William Dalton and Mary Brockenbrough

The Myth

William Dalton and Mary Brockenbrough were the parents of Timothy Dalton and/or Samuel Dalton (1699-1807). 

Source of the Myth

The origin of the confusion seems to stem from three printed sources involving erroneous info, an obvious typographical error, and part of a sentence being incorrectly read by some. They are:

Straightening the Record

Facts related to Mary Newman

Mary Newman (ca 1654-Dec. 12, 1734) 

m.1) 1684 to William Brockenbrough (ca 1650-1700).  children: 

  1. Austin Brockenbrough b.1685
  2. William Brockenbrough b. Nov. 10, 1687. Will proven 1733.
  3. Newman Brockenbrough b.1689

m.2) by Mar 5, 1701 to John Dalton  children: 

  1. Winifred Dalton (170?-1766) m.172? Henry Miskell
  2. Mary Dalton m.1) ca 1722 Thomas Stanfield m.2) 1729 Johathan Lyell

The above families are a compilation of data from "The Brockenbrough Family" Vol. 5, pg.447, North Farnham Parish Records of Richmond Co. VA 1680-1861, and Mary Dalton's will written Sept. 18, 1734.

Facts relating to William Dalton of Gloucester County VA

What do the facts tell us about the myth?

Mary Brockenbrough was Mary Newman when she married William Brockenbrough.  He died in 1700.  There is no evidence that at that time she had any Dalton children.  She then married John Dalton of Richmond County and had two Dalton children, both women, Winifred and Mary, whom she recognized in her will.  Typical dates listed for Samuel and Timothy (of Louisa County) Dalton's births would make it impossible for either of them to be a legitimate child of John Dalton and Mary. 

The record indicates that Mary Brockenbrough was never married to a William Dalton.

William Dalton of Gloucester County VA was married before 1708 to Margaret (surname unknown).  There is no evidence he was ever married to Mary Brockenbrough, or that Margaret was a Brockenbrough.  

Is William father of Timothy?

Nothing in the record proves with certainty that William is not Timothy's father. But by the time of Timothy's birth in 1715, William and Margaret were having their births recorded in the Abington Parish Register. Given the religious importance of such registration it would be unusual for a child to not be recorded when other children before and after were recorded.

In addition, that William, Jr., would pass over Timothy to bestow land on this younger brother Michael would be unusual given English primogeniture traditions in Virginia. Since William, Jr., did leave a will, this is, however, not a legal impossibility.

There is no evidence of any of the unique William names -- Michael, Tyrell, Margaret -- being used in the family of Timothy.

Above all, there is NO documentary evidence that indicates a link between William and Timothy.

Is William father of Samuel?

Nothing in the documentary records precludes this, but it would have to be with some unusual circumstances. We do not know the birthdate of William, Jr. But since he was his father's heir and his father died intestate the laws of primogeniture dictated that William be the oldest living son. Since there is contemporary testimony that Samuel was born before 1700, William would need to have been born before 1699. Sarah Mynne was born in 1716, so this would have been a marriage of a 30 year old to a 13 year old. Not impossible in Virginia at the time but unusual. Of course, again William, Jr., would have passed over his next oldest brother, his heir under traditions of primogeniture, in making his will, when his brother would have been of an age when he was seeking land. Again this is not impossible but would have been non-traditional. Above all, there is NO documentary evidence that links Samuel to William of Gloucester.

The evidence of the church record and the legacy of William Jr. would indicate that John Dalton of Alexandria is also not the son of William of Gloucester.

Originally researched by Helen Lu and Gwen Neuman, and published in Helen's "Dalton Newsletter" Jan. 1978.  Posted by Robert Dalton. Refined by James Klumpp.

Last revised January 14, 2015

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