Lord’s Song

I recently started reading the book “How Shall We Sing the Lord’s Song in a New Land?” by Barbara Myers Swartz (2018). The book was recently reviewed by Beverly Tyler and is available from the Three Village Historical Society, with materials archived in the Emma Clark Library. It is focused on the first 200 years of the Setauket Presbyterian Church.

Though I’m only one-third of the way through the book, it is proving to be very interesting and a well-researched project, worthy of its purchase.

Regrettably, on page 10, the author quotes a few lines from Fredrick Kinsman Smith, The Family of Richard Smith of Smithtown, Long Island, Smithtown Historical Society, 1967, pp. 5-6.

Samuel Dayton, with wife Medlin, and five sons (Samuel Jr, Ralf, Abraham, Iseck and Jacob) came in 1658 (out of Ashford, Kent, England, with a host of stop-overs in Boston, New Haven, East Hampton, Flushing, Southampton).

I hesitate to find fault with a statement in the book, but it points out the challenge faced by Dayton family researchers. It might seem like a minor point to non-Dayton researchers, calling out the fact that no evidence has ever been uncovered that the Ralph Dayton family was in Boston, but we are continually confronted with this proposition as if it was fact.

We understand why Boston is assumed and the claim is so easily repeated, but it is time that conventional wisdom give way to the presentation of evidence.

A similar but more serious problem occurs on page 16, with no sources provided:

Samuel Dayton made shoes and saddles for the settlers and very likely sewed “britches,” jackets and other leather goods as well.

We expect to begin finding this statement repeated as the “new” and exciting information is discovered by the casual researcher, and unfortunately, we expect it to then proliferate.

I am making an effort now to learn the source of the statement on page 16, and will report what I find.

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