I continue to be fascinated by the theory that Mary Beardsley may not have been Abraham Dayton’s first wife. The very fact that Jacobus mentions it grants the question some measure of importance. Please refer to the related December 10, 2016 post entitled “Did Abraham Dayton have sons from a wife before Mary Beardsley?”
Has anyone been able to connect the Abraham or Jacob Dayton of Salem County NJ to their theoretical father Abraham (son of Sam)? Are you aware of anyone studying this possibility? When looking at this, please consider:
- Centerton NJ in Salem County used to be known as “Dayton’s Bridge”
- We must be careful not to confuse this unknown Jacob Dayton in New Jersey with our Abraham’s brother Jacob, also the son of Sam, living at East Hampton before moving to Cape May, NJ about 1693.
- Keep in mind that Abraham’s son Henry later owned a farm or plantation at Great Egg Harbor, NJ.
Here is my reasoning to suggest there was sufficient time for Abraham and his unknown wife to have additional sons before Abraham’s marriage to his stepsister Mary:
If Abraham married as soon as he turned 21 (as most Dayton men did), it appears that the couple lived in Brookhaven because not only was Abraham recorded selling whale oil at South that year (1675), but he was also listed in the 1675 livestock valuations there. Likewise, it is supposed that the couple remained at Brookhaven because Abraham agreed to build a fence for Brookhaven resident William Jayne in January 1676/77, to be completed by the end of April 1677. Then we learn that 25 year old Abraham already had a newly-constructed house in Brookhaven by 1679, but we do not know when the house was built or if he was living in that house.
During the span of five or six years after the fence project, almost nothing is heard of Abraham until 1683 when his livestock can be found in another Brookhaven livestock valuation. Finally, we discover the following year that Abraham and Mary were together because records have the couple receiving a sizable inheritance in 1684 (see Brand Book of Stratford). That means, in theory, Abraham could have been married to an unknown wife for as many as 8 or even 9 years before marrying Mary Beardsley.
For reference, you may remember that Mary turned 21 about 1681, so the marriage could have occurred a few years before 1684.