By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, October 13, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
[Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]
HAMPTON -- It is said that good things come to those who wait. For Dalton family members in New Hampshire and in various places around the globe, a time for good things to come has arrived.
But first, a little history lesson.
When a Founder's Day tribute was established in Hampton back on October 14, 1925, a series of stones was settled into the triangular patch of land known as Meeting House Green Memorial Park (or Founder's Park) along Park Avenue.
Upon these stones were metal plaques bearing the surnames of the founding families who first settled in this seaside community of New Hampshire back in the 1630s.
This project was a labor of love performed by Rev. Ira S. Jones. Yet among the familiar names of Tuck, Nudd, Towle, Lamprey, Dearborn, Knowles, Hobbs, Leavitt, Palmer and others appearing on these stones, one name — Dalton — was absent.
And so it has been year after year — until now. When Founder's Day 2006 comes around this weekend, a brand new stone celebrating the Dalton name will be among those which have been already in place for 81 years.
This fresh view of the local scenery was accomplished thanks in part to the efforts of several people — and one of them just happens to have firmly-anchored Dalton roots in her family tree.
It was California resident, Millicent Craig, who discovered the Founder's Park oversight several years ago, when she had seen a graphic of the park on the Internet.
"I couldn't understand why there was no [Dalton] stone," she says, explaining how she later discovered that in 1925, there were "no Daltons in town, [so] nobody requested it" when the rest of the family stones were established.
With her own personal and well-documented family connections to the Great Britain-based Dalton Genealogical Society (DGS), Craig — the secretary for the DGS American branch — made some further connections of her own with Elizabeth Aykroyd of the Hampton Historical Society and the town's Heritage Commission.
Their corroboration paved the way for the new Founder's Park addition. Eventual consultation with Roger Syphers of Syphers Monument Company in Hampton made it possible for the Dalton family stone to finally find its proper place amongst those of the other founding families.
The stone was officially dedicated on the afternoon of Saturday, October 7, with about 50 Dalton family members from the US, Great Britain and Australia looking on.
Since it was first formed in 1970, the DGS has grown to a worldwide society of 300 members (with about 135,000 individuals currently listed in the Dalton databank). Every year the group organizes a family gathering at alternating locations around the globe.
This year, the gathering just happened to be in the US — offering a perfect opportunity for the relatives to celebrate their heritage, their family connections, and the placement of their very own Founders Park stone.
"I wanted a stone with a lot of character," commented Syphers at the dedication. He told of how he "looked in numerous quarries" before finding the perfect stone on the property of Bud DesRochers, a member of the Hampton Historical Society.
From there Syphers affixed the Dalton name plate to the face of the stone, which now calls the area near the northern corner of the Founder's Park triangle its home.
"This is a Hampton stone in a Hampton park," affirmed Aykroyd when she addressed the Dalton clan during the dedication, relating the tale of founding father, Rev. Timothy Dalton, who with his brother Philemon first arrived in Hampton (then called Winnacunnet) with the Reverend Bachiler party in 1638. It is Philomen's line from which the Hampton Daltons are descended.
It was fitting, then, that the Dalton family stone found a home in time for this year's annual observance of Founder's Day. And now that the stone is firmly in place, said Syphers, "It's going to stay forever."
The dedication ceremony was just one of many events and activities enjoyed by visiting (and local) Dalton family members. Well-planned more than a year in advance, the gathering included plenty of socializing, meetings, lectures, and a report on the Dalton International DNA project, as well as tours of the Spenser/ Pierce/ Little House and the Coffin House in Newburyport.
While in Newburyport, the group attended a lecture at the official Dalton House on State Street, an event which was "the piece de resistance," reported Craig. "The members were just overwhelmed" being in the same space where many of their ancestors had settled and made their living as sea captains and traders.
The bustling three-day weekend in New England was well received by the DGS delegation, according to Millicent Craig.
"Everyone had a great time," she said. "They loved the area, they loved the sea, the scenic beauty, the old homes … it was a successful event."