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Brigadier General Elias Dayton


Original Member, admitted 1783

Brigadier General Elias Dayton
1st President of the New Jersey Society 1783-1807

1st President of the New Jersey Society of the Cincinnati
In office
1783 — 1807
Succeeded by Joseph Bloomfield

Born in Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth), New Jersey on May 1st, 1737, Elias Dayton began his storied military career during the French and Indian War with a commission as an 18-year-old lieutenant of militia on March 19, 1756, serving under Wolfe in the Jersey Blues. During Pontiac’s War, he commanded troops in Detroit.

He continued his service in the civil sphere upon returning to Elizabethtown, operating a general store and serving as a local alderman, as well as on a committee tasked with enforcing measures recommended by the Continental Congress. When war with Britain came, he was commissioned a colonel of the third battalion of the New Jersey Line, then elected to the Continental Congress. However, preferring to serve with his men in the field rather than in Philadelphia, he declined the appointment.

The ensuing seven years saw him in active service until the discharge of the New Jersey Line on November 3, 1783, by which time he had achieved the rank of brigadier general.

On June 11, 1783, General Dayton summoned his fellow officers of the New Jersey Line at Elizabethtown to consider the newly created Society of the Cincinnati. Under his leadership, the New Jersey Society was born, and he was elected its President, a position he held until his death on October 22nd, 1807.

The years of peace with which he was blessed in the final years of his life saw Dayton return to the operation of his general store while also holding the commission of major general in the state militia. Beloved and respected by his fellow citizens, he served additionally in the New Jersey Asssembly, and as the recorder, then mayor of Elizabethtown from 1796-1805.


Sources

Cyclopedia of New Jersey Biography, Memorial and Biographical. New York: American Historical Society, 1921.