Ralph Dayton’s son-in-law Thomas Baker, husband of Alice, became an extraordinary friend and consistent ally to the Dayton family.
The couple married in June of 1643 and lived at Milford CT until Thomas negotiated with Daniel Howe to purchase Howe’s very significant share in the new East Hampton settlement. Purchase of the Howe holdings probably included the largest house in town (which also could have been a public house), used for religious services before the church building was constructed.
Careful study of the tax record suggests the likelihood of a mutually-beneficial business arrangement between Ralph and Thomas to move their families “together” to East Hampton from Connecticut.
Thomas was educated, as his handwritten record inside the Baker family bible attests, including his famous line “We came out of England in the year 1639.” The bible is currently preserved in the Long Island Collection, housed in the East Hampton Public Library (photo courtesy of EHPL).
We also believe Thomas was practical and self-assured, his independence probably the cause of his brief excommunication from the church at Milford. It’s even possible he may have been a character witness for Elizabeth Garlick at the time of her witch trial at Hartford, after Thomas and John Hand were selected to transport the Garlicks there.
Thomas demonstrated his loyalty and assistance time and time again, as examples inform us. In 1658, he and Robert posted a £30 bond for Samuel Dayton’s appeal to the court at Hartford, and Thomas joined Robert again in an action of trespass and eviction against Robert’s stepmother Mary, when Mary and Ffulk Davis violated the conditions of Ralph’s estate. Among many more examples, Thomas testified in Ralph’s behalf when Ralph’s colt went missing while in the care of Thomas. Greatest of all, in our opinion, was Thomas and Alice’s agreement to indenture Samuel’s young son Jacob when Sam determined he could no longer care for Jacob—a most difficult time.