Ralph Dayton’s son and the dead cow

Thomas Barnes asked the court for “satisfaction of Ralph Dayton” for the loss of his cow which had perished while in the care of Ralph’s son. The account can be found in Hoadly’s Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven. 

According to Jacobus (1959),

In May 1645, a son [Samuel] of Raiph Dighton was blamed for the loss of a cow when the youth was acting as herdsman.

With utmost respect for Jacobus, I humbly suggest that the son was probably not Samuel, but instead was his younger brother Robert. Since it is uncomfortable to disagree with such a respected scholar, I would like to present my logic.

First, note that the suit was brought against Ralph and not the son, indicating that Ralph’s son was still a minor, as confirmed in the court’s judgement, “…the boy was innocent in the case” (Hoadly).

Second, consider that Samuel Dayton was baptized on February 1, 1623/24 while Robert Dayton was baptized January of 1629. Assuming that the cow incident occurred in May of 1645, Samuel would have been a legal adult (at least 21 years, 3 months) while Robert was still a teenager at the time.

It is understandable that so many genealogists repeat the opinion of Jacobus, but I am curious why he concluded the son was Samuel and not Robert. Anyone have ideas, in defense of Jacobus?

This entry was posted in New Haven Colony, Ralph Dayton, Robert Dayton, Samuel Dayton and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ralph Dayton’s son and the dead cow

  1. Ed Denne says:

    Your reasoning seems as always quite sound. Quick story. My father-in-law from upstate New York grew up in a farming family. I remember him at a party talking about his youth and all the strippers behind their barn and how they were growing in number. Now, I knew farmers were quite inventive in ways of making money but strippers behind the barn seemed a bit much. I protested that I found it very hard to believe there were naked woman running around behind the barn! I then learned that a “stripper” is an older cow no longer able to give milk. I just said, “Oh, well. OK. Well. Never mind.” Ah. Roseanne Rosannadanna – miss you so. Fred too.


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