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John Bunch (Punch), I

Also Known As: "Punch", "Bunch"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Scotland
Death: before 1704
New Kent, VA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Bunch; John Punch; John Punch and John Punch
Husband of Anne Punch and Mary Bunch
Father of John Bunch; John Bunch, of Virginia; Paul Bunch, I; Henry Bunch; NN or John Henry Bunch, Sr and 4 others

Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About John Bunch, I

Not the same person who married Mary Barnard.

Slave of Samuel Harwood, Jr.

John Bunch, the probable patriarch of the oldest and most extensive Bunch lineage in America, first appears in records from Lancaster County on the Northern Neck of Virginia, dated to 1654. These records locate him around the area of present day Kilmarnock, Virginia. Somewhat later (1662), a John Bunch (probably the same person) acquired 450 acres of land in New Kent County, Virginia, across the Rappahannock River from Lancaster County. This parcel was probably located south of the York River in the general area of West Point, Virginia (perhaps near Barhamsville).

From subsequent records for early Virginia Bunches (and from current DNA evidence), John Bunch was probably an Afro-European mulatto. His father was likely born in western Africa and would have been one of the earliest Africans in English colonial Virginia. In the early colonial period, the instituion of racially based slavery had not been fully established and in many cases African "importees" were treated like European indentured servants: They were released after serving a specified period of bondage. This would explain how John Bunch came to be a free, land-owning African-American in seventeenth century colonial Virginia. It even appears from later records that some of John Bunch's descendants came to acquire African slaves of their own.

It remains a mystery how this African paternal line acquired a British surname, but one likely possibility is that John Bunch took his last name from his European mother. That the origins of the Virginia Bunch family were bound up with early (1662) anti-miscegenation laws in colonial Virginia is clearly shown by the case brought before the Virginia Council in 1705 by a later John Bunch (probably the son or grandson of the patriarch) and his intended spouse, Sarah Slayden.

Whether the issue begotten on a White woman by a Mulatto man can properly be called a Mulatto, that name I conceive being only appropriated to the Child of a Negro man begotten upon a white woman or a white man upon a negro woman, and as I am told the issue of a Mulatto by or upon a white person has another name viz. that of Mustee? _

John Bunch I was the son of John Punch an African slave brought to York County, Virginia from either Cameroon or the Ivory coast. John Bunch's mother (John Punch's wife) was an unnamed white woman. He had three sons, John II, Henry and Paul. The wife of John Bunch I is unknown, but he was NOT THE HUSBAND OF MARY BARNARD.

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John Bunch, I's Timeline

1630
1630
Scotland
1652
1652
Age 22
Hanover, VA, United States
1652
Age 22
1664
1664
Age 34
1664
Age 34
1665
1665
Age 35
New Kent County, Virginia Colony
1704
1704
Age 74
New Kent, VA, United States
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