Daniel Edgerton, son of John and Phebe (Harris) Edgerton.
Mary Douglass, daughter of Robert and Sarah (Edgecomb) Douglass.
Daniel Edgerton was born in Norwich, Connecticut on March 1, 1736/7, the son of John Edgerton II and his second wife, Phebe (Harris) Crank Prentiss. He was baptized five days later at the First Congregational Church of Norwich.
Daniel was raised in Norwich. He made his living primarily as a farmer. Daniel was married on November 8, 1764, to Miss Mary Douglass, daughter of Robert and Sarah (Edgecomb) Douglass of New London. Mary was the born in New London on December 4, 1742. Daniel and Mary’s marriage was recorded both at Norwich, Connecticut (VRp I:536), and at the First Congregational Church of New London, where the marriage probably took place (ChR 2:193). Daniel and Mary’s first six children, Phebe, Daniel, Robert, Isaac, Philip, and Mary, were born in Norwich. The births of the elder five children were included in the family record at Norwich (VRp I:536).
Daniel Edgerton was known familiarly as “Captain Daniel”, and many family records and accounts refer to him as such. It is not known whether he served in the Revolution, or if he received his title, perhaps, during the French and Indian War when he was younger. In Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Vol. I 1755-1757 (Albert C. Bates, ed., Connecticut Historical Society, 1903), there was listed a Daniel Edgerton in Capt. John Perkins’ Company, which was “in service for the time of alarm for relief of Ft. Wm. Henry and places adjacent August 1757.” Daniel Edgerton was also listed in the DAR Patriot Index, and a Revolutionary marker bearing the inscription, “a patriot's grave” lies next to his headstone. Official records of Daniel’s Revolutionary service have not been found.
Daniel Edgerton and wife, Mary, owned the covenant of the First Congregational Church of Norwich on June 15, 1766 (ChR 2:265a). All but two of their children (son Robert and daughter Eunice) were baptized at the Norwich Church.
Daniel was a farmer by profession. He resided first in Norwich and in 1768 inherited the bulk of his father’s lands in Norwich, including the home farm. He was also appointed executor over his father’s estate. Circa 1778, Daniel moved his family to Salisbury in Litchfield County near the northeast part of Connecticut. His younger brother, Nathaniel, also settled in Salisbury at about the same time, and their lands there were adjacent to each other. The move was apparently gradual and the family still had ties in Norwich as late as June 1781. Daughter Sarah, whose birth on June 3, 1780 was recorded in Salisbury was baptized at the Norwich First Church on June 17, 1781 (ChR 2:177). Furthermore, the death of Daniel’s son, Isaac, in January of 1788 was listed in the vital records of Norwich (VRp I:536), although Isaac actually died in Salisbury and was buried at the Town Hall Cemetery there.
Not long after his arrival in Salisbury, on August 23, 1778, Daniel purchased 420 acres of land in Tinmouth, Rutland County (then Bennington County), Vermont, which had been confiscated from a Tory, John McNeil, for “treasonable conduct”. In the deed, Daniel was referred to as “Daniel Edgerton of Salisbury, County of Litchfield, State of Connecticut, Gentleman”. The deed (on file in Tinmouth, Vermont) reads, in part:
“James Claghorn of Rutland, County of Bennington, State of Vermont, Commissioner appointed by the Legislature authority of said State to make sale and dispose of confiscated estates in the Probate District of Rutland, in consideration of the sum of 1500 pounds lawful money to me in hand paid, before the delivery hereof by Daniel Edgerton of Salisbury, County of Litchfield, State of Connecticut, Gentleman, conveyed to Daniel Edgerton lands which were formerly granted by Benning Wentworth, Esquire Governor of New Hampshire, and were lately the property of James McNail and now forfeit to this State by his treasonable conduct. Witness: Phebe Pratt; Samuel Chipman.”
A subsequent land record filed in Tinmouth shows that an additional 122 acres “in the 4th Division” were laid out and surveyed for Daniel Edgerton on May 15, 1781 (LR 1:70). The deed was attested by Amos Spafford, “surveyor”, and Elisha Hamilton, “committee”.
It can be noted that a great many of the original Tinmouth settlers had come from Salisbury (including the aforementioned John McNeil); and it seems probable that Daniel, after settling in Salisbury, heard of the opportunities for land there (and perhaps of the troubles of Mr. McNeil) through communications between the Salisbury residents and relatives that had migrated north.
It is likely that Daniel had decided to leave his hometown in order to escape the English raids upon the coastal communities during the Revolution. Several other families from Norwich moved into lower Vermont at this time, including a second cousin, Capt. Simeon Edgerton, who settled in Pawlet (just south of Tinmouth) and raised a large family there. Another cousin, Asa Edgerton, moved farther north to Randolph, Vermont (Orange County), where he was one of the original settlers and grantees of the charter.
By 1783, Daniel had moved his family to Tinmouth; though he did not survive long after the move to Vermont. He died of smallpox at the “Limas Valentine place” in Tinmouth, on February 24, 1783, the record of such being recorded in the Congregational Church Record Book (I:224). He was survived by three sons, Daniel, Robert, and Philip, and three daughters, Phebe, Mary, and Sarah; his widow, Mary, gave birth to a daughter, Eunice, four months after his death. Daniel was buried in Tinmouth (“near Mrs. Ballards” according to the Tinmouth death record), but his headstone now rests in Wallingford’s Green Hill Cemetery, next to that of his wife, having been moved there about one hundred years later. It is unknown whether his remains were transferred there as well. The inscription on Daniel’s gravestone reads:
24th 1783 Capt. Daniel
Edgerton AEt. 46
Virtue livis beyond the grave
Captain Daniel Edgerton was a relatively wealthy man. He had paid 1500 pounds for the land in Tinmouth, which was a good amount of money for that time. The probate record also indicates that his estate was fairly sizeable. The home farm in Tinmouth, comprising about 300 acres, was valued at 1075 pounds, and another 100 acres, to be set off as his wife's dower, was worth 80 pounds. His combined personal and real estate totaled 1769 pounds. The home farm on West Hill (which became part of Wallingford in 1793), where his widow resided, was occupied by Edgertons for three more generations.
Daniel Edgerton had died intestate. Samuel Matlocks and David Spafford were appointed administrators of his estate. The following two items appeared in The Vermont Gazette (Bennington, Vermont) on August 14, 1783 and April 17, 1786, respectively:
“Samuel Matlocks and David Spafford, Adms will examine claims of the creditors to the estate of Captain Daniel Edgerton, late of Tinmouth.”
“Samuel Matlocks and David Spafford, administrators of the estate of Captain Daniel Edgerton, late of Tinmouth, will sell real estate.”
The probate record filed with the Rutland County Probate Court contains a complete report of the administration of the estate by Samuel Matlocks and David Spafford. A presentation of the estate was made to Elisha Clark, Probate Judge on January 18, 1787. A transcript of the probate file (in part) is attached.
Mrs. Mary (Douglass) Edgerton survived her husband by over forty-five years, living on West Hill in Wallingford. She was remarried, sometime prior to 1787, to Jonathan Thompson (aka “Thomson”), of Tinmouth, Vermont. Very little is known about Jonathan Thompson, but it speaks well of his character that one of his stepsons, Daniel Edgerton Jr., named a child after him (ie. Jonathan Thompson Edgerton).
Jonathan “Thomson” was listed as a head of household in the 1790 Federal Census of Tinmouth, Rutland County, Vermont (pg. 252), with the following enumeration:
3 males “of 16 years and upwards” (Jonathan, and stepsons Robert and Philip); and,
4 females (wife Mary, and stepdaughters Mary, Sarah and Eunice).
The eldest son, Daniel Jr. (then aged 22) was recorded separately as a head of household (also residing in Tinmouth). He was recorded on the census roll as “Daniel Adjutant”. [“Adjutant” was a common misspelling of the surname “Edgerton”. It appears on a number of early census records and was no doubt a phonetic rendering of the name.]
Jonathan Thomson was listed again as a head of household in the 1800 Federal Census of Wallingford, Rutland County, Vermont (pg. 263), at which time his household consisted of:
1 male “of 45 and upwards” (Jonathan); and,
1 female “of 45 and upwards” (wife Mary).
Jonathan was listed in the next census of 1810 (still in Wallingford), but after this, there appears to be no further record of him. No burial site has been located in either Wallingford or Tinmouth. Mrs. Mary (Douglass) Edgerton Thompson died in Wallingford on June 6, 1829, “aged 87”. She was buried at Green Hill Cemetery in Wallingford Village, in the plot next to her son, Robert, who had died in 1824. Her gravestone names her as “Mary Thompson, late wife of Jonathan” and contains the following epitaph:
Thou shalt come to thy
grave in a full age, like as
a shock of corn cometh in,
in its season.
Lo this, we have searched it,
so it is: Hear it, and know thou
it for thy good -- Job 5 26-27
The gravestone of Captain Daniel Edgerton was moved in 1883 by his descendants, and placed next to the grave of his wife, Mary. Many of Daniel and Mary’s descendants remained in Wallingford – on West Hill and in the village – and were quite active in the town throughout the 1800's and early 1900's. The census records of the mid-to-late 1800's list numerous Edgerton households, as do the public records of the time.
[CAUTION: A few accounts of this family have mistakenly written that Mrs. Mary (Douglass) Edgerton was the daughter of Capt. Benajah Douglas and great-aunt of Senator Stephen A. Douglas. (e.g. State of Vermont – Biographical; Hiram Carleton, Vol. I, pg. 648) As Benajah Douglas was born in 1760 (eighteen years after Mary’s birth), this is clearly impossible. The confusion probably arose from family legend and the fact that Benajah Douglas also served in the revolution and settled in Rutland County, Vermont – in Brandon, thirty or so miles north of Wallingford. The natural inclination to seek out noteable relatives may also have clouded the issue. Mary (Douglass) Edgerton was indeed related to the Hon. Stephen Douglas, though only as a quite distant cousin.]
Original Source Documents:
1790 Federal Census – household of Jonathan Thompson; Tinmouth, Rutland Co., VT.
1800 Federal Census – household of Jonathan Thompson; Wallingford, Rutland Co., VT.
Gravestone photo – Daniel Edgerton; Green Hill Cemetery; Wallingford, Rutland Co., VT.
Gravestone photo – Mrs. Mary (Douglass) Edgerton Thompson; Green Hill Cemetery; Wallingford, Rutland Co., VT.
For the ancestry of Mary (Douglass) Edgerton, consult:
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