Dea. John Dunham, of the Plymouth Colony

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John Dunham, Sr.

Also Known As: "John Dunham Senior of Plymouth", "Deacon"
Birthplace: of, Langford, Bedfordshire, England
Death: Died in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Dunham, of Langford; Thomas Dunham; Lady Jane Dunham and wife of Richard Dunham
Husband of Susan Dunham; Susanna Dunham and Abigail Dunham
Father of John Dunham; Humility Dunham; Thomas Dunham; John Dunham, Jr.; Humility Dunham and 9 others
Half brother of William Dunham; Anne Dunham; Elizabeth Dunham and Richard Dunham

Occupation: Linen weaver, trader, church deacon, Farmer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Dea. John Dunham, of the Plymouth Colony

Recent research shows that John Dunham was likely a son of Richard Dunham of Langford, Bedfordshire, England [see "The English Origin and First marriage of Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts "by Robert Leigh Ward, published in July 1996 in TAG71:130-133].

From John Dunham, Senior of Plymouth A Short Biographical Profile by Timothy Mayfield University of Virginia, USEM 171, Spring 1997

Migration to Plymouth

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.

Job and Country

John Dunham was a weaver by trade. He had land for grazing cattle and sheep. On the inventory that was taken when he died a loom and weaving equipment was 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 deputy from Plymouth for many years and served on law making committees. This indicates that he was a 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, Dunham is referred to as a "deacon of the church of Christ att Plymouth." He was an important man.


Some common Mayflower errors

Here are a few bad connections to watch out for:

Goodman/Dunham -- John Goodman of the Mayflower is NOT the same man as John Dunham who later settled in Plymouth and left descendants.

Deacon John Dunham is "an approved servant of God."

"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."

Miscellaneous Documents:

John Dunham escaped to Holland in 1608 - his brother Robert was 5 years of age - what became of Robert is not known. During the life of Elder Brewster he continued, while in New England his love for and care of his prolege, John Dunham - by his advice, the name of John Goodman was given to John Dunham.


  • **The Last Will and Testament of Deacon John Dunham (Annotated)***

Source: Plymouth Colony Records: Wills and Inventories, 1633-1666, ed. Charles H. Simmons (Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1995), 1:480, citing Plymouth County Probate Records, 2:2:53; abstracted in Mayflower Descendant, 17:113-4. Annotations by Christopher L. Dunham.

The last Will and Testament of John Dunham senir: of Plymouth Deceased; exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth the 4th of June 1669 on the oathes of Captaine Thomas Southworth mr Thomas Cushman and mr John Cotton as followeth [1]

Plymouth the 25th of January 1668)

Know all prsons whom these prsents may Concerne That I John Dunham senir : of Plymouth in the Jurisdiction of Plymouth being weake in body but of prfect Memory Doe ordaine this my last Will and Testament in manor and forme following

Impr: I beqeath my soule into the hands of God that gave it and my body to Decent buriall hoping for a Joyfull Resurecion; and for my estate that god hath given me I Dispose as followeth; [2]

As for my son John Dunham whoe is my eldest sonne I have given him his portion alreddy both in land and other things to what I was able and beyond my abilitie; [3]

Item I give to my son Benajah Dunham and to my son in law Stephen Wood all my Right att Agawaum and Sepecan equally to be Devided between them to belong to them and theire heaires forever; [4]

Item give to my son Daniell Dunham all my land lying att or neare fresh lake to belong to him and his heires forever; [5]

Item I further give unto my son Daniell Dunham six acrees of my meddow att Swan hold and the Rest of my meddow lying there I give to my son Jonathan Dunham to belong to them and theire heires forever; [6]

Item further I give to my son Daniell Dunham all that land that lyeth att home which he made use of this last yeare which I alreddy ordered to him; to belong to him and his heires forever; [7]

Item I give unto my loveing wife Abigaill Dunham all my now Dwelling house and my orchyard with all my land not elswhere given: with all my meddow land att the watering place to belonge to her During her life; and att her Death my will is and I also heerby give it to my son Daniell Dunham to belong to him and his heires forever; and in Consideration therof my will is that my son Thomas Dunham shall have five pounds payed unto him by my son Daniell Dunham in Currant Countrey pay att prisse Currant upon Demaund [8]

Item I give unto all the Rest of my Children that are not expressed in this my last will twelve pence apeece if they Demaund itt; [9]

Item all the Rest of my estate in goods Chattle or else not alreddy given in this my last Will I give unto my loveing wife Abigaill Dunham; whom by these prsents I Doe ordaine to be the sole exequitor of this my last Will and Testament; I further Request my loveing frinds Captaine Thomas Southworth and the elder Thomas Cushman and my son Samuell Dunham to be healpfull to my loveing wife as overseers of this my last Will and Testament In witnes heerof I have sett my hand and seale the Day above mensioned [10]

In the prsence of Thomas Southworth John Dunham senir: his mark [11]

John Cotton And a seale

Thomas Cushman

Sources: Plymouth Colony Records [PCR]; Plymouth Church Records [PChR]; Plymouth Town Records [PTR]; Plymouth Vital Records [PVR]; Plymouth Colony Probate Records [PCPR]; Plymouth County Probate Records [PPR]; Plymouth Colony Deeds [PCLR]; Plymouth Deeds [PLR]; The American Genealogist [TAG]; Mayflower Descendant [MD]; The Great Migration Begins, by Robert C. Anderson (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995) [GMB]; Plymouth Colony Records: Wills and Inventories, 1633-1666, ed. Charles H. Simmons (Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1995) [PCW].


1. The death of Deacon John Dunham occurred either 1st March 1668/9 [PChR 1:144] or 2nd March 1668/9 [PCR 8:32]. Administration of his estate was granted his widow Abigail, 1st June 1669 [PCR 5:22].

2. His place of burial is not known. Burial Hill in Plymouth is probably not used for that purpose until the end of King Philip's War in 1676, after which the fortifications thereon are dismantled. Though it is said that Governor William Bradford (died 9th May 1657) and Pilgrim John Howland (died 23rd February 1672/3) are buried on the hill, the oldest extant stone is that of Edward Gray, who died ye Last of June 1681.

3. John Dunham, son of John and Susanna (Kaino) Dunham, is baptised 19th February 1614/15 in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England [TAG, 71:132], and died 6th April 1692 in his 77th yeare [PChR 1:275; cf. PVR 135]. His wife is named Mary, who died his widow 20th March 1698 [PVR 136]. His will is made 2nd February 1691/2, and proved 16th April 1692 [MD 31:160-1].

John and Mary settled first on a lot northeastward of his father, but sold out to Henry Wood early in 1643 [PCR 12:91]. They appear to have lived for a time at Wellingsley [PCR 12:110; PCR 12:114], before finally settling on a lot of land north of Plymouth village, "lyeing aboue the hieway goeing to Joanses Riuer" [PCR 12:179]. This was north of "Plain Dealing," later called "Seaside" [PTR 1:57]. He was a proprietor of Major's Purchase in Middleborough in 1674, but seems never to have lived there [PCR 5:150].

John's portion of his father's estate was received 28 May 1663, viz. "the one half of all that his share lot and portion of meddow att Winnatuxett . . . as also his whole portion of upland at the place forenamed" [MD 18:37-8, citing PCLR 2:2:119].

4. Benajah Dunham married 25 Oct. 1660 [PCR 8:22] Elizabeth Tilson of Scituate. They resided first in Eastham, Mass., later in Piscataway, N. J. He died at Piscataway 24 Dec. 1680 [TAG 30:145]. Stephen Wood alias Atwood married 6 Nov. 1644 [PCR 2:79] Abigail Dunham, and settled also in Eastham, where he died "the latter end of feburay in the year 1693/4" [MD 6:203].

Sepecan was incorporated as Rochester in 1686. Agawam was in the western part of Plymouth, and with the eastern part of Rochester was set off to form Wareham in 1739 [see PTR 2:325-6].

5. Daniel Dunham was the youngest son of John and Abigail (Ballou) Dunham of whom we have record. His wife was named Hannah, who survived him. His will was dated 28 Jan. 1677, and inventory of his estate was taken 18 Feb. 1677/8 [TAG 30:146, citing PCPR 3:2:102]. He was, like his father, a weaver, and was taxed for his "loome les Imployed" on 26 Dec. 1670 [PTR 1:117].

"fresh lake" is now called Billington Sea; the land mentioned lay between Great and Little Billington and was called "Dunham's Neck" or "Daniel's Neck." The bounds of John Dunham's grant of twelve acres at Fresh Lake were confirmed by the Plymouth selectmen on 15 Feb. 1658 [MD 13:146, citing PCLR 2:2:14].

6. John Dunham, Sr., was granted sixty acres of upland and eight acres of meadow at "Swann Holt," 16 Sept. 1641 [PCR 2:26]. The eight acres of meadow were laid out in September of 1641 [PTR 1:284]. On 31 Dec. 1641, he was granted a "parcell of meddow at Swanholt, and some vpland to yt" [PCR 2:30]. Some upland and meadow lands at Swan Holt granted by the Court were laid out for him 8 Jan. 1665/6 [PTR 1:81-2]. Swan Holt lay southeast of Wenham Pond, which lies now in Carver.

Jonathan Dunham was twice married, first 29 Nov. 1655 to Mary Delano [de la Noye] [PCR 8:17], second to Mary Cobb, on 15 Oct. 1657 [ibid.]. On 4 July 1658 his father gave to Jonathan fourteen acres of upland adjacent to his own homestall, with "all that his house and land that the said Jonathan Dunham is Now Posessed of and liveth upon" [MD 12:214, citing PCLR 2:1:212]. This seems to have been the land and house John bought of his son Samuel, 18 Feb. 1650 [PCR 12:204].

Jonathan afterward removed to Namassakett [Middleborough], where he was granted land in "Major's Purchase" on 7 June 1665 [PCR 4:95]. He was lay pastor at Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard from 1684 until his death. In 1694 he sent letters to the Plymouth Church asking assistance in founding a church in Edgartown. Samuel Fuller and the pastor of the Plymouth church went to the Vineyard to assist Jonathan in his efforts. Jonathan was ordained Teacher 11 Oct. 1694, three days after the arrival of the Plymouth contingent [PChR 1:175]. He died 18 Dec. 1717 [Edgartown VR 221]. Upon his gravestone can be read the words "With Toil & Pains at first He Tell'd the Ground \ Call'd to Dress GOD'S Vine Yard & ws faithful found \ Full Thirty Years the Gospel He Did Despence \ His Work Being Done CHRIST JESUS Cal'd Him Hence."

7. The evident reference is to land associated with the homestead, excluding the "orchyard" and meadow land bequeathed in the next item.

8. Abigail Ballou was the second wife of Deacon John Dunham. They married at Leiden, Holland, before Alphen and Groenendyc, bailiffs on the XXII d of October 1622" [TAG 71:131, citing Plooij and J. Rendal Harris, Leyden Documents Relating to the Pilgrim Fathers, (Leiden, 1920), XLIX]. The bride was accompanied by her father Thomas Ballou and sisters Abigail and Ann Ballou.

Thomas Dunham was a son by John's first wife, Susanna Kaino. He seems never to have married, and died before 15 May 1677, on which date reference is made in Plymouth town records to "a smale psell of Land & a smale Cottage theron formerly posessed by Thomas Dunham deceased" [PTR 1:152].

Deacon John Dunham's homestead lay near the Alms House Pond, at the southern edge of Plymouth village, between Watson and Winberry Hills. The pond was a swamp until its outlet, Dunham Brook, was dammed, and is mentioned in early court records where John Dunham's homestall is confirmed [PCR 12:27]. A deed dated 4 July 1658 states that "John Dunhams house now standeth on to a little pond" [MD 12:214, citing PCLR 2:1:212]. An "orchyard" was mentioned in a description of property bought of John's son, Samuel, on 18 Feb. 1650 [PCR 12:204].

9. Known children not expressed are Persis (Dunham) Pratt, wife of Benajah Pratt, later of Jonathan Shaw; Hannah (Dunham) Rickard, wife of Giles Rickard; and Joseph Dunham, whose wives were Mercy Morton and Hester Wormall. An eleventh child, Humility, was alive 15th October 1622 when a census of the Zevenhuysen section of Leiden was taken, but no further evidence of her has been found [TAG 71:130 and GMB 1:603, both citing Henry Martyn Dexter and Morton Dexter, The England and Holland of the Pilgrims, (Boston & New York, 1905), 612].

On 27 Feb. 1691, Joseph Dunham sold to John Carver of Plymouth "my six acres of Land With all the housing upon the said Land lying in the Town of Plimouth near unto the land my dear Father John Dunham deceased dyed possessd of" [MD 36:41, citing PLR 1:164]. Joseph was dismissed from the First Church of Plymouth to the "Upper Society" in what would become Plympton, 27 Oct. 1698 [PChR 1:186]. He was a House Carpenter, and died between 9 March 1702/3 and 16 June 1703, the dates his will was drafted and proved [TAG 30:153, citing PPR 2:21].

10. It was Southworth and Cushman who inventoried the estate of John Dunham, "taken the sixteenth of March 1668(69) and exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth the fourth of June 1669 on the oath of Abigaill Dunham senir: widdow" [PCW 481, citing PCPR 2:2:54]. The estate included only 3£ in real estate, viz. "house and land not prised onely threescore acres of upland att Swanhold not willed away." Of interest are the tools of his weaving trade, including "2 paire of sheep sheers," "1 loome 12 paire of geers 3 old ????? warping beams & what else belongs to the loome," and "Cotton woole and sheeps woole" worth 2£ 10s.

Also of interest is his library, catalogued as follows: 1 great bible 1 Psalmbooke ?Reason Des??sed Den?s pathway Ursinus Sibbs br??sed Reed? 1 little book of Cu??e??ell" [ibid.]. Some of the corrupt entries refer to Arthur Dent's Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven, first published in 1601; a volume by Zacharias Ursinus, co-author of the Heidelberg Catechism; and Richard Sibbes' The Bruised Reed, first published in 1630.

Samuel Dunham is born about 1623 in Holland (though his age in March of 1677 was given as fifty yeers or therabouts [PCR 5:221]), and died 20 January 1712, aged 89 years [PVR 136]. He was twice married-first to Martha (Beal) Fallowell on 29 June 1649 [PCR 8:8], next to the widow Sarah Watson on 15th January 1694 [PVR 87]. In later years, Samuel was afflicted with intemperance, which led to his excommunication from the Plymouth church for two years [PChR 1:157; cf. PCR 6:82].

11. Deacon John Dunham's library, and the positions of responsibility he held in the Colony, suggest that he was literate. That he signed this instrument with only his mark would suggest the opposite conclusion, but may have been only a consequence of his final debility.

Original text c 1993, 1997-2002 by C. L. Dunham and Tammy L. (Dunham) Caron

Moses Dunham of Hartford, Maine Email:

  • 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.

Deacon John was a weaver by trade. He was also a Deacon of the Church under Elder Brewster, a Deputy to the General Court from 1639-1664, and a member of the Council of War. He was alleged to have been the same person as Mayflower passenger John Goodman by Isaac Watson Dunham, but this assertion is given no credence by researchers today.

Leiden (Holland) Separatist. Sacrificed positiion in society with all its accomplishments, that he might devote his life to the welfare of his fellow men. The original Pilgrim church was organized at Dunham Manor, in the village of Scrooby, England. John, Gov. Bradford & (Elder) William Brewster were the only members of the original church to come to Plymouth. Many of the Pilgrims moved to Holland to avoid religious persecution before moving to the Americas. Arrived in MA. in 1630 aboard the ship, 'Hope'. First representative to the Legislative Assembly June 4, 1639, deputy of the General Court of Plymouth 1639-1664, member of the Council of War. Massachusetts Militia. He was granted "for the sheepe the watering place & the skirts of upland at Goose Pt. & About the first & secondbrooke." John kept cattle & "the marke of his Cattle is a croch on the left eare". His land can still be found by the following description: "after leaving the village, was north of Watson's Hill & sw of the village of Plymouth. To the w was a swamp, having an outlet to Town Brook, called 'Dunham's Brook'. By means of a dam it became a pond & was separated by a narrow strip of land known as 'Dunham's Neck." 'Dunham's Brook'-when the slaughterhouse pond was merely a swamp this was the brook by which drained into the Town Brook. Dunham's Neck-The neck of land between Billington Sea & Little Pond. Served as a committee or deputy of the Gen'l Court of Plymouth for 20 yrs. Officer of the central church of the colony. He was one of the first purchasers of Dartmouth. In 1673 he bought into "The Purchase" & became an inhabitant & representative of the Town at the Court.

Source: Adrienne Anderson chart of Scandinavian Norman Descent of Hamblins

It's very hard to confirm birth, death & wedding dates since many of the books are wrong and so much data is "made-up". I've tried to provide citations, where they existed, in my genealogy data base but John Dunham is hard to pin down as so many articles exist.

I, born 1588, and Edmund Zouche, Councillor of King James, and violent persecutor of the Dissenters, were both practically the same age and both of the same degree of descent from Lord John Zouche. After King James' edict in 1608, commanding attendance at church, I escaped to Holland where I became a man of toil and learned the trade of a weaver.That is history, what follows is a belief passed to Edith Osgood and written in her diary but which has been 'disproved' as nonsense by current genealogists. When the Puritans finally embarked for the new world after two previous attempts, there was on board listed as a passenger a man named John Goodman. Some time afterward in Plymouth John Goodman disappeared from the records and I appeared. There is of course no proof that Goodman & I were the same person but I was under the protection of William Brewster. The following paragraph is from a book containing data about me:left  "from Lancashire in the ship Hope in 1630,31 He was of Plymouth Massachusetts as early as 1633 and was admitted a freeman that year He was a weaver by trade He was in 1639 one of the first four deputies to the general court and continued in that office for twenty years He was deacon of the church He was a landholder in 1632 He was a member of Governor Bradford's council He was upright and faithful an appointed servant of God and a useful man in his place."

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts By William Richard Cutter, William Frederick Adams

The Burbank Family #929.273 B891s

JOHN DUNHAM was born ca. 1589 probably in England, and died in Plymouth Massachusetts 2 March 1668/69 at age 80 years. He was a Leyden Separatist who came to Plymouth between 1628 and 1632, probably with those who arrived from Holland in 1630. John Dunham had married first in Clophill, Bedfordshire, England on 17 August 1612 SUSAN KAINO who died in Holland. He married second in Leyden on 22 October 1622 ABIGAIL BALLOU, daughter of Thomas Ballou. Early publications contain much erroneous information on the ancestery of John Dunham. Recent research shows that he was likely a son of Richard Dunham of Langford, Bedfordshire, England [see "The English Origin and First marriage of Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts "by Robert Leigh Ward, published in July 1996 in TAG71:130-133].Another article that should be consulted by Dunham descendants is "The Fraudulent Ancestry of Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth" by Paul C. Reed, published in April 1998 in TAG 73:101-104. This article disproves the purported descent from royal ancestors. Thirdly, the sketch on JOHN DUNHAM in "The Great Migration Begins" by Robert Charles Anderson, published in 1995 in Volume I:599-603 contains references to his life in Plymouth. It should be noted however, that even some of the information presented in that sketch has been superceeded by the above research published by Robert Leigh Ward, and cited above. [Gratia S.Mahony] source:

  1. Name: John Dunham
  2. Sex: M
  3. Title: Deacon
  4. Birth: ABT 1589 in England
  5. Death: 2 MAR 1668/69 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA 2
  6. Immigration: 1632
  7. Occupation: Weaver

Marriage 1 Susanna Keno

   * Married: ABT 1615 


  1. John Dunham b: ABT 1616 in England
  2. Humility Dunham b: ABT 1618
  3. Thomas Dunham b: ABT 1619

Marriage 2 Abigail Barlow born: ABT 1602 in England

   * Married: 22 OCT 1622 in Leiden, Holland 


  1. Samuel Dunham b: ABT 1623 in Leiden, Holland
  2. Jonathan Dunham b: ABT 1625 in Leiden, Holland
  3. Abigail Dunham b: ABT 1627 in Leiden, Holland
  4. Joseph Dunham b: ABT 1631 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
  5. Hannah Dunham b: ABT 1634 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
  6. Persis Dunham b: ABT 1635 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
  7. Benajah Dunham b: ABT 1637 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA


  1. Title: Plymouth Colony Its History and People 1620-1691
     Author: Eugene Aubrey Stratton, FASG
     Publication: Salt Lake City, UT, 1986
     Page: p. 285
  2. Title: The Great Migration Begins, Immigrants to New England 1620-1633
     Author: Robert Charles Anderson
     Publication: Great Migration Study Project New England Historic Genealogical Society Boston 1995
     Page: p. 602

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.” [1]

  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. [2]  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. [3]  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 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 att Plymouth." [4]

Next Page

References: 1. PCR Vol. 1:3 2. TAG Vol. 71:130-133; Ward, Robert Leigh, The English Origin and First Marriage of Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts 3. Ibid. 4. TGMB Vol. 3:599-603


Added by Elwin Nickerson II-My 10th Great Grandfather Also at one time Resided in England-Leyden Holland- and Plymouth ,Massachusetts

John Dunham was a Pilgrim (separatist) in England who as with the other Pilgrims were not in the king’s best favor. He settled and became Deacon in the newly formed Plymouth Colony. A connection to the Green family occurred when a Granddaughter (Hanna) married Joseph Alden (Grandson of John and Priscilla). The most recent connection was 9 generations from Deacon John Dunham when Hersey Dunham married Edward Alden


See Massachusetts and More Genealogy Blog

•ID: I014132 •Name: "Deacon" John DUNHAM •Sex: M •Birth: ABT 1589 in ENGLAND [1] •Death: 2 MAR 1669 in Plymouth, Plymouth, MA [2] •Will: 25 JAN 1668 Proved June 4, 1669 •Burial: Probably on Burial Hill Plymouth MA •Note: He was in Holland until about 1629. The fact that he did not share in the division of cattle in P.C. in 1627 is additional evidence that he had not yet joined the colony ( P.C. Records 12:9-13 ) He came to P.C. sometime between 1628 and 1632, probably with those who arrived from Holland in 1630 aboard the ship "Hope". He was in Plymouth by 1632 as he is listed as receiving a grant of land to pasture his cattle. His name appears for the first time on Jan. 2,1633 the 1st tax was levied ( P.C. Record 3, p 10. In 1633 he was made Deacon of the Church of Christ, from which time he was known as "Deacon" John Dunham. He was a man of strict honesty and sterling character, quite prominent in the growth and prosperity of the colony. He was a Linen-weaver by trade. No headstone exists now. He was Clerk of Court Plymouth Colony for a number of years. He was one of three of the early settlers of Plymouth Colony who stayed there for the rest of their lives. He resided North of Watson's Hill & SW of Plymouth. His will dated Jan. 25, 1669 exhibited Court Jun. 4, 1669 ( P.C. Wills part 2, p53). He is believed to have been a son of: Richard Dunham who died 17 Nov 1624 in Langford, Bedfordshire, England, buried Nov. 19, 1624 Reference: 1. "The Great Migration Begins ; Immigrants to New England 1620-1633" Anderson, Robert Charles; published by New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston 1995, Volume I, page 599-603. 2. Ibid. "Dunham Genealogy" by Isaac Watson Dunham printed 1907 "History of Martha's Vineyard" by Charles E. Banks Vol. 3 p153 Mayflower Records. American Genealogist Vol. 30 p 143-155 Plymouth Church records Vol. 1 p144 Name also spelled: Donham, Denham, Dynham, Downham, Dunnam, Donnam. He may have been born on July 25 1588/89. _________

A helpful document about his life is found here.

He was a deputy to Plymouth court for many years and a select man in 1644. By occupation he was a weaver. He was a church deacon.

view all 54

Dea. John Dunham, of the Plymouth Colony's Timeline

July 25, 1588
Langford, Bedfordshire, England
August 17, 1612
Age 24
Clophill, Bedfordshire, England
Age 25
Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 27
Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Age 28
Leiden, Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Age 29
Leyden, Holland
Age 30
Leydon, Zuid, South Holland, Netherlands
Age 30
Leiden, Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
September 6, 1620
- November 9, 1620
Age 32
October 22, 1622
Age 34
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.