All in the Family, Part Two

It is such a pleasure to make the acquaintance of “new” family members, but imagine finding out your spouse can also be traced back to Ralph Dayton! That very thing happened to Jim this week. Even after researching family for about 35 years, he just now discovered that his 8th great grandfather, Ralph Dayton is also his wife’s 11th great grandfather, making Jim and Judy ninth cousins three times removed.

While Jim’s line is through Samuel Dayton, Judy’s line is through Sam’s younger brother Robert Dayton.

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Samuel Dayton, 66, of Brookhaven at Fire Place

Samuel Dayton died July 5, 1690 at his house on the Neck named for him at South. He was born in Ashford, Kent, the son of Ralph and Alice Dayton.

Sam was predeceased by his parents, his wives Medlin and Mary, two sons, Samuel and Caleb and his sister, Ellen. He was survived by four sons of Medlin: Ralph about 41, Abraham about 37, Isaac about 33 and Jacob about 32. He was also survived by his beloved wife Elizabeth and the couple’s daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth.

Sam traveled a great deal, but his known residences were located in settlements at Southampton and North Sea, Oyster Bay and Matinecock and in various locations in the town of Brookhaven, beginning at Setauket and ending on Dayton’s Neck at Fireplace. He had earlier resided for a brief time at New Haven CT and Flushing.

Sam’s will was written the day before he died, leaving house and lands at South to his wife and daughters. He had remembered each of his sons generously before his death, distributing respective portions to each son at the appropriate time, avoiding some degree of disagreement among them. Sam named no executor.

The exact location of Sam’s interment is unknown, but it is believed to be somewhere on or near Dayton’s Neck, probably not far from today’s George Washington Lodge property on South Country Road, near the boundary between Bellport and the hamlet of Brookhaven.

Posted in Abraham Dayton, Alice Dayton, Ashford, Brookhaven, Brookhaven hamlet, Dayton's Neck, Fire Place, Goldhatch, Medlin, North Sea, Ralph Dayton, Samuel Dayton, Southampton | Leave a comment

Independence Day

As we approach the fourth of July and celebrate all that is good about our country, we should also remember the sacrifices of our ancestors who defended their families and homes with honor, forced to endure great hardship, and sometimes death.

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Ralph Dayton’s son and the dead cow

Thomas Barnes asked the court for “satisfaction of Ralph Dayton” for the loss of his cow which had perished while in the care of Ralph’s son. The account can be found in Hoadly’s Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven. 

According to Jacobus (1959),

In May 1645, a son [Samuel] of Raiph Dighton was blamed for the loss of a cow when the youth was acting as herdsman.

With utmost respect for Jacobus, I humbly suggest that the son was probably not Samuel, but instead was his younger brother Robert. Since it is uncomfortable to disagree with such a respected scholar, I would like to present my logic.

First, note that the suit was brought against Ralph and not the son, indicating that Ralph’s son was still a minor, as confirmed in the court’s judgement, “…the boy was innocent in the case” (Hoadly).

Second, consider that Samuel Dayton was baptized on February 1, 1623/24 while Robert Dayton was baptized January of 1629. Assuming that the cow incident occurred in May of 1645, Samuel would have been a legal adult (at least 21 years, 3 months) while Robert was still a teenager at the time.

It is understandable that so many genealogists repeat the opinion of Jacobus, but I am curious why he concluded the son was Samuel and not Robert. Anyone have ideas, in defense of Jacobus?

Posted in New Haven Colony, Ralph Dayton, Robert Dayton, Samuel Dayton | 1 Comment

Ralph stopped briefly in Southampton

I have been pondering an often-repeated statement that when Ralph Dayton left New Haven, he “stopped briefly in Southampton” on his way to East Hampton. Another popular version says he “stopped briefly in Southold and Southampton.”

Since it has become tradition that Ralph “stopped at Southampton,” on his way to East Hampton, I thought it might be a good idea to find the source and see if there is significance in the phrase.

Certainly, it is very likely he did stop along the way at Southampton, especially because North Sea (part of Southampton) was the harbor commonly used for arrival, even to East Hampton at that time. Besides, Sam had accommodations there, so it just makes sense.

Edson Dayton (1931) says that Ralph,

Leaving New Haven in 1649, tarrying by the way in Southampton, the same being true of Thomas Baker and Family…

The best theory I can come up with originates in George Rogers Howell’s Early History of Southampton (1866) where Howell, speaking about “family records” of inhabitants of Southampton says,

Ralph Dayton, from the records of the town, appears to have resided here a short time. He was one of the early settlers of East Hampton and had a son Robert also, who settled there and became the progenitor of the Dayton families now resident there.

Perhaps others have interpreted Howell’s statement as I did on first reading, that Ralph resided in Southampton a short time before moving to East Hampton in 1650. But I have since concluded that Howell was probably referring to Ralph’s brief North Sea (Northampton) residence before his death, after he had lived in East Hampton.

Does anyone have other ideas how statements such as “Ralph stopped briefly in Southampton” came about?

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Happy 400th Anniversary

Thanks to the descendants of Wilber Dayton Jr.





Posted in Alice Dayton, Photos, Ralph Dayton | 2 Comments

Dayton Family and AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies

With season 4 of Turn: Washington’s Spies beginning in just two days, here’s a little bit of information about our ancestors in Brookhaven and Setauket in relation to the story as depicted in the AMC series. For me, it gives life and extra meaning to the story.

Disclaimer: Although most of the main characters were real people and the series does present the Culper spy ring in Setauket in an acceptable manner, AMC has taken some liberty with historical fact.

I believe that the grave of Henry Dayton, who died about 1759, was probably in the burying ground of the Setauket Presbyterian church. As depicted in Season 1, Episode 10 The Battle of Setauket, British soldiers and loyalists under the command of Colonel Hewlett occupied the church building in 1777, removing and destroying its contents in order to use it as a stable and fort.

Also depicted as part of  the fortification, soldiers and loyalists dug a defensive trench around the building, through the burying ground, unearthing the remains of Brookhaven forebearers. Grave markers and headstones were piled up as barriers, destroyed and were scattered around Long Island, repurposed in all manner of service.

As Henry Dayton and his father Abraham were members of the church, it is very possible that their remains suffered the same desecration, being unearthed and their markers pillaged (see Bayles, 1985).

Other connections to the drama are also interesting.

According to Ross (1902), when the patriots who launched the attack came across the sound before day break, they chose to land at Crane Neck, near that remote spot where Abraham Dayton’s family once lived (see Post, 1877 and Brookhaven Town Records).

Samuel Dayton, Abraham Dayton’s father, interacted on a regular basis with Richard Woodhull Senior, the grandfather of the central character in the TURN program, Abraham Woodhull. This Richard was the father of the Richard Woodhull character portrayed in the series.

After 1776, during the time the Setauket Spy Ring operated, the record of Henry’s son, David Dayton Senior falls silent until his death sometime before June of 1782. The circumstances of his death are unknown, but there is strong evidence that he and Ann had remained somewhere in the town of Brookhaven.

For more about Abraham Woodhull and the Culper Spy Ring, see History Close at Hand

Posted in Abraham Dayton, American Revolution, Ann Francis, Anne Frances, Brookhaven, David Dayton, David Dayton Senior, Henry Dayton, Samuel Dayton, Setauket | Leave a comment