By Dr. Lucy J. Slater

The Flower's Visitation of Yorkshire in 1563-4 gives the main pedigree of the Dalton family. It starts with Sir Rychard of Byspham born about 1230 who held the manors of Byspham in Lancashire and Kirkby Misperton. He had two sons, Sir Robert and Sir John. Sir John held the manor of Kirkby in 1332 and founded the Yorkshire line of Daltons. Sir Robert was born in 1284 and died in 1350.


About 1320, he married Mary, the daughter of Sir Thomas Lathom and she bore him a son, Sir John Dalton. Sir Robert had sided with the Earl of Lancaster who was beheaded in 1322 and Sir Robert was confined to Pontefract Castle for a time. However, his friends raised a ransom for him, and he was released and allowed to go back to his home at Byspham Manor. in 1327, when Edward II came to the throne, the fine was returned to Sir Robert and be was made Keeper of the Royal Forests and then Constable of the Tower of London.


In the spring of 1346, King Edward prepared to invade France. He assembled the greatest army seen in England up to that date. With the king were his son, Richard the Black Prince, 12 Earls, over 1000 knights, 4000 esquires, 20,000 archers and an unnumbered host of yeomen, blacksmiths, messengers, masons, cooks, minstrels and other camp followers. 


So we can imagine Sir Robert riding from his home in Byspham, clad in his best armour, wearing his plumed helm and carrying his great broad sword, his lance, and his shield in azure blue with the silver lion on the crest. He would be riding his great war horse which would be clad in armour. By his side was his son, Sir John, also in his best armour and behind them an esquire carrying a banner with a frill coat of arms embroidered on it, complete with the green Griffen.


They were also accompanied by a priest who bore a portable altar and some new winding sheets just in case things did not go so well. The party rode down through Lancashire gathering more men of arms at every town and joined the Earl of Manchester. Then they brought the French to face them at Crecy, one of the most historical battles of all time. The English had the new technology of the day, bows and arrows, and of course easily won the battle. All went well with Sir Robert and his son and there must have been many prayers of thankfulness raised when they rode back to Byspham. No doubt the war horses were not so frisky and their coats of arms a bit sullied, but they were alive.

This talk will be continued in the next issue, and will begin with "one of the wildest deeds ever committed by a Dalton". (Byspham is a tiny village located between Parbold and Mawdesley.)

Our initial "Daltons in History" brought a new member and an unusual story about his father, Max Dale Dalton. Mr. Dalton, a Mormon, was born in Idaho on 21 March l919, struggled through the Great Depression, and had a truly remarkable life. In his later years he returned to Costa Rica where he had been employed earlier by the United Fruit Company. On 13 November 1997, Mr. Dalton was attacked and killed on his property in Costa Rica by a band of squatters. A lengthy account of his life,death, and the civil aftermath can be viewed on the family's web page.


During his lifetime, Mr. Dalton had developed an extensive pedigree of all ancestral branches. His Dalton pedigree reveals that he is part of the great American Dalton Family described in Vol.2 of The Dalton Genealogical Society Journal (1971). This linkage also takes his pedigree back to Pembrey, Wales where it joins the Junior Dalton Line outlined in Vol.1 of the DGS Journal (1970). Look for Part IV, Daltons of Lancashire. Dr. Slater mentions the flight to Wales of a Dalton, an ancestor of the Max Dalton Family.  There are many more Daltons from the Pembrey line in America, particularly in Utah. Let us hear from you.

In my November letter to North American members of the DGS,there was a bit of news about the ancestral home of Sir Robert Dalton, Thurnham Manor, Lancashire County. The Manor was purchased by Sir Robert in 1556 and remained in the Dalton family until the death of Miss Alzira Dalton ( a Texan) in 1983. It had been purchased by Walter Crabtree prior to Miss AIzira's passing and completely restored. Pictures taken by DGS Chairman Michael Neale Dalton were printed in several Journals. They show the huge hand-carved Dalton chest which is said to have come from Cockersand Abbey, a part of the Thurnham/Dalton estate. Also visible were many portraits in the Great Hall.


About 1990, the Manor was sold to a real estate consortium from London with the intent of making it into a time share property. Miss Alzira's trust stated that the Manor had to be available to Daltons and the developer tried to attract Daltons in order to fulfill the stipulations of the trust. On a visit in 1992, there were just three portraits on the walls which I photographed. The chest was missing.


Upon revisiting in 1997, we learned that the Manor had been sold and is now listed as Thurnham Manor and Country Club. Membership is being intensely marketed to Daltons and includes a free trip to the Canary Islands just for visiting the Manor. The previous owner had filed bankruptcy and the three portraits and period furnishings were sold at auction to satisfy debtors.

We enlist your help to identify the people in the three portraits which could have been reproductions, but obviously saleable. Perhaps an earlier visitor may have learned a bit about them and their background. Note the Dalton green Griffen above one portrait which may signify that this man with the red, curly hair was a Lord of the Manor. Also note the quarterings on the crest. They belong to those families of nobility who married into the Dalton family.

For a number of years the DGS has been trying to assist various descendents of Michael Dalton learn more about their ancestor, particularly about his Irish roots. Perhaps a reader has the key.  Michael Dalton was probably born between 1852 and 1861 in Ireland and emigrated to the U S. sometime prior to 1882. The earliest record places him in Montrose, CO between 1883 and 1885. He married Mary Fagan McFadden in Montrose, Colorado on 23 June 1891. Mary was born in Ireland also. If the dates are correct, Michael would have been about 38 years old at the time.

Editor's questions: Could he have emigrated to the East Coast of the US and lived with friends or relatives for a while before moving on to Colorado? Or is it possible that he emigrated to Canada and then moved on to Colorado?


His two children were Patrick and Mary, and both were given the middle name, Daly. Thus there is speculation that his mother's name may have been Daly. Michael Dalton died in Telluride, Colorado, on 23 June 1898. His daughter, Mary, was adopted in Colorado by a family named Harmon. The names, Michael and Patrick, have continued in the family and there are about 100 living descendents of this man.


Editors notes: Could the name, Daly, be that of his mother or could it be the name of a family who befriended him? Viewers whose ancestors came over to work in the mines of Pennsylvania and then disappeared, might give extra thought to this query. In your tree is there a story of a great granduncle who went to Colorado to make his fortune and was never heard from again? Surely someone out there has some knowledge of his background.

Could we please hear from Newfoundland Daltons? Or from Canadians living elsewhere whose roots are in Newfoundland? We have several US Daltons trying to make connections between the US and Newfoundland and between Newfoundland and Ireland.

Has anyone learned the ancestry of John Dalton, a founder of Alexandria , VA and friend of Washington? (c. 1722 -1778) His story will be published in the Spring issue of the Dalton Genealogical Society Journal.


We are still trying to find the parents of Captain James Dalton, British Navy, born about 1718 and died in Boston, April 21 1783. Bostonians, is he on your family tree? Or is there a British or Irish family who claims him?


Mary Dalton and sons, Thomas, George, John, Francis, Simon and Patrick came from Ireland to the US on the ship, Agnes in 1848. (This ship also brought Daltons to Australia). Mary and sons located in New Philadelphia, Schuykill, Co., PA but there has never been a trace of the father who reportedly was a foreman in the coal mines and preceded the family to the states. Do any Irish Daltons have knowledge of the origins of this family in Ireland?

If your Dalton ancestors lived in Bucks County, PA the DGS may be able to help you with your pedigree.