I am continually reminded of the inadequacies of much of history, particularly when trying to gain a more complete understanding of family legacy. It is unfortunate that early American family histories provide us little knowledge of wives, mothers, daughters and sisters. I often try to imagine myself in the place of an ancestor, but in so many circumstances, this is very difficult or impossible to do without consideration of that most significant ingredient—the women in their lives. Keeping in mind that the very existence of a female family member might never be mentioned, there is no way to know of their impact or significance to any story.
That we know so little about most of our grandmothers is unfortunate to say the least. Consider the wife of Ralph Dayton who was mentioned in East Hampton records—if she was Alice, the couple had been together more than thirty-five years, yet we cannot be sure it was her because we have found no record of her death. Then consider Medlin and Mary, wives of Samuel Dayton; Mary and Catherine, wives of Abraham Dayton; and Anne Francis, wife of David Dayton Senior.
I have to believe that any redeeming qualities of Dayton men should be attributed in large part to the strong character, example and engagement of wives and mothers known only to us by name.