On this day, April 1, 1668 (1 year short of 350 years ago), the governor of New York granted Brookhaven the right to whales after successful appeals by Mr. Woodhull and Samuel Dayton. The two men had been sent by the town to “treat about the whale,” arguing the town’s case against Joseph Raynor’s whaling company in nearby Southampton.
Their achievement was short-lived because just six months later the grant was suspended when Francis Lovelace replaced Nichols as governor.
So, once again, in October of 1668, Brookhaven voted to send Mr. Woodhull and Samuel Dayton back, “to go to the Governor to treat about the whale.” This time, they found that the governor had already considered Joseph Raynor’s appeal for relief including complaints against the men of Brookhaven, possibly accusing them of hiring Indians to drive the whales from Southampton waters into Brookhaven waters.
It is my belief that Samuel Dayton had been working for John Ogden’s whaling company when Sam lived at Southampton and may even have worked with Raynor. By April 2, 1670, Sam received the favor of whale-rent and he supervised all four Brookhaven squadrons beginning July of 1673. Sam would go on to assist his son Abraham Dayton’s whaling company and probably warehoused oil, tar and other commodities for some of the dealers at the Fire Place, close to Dayton’s Neck.
More details are available in our book.