On May 6, 1648, the town of Southampton, Long Island accepted Samuel Dayton as an inhabitant and he was granted land. But in the words of Richard Barons, “it wasn’t an open arms thing,” as newcomers were cautiously vetted. Even at Southampton, which was generally more tolerant of strangers than East Hampton would be, it seems that town officials made sure to note Sam as “a stranger to us,” granting land to Sam on condition during a 6 month proving period. Referring to Sam as a stranger meant they were labeling him somewhat alien, expressing some degree of apprehension or reservation. Sometimes the label of “stranger” might be applied to someone who may not have adequate ecclesiastical record.
But to accept Sam in the colony at all meant he probably carried some type of note that attested to his character and occupation, or perhaps someone in the settlement had known him (or knew of his family), or there were traveling companions who could testify to his worth. For example, we know that Thomas Robinson was also accepted the same day.
The conditions of Sam’s probation period were that:
1. He had a good record at Flushing, from where he had come
2. He conducts himself well
Samuel was about twenty-four years old when he arrived at Southampton so he could have arrived with his wife Medlin, but we find no record to substantiate it. This was probably about a year before their eldest son Ralph was born.
We develop theories of what he might have been doing in Flushing in our book and also discuss the reasons he might have come to Southampton, so we will not go into those here as they are lengthy.
Samuel was the first Dayton to settle on Long Island, a distinction some writers have given to his father Ralph Dayton.