RUTH DALTON IN HAMPTON
She came, with her husband and son, to Hampton in 1639; and there she died, in May, 1666, at the age of eighty-eight years. We have looked, without success, for her previous record in England.* A few hints concerning her "own people" are to be drawn from the legal documents by which she disposed of her estate after her husband's death; and for these hints we are indebted to the industry and shrewdness of Mr. William H. Whitmore.1
In the first place, she made a conveyance, by deed,2 of the larger portion of her real and personal property unto Nathaniel Bacheller [Bachiler], her therein so-called "constituted heir"; but it was in the nature of a trust for the benefit of himself and certain other designated parties after her decease. This deed bears date of March 22, 1663-64. It was followed, on December 8, 1665, by her last will and testament,3 whereof the same Nathaniel Bacheller, now called her "cosen," was made the executor. Our reader will identify him as one of the three men to whom, in 1657, the minister had given the Hampton farm. The will seems to have been intended as a kind of codicil to the deed. In fact, the two papers were afterward treated as a single document. Mr. Bacheller acted and was described as the executor of both; and of some of the pecuniary gifts in the deed were paid over and receipted for as "legeisies" from "ant Dalton."
The deed contains four distinct classes of beneficiaries, to wit: 1st, Deborah Smith, the wife of John Smith, Senior; 2d, Elizabeth Merrie [Merry], Phebe Arnall [Arnold], Joseph and George Parkers [Packes, Parkis, or Parkhurst], and Mary Carter; 3d, Timothy, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Hilliard; and 4th, Abigail Ambrose, Mary Fifield, Walter Roper, and Hannah Willix. The will provides for "cosen" Deborah Bacheller, the wife of the said executor and trustee; and for John Smith, Junior, and Timothy Dalton, the son of "cosen Samuel Dalton."
Mr. Whitmore assumes that Ruth Dalton was the sister (or possibly the sister-in-law) of George Parkhurst, Senior, of Watertown, Mass. In that case, Deborah Smith, Elizabeth Merry, Phebe Arnold, Joseph Parkhurst, George Parkhurst, and Mary Carter,4 who are known to have been his children, were, respectively, the nephews and nieces of Mrs. Dalton; while Deborah Bacheller and John Smith, Junior, the children of Deborah Smith, were, respectively, Mrs. Dalton's grandniece and grandnephew. Her use of the word "cosen" in describing both Bacheller and his wife was therefore appropriate, in the same manner as when she applied it to "cosen [nephew] Samuel Dalton."
It is established that Emanuel Hilliard,5 to whom the minister gave the equal one third part of the Hampton farm, was the first husband of Elizabeth Merry; and we agree with Mr. Whitmore in saying that the latter was probably one of Mrs. Dalton's nieces. Hence, the minister was justified in calling Emanuel "my loving kinsman." It is also true that Timothy, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Hilliard were the children of Elizabeth Merry by her first husband, and so were the grandnephews and grandniece of Mrs. Dalton. With reference to the beneficiaries of the fourth class, it is suggested that they may have been friends of the testatrix, or even relatives of a remote degree.
Hoping to follow Ruth Dalton to her first home in England, we have made many inquiries for her among our domestic Parkhursts. No one whom we consulted had any previous knowledge of the Dalton connection, nor was any able to point out the origin of his own family back of the Watertown immigrant.
* [Editor's note: Ruth was baptized Ruth Leete on May 8, 1579 in Little Eversden, Cambridgeshire, the daughter of Robert and Alice (Grundy) Leete.]
- N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Register, XXVII, 364.
- A Booke of Records for the County of Northefolke in New England, I, 275.
- Ibid., II, ii, 83.
- Mary Carter was the wife of Mr. Thomas Carter, minister of Dedham in 1636, and afterward of Woburn, Mass. In Sewell's History of Woburn (p. 126) she is described as "Mrs. Mary (Dalton) Carter." Her son-in-law, John Wyman, Junior, "reseved" a part of the "legeisie wch was given to my mother-in-law Merri Carter by Mrs. Ruth Dalton of Hampton deiseised." -- N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., ubi sup.
- "The sad Hand of God upon eight psons goeing in a vessell by Sea from Hampton to boston, who wear all swallowed up in the osian sone after they ware out of the Harbour. The psons wear by name as followeth, Robert Read, Sargent Will. Swaine, Manewell Hilyard (Emanuel Hilliard], John Philbrick and Ann Philbrick, his wife, and Sarah Philbrick there daughter, Alise the wife of Moses Corks [Cox], and John Corks there sonn; who ware all drowned ye 20th of ye 8 mo. 1657." -- Hampton Records.