Since it seems like many of the inquiries I receive from readers and from distant relatives have to do with lines descending from Connecticut Daytons, it might be fitting to repeat some interesting facts and speculation having to do with Caleb, son of Abraham, son of Samuel, son of Ralph.
Most of this post contains copy from our book, beginning on page 284.
Caleb was born to Abraham and Mary, before Abraham married Katharine (Catherine). Apparently Caleb’s mother died shortly after his birth, about 1687 in Brookhaven, NY.
Catherine’s first-born was Abraham’s second known son Jonathan, born about 1694. Catherine would have at least four additional children before about 1704, at which time Abraham was fifty and she was probably in her late thirties.
On May 12, 1696, Abraham bequeathed his son Caleb “Daighton,” then aged 8 years and 5 months, to William and Jane Rawlinson, of Stratford, CT. Some knowledge of the Rawlinsons might be gained from the Stratford Episcopal Church where Rawlinson was a member and was probably warden.
We don’t understand why Abraham sent his son away two or three years after his marriage to Catherine. If older children did not exist, it seems unlikely that Abraham would willingly lose his only son (of Mary) to another couple. For an introduction to the arguments for and against two additional sons before Caleb, see The American Genealogist, Number 87, Volume XXII, no. 3, January 1946, The Daytons of South Jersey by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr.
Why would Abraham do this? The cynic would wonder if Catherine prompted Abraham to formalize the arrangement with the Rawlinson’s so that her son Jonathan would “become” the eldest and heir, thereby securing for herself a safety net should something happen to Abraham. With Abraham’s eldest brother as her neighbor at New Towne, he might naturally be in place to determine Catherine’s future.
On the other hand, is it possible that Caleb had never lived with his father, if Caleb’s mother died in childbirth? If that was the case, it is not out of the question that he was sent, even as an infant, to live in Connecticut, where he might be close to his mother’s relatives. The Rawlinsons, no doubt, were acquaintances of Caleb’s mother’s family or were relatives themselves (this idea comes from Donald Lines Jacobus).
Whatever the scenario, the Rawlinsons were to treat him in all respects, “as if ye said Caleb was there own natural child” (Stratford Land Records, 2:497). They provided Caleb with a fine upbringing and, although he retained the Daighton name, he probably identified more with the Rawlinsons. When Mr. Rawlinson died in 1712, he left his estate to his “loving adopted son Caleb Daighton.” William Rawlinson’s death was recorded under the name William Rollins on February 12, 1712.
Caleb married Mary Foote at Stratford December 10, 1713 and she was probably daughter of Daniel and Sarah Foote of Stratford. They moved to Newtown early in 1714.
Caleb died sometime between November 1730 (date of will) and January 1730/31 (date of inventory) at Newtown, Connecticut, and his line became quite vast, founding the Newtown and New Milford branches (according to Jacobus). Children include Josiah, Mary, Abraham, Jonah, Daniel, Amos and Jehiel.