Samuel Dayton: Merchant, Freighter or Other?

In the last post, the idea of Samuel as a “freighter” was presented. Although the definition of freighter has evolved in the past three hundred years, its meaning used to include a person who loads, receives, or forwards goods for transport. This would also be consistent with what appears to be Sam’s (and Abraham’s) occupation much later, at Dayton’s Neck.

Continuing along this line…I would very much like to hear your understanding of a 1665 East Hampton entry as given in Hedges (1887) as I am not confident that it refers to Sam’s occupation. What is your interpretation of Sam’s role in the event described in the deposition below? For those of you with our book, it is found on page 175.

Is Sam a bystander or is he employed on land or sea? Is Sam working at the dock as a lumper, is he the hauler or the merchant? Or, less likely–is Sam the attorney, taking the deposition?

The Deposition of mr John Blackleech Mr John Osburne & Samuell Dayton Taken before me Testifieth as ffollowest That on the twenty third Day of this Instant Moneth there was a debate betwixt the Master of the Catch “Triall” Of Boston and the Merchant & ffraiters of the sd Catch she then Ridinge in the Roade of Easthampton at Ancor and she then not beinge very well fitted with masts sailes provisions and water whether she should goe to sea in the condition that then she was in or that she should land her goods at the port without Confiscation of goods or vessell [Book 2, page 132.] and in order there unto Answer was made by the Cunstable of the sd place by name Thomas Chatfield, that they might if they would willingly come a shore without being forced ashore she might as well come a shore at the sd place and Land her goods wth as much freedome as the whalemen might strike a whale, and bringe her ashore at the sd place and this to our best Remembrance he spoke at the prsent Instant., And afterwards we doe attest that on the twenty ffowerth of this prsent Moneth he did affirme the same in our hearinge whereupon this beinge an encoragement to the Merchant & ffraiters they under their hands gave the Master of the sd Catch an order to acte as they have Donne: Taken before me John Mulford.

As always, your input is appreciated.

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