioned “Ralph Dayton” a few sentences later and, some time since then, a reader mistook Samuel Parsons Dayton for our Sam, son of Ralph. To my knowledge, there is no suggestion in the record that our Samuel Dayton ever lived in East Hampton, although there are records of him visiting East Hampton and the record also shows him at the harbor in 1665.
If someone will claim a Mary Parsons Dayton for daughter of our Samuel, I expect the claim might also be made that Mary was born from Samuel Dayton’s wife, Mary Dingle. Interesting if true, but the problem with that is Samuel Dayton had probably just married Elizabeth Beardsley.
…still, none of this justifies adding “Parsons” to the Samuel Dayton who was baptized 1624 at Ashford.