Sgt. Benjamin Dunning

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Benjamin Dunning

Birthplace: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Death: March 21, 1739 (60)
Newton, Fairfield County, Connecticut Colony
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Dunning, Sr. and Mary Dunning
Husband of Mary Dunning and Elizabeth Dunning
Father of Mary Dunning; Capt. Benjamin Dunning; Hannah Gregory; David Dunning; Sarah Hawley and 5 others
Brother of Hannah Hurd; John Dunning, Sr. and Michael Dunning

Occupation: Constable, Sgt. CT Militia
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sgt. Benjamin Dunning

Benjamin was a confounder of Newtown, CT

In explanation of the curious fact that the brothers, Benjamin and John Dunning, who came to Stratford, Conn., about 1700, were not baptized until they were adults, we submit the following report on the condition of Long Island from 1683 to 1700; contributed by S. Wright Dunning:

The first settlers, 1638, were Dutch. It was nearly depopulated by an Indian rising in 1643. A colony from Connecticut came in 1652, under a charger from Gov. Stuyvesant and called the place where they settled Middlebury. When the English first took possession, they professed allegiance to Connecticut, whither nearly the whole colony had gone in 1643 because of the Indians. After the establishment of English rule in 1664, it was named New Towne. When the Dutch resumed possession in 1673, only 23 our of 99 male adults took the oath of allegiance. Rev. Francis Doughty, who, with associates, claimed 13,332 acres of land in Newtown, was made minister of Flushing (adjoining Newtown) by Gov Stuyvesant. He was an Englishman, banished from Massachuesetts for his views on baptisms. He went first to Long Island in 1642 and went with the Quakers in 1656. In 1702 the Governor attempted to establish an Episcopal minister in a parish icluding Jamaica, Newtown and Flushing. Wm. Urquhart, rector from 1704 to 1709, said that 'most of the inhabitants are Quakers who roam through the country from one village to another, talk blashphemy, corrput the youth and do much mischief.' if Benjamin Dunning were one of these it would explain why his sons were unbaptized until they became adults."

From another source, "Benj. Downing of Hempstead, L.I., (adjoining Jamaica) Apr. 28, 1755, had one female slave."

BENJAMIN known as Sergt. Benj. and Benj. Sr; came to Stratford,Conn., about 1700, bapt. May 30, 1703, with his brother John in Stratfield, Church; was one of the party which founded Newtown, Conn., in 1711 and d. there Mar. 21, 1738. First wife is unknown, but he m. (2) 1710 Elizabeth Miner (b. 1690, dau. Capt. John Miner) who survived him and married Obadiah Wheeler. Benjamin's will was executed Mar. 23, 1737; a codicil was added 1738; and was proved Mar. 30, 1739. It willed to his wife, Elizabeth, who was required to pay 20? to his grandson Joseph Stilson when he became of age, and to his daughter Sarah (Holley) 10?. Benjamin willed further to his sons Benj., David, Abel, John, Michael and Amos; Thos. Tousey and the son Benj were executors. The inventory of the estates foots up 2499?., 16 s. Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, is not named and was probably dead, the grandson, Joseph Stilson, mentioned above, being her son. On Jan 7, 1740, Elizabeth relict of Benjamin, was appointed guardian of Michael and Amos Dunning; Thomas Skidmore, guardian of Abel and John Dunning; and Obadiah Wheeler, guardian of Benjamin Dunning, - all sons of Benj. Sr. Of his family, given below, the first 2 children were by his first wife; the last 7 being by Elizabeth, second wife.

Will of Benjamin Dunning of Newtown, 1739

Fairfield Probate District, File No. 2055 on file with Connecticut State Library.

In the name of God Amen

I, Benjamin Dunning of Newtown in the County of Fairfield and Colonie of Connecticut in New England through the godnes of God being of Perfect Memory and Good understanding considering my mental state and not knowing how soon it may please God in his holy provience to remove me out of his world I now make this my last will and testament. In ye just place lett death re signing my spirit to him that gave it in his rich mercy to dispose thereof my body to the Deft from which I was taken to be decently intered att the discretion of my executor an as to those wordly goods it hat pleased God in his great goodnes to be show upon them after the payment of my just debts and funeral - expenses I will and bequeath then in manner following.

Imps: To Elisabeth my beloved wife I will and bequeath During her natural life the improvement of half of my now dwelling house the half of my whole homested and ye northern side thereof improvement of ye Barn so far as shee shall have occasion for her own proper use, ____ one acre of pasture att ye ten acres so called this during life and all my moveable and personal estate to be att her sole dispose. Shee paying all my debts and legasie of twenty pounds as money to my grandson Joseph Stilson when he shall come of age. Also a legasie of ten pounds as money to my beloved daughter Sarah the wife of Jehiel Hawley or her heir, always to be understood that if my ____ beloved grandson Joseph Stilson should not live to come of age that then the above twenty pounds shall be equally divided among the rest of my children or their heirs. The above said legasie to be the whole of the portion of my ____ grandson with what I have ___ given to my beloved daughter Mary his mother now deceased and also the whole of ye portion of my aforesaid daughter Sarah with what I have also since given her.

Item: To my beloved sons Benjamin Duning, David Dunning, Abel Duning, John Dunning, Michael Duning and Amos Dunning I will and bequeath all my real estate excepting my interest in ye above so called as to be seen of the Public Records of aforesaid Newtown to be equally divided amongst them deducting from Benjamin and David so much as I have already given them by deed of gift love that to my son Benjamin my ___ aforesaid over and above what I have already done for him without listing of it to any account as part of his portion I give thirty pounds over and above his Brethren.

Item: I do hereby will assign and constitute Thos Townley of aforesaid Newtown and my beloved son Benjamin Dunning executor of this my last will and testament in witness whereof and all and every part of ye above ___. I have hereunto set my hand an affixed my seal this 23 day of March AD:1737. The ____ (this during life) ______ before signing and sealing.

Benjamin Dunning

Signed Sealed and ______

In the present of

Tho's Tousey

Elisha Kent

Hannah Tousey

Witness in presence of ye Testator


The inventory of the Estate foots up 2499 Pounds, 16 Schillings. Elizabeth (Mary) his eldest daughter is not mentioned and was probably dead; the grandson, Joseph Stilson, mentioned above, being her son. On January 7, 1740, Elizabeth, relit of Benjamin was appointed guardian of Michael and Amos Dunning; Thomas Skidmore, guardian of Abel and John Dunning; and Obadiah Wheeler, guardian of Benjamin Dunning, all sons of Benjamin, Sr.

Benjamin was a witness in the Witchcraft Trial of Mercy Desbrow of Fairfield in June 1692 ae (age) above 16 years. No record of the testimony that may have been made by Benjamin at this trial has been found.

Trial information:

From the "History and Genealogy of the Families of old Fairfield

By Daniel Westcott

Page 661

In 1692, his French girl, Katharine Branch, ae 17, showed symptoms of being bewitched, thru fits, and reveled in the attention she attracted. Sergt. Westcott took the matter seriously and in May 1691 made the formal complaint which resulted in the trial of Elizabeth (wife of Stephen) Clawson and of Mercy (wife of Thomas) Desbrow. The testimony mentions Westcott's wife, Abigail and eldest daughter "Johannah" and states his age. Lydia Penoyer testified that her aunt Abigail Westcott said "her servant girl Caten Branch was such a Lying gairl that not anybody Could believe one word that she said"; that Abigail further showed good sense by asserting her disbelief that any of the accusted women were witches.


ELIZABETH MINOR was baptized on 16 July 1690 in Stratford, CT, daughter of John Minor and Sarah Rose. She married Benjamin DUNNING after the death of his first wife, Mary Seeley, in 1714. Benjamin was a cofounder of Newtown, CT, and he died there on 21 March 1738/9. She married second Obadiah Wheeler. (Genealogical Notes on the Dunning Family)

Children recorded in Newtown (TR v1p70):

Elizabeth married (MRIN:18002) Benjamin DUNNING II-61251 in 1710. Benjamin was born on 3 Mar 1679 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He was christened on 30 May 1703 in Stratford, Fairfield, CT. He died on 21 Mar 1739 in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut. He was buried on 21 Mar 1739 in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut.

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Sgt. Benjamin Dunning's Timeline

March 3, 1679
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
July 6, 1707
August 9, 1709
Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut Colony
September 6, 1711
Newtown, Fairfield, CT, United States
August 14, 1713
Stratfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut Colony
Fairfield, CT, United States
Newtown, CT, United States
May 28, 1730
Wilton Parish, Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut Colony
July 30, 1730
Newtown, CT, United States