In January of 1654/55, East Hampton landowners Ralph Dayton and Thomas Baker were listed in the Charge of the Meetinge House, among all those with taxable acreage. The names were arranged in tabular form with columns for prepaid tax, acreage, assessment, and balance owed to either the town or landowner.
Examining the disproportional figures assigned to Ralph and Thomas suggests the possibility of underlying arrangements. After correcting transcription errors in the Records of the Town of East Hampton Vol 1, it is concluded that Ralph Dayton’s 26 taxable acres was the largest in East Hampton at the time, as corroborated by Pelletreau in his History of Long Island. At the same time, Thomas owned 21, the third greatest amount of assessed acreage, equaling that of Chatfield.
But Thomas appears to have contributed the greatest amount of prepaid taxes—more than double due, according to his acreage. On the other hand, Ralph’s contribution of prepaid tax appears to be relatively little.
(The following paragraph was edited after first posting it on April 7).
Much to our surprise, Ralph was reported to possess the most commonage at this time, even more than his son-in-law. How is it that Ralph Dayton came to possess two shares when it was Thomas who is recorded purchasing Captain Howe’s primary holding?
The 21 acres and 26 acres were their original “acres of commonage”, not their total holdings…. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the answer for the inverse tax payments, but perhaps?
Hi Paul, it’s great to hear from you. Thank you for your correction. Wouldn’t you know–I quickly reviewed the draft this morning and changed the wording of that last sentence just before posting. I would like to study some more, so I can respond intelligently to your comment. Is the problem with the last sentence only or is there more?
Another great post =))
I submitted a comment for moderation: “The 21 acres and 26 acres were their original “acres of commonage”, not their total holdings…. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the answer for the inverse tax payments, but perhaps?”
Thank you again for keeping our family history alive!!