|Dalton's first published
|Dalton was originally a part of a larger area known as Chiswick, granted in 1764.
Just a few years later in 1770, the town was regranted under the name of
Apthorp. After this second group of proprietors failed to meet the conditions of
their charter, Apthorp was divided into two towns, and on November 4, 1784,
Littleton and Dalton were established. Dalton took it's name from Tristram
Dalton, who, with his partner, Nathaniel Tracy, owned the tract at the time of it's
incorporation. Tristram Dalton was a respected merchant in Newburyport,
Massachusetts. A Harvard graduate at the age of seventeen, Dalton was
acquainted with the first four presidents of this young country. It is not known if
he ever actually set foot in the town bearing his name.
A man named Moses Blake was made an offer by Dalton and Tracy to establish
a road between Haverhill and Lancaster. Upon doing this, Blake was given two
160-acre lots of his choice, which he chose near the mouth of the John's River.
Blake, with his wife Lucy and two small children, became Dalton's first settlers.
Over time, the land in town proved to be well-suited for raising sheep.
Settlers cleared the land of trees, and built stone walls to fence in their
stock as well as mark their boundaries.
Lumbering was also an enterprise that proved fruitful. Several mills, from
lumber, to brick, to grist mills were established. Families came and went, and
some came to stay, seemingly, forever.
There are still descendants living here today, whose ancestors
worked the land two hundred years ago.
Dalton today is mostly forested, the trees having reclaimed their place where our
early settlers cut them down. With each generation, the fields are becoming
fewer, as brush takes over and nature takes it's course