About Daniel Denton
Daniel was the author of "A Brief Description of New-York: Formerly Called New-Netherlands . . ." (London: Printed for John Hancock and William Bradley 1670; New York: Gowans, 1845) This promotional tract was written to encourage English settlement of territories lately seized from the Dutch and gives an account of the geographical features and general economy of the country surrounding New York, relates some customs of the native inhabitants and offers incentives and advice to prospective settlers. "A brief Description of New-York" is a twenty-five page pamphlet describing the topography, climate, soil, fauna and flora, settlements, crops, products, trades and occupations of the area between the Hudson and Delaware rivers and includes Manhattan Island, Staten Island and Long Island. He also included in this pamphlet some anecdotal relations of Indian customs and society. Quite understandably, he did not describe the Indians as a threatening presence, noting that: "It hath been generally observed, that where the English come to settle, a Divine Hand makes way for them; by removing or cutting off the Indians, either by Wars one with the other, or by some raging mortal Disease." (Note: "A Brief History of NY" by Daniel Denton was reprinted in the New York Times in 1900. The New York Times article said: "A second, perfect copy of this book previously unknown to bibliographers came to light at the sale of Lord Ashburton's library in November 1900. Mr. Brayton Ives paid $525 for this copy. When Ives collection was sold in March, this same copy resold for $615. A copy of this book is in the possession of Columbia University library.)
In 1650 Daniel was made town clerk of Hempstead, NY, where his father was pastor, and in 1656 he held the same position in the town of Jamaica, NY. When his father left to return to England, Denton remained on Long Island and in 1664 he became one of the grantees of a patent at Elizabethtown, NJ. In 1665 and 1666 he served as justice of the peace in New York, appointed by Governor Nichols. He married Abigail Stephenson who bore three children and from whom he was divorced in 1672. The two elder children remained with their father, while the infant, Mercy, accompanied her mother, who subsequently remarried. Denton left New York for England in1670 (which may have occasioned his divorce), and there he evidently participated in settlement enterprises and possible in the newly acquired (by the English) fur trade.