Dayton. I. Elias, an officer in the American revolution, born at Elizabethtown, N. J., in 1737, died there in 1807. In 1760 he joined the British forces which were completing the conquest of Canada from the French; and he subsequently commanded a company of militia in an expedition against the northern Indians. This corps was probably a portion of the original "Jersey blues." At the commencement of hostilities with the mother country he was appointed a member of the committee of safety for Elizabethtown, and served as colonel of a Jersey regiment till 1783, when he was promoted to the command of the Jersey brigade. Soon after the battle of Bunker Hill a British transport off the coast of New Jersey surrendered to an expedition of armed boats under his command in conjunction with Lord Stirling. He was in active service during the whole war, taking part in the battles of Springfield, Monmouth, Brandywine, Germantown, and Yorktown, and having three horses shot under him. After the war he served several terms in the legislature, was commissioned major general of militia, was a member of the continental congress, and was on intimate terms with Washington. Upon the formation of the New Jersey society of the Cincinnati, Gen. Dayton was chosen its president, and held that office until his death.
II. Jonathan, an American statesman, son of the preceding, born at Elizabethtown, N. J., Oct. 16, 1760, died there, Oct, 9, 1824. At the age of 16 he graduated at the college of New Jersey, in 1778 entered the army as paymaster in his -father's regiment, and held several commissions at different periods of the war. After the peace of 1783 he was elected to the legislature, and was chosen speaker of the house in 1790. In June, 1787, he was appointed a delegate to the convention at Philadelphia which framed the federal constitution. In 1791 he was elected by the federal party a representative in congress, in which capacity he served for three successive terms, during the last two of which he was speaker of the house. In 1799 he was elected to the United States senate. He afterward served several terms in the council, as the superior branch of the New Jersey legislature was formerly termed. He was arrested for alleged complicity with Aaron Burr in his conspiracy, but no further proceedings were had in the case.
III. William Lewis, an American statesman, nephew of the preceding, born at Baskingridge, N. J., Feb. 17, 1807, died in Paris, Dec. 1, 1864. He graduated at the college of New Jersey in 1825, and was admitted to the bar in 1830. In 1837 he was elected to the state council, or senate as it is now called, and was made chairman of the judiciary committee, and in 1838 became associate justice of the supreme court of the state. In 1842 he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States senate. In 1845 his appointment was confirmed by the legislature, and he was also elected for the full term. He was a free-soil whig, and maintained to the fullest extent the right of congress to legislate for the territories, expressing that view in a speech on the treaty with Mexico in 1847. He was a friend and adviser of President Taylor. He opposed the fugitive slave bill, and advocated the admission of California as a free state, and the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. In 1856 he was nominated by the newly formed republican party for the vice presidency, on the ticket with John C. Fremont. In March, 1857, he was appointed attorney general of the state of New Jersey, and held that office till 1861, when President Lincoln appointed him minister to France, which post he held until his death.