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1. JOHN 1 DUNHAM was born ca. 1589, died 2 March 1668/9, age 80 years. [1] He was a Leyden Separatist who came to Plymouth between 1628 and 1632, probably with those who arrived from Holland in 1630. John married first in England SUSAN KAINO, [2] who died probably in Holland. John married second in Leyden 22 October 1622 ABIGAIL BALLOU, [3] daughter of Thomas Ballou. Abigail died in Plymouth after 20 March 1668/9, and probably after 1673 when "The Widow Dunham" was named in the list of debts of Thomas Prence. [4]

John Dunham married his first wife, Susan Kaino of Clophill, Bedfordshire, England on 17 August 1612. Their first child, a son John, was baptized in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England 19 February 1614/15. [5] The father of John Dunham has been the subject of speculation for a long time. In an article by Robert Leigh Ward a probate record dated 5 October, 1624 “Richard Dunham, the elder, poulter of Langford” names a son John. [6] Langford is about 7 miles from Clophill and is very close to Henlow where John and Susan Dunham’s first child was baptized. These facts establish a strong probability that John Dunham’s father was Richard Dunham of Langford.

Sometime after 1615 John and Susan (Kaino) Dunham went to Leiden, Holland. Two more children, Humility and Thomas, were born before Susan died, probably while the family was living in Holland. John Dunham married second, in Leiden 22 October 1622 Abigail Ballou. John and Abigail were parents of at least three children born in Leiden; Samuel, Jonathan and Abigail.

John Dunham and his second wife Abigail sailed from Leiden, Holland between 1629 and 1632. It is likely that they arrived in Plymouth closer to 1630, but the earliest date certain is from the Plymouth list of Freemen of 1633 on which John Dunham is shown “before those admitted on 1 January 1632/3.” [7]

John Dunham was a weaver by trade both in Leiden and in Plymouth. In 1638 John Dunham and three others were given power to control the stock of cows for the poor at Plymouth for the next four years. He had land for grazing cattle and sheep. On the inventory that was taken when he died a loom and weaving equipment were listed as well as cotton, sheep wool, and linen yarn. He was granted land several times by the town of Plymouth for grazing sheep. He was a deputy from Plymouth for many years and served on law making committees. This indicates that he was at least moderately educated. Although he signed documents with a mark, books were listed in his inventory. These books were religious in nature. At the entry that marked his death in the court records, he is referred to as a "deacon of the church of Christ at Plymouth." [8]

In an article by Robert Leigh Ward, “The English Origin and First Marriage of Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts”, [9] is information from the Parish Register of Clophill, Bedfordshire, England. The article states that Susan, daughter of Thomas Cainehoe, was baptized in Clophill, County Bedford on 12 December 1586. The article also contains the marriage record of John Dunham and Susan Kaino with date of 17 August 1612. Mr. Ward has also discovered the record of baptism of John Dunham, son of John and Susan, in the Parish of Henlow, Bedfordshire, England dated 19 February 1614/15.

Some insight into the life of John Dunham can be gleaned from the following items contained in The Records of the Town of Plymouth.

“At a meeting of the Townesmen of New Plymouth held at the Governors the 16th day of July, 1638 all the Inhabitants from Jones River to the Eele River being thereunto to consider of the disposition of the stock given. . . to the poore of Plymouth. . .It was concluded that the Inhabitants of the said Town of New Plymouth dwelling betwixt the houses of Willm Pontus and John Dunham on the south and the outside of the new street on the north side have power to order and dispose of the said stock of cowes so given as aforesaid.” Footnote says, "The house of Wm Pontus was near the farm of Thomas O. Jackson and the house of John Dunham was near what is now called the Poor-house pond. The New Street was what is now called North Street."

Other references to the care of the cattle, and distribution of the stock under John Dunham’s control appear in Records of the Town of Plymouth on pages 1,2,3,4,8,10,18,20,23,27, & 29. John Dunham was also involved in repair of the herring weir (p. 5), and in seeing that wolf traps were made according to the order of the Court (p.16). A reference to John Dunham appears on p. 29-30 as follows:
“At a Generall meeting the Townsmen of New Plymouth holden at the house of Mr. Willam Bradford, Gouv, the 18th of February 1649. . . Wheras in regard to the distance of our habitations and sundry other inconveniencies the whole town cannot readly come together to act in the redress of sundry things in the Towne aforesaid: The said town have therfore ordered by these psents that seven men be chosen and deputed by and in the behalfe of the said town to order the affayers thereof. . .” “Accordingly at the meeting aforsaid seven men were chosen which were these folowing, John Barnes, Robert Finney, Captain Tho. Willet, Lieutenant Tho. Southworth, John Cooke Junior, John Dunham Senior, Tho. Clarke."
Footnote says, "In the choice of these seven men the Town anticipated the law passed by the Colony Court in 1665, providing for the choice of a Board of Selectmen."

The Records of the Town of Plymouth contain other references to land distribution. Volume 1, page 36-37, dated March 1651 shows that John had an “interest in the Townes land at Punckateesett.” Page 50 shows “that a grant of land formerly granted unto him by the court lying at Swan Hold shall be layed out to him.” Pages 60-61 detail a meeting dated 21 February 1663 at which “a little peece of upland ground about an acre was granted unto Benajah Pratt lying eastward for his barn. To be layed forth by John Dunham Senior; and George Watson the bounds whereof is to the eastward or northeast corner of a wall at John Dunham Senior; his field and so eastward of a Round hole to a small rocke.”

These references and deeds help us to locate the land holdings and homestead of John Dunham, as well as to locate land that he passed on to his heirs.

Plymouth Vital Records state, “John Dunham Sr. of Plymouth aged about fourscore [80] years died the 2nd of March 1668. He was an approved servant of God; and a useful man in his place being a Deacon of the Church of Christ at Plymouth.”

The will and Inventory of John Dunham Senior of Plymouth is printed in “Plymouth Colony Records, Volume 1, Wills and Inventories 1633-1699,” edited by C. H. Simmons, Jr., published by Picton Press 1996, p. 481.

Children of John and Susan (Kaino) Dunham:[10]

2. i. JOHN 2 DUNHAM, bp. 19 February 1614/15 Henlow, Bedfordshire, England
ii. HUMILITY 2 DUNHAM, b. 1617-18, d.y. probably in Holland
3. iii. THOMAS 2 DUNHAM, b. 1619-20

Children of John and Abigail (Ballou) Dunham: [11]

4. iv. SAMUEL 2 DUNHAM, b. say 1623
5. v. ABIGAIL 2 DUNHAM, b. say 1626
6. vi. PERSIS 2 DUNHAM, b. 1628-9
7. vii. JONATHAN 2 DUNHAM, b. 1631-2 (Note: TGMB places birth date as 1625.) [12]
8. viii. HANNAH 2 DUNHAM, b. 1633-4
9. ix. JOSEPH 2 DUNHAM, b. say 1635-6 (Note: TGMB places birth date as say 1631.) [13]
10. x. BENAJAH 2 DUNHAM, b. say 1638
11. xi. DANIEL 2 DUNHAM, b. say 1639

1. Plymouth VR p. 666; TAG 30:143-4; TGMB Vol. 1:599-602.
2. TAG 71:130-33.
3. Ibid.
4. PCR Vol. 2, Ply. Colony Wills—Doc. Set #301, debts of Thomas Prence (1673), include The Widow Dunham.
5. TAG Vol. 71:130-133; Ward, Robert Leigh, The English Origin and First Marriage of Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts
6. Ibid.
7. PCR Vol. 1:3
8. TGMB Vol. 3:599-603
9. TAG 71:130-33.
10. TAG 30:143-4; TGMB Vol. 1:599-602.
11. Ibid.
12. TGMB p.602 states Jonathan Dunham was on a Plymouth voters list about 1646, thus aged 21 years.
13. Ibid.

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