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. 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.

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Jane Dayton and Jesse Rayner

The Daytons and the Raynors have had connections way back to the earliest years of the Southampton settlement.

Jim found the answers to the questions posed in the last post—what were the first names of Mr. Rayner and Ms. Dayton? More information on the situation was uncovered in the Brookhaven Town Records Book C, on pages 309 and 362.

The record tells us that the day before the date on the receipt (see last week’s post for photo), the Town Justices ordered Jesse Rayner to pay Jane Dayton Seven Pounds Seven Shillings, and we know that Jesse did comply.

When Jane appealed for help seven years later, we find out that both Jane and Jesse lived at the Manor of St. George, perhaps both employed by Mr. Floyd. Today, the Manor is a museum, located in Shirley, NY. Jane writes:

St. George’s Maner, October, the 27th, 1770.

Mr. Floyd, Sir: these are to Desire you to get the money that is due to me for keeping of Jesse Rayner’s child, for I stand in grait need of it and cannot due without it, and if you can’t attend to get the money, I desire that you would sine the noat over to me that I may get the money, and I desire that you would Let me know by sending me a few Lines.
So I remain your humble Servant Jean Datton.

In a February 4, 1773 record, we find a third spelling for “Jane.” The town trustees:

voted and agreed on that Jaine Dayton shall have paid to her the sum of four shillings a week until further orders out of ye Town Store for ye support of her sickley sister.

Jane probably used this spelling J-A-I-N-E in her receipt signature, making it even more difficult to interpret her first name on that document.

In the Parish Records of Mattituck and Aquebogue 1751-1809 Marriages, a Jesse Rayner and Mary Goodaile of the “Manner of St. Georges-South Hamton,” were registered to marry on May 17, 1775.

Is this the Jessie Raynor, son of Josiah Raynor and Sarah Higby, born Feb 1, 1721/22? If so, it’s interesting to note that Jesse’s brother Joseph married Jemima Dayton, daughter of Nathaniel Dayton, in 1762.

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Mother Dayton

UPDATED 7/25/18: Jim has answered these questions. See them in the next post.

Another curious entry in Brookhaven Town Records is a receipt with a Dayton signature that has probably stumped researchers through the years because we have never found an interpretation or even a reference to it. I believe we can make out all but three words. The entry says,

May the 30th 1763
Received of the the trustees and overseers of the poor of the Town of Brookhaven the sum of Seven Pounds Seven Shillings in full for [keeping] my bastard child charged to [Jefrey] Rayner which pays in full to the 29th of this instant May I say received by me
[      ] Dayton

Would anyone like to suggest a first name for mother Dayton? Note that it is not particularly helpful to compare her handwriting to that of the receipt.

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Mysterious ledger entries for Abigail Norton Dayton

On October 7, 1759, at about age 55, Henry Dayton’s health was failing as he wrote his will. Henry, we believe, was the youngest of the five known sons of Abraham and he was also grandson of Samuel who was the son of Ralph.

Considering that late 1759 was also the time of Henry’s death, there are two entries in Joseph Denton’s account book that have interested me since I saw them for the first time in 2010. The ledger entries below are from transactions at Denton’s shop and store in Setauket.

The first of the two entries was dated May 15, 1759, when Henry’s wife Abigail had a balance of debt 12 shilling and 2 pence. It is followed by a second entry, almost six years later, when Abigail “then promised to pay it by the fifth of June Next upon her own account,” witnessed by Sarah Hallock.

(Note that many transactions were not recorded in the account book, particularly when items traded were of equal value or when cash was used without accruing debt.)

These entries are interesting for many reasons.

First, note that the debt was recorded as Abigail’s and not Henry’s, yet Henry was still living. Does the fact that most transactions in the ledger are recorded with men, and not women, indicate that Henry was not physically able to trade with the local merchant in May?

Second, are the entries related? There was no monetary amount or barter mentioned in the promise to pay. Note that the debt has a large “X” through it, meaning that it was either paid or written off. What is most interesting is that the “X” appears to be intentionally so large that it passes over both entries which might indicate that the preceding debt was being addressed in the promise below it.

If that was truly the case, why did Abigail wait so long to settle the account? Henry and Abigail were comparatively well-off, so you would expect his estate to pay the debt in 1760, after his death.

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President Lincoln’s Communication With Dayton Family

The article below is copied from my brother Jim’s blog The content should be of interest to many, so I wanted to share it for those who had not yet read it.

When he was a young man in his 30’s, Dr. Wilber Thomas Dayton Jr ran across a letter from Abraham Lincoln in his grandmother’s trunk. His grandma, Anna Flansburg White Dingman, was the daughter of Rev. William Flansburg, a Wesleyan Methodist clergyman who began his ministry in 1849. His newly formed denomination had split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of slavery. Flansburg’s new denomination was abolitionist.

Much to Dr. Dayton’s delight, the letter was addressed to Rev. Flansburg, his great grandfather.

In it, President Lincoln stated, “you keep preaching it from the pulpit and I’ll preach it from the White House.”

Imagine the historical significance of such a document.

Wilber told me that he never saw the letter again. He did not know whatever happened to the trunk. I have pursued the case, but the relatives who would know anything about it have died.

Does anyone have any knowledge of this letter?

Our search for the letter led us to only one possibility (although it was a long shot)—our grandmother’s old trunk that had found its way to our uncle’s attic. His house had been passed to his son, who is still living there.

A few years ago, we contacted our cousin in Corinth NY, inquiring about grandma’s trunk. Our cousin remembers that many years ago he saw a few old books in the trunk, but now the trunk is empty. We imagine that the letter may have been placed in one of those books, for “safe keeping.”

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Elizabeth Harvey Beardsley Dayton arrangement

(Sorry for the delay in posting while on vacation in the Adirondacks)

Yesterday, while doing a few Google searches, I came across a claim that Samuel Dayton “had a prenuptial agreement” with his third wife Elizabeth Beardsley. No source or explanation was provided, and I haven’t found it repeated anywhere else. Any ideas why someone might have come to this conclusion?

The only thing I can think of might be the statement that Sam was caring for “some horses for widow Elizabeth Beardsley, or good wife Daiton, for her children”—this according to the February 1669/70 Connecticut record, Entries in the old Brand Book of Stratford, 1640-1720.

Although the record does not state where the children were living, or if they were living with Sam and Elizabeth, the implication is that Sam was still caring for horses that belonged to Elizabeth’s children, even after the couple was married. Whether Elizabeth’s daughters remained with her after her marriage to Sam is not known, but it is possible that, while Sam was courting her, she made it a stipulation that the girls would not immediately be “put out,” as was customary for the time.

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Dunstable Curiosities

I’ve been looking again at Dunstable, a small town about 35 miles north of London, because I’m curious why Howell (1887), Burke, Whittemore (1897), and Mather (1913) among others, had the idea that Ralph and other American Daytons originated there. The period of interest in the search for Ralph’s parents is somewhere between 1560 to 1610, assuming that Ralph was born around 1588.

British History Online seems like a good place to start. More precisely, British History Online>Victoria County History>Bedfordshire>A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3 Parishes: Dunstable. The registers previous to 1812 are in four books: (1) 1558 to 1749; (2) 1749 to 1812, marriages ending in 1754; (3) marriages 1754 to 1802; and (4) marriages 1802 to 1812.

Many Daytons are listed in Bedfordshire records for the time period of our search. Referring to Bedfordshire Parish Registers Volume XLII, Dunstable: 1558-1812 (1951) at , some baptisms include Christian Dyton in 1583, Eliz Dighton in 1588, Marian Dyton in 1589, Emery Dyton in 1593, Helen Dytonne baptized 1595 and most intriguing, a Ralph Dytonne baptized at Dunstable in 1580. There are also others listed under variants of “Dayton” so I imagine a more thorough search may uncover other interesting characters.

Some burials include an Alice Dyton in 1594, Emery Diton in 1601, Ralph Dighton in 1618, Alice Dyton (wife of Emery Dyton) in 1619, and also between 1591 and 1601 we find Rob Ditton and Alice Dytton in Cardington and Eliz Dyton, Alice Dyton and Jn Diton in Dunstable.

I should also mention that in a brief search, a place called “Dytonne” was discovered in Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, in the section called Recusant Roll for West Derby Hundred, 1641 on page 242 of the online copy. No attempt has yet been made to locate Dytonne.

Another resource Kent Online Parish Clerks; Dutch Refugees in Maidstone, 1585 (2013), claims that a Peter Daton and his wife were listed with Dutch refugees, described as “[a] stranger dwelling in Maidstone 1585.” Doesn’t that pique your interest?

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