Ralph and Abraham Dayton, Brookhaven trustees

In May of 1693, Ralf and Abram Daiton were both elected trustees of the town of Brookhaven and they appear later in town record, performing duties of their office. This Ralph Dayton was probably Abraham’s brother, Samuel and Medlin’s eldest son, born about 1649 in Southampton.

In a November 27, 1693 meeting, Col. William Smith had his patent read before the trustees and a related document was signed by the trustees, including the marks of Ralf and Abram Daiton. The purpose for posting this document, here on the blog, is to present an example of Ralph and Abraham providing their “marks” in lieu of signatures. It appears that Clerk Timothy Brewster wrote the names of Ralf Daiton and Abram Daiton, and left sufficient space for the marks—“R” and “A.”

From this and at least five additional cases, can we assume one or both Daytons were illiterate? It is interesting to note that when space was provided for Abraham’s son Henry to leave his mark in various documents, he signed his full name instead.

If anyone has interest, proceedings and detail of this case can be found in The New York Supplement Volume 173, January13-February17, 1919  St. Paul, West Publishing Co., beginning on page 537.  “The question is whether the land under water opposite it to the center of the Connecticut river is owned by the plantiffs or by the defendant.”

The original November 1693 document was salvaged from the great fire of 1911 at Albany and was then bound and archived at the NYS Archives at Albany, where by brother and I viewed it in May of 2015. A transcription is found below the photo of the document.

At a meeting of the Trustees of the freeholders & comonality of the Town of Brookhaven upon the 27th Day of November 1693 Present Justice Woodhull William Jeane Ralph Dayton Daniel Brewster Abraham Dayton:Coll William Smith Did then cause his Pattent to bee read before abovesaide Trustees and Each & Every one of them Did declare that they had nothing to object against the limits bounds power privileges within the saide patent contained  Also Coll William Smith did covenantand agree for himselfe & his heirs for Ever with the Trustees of the Towne of Brookhaven and theire heires & Successors for Ever that for and in consideration of fourty & two shillings in monys by him the saide Smith in hand Payd for the use of the Towne they Doe for Ever acquit the saide Smith and his heires for Ever from any or all quitt rent due from the Little Neck & his home lotts.
Richard Woodhull Daniel Brewster Ralf Daiton Abram Daiton William Jeane Timothy Brewster

John Deitz also speaks of the case on his website http://brookhavensouthhaven.org/History/YaphankNeck/YaphankNeck.htm

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