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Jonathan Dayton is Born

Today in Masonic History Johnathan Dayton is born in 1760.

Johnathan Dayton was an American politician.

Dayton was born on October 16th, 1760 in Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth), New Jersey. He graduated from a local academy where he was classmates of Alexander Hamilton. He went on to attend the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University. He left the College of New Jersey in 1775 to fight in the American Revolution. He did receive an honorary degree from the College of New Jersey in 1776.

At the beginning of the American Revolution, Dayton was just 15 years old. He served under his father in the 3rd New Jersey Regiment as an ensign. In 1777 he was commissioned as a lieutenant and made paymaster. He fought under General George Washington at the Battles of Brandywine Creek and Germantown. After Germantown, he remained with Washington at Valley Forge and helped push the British out of New Jersey into New York City.

In 1780, Dayton was promoted to the rank of captain and was transfered to the 2nd New Jersey Regiment. The same year he was captured with an uncle by Loyalists. They were held in the winter and released in the beginning of 1781. Well after the war, in 1799, Dayton was offered a commission with the rank of Major General. He declined the commission.

After the American Revolution, Dayton studied the law and opened up a practice in New Jersey. He divided his time between his legal practice, land speculation and politics. In politics he served in the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention as the youngest delegate at the age of 26. In 1786 he was elected as a Federalist to the New Jersey General Assembly, serving until 1787. He served again in 1790. He also served in the New Jersey Legislative Council, which is now the New Jersey Senate in 1789.

In 1789, Dayton was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He was not seated though until winning reelection in 1791. He served in the House of Representatives until 1799. He was the third Speaker of the House from 1795 to 1799. In 1799 he began serving as a United States Senator. He served only one term as a Senator. In Congress he was like most Federalists and supported the policies of Alexander Hamilton. Dayton also helped organize the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. He also supported the Louisiana Purchase. He opposed the repeal of the short lived Judiciary Act of 1801. The act was an attempt to fix issues with the Untied States Supreme Court, at the time Supreme Court Justices were required to sit on the appeals court as well, causing them to hear cases twice.

Dayton had large land holdings in Ohio. At the time of the founding of Dayton, Ohio, named for Dayton, he along with partners had more than 250,000 acres in area of the city. His heavy land speculation led him to becoming involved in the Burr conspiracy. Dayton loaned money to Burr shortly before the conspiracy came to light. The conspiracy had Burr potentially trying to conquer lands in what became the South Western United States. Dayton was cleared of any charges. Despite his being exonerated, Dayton's political career ended.

Dayton returned to New Jersey where he passed away on October 9th, 1824.

Dayton was a member of Temple Lodge No. 1 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.