Samuel Dunton (c.1627 - 1683) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England
Death: Died in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
Managed by: Peter Dutton, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Samuel Dunton

Eaton concludes that he was an inhabitant of Reading at or about its incorporation on 29 May 1644, having come from Lynn with his [father? brother?] Robert. "The earliest settlements at Reading were made in what is now the town of Wakefield. We are unable to state precisely who were the very first to build and locate upon the territory. It is probable that several families removed hither from Lynn in the same year, and as early as 1640. . . . The early records of Lynn, which should [supply information on the earliest land grants] are wanting. [So are some of the earliest Reading records.]" [Eaton]

Samuel and Robert Dunton each drew 10 acres in the 1652 distribution of lands at Reading. This list is considered to be the earliest complete list of the male inhabitants of Reading. He received another distribution in 1655 when the 'the meddow from Jeremiah Swayne's meddow, downe below the falls, was divided by lott among the settlers." He did not take part in the drawing for lots in the 1666 division of the Great Swamp, probably because he had earlier received a special grant. However, his son Samuel took part in the 1666 drawing.

Samuel Dunton might have had Quaker sympathies. To be a Quaker in early colonial Massachusetts was a criminal offense. A Quaker could be fined, whipped, or exiled; and if one returned after exile, he or she could be executed. So the hostility toward this group is not trivial, and frequently resulted in actions that went way beyond neighborly disapproval.

In 1647 Samuel Dunton of "Redding" appearing before the court and being convicted of bringing up his children in a rude, irreligious, profane and barbarous manner, contrary to the word of God and the laws of the Commonwealth, the Court "doth order that the selectmen of said town do take care to dispose of the children of the said Dunton to service or apprenticeship as they might be capable, in case they be obstructed therein through the refractiveness and stubborness in the parents or children, they are to inform the court, who will proceed with them according to law by committing them to the House of Correction until they shall learn to submit themselves; and the said Dunton is ordered to pay costs."

In 1671 Thomas Hodgman and his wife, Cornelius Browne, John Wiley, Sam'l Dunton, and Sarah Eaton were admonished and fined costs, "for their uncivill carriages in an unseasonable time of night at Tho. Clarke's house, were admonished and fined costs." It has been speculated that this was the response of the local authorities to a secret Quaker meeting. In 1672, Samuel Dunton and his wife were summoned to Court to answer "for not coming to the publique worship of God on the Lords day."

"The last & verball will & Disposure of Samuel Dunton of Redding his Estate seid.[?] made the last week in the 12: month in the year 1684. & [??] for his son John Dunton. & did voluntarily mend the same about two days before his Death. His own words as followeth"

"Well son John Because I am so much in yor. debt I give to you my Son John Dunton All my Lands & meadow & my house & houses, stuff & cattle my swine (& my beds & bedding I reserve to my selfe & the rest of my houses & Tobacco Garden. and halfe an acre of land. My two cows, my Houshold stuffe all these things I reserve as long as either I or my wife liveth & then they shall be my son Johns all but my swine & bed & bedding them I give to whom I please, & my son John shall pay to either me or my wife as long as either of us liveth ten pounds a yeare" [details relating to items and John]

"To my Son Nathaniel I give on peice of land" . . . [the following phrase is confusing to me, but the gist of it is] but he can't sell it except to his brother John . . . "And as for Samuel my Son that ten acres of land & two acres of meadow which he has of me already & that four acres of meadow which he is to have after my demese is his full double portion" . . . [details relating to items] "but my Grandson Samuel I give my long Gun & my [??] & my Son John shall keep them for him till he is sixteen years of age" . . . [details relating to items] "& after both our demeses John my Son shall pay to my daughters Hannah & Elizabeth Sarah & Mary to each of them a cow a piece or the vallue of a Cow as they shall agree & to my daughter Ruth he shall pay two Cows or the vallue of them & John you might pay some or all of them if you see good before our demese & that meadow wch Thomas had for to use is yours as well as any of the rest of the lands but you let Nathaniel have the use of it as you can spare it. lovingly wee whose names are under written can testify that this abovewritten were the words of our father Samuel Dunton Sen." [all the following is in the same hand as the rest of the will]

"Hannah Dunton

Ruth Dunton

Ann Dunton Relict of the de(ceased] doth testify the same abovewritten

Ann Dunton her marke"

[there is no intervening material between the above and the following]

"Sam: Dunton will"

"The last mind & words of Samuel Dunton of Redding Tanner: the fifth day of the fourth month in the year 1685: His own words as followeth." "That Agreement wch I made with my Son John the last ffebruary.1684. is my will & I would have John write it, for my death shall make no change in my estate, only that wch I reserved to my selfe then I give to my wife now & I would have John & Ruth look after there mother well, if God shall please to take me away now at this time."

"And this above writing was the mind & words of our father the 5th day of the last June in the year.1685[? the last character is peculiar-it appears the clerk first wrote "4" and then attempted to amend it to "5"] wee whose names are here under written can testify to the above writing if called to speak."

[all the following is in the same hand as the rest of the will]

"Anne Dunton Relict of the decd. hir marke

Sarah Dunton

Ruth Dunton"

[there is no intervening material between the above and the following]

"Saml: Duntons Invent-"

"An Inventory of the Estate of Samuel Dunton of Redding Senr. who dyed the 7 of June 1685"

[various items]

"This inventory was taken 3. -- 8ber.1685

Apprised by us

Jno Browne

Jeremiah Swayen"

"Cambr: octobr 6th 1685 John Dutton made oath to this Inventory and tooke Administration"

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Samuel Dunton's Timeline

1627
1627
Reading, Berkshire, England
1646
1646
Age 19
Massachusetts, United States
1647
1647
Age 20
Reading, MA, USA
1649
1649
Age 22
1650
1650
Age 23
1650
Age 23
1654
1654
Age 27
Cambridge, Essex Co., M A
1655
1655
Age 28
Reading, MA, USA
1658
March 25, 1658
Age 31
1658
Age 31