Why Cambridge?

It’s been a mystery to me, for 40 years, why David Dayton Jr passed through Cambridge New York before he finally settled in Hadley in 1796.  David was born in Brookhaven in 1766.  In 1782/3 his dad, David Sr, died since a letter of administration was filed in Surrogate Court in 1783.   He was the last Dayton of our line to live on Long Island.

David Jr first appeared in Cambridge, Albany Co., NY in the 1790 census.  The census indicated that he had a male child under 16, and a free white female in the household.  David had married Chloe Skiff  December 29, 1789 according to Donald Line Jacobus and Arthur Bliss Jacobus in their book, The early Daytons and descendants of Henry, jr.   They offer that date without citation.  Joel, David and Ann’s oldest son, was born 29 Aug, 1790, very shortly before the 1790 census was taken.

Why did a youthful David Jr. remove to Cambridge?  I set about doing a study to determine if the youthful David could have relocated to Cambridge with another family sometime before the 1790 census.  My study method was to determine if an older individual could be found first in Brookhaven, NY and then Cambridge, in the appropriate timeframes.  My study yielded one such man…Benjamin Havens.  Benjamin Havens appeared as a signer of the Association in Brookhaven in 1775/6 and the 1776 Brookhaven census.  A Benjamin Havens also appeared in the Cambridge in 1790.  Thus far, I have been unable to prove that the Brookhaven Havens and the Cambridge Havens are the same man.  We do know that David’s younger brother, Telim, appeared in the 1800 Cambridge census.  Since he was younger than David, he would have lived as a boy under 16 in another’s household in 1790.  We also see another brother settling in Middletown, VT, about 40 miles north of Cambridge.

The trail has grown cold at this point.  I challenge a Dayton researcher to consider this hypothesis in more detail, or to develop a hypothesis of your own.  Finding more about David and his brother’s removal may yield information on the whereabouts of his mother Ann and his sisters.

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