DAYTON, JONATHAN. (1760–1824). Continental officer. New Jersey. The son of Elias Dayton, he graduated from the college at Princeton in 1776; joined his father's regiment, the Third New Jersey, as an ensign on 7 February; and became regimental paymaster on 26 August 1776 and lieutenant on 1 January 1777. Captain-lieutenant beginning 7 April 1779, he became aide-de-camp to General John Sullivan on 1 May (during Sullivan's Expedition) and captain on 30 March 1780. Captured by a British raiding party at Elizabethtown (his home) on 5 October, he was exchanged at an unknown date. In the reorganization of 1 January 1781, he became a member of his father's Second New Jersey. At Yorktown, his regiment was in his father's brigade of Lincoln's division. Leaving the Continental Army on 3 November 1783, he served as a New Jersey legislator, was chosen a delegate to the federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, and became speaker of the New Jersey assembly in 1790. He was a U.S. representative for three terms ending on 3 March 1799 and a U.S. senator from then until 1805. He was arrested on charges of being involved in the conspiracy of Aaron Burr (1805) but not brought to trial.
revised by Harry M . Ward