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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The Next Generation

We’ve spoken about this before, but I continue to be fascinated by the contrast between many in the first generation of European settlers in America and their sons of the second generation.

The concept was first presented to me by Richard Barons, longtime Executive Director of the East Hampton Historical Society. He spoke about this hunger for additional land that existed in that second generation, along with a wanderlust (generally speaking) in order to enrich themselves. Unlike many of their fathers who viewed acquisition of land to build a community of saints, economic rewards of this life because their focus. According to Nathaniel Philbrick, Governor Bradford predicted it would be “the ruin of New England.”

We can certainly see this contrast with our family. Once settled in New Haven Colony, Ralph lived there until about 1650, when he moved the family to East Hampton. Then, only to remain there until moving close to Samuel a couple of years before his own death.

On the other hand, Sam was constantly moving, so much so that it becomes difficult to account for all the years of movement, before finally settling down on Dayton’s Neck, at South (Brookhaven/Bellport).

Posted in Daiton, Dayghton, Dayton's Neck, East Hampton, New Haven Colony, Ralph Dayton, Samuel Dayton, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mayflower Connections

The next few posts continue to be inspired by Pilgrims and Philbrick’s book, but will also be relevant with Puritans such as the Dayton family of Connecticut and Long Island.

Even though we knew beyond a doubt, the first few lines of Mayflower ancestry were made official this summer by a cousin Deane Dayton.

In case you didn’t know—if you are a descendant of David Dayton and Chloe Skiff(e), you may not be aware that you have at least four Mayflower ancestors through Chloe’s father, John. They are: John Tilley, Joan Hurst Rogers, Elizabeth Tilley and John Howland. If you are a descendant of Charles Dayton (son of Henry Dayton) and Nancy Goodnow of Hadley NY, you are also a descendant of Mayflower “strangers” John Billington and Francis Billington.

We have additional Mayflower lines on my mother’s side and I encourage you to investigate your own.

Posted in Alice Dayton, Dayghton, Dayton, Deighton, John Howland, Ralph Dayton, Tilley, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Puritans and Pilgrims

I’ve had time lately to do some enjoyment reading as I sit for chemotherapy treatments these last few weeks.

Finally, I’ve begun to read some from a stack of books that has been piling up since 2010. This week, I read Philbrick’s 2008 NYTimes bestseller “The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ New World” (albeit mine is the shorter adaptation for young people–useful for chemo brainfog). There are several interesting points in the book that I had either forgotten or possibly I am just looking at the Mayflower differently now, after studying Daytons of the same period.

So, there are now at least five or six points to talk about that I hope will interest others.

The first is the simple observation that Myles (or Miles) Standish was a contemporary of our Ralph Dayton–contemporary as in–the two men might have actually been born in the same year and died within two years of one another. Standish, of course, is a popular historical figure and at various times in American history, has been a pop-culture figure.

Although Standish was not himself a Pilgrim, he was hired by and lived with the Pilgrims. On the other hand, Ralph Dayton was a New Haven Puritan of the same stock as those Puritans of Massachusetts Bay. Although seemingly interchangeable to many today, Pilgrims and Puritans were distinct in many ways. One such example is the way they interacted with Native Americans.

According to Philbrick,

The Pilgrims had done little to convert the Indians to Christianity, but for the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, it was a priority from the start.

It is fascinating to consider the seal of the colony of Massachusetts Bay which contains an image of the Indian saying “Come over and help us” that was created before the arrival of the Puritans in the New World.

In Massachusetts, the Puritans made efforts to teach Native Americans to read and write in order that they might read the scriptures, and some even attended Harvard at its beginnings.

You might remember also that some Puritan churches had seating reserved for Native Americans.


Posted in Ashford, Dayghton, Howland, Mary Knight Haines Dayton, New Haven Colony, New London, Ralph Dayton, Skiff, Skiffe | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


This is to let everyone know that I will be taking a rest from posting this fall. My plan is to resume posting again when I am able. For now, I need to focus energy on university responsibilities.

I will continue to check comments and email, thanks

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Charles Erastus and Nancy Goodnow Dayton

For anyone who may be interested, I’ve attached photos of portraits of Charles E. Dayton and his wife Nancy Goodnow Dayton. These period portraits are in my possession, handed down through my father.

They appear to be charcoal-enhanced, possibly from photo projections created sometime in the late 1870’s to 1880’s. It is assumed that both portraits existed during the lifetimes of Charles and Nancy although it is possible, judging from appearance and style, they were produced after their passing, in accordance with common Victorian custom.

Charles was the son of Henry Dayton Apr 18, 1792-Sept 26, 1849 and Christie Ann Cameron Dayton Jan 18, 1796-Oct 4, 1865. The graves of Henry and Christie were located near the SW corner of their Hadley Hill NY farm property, but their remains were moved to Dean Cemetery on the Stony Creek Road in 2005, where they rest next to Charles and Nancy.

Henry Dayton was the son of David Dayton Junior (our last ancestor from Long Island) and Chloe Skiff. Henry had siblings Joel, Chloe, Eunice, Telem, Irinda, Anna, Orrin, Orange, Erastus and Louisa.

Charles Erastus Dayton May 29, 1832-Sept 26, 1882 and Nancy Goodnow Dayton Jan 19, 1838-Mar 17, 1883, were born in Hadley NY and lived their entire lives there, running the family farm that had belonged to his father Henry. Both died there.

A tintype below, judged to be from the 1860’s, is held at the Stony Creek Historical Society.

The couple had five children: Delbert Henry Dayton of Iowa, James Warren Dayton of Greenwich NY, Jennie Finette Dayton Roach of Greenwich NY, Wilbur Thomas Dayton of Corinth NY, Carrie Belle Dayton Harris of Gloversville NY.

Posted in David Dayton, David Dayton Junior, Hadley NY, Henry Dayton, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Approaching the origin of Samuel Dayton’s Indian bride

If a source was ever safe to cite, you’d think it would be Jacobus, but even he could make mistakes. Fortunately for us, when he found them, he issued additions and corrections. But how many well-meaning researchers have repeated his (already corrected) errors?

We all know his early account of the Dayton family:

In Additions and Corrections, Jacobus cited sources for errors Alice “Wilton,” the marriage year of “1616,” the existence of Sam’s mysterious wife Wilhelmina and he reveals that the legend of Samuel’s Indian wife came from “family sources” relayed through Sheldon B. Thorpe.

Are we close to discovering the original source? The author Sheldon B. Thorpe died about 1924, but the bulk of Thorpe’s work appears to be published before 1900, meaning he was actively researching, and possibly interviewing family, at the time when family story-telling was especially fashionable and prominent near the turn of the twentieth century.

New Haven, CT: Families of Ancient New Haven. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as New Haven genealogical magazine. vols. I-VIII. Compiled by Donald Lines Jacobus. 8 vols. Rome, New York: Clarence D. Smith, 1923-1932.

Posted in Alice Dayton, Brookhaven, East Hampton, Medlen, Medlin, Ralph Dayton, Samuel Dayton, Tritton, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment