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Original Settlers of Dedham, Massachusetts

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Profiles

  • Hester Hunting (c.1597 - 1676)
    I cannot tell clearly enough whether her parents are John and Mary or Francis and Joan, so am not selecting any one set. -- Sabrina Lowther 7-28-13 her will, referencing a brother Francis Seaborne in...
  • John Hunting (1601 - 1689)
    Elder John Hunting, one of the early settlers of Dedham, was born in Hoxne, a village in Suffolk County, England, about the year 1597. He was a man of decided opinions, and early in life took a firm st...
  • Joanna Borden Gay (Unknown) (1612 - 1691)
    One story received concerning Joanna "Borden" reads as follows: "When Joanna left England, she was a widow and pregnant. Her brother, John Borden was also a widower. Probably for her protection on the ...
  • John Gay, Sr. (c.1615 - 1688)
    John came to the New World in 1630 aboard the Mary & John. He settled first at Watertown, MA, and acquired land totaling 40 acres. With others of Watertown, he was one of the founders of Dedham, MA, wh...
  • Henry Wight (c.1629 - 1680)
    Birth: unknown, England Death: Feb. 27, 1681 Dedham Norfolk County Massachusetts, USA The following has been modified from William Ward Wight's "The Wights, A Record of Thomas Wight of Dedham and M...

Please add profiles representing the "founding families" of Dedham. Profiles must be set to "public.". The resources collected on the media gallery are available for all - and please do contribute more.

Background

From the Dedham Historical Society:

There was a land hunger in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, almost from the beginning. As early as 1634, the Newtown (Cambridge) folk were seeking permission to remove to Connecticut because of a want of accommodation for their cattle as well as a deep-rooted feeling among them that it was a fundamental error, that towns were set off so near to each other. A year later, rumblings were heard of an impending Indian war; it was all too apparent that the coastal settlements were utterly vulnerable to an attack from the wild interior. Accordingly, in September of 1635, the General Court issued orders for the establishment of two inland towns, which could relieve the population pressures within the existing settlements along the Bay, as well as serve as a buffer zone between the Indians and the main colony. The first of these towns was Concord; the second was Dedham.

Predominantly yeomen and middle-class people from Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex, the Dedham pioneers found themselves in possession of something in excess of two hundred square miles of virgin wilderness, complete with lakes, hills, forests, meadows, Indians, and a seemingly endless supply of rocks and wolves. Curiously, the settlers initially contented themselves with taming only the smallest portion of their holdings ...

The fourteenth church of Massachusetts Bay Colony was gathered in Dedham in 1638, selecting John Allin as its pastor and John Hunting as Ruling Elder. The church records show no instances of dissension, Quaker or Baptist expulsions, or witchcraft persecutions. On the other hand, the state of peace which existed in town and church should not be surprising in the light of the requirements stipulated by the Town Covenant, signed by all those admitted as settlers:

"…we shall by all means labor to keep off from us all such as are contrary minded, and accept unto us all such as may be probably be of one heart."

Settlement

From Wikipedia

Dedham was settled in the summer of 1636 by "about thirty families excised from the broad ranks of the English middle classes" traveling up the Charles River from Roxbury and Watertown traveling in rough canoes carved from felled trees. These original settlers, included Edward Alleyne, John Everard, John Gay and John Ellis ....

Many of the other yeomen settling the new Dedham in the Massachusetts Bay Colony came from Suffolk, in eastern England. This group included elders Nathan Aldis, George Barber, Henry Brock, Eleazor Lusher, Samuel Morse, Robert Ware, John Thurston, Francis and Henry Chickering and Anthony, Corneileus and Joshua Fisher.

founders

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