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Jonathan Dayton - Signer of the US Constitution -  A Stan Klos Company

Jonathan Dayton

Signer of the US Constitution
New Jersey Delegate

Speaker of the House of Representatives
Fourth and Fifth Congresses


Dayton, Jonathan, statesman, born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 16 October 1760; died there, 9 October 1824, was graduated at Princeton in 1776, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. He entered the Continental army, and was appointed paymaster of his father's regiment, 26 August 1776. He held other commissions during the war, was in many battles, and at Yorktown had command under Lafayette.

He was for a few years a member of the New Jersey House of Representatives, and its speaker in 1790. He was a delegate from New Jersey to the convention that framed the Federal constitution in 1787. He was elected to congress from New Jersey in 1791, and reelected for three consecutive terms, being speaker during the two last congresses, and serving till 3 March 1799. He was elected U. S. senator from New Jersey, and served from 2 December 1799, till 3 March 1805. He was arrested for alleged conspiracy with Aaron Burr, but was not tried. He received the degree of LL.D. from Princeton in 1798. 


Autograph Letter Signed dated Elizabethtown May 9, 1818 to General Ebenezer Elmer:



Dear Sir,


There is a steam boat in complete order for running now for sale at this place, which is probably well calculated to run between your town or Greenwich of the city of Philadelphia.  She will carry conveniently from 50 to 60 passengers, has two handsome airy cabins, built chiefly of live oak, copper bottomed, of copper boiler, and sails well.   She was intended to run from the stone bridge in the center of this town, twice every day to the city of New York, but instead of drawing 22 inches as was supposed, she draws 32 of therefore does not answer for this object although in every other respect well qualified.


I am not acquainted with the depth of the water in the creek on which Bridgetown stands, but if exceeding 32 inches, this boat could be used most advantageously employed between your place of Philadelphia or New castle to perfect the line of steamboat communication which is worthy the attention of such a thriving town as yours.


The original cost was upwards of $7,000 but being purchased with Cash she can be afforded at $5,000 and can be worked with half the number of men, of little more than half the fuel which the large steam boats require.  If her draft of water had answered to admit her to come up to our market house of Stone Bridge she would immediately have been taken over by the citizens in 60 shares of $100 each, or by a company.


If Cohansey Creek is sufficiently deep for her, she might be very advantageously employed there, if I should be willing to retain an interest a certain number of shares in her to the amount of a fourth, a fifth, or a tenth as might be most agreeable.


I willthank you for an early answer, I am Dear Sir


With sincere esteem Yours


Jona: Dayton



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Apparently the draft of 32 inches was too great for Cohansey Creek or General Elmer choose not to invest as Steamboat service was not established between Bridgeton and Philadelphia until 1845. 

Elmer, Ebenezer, physician, born in Cedarville, New Jersey, in 1752; died in Bridgeton, N. J., 18 October 1843, after receiving an academic education, studied medicine with his brother, and was admitted to practice. He entered the army as an ensign, and in 1777 was appointed surgeon of the 2d New Jersey regiment. He practiced medicine in Bridgeton, New Jersey, was a member of the state House of Representatives from 1789 till 1795, serving as speaker of the assembly in 1791 and 1795, and was thrice elected to congress, serving from 1801 till 1807. He was appointed collector of customs in Bridgeton in 1808. He was vice president of the state council from 1807 to 1815, and held the office of vice president of Burlington College from 1808 till 1817, and again from 1822 till 1832.

During the war of 1812 he commanded a brigade of New Jersey militia on the eastern bank of the Delaware. He was president of the Society of the Cincinnati for New Jersey at the time of his death, and was the last survivor of the original members, as he was also the last surviving Revolutionary officer of New Jersey.

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