As is so common in genealogy, many Dayton family storytellers have constructed images of Ralph they can comfortably embrace. Some of these stories attributing wealth and position have become legend, being repeated and retold for well over a century.
In contrast, Long Island town records tell us that Ralph’s son Samuel was compelled to dispose his two youngest sons in 1664 (see December 23, 2016 post) and Samuel’s son Abraham saw fit to dispose his son in 1696, after his marriage to Catherine Sweezey. With that knowledge, is it out of the question that Ralph and Alice had, upon arrival, disposed Samuel? Don’t forget—Alice had already lost the comfort of her daughters when they were “removed” upon her marriage to Ralph.
Very little evidence exists that would reveal the wealth of the Ralph Dayton family upon arrival. However, I believe we can safely surmise that Ralph was not wealthy, judging from the placements of the New Haven lot drawn for him and his seating in the meeting house.
Passage to America very often consumed a family’s assets and it was common to arrange short-term servitude or apprenticeship in order to pay off debt, gain sufficient resources in barter, or simply to cut down on the number of mouths to feed. Now consider the claims of a few authors that Samuel was on Long Island just a year or so after arrival and consider the unexplained absences at New Haven Colony. Might Samuel have been placed with someone like John Ogden before 1642?