Dating and Ordering Zachariah Dutton’s Children

Zachariah Dutton speculation sheet by Darlene Cole
The page that started it all for me.

The list of Zachariah Dutton’s children that I’ve been posting and passing around — including their birth dates and birth order — has been pretty standard for the past twenty years. It’s based, mostly unchanged, on a speculation sheet Darlene Cole published in a 1986 query on the family in Alabama Family History and Genealogy News (the quarterly of the North Central Alabama Genealogical Society out of Cullman, Alabama). This was my first introduction to the family of Zachariah Dutton, so it’s almost with a degree of deference and veneration that I’ve kept it intact. It represents a very good piece of research, making sense of what till then for me had been an undefined and confusing set of names:

  1. Matilda, born ca. 1774
  2. William, born ca. 1776-77
  3. John, born ca. 1778
  4. Zachariah, born ca. 1781
  5. Alexander, born ca. 1784
  6. Jarrett, born ca. 1789-90
  7. Stephen, born ca. 1791
  8. Edmund, born 1793
  9. Elizabeth, born ca. 1796
  10. Samuel, born ca. 1797

Can we assume that these dates are correct, however? Several of the dates, notably for Zachariah Jr., Alexander, Gerrard (Jarrett), and Elizabeth, are at best guesses. Speculation is fine and the ground of research progress, but I am concerned as I move forward not to propagate data as fact without a firm basis. So what can we really say, from the primary sources, about the birth dates and order of Zachariah Dutton’s children? Is there a need to reexamine and revise this venerable list?

Continue reading “Dating and Ordering Zachariah Dutton’s Children”