Ralph Dayton’s “spot” at the meeting house

According to Alice Morse Earle, the Puritan custom of selling “spots for pues” was immensely important in early New England, providing public displays of dignity. Seating location in the house of worship was ordered by a person’s wealth and position, beginning with the governor and included those with the titles of Goodman or Goodwife.

When the order of seating was read aloud in New Haven General Court on March 10, 1646/47, Ralph Dayton had a long wait before his name was read because he was close to the end of the ninety-nine men listed (not counting the governor, clergy, trustees and a few other officials). It seems there was only one row of four men behind Ralph’s fifth row seating “on the other side of the door.” Behind the purchased spots, there was seating for soldiers, placing them near doorways and guns, and a few seats for others.

At about age fifty-eight, Ralph Dayton’s seating does not indicate the prominent social status that some authors have attributed to him.

More to come…….


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