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Abigail Dunham (Barlow)

Also Known As: "Billiou", "Bilyeau", "Balliou", "Abigail Wood"
Birthplace: La Bassee, or Wicres, Flanders
Death: Died in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas Billiou and Aimée Bilyeu
Wife of Dea. John Dunham, of the Plymouth Colony
Mother of Samuel Dunham, of Plymouth; Rev. Jonathan Dunham; Abigail Atwood; Hannah Rickard; Joseph Dunham, of the Plymouth Colony and 7 others
Sister of Jean Bilyeau-Billiou; Pierre Billiou and Anna Walker

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Abigail Dunham

2B. ABIGAIL BALLIOU (BALLION, BILYEU) born in France, dau, of Thomas Billiou 1B and Aime ..................; married 22 Oct. 1622 in Leyden, Holland, to JOHN DUNHAM (born 1589 in Nottinghamshire, England; living at the time of his marriage in Zevenhuysen, Holland; came to America some time before 1681 and was an elder in the church under William Brewster.) Abigail's marriage was witnessed by her father, Thomas Billiou and a sister Anna (not previously mentioned) who was married 28 May 1624 in Holland to Nathaniel Walker.

From John Dunham, Senior of Plymouth A Short Biographical Profile by Timothy Mayfield

John Dunham (Dunhame) arrived in Plymouth from Leiden, Holland in 1632 with six children and his wife Abigail. There is no record of his ever returning to Europe.


John Dunham arrived in Plymouth with his second wife Abigail Barlow and six children. He fathered three children with his first wife Susanna Keno. His three children by her were John (b. 1616), Humility (b. 1618), and Thomas (b. 1619). Of these John and Thomas came to Plymouth. There was no further record of Humility after Holland. She either died or did not accompany her parents to the New World.

He and Abigail had four children together before arriving in Plymouth. They were

  • Samuel (b. 1623),
  • Jonathan (b. 1625),
  • Abigail (b. 1627), and
  • Joseph (b. 1631).

He had four more children while living in Plymouth:

  • Hannah (b. 1634),
  • Persis (b. 1635),
  • Benajah (b. 1637) and
  • Daniel (b. 1639).

The fact that he had children and grandchildren named John and Jonathan made research confusing at times.


John Dunham was married (1) to Susanna Keno (Kenny) probably in England. Some records say that he had three children by this marriage before his wife died some time before 1622.

The children of Abigail Billiou and John Dunham were:

  • 13B. SAMUEL DUNHAM born 1624 in Leyden, Holland; married 29 June 1649 to MARTHA FALLOWELL.
  • 14B. ABIGAIL DUNHAM born about 1626 in Leyden, Holland; married STEPHEN ATWOOD.
  • 15B. HANNAH DUNHAM born 1630 in Leyden, Holland; married GILES RICHARD, Jr.
  • 16B. REV. JONATHAN DUNHAM born about 1632 in Plymouth, Mass; married (1) MARY DELANO and (2) MARY COBBS. Jonathan was a noted preacher and minister of the early colony.
  • 17B. PERSIS DUNHAM born about 1635 in Plymouth, Mass; married (1) BENJAH PRATT and (2) JONAH SHAW.
  • 18B. JOSEPH DUNHAM born. about 1636 in Plymouth, Mass; married (1) MARY MARTIN and (2) HESTER WORNELL.
  • 19B. BENJAMIN DUNHAM born about 1637 in Plymouth, Mass; married 25 Oct. 1660 to MARY TILSON.
  • 20B. DANIEL DUNHAM born about 1639 in Plymouth, Mass; married in 1670 to MEHITABLE HAYWOOD.
  • 21B. BENAJAH DUNHAM born about 1640 in Plymouth, Mass; married 25 Oct. 1660 to ELIZABETH TILSON.

"811 The children of Deacon John Dunham do NOT include a son named Benjamin. I have found no proof of a Benjamin and I suspect that this name came from confusion in the land records of Taunton. Benjamin and Benajah are one and the same."


Some have suggested that variants of Abigail's last name is of French descent ('bouleau' which means 'birch tree' which might explain why her name sometimes is given as 'Abigail Wood'.


From Re: Ballou Origins 2000

From "Ballous in America" there is also this:

5. How the old and wide-spread tradition originated among our American Ballous North and South, that their immigrant ancestors were French Huguenots, we know not, and can only conjecture. ..... Edict [of Nantes] was revoked Oct. 22, 1685, nearly 40 years after the earliest Ballous had emigrated to America.


Response: As I understand it, you are quoting Adin BALLOU, Mike? Just to clarify, it has been my understanding that the BALLOUs came from England to America. IF they have a Huguenot background, it would have to have been that the ancestors escaped to England first. Perhaps the name itself leads the public in general to think "Huguenot".

The BALLOU family traveled and intermarried with the PIKE family. That sound like a long association in England, however it started.


  • Compendium of American Genealogy, vol. 7, p 847.
  • The book, 'History of Martha's Vineyard'.
  • The book, 'England & Holland of the Pilgrims', by Dexter.
  • Info from Joanne Yeager Gwinn (Dunham descendant).
  • The book, 'Notes on the Dunham Family of Plymouth, Mass.', by Mrs. John E. Barclay.
  • 'The American Genealogist 30:143
  • Ballou in Leydon Holland 1622
    • 1056 / B 137v / 22-10-1622 Marriage certificate John Danham and Abigail Balliou, 1622
      • Parties: John Danham, widower of Susanna Keno, England; Abigail Balliou, spinster, England;
      • Witnesses: Thomas Balliou, fut. father-in-law, Anna Balliou, sister of the bride.
    • 1062 / B 160 / 15-6-1624 Marriage certificate Nathaniel Walker and Anne Bailliuw, 1624
      • Parties: Nathaniel Walker, widower of Jane Walker, sayworker, Anne Bailliuw, spinster, England;
      • Witnesses: Thomas Bailliuw, future father-in-law, Abigail Dunham, sister.
view all 37

Abigail Dunham's Timeline

October 22, 1600
La Bassee, or Wicres, Flanders
Age 18
Age 19
October 22, 1622
Age 22
Leiden,Zuid Holland,Netherlands

This couple was rumored to have been related & were betrothed Oct. 7, 1622. Abigail's father (Thomas) & her sister (Anna) were witnesses to this marriage.

Age 23
Leyden, South Holland, The Netherlands
Age 24
Leiden, South Holland, The Netherlands
May 6, 1627
Age 26
Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Nederland
Age 29
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
April 18, 1631
Age 30
Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts
Age 34
Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands