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  • A Dunton Update

    Joy F. (Hartwell) Peach and Julie Helen Otto

    Published Date : October - November 1993

    Mrs. Peach’s “Phebe Kimmens and the ‘Hidden’ Ebenezer Dunton Family of Southborough, Massachusetts,” which appeared in the February 1993 NEXUS (10:18-23), has attracted much interest to obscure branches of several families.

    1. Doubt was cast on our already tentative identification of Ebenezer Dunton as the son of Ebenezer and Sarah (Royall) Dunton by Joseph Dunten of La Marque, Texas, who forwarded an article from W.S. Downs, Encyclopedia of American Biography, vol. 17 (1944, a mugbook not to be confused with the Dictionary of American Biography), pp.130-3. According to this work, Ebenezer4 Dunton (Ebenezer3, [Samuel2-1 & Sarah Royall) and an unknown wife had four children (Thomas, George, William and Sarah), all baptized at Christ Church, Boston, 3 July 1748; the source cited was “‘Records of Christ Church,’ photostat in NEHGS Library, p. 25,” a reference that cannot now be found (we did, however, find among NEHGS manuscripts an original deposition by Sarah [Royal] Dunton in an 1740 infanticide case of a family servant, suggesting higher social status than our Duntons enjoyed).

    New probate research uncovered a 1730 guardianship (Middlesex Probate #6534) in which Ebenezer Dunton - son of Nathaniel Dunton late of Sudbury deceased - in his 16th year chose Thomas Dunton of Natick as his guardian, on 9 Sept. 1730; Thomas Dunton of Natick and Thomas Dunton of Sudbury gave bond. On 10 March 1736/7, Nathaniel Dunton “full 14 years of age” ‘chose Sgt. Samuel Gould of Sudbury as his guardian (Middlesex Probate #6537). On 2 May 1746, Ebenezer Dunton of Southborough waived administration on brother Nathaniel’s estate: “My brother Nathaniel Dunton a soldier at Cape Britain [sic] is dead intestate, never married and has left a mother, two brothers and two sisters. The mother and they are all married and settled in Connecticut Government and I the subscriber being the oldest brother humbly conceive it to be my proper right to administer in order to receive his dues and pay what he owed when he went away and then to divide the remainder to his heirs but my affairs being such that I cannot conveniently attend it these are humbly to entreat your honor that the letter of administration of the estate be granted to Mr. Samuel Lyscomb...” The petition, signed by Ebenezer Dunton, was witnessed by Hannah Fay and John Lyscomb. Ebenezer added: “P.S. My brother was about 22 years old, a laborer, and went from Sudbury.” Samuel Lyscom (father of Ebenezer’s first wife, Rebecca Lyscom) was appointed and stood bond with Francis Whipple and Joseph Buckminster Jr. Samuel Lyscom later reported that “there was no estate except what is due for wages,” although he did go to Sudbury for the money raised from the sale (at Cape Breton) of Nathaniel’s clothes. The estate accounts show payment to William Traine (£15:2:0), Ebenezer Dunton (£2:2:4) and Abner Dunton (£5:4:0).

    Our Ebenezer Dunton’s father Nathaniel was probably the man who died at Sudbury 20 April 1730 (VRs, p. 303; no age given), poss. son of the rather obscure Nathaniel2 Dunton (1655/6-1718; Samuel1) of Reading, Charlestown, Needham, etc., or of his brother, the almost equally obscure John Dunton (and Ruth ___) of Sudbury (in 1713 their known daughter Ruth married Samuel Gould, perhaps the man named guardian of Nathaniel [3rd?] in 1737). T.B. Wyman in The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1818 (1879, repr. 1982), p. 313, asserts that Nathaniel2 m. (1) Sarah ___; (2) Charlestown 28 Feb. 1708/9 Abigail Lillie; and (3) Charlestown 25 May 1715 Abigail Richardson (b. Billerica 8 Nov. 1700, a widow Hill by 1756, dau. of Thomas and Abigail [Ruggles] Richardson). Probably Wyman conflated the two Nathaniels, for the 1718 estate account of Nathaniel2 includes combined funeral charges (£10:7:6) for the deceased “and Abigail [Lillie?] his Wife who dyed about a fortnight before her Husband.” Son Thomas Dunton of Needham was appointed administrator; John Dunton was owed £2:3 and a Nathaniel Dunton, relationship not specified, was owed 5s. (Suffolk Co. Probate #4062, vol. 21:58,558). In sum, our Ebenezer Dunton, in his 16th year in late 1730, born ca. 1714-15 and probably but not certainly a half-brother of the younger Nathaniel [3rd, the Cape Breton soldier], was a likely son of Nathaniel of Sudbury (d. 1730) and possibly Abigail Richardson. More likely, however, our Ebenezer’s mother is unknown, and Sarah ___ and Abigail Lilllie were wives of Nathaniel2 Dunton (d. 1718).

    A Sarah Dunton who m. Andover 12 Sept. 1705 Abraham Graves, and d. there a widow 21 June 1750 in 91st year, was the elder Nathaniel’s sister (b. Reading 28 March 1660), not his daughter (as per K.V. Graves, Samuel Graves...of Lynn, Massachusetts [1985], p. 17), or widow. The Sarah Dunton who m. Andover 9 Nov. 1709 her stepbrother Eleazer Graves (Abraham’s son by first wife Anna Hayward) and d there 10 April 1723, was apparently a child of Sarah (Dunton) Graves by an unknown father, born long before the elder Sarah’s marriage. According to W.F. Bucknam, Elizabeth2 Dunton (1658-1740) (Samuel1; sister of Nathaniel and Sarah above and wife of Nathaniel Evans [1650-1710]) , was “a young lady of whom tradition says that her temper was less amiable than her looks, which occasioned the remark among his neighbors, that Evans had spoiled his family for the sake of a pretty face” (“Reading, Mass. Families” [mss. at NEHGS, nd.], 1:191).

    2. Betty Bradish Norris East of Kenilworth, Illinois, who is compiling data on descendants of Robert1 Bradish of Cambridge, Mass., was able to add data on Hannah Dunton, daughter of Ebenezer and Lydia (Bellows) Dunton and wife of Samuel Bradish. While working with the Walter Horace Bradish Collection at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Mrs. East found an 1881 letter from descendant Eli M. Bradish who gave Hannah’s birthdate as 12 Jan. 1762 (rather than our “b. say 1754”), as well as birthdates of the children of Samuel and Hannah (Dunton) Bradish; Mrs. East further noted, “I would assume that the birthdates of Samuel and Hannah’s children were copied from a family Bible and that Jennie (Bradish) Read [another descendant, mentioned in the article] had access to the same Bible while writing her DAR application.” After [160] the death of Samuel Bradish in Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., on 24 Dec. 1812, Hannah apparently m. (2) Martin Harmon and d. in Girard, Erie Co., Penn. ca. 1843-44, “nearly 82 years old” (E.M. Bradish letter, above). Mrs. East provided this list of Samuel and Hannah’s children:

    Artemus Bradish, b. poss. Winchendon, Mass. 10 Sept. 1781 (note that Hannah’s brother David Dunton, who also later moved to Windsor, Mass., named a son Artemus); Samuel Bradish [Jr.], b. Winchendon, Mass. 2 Oct. 1783, d. Conneaut, Erie Co., Penn. 9 Oct. 1846; m. Martha Stuntz; Levi Bradish, b. poss. Windsor, Berkshire Co., Mass. 24 July 1786; Walter Bradish, b. poss. Windsor 21 Dec. 1788; m. Polly (Mary) Deets; Hannah Bradish, b. Mass. or N.Y. 21 Aug. 1791; Joel Bradish, b. Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. 7 Feb. 1794, d. Girard, Penn. 17 May 1879, killed by a fast mail train on the Lake Shore Railroad within a mile of home; m. (1) 6 May 1826 Affadilla Sanford, who d. Girard 11 Feb. 1836, dau. of Darius and Hannah (Jackson) Sanford (C.E. Sanford, Thomas Sanford. the Emigrant to New England..., vol. 1 [1911], pp. 237,407) (5 ch., the eldest Eli M. Bradish the letter writer, b. Girard, Penn. 9 March 1827, living there 7 Nov. 1881); (2) Harriet Stebbins (not found in R.S. Greenlee and R.L. Greenlee, The Stebbins Genealogy (2 vols., 1904) (2 ch.); Minerva Bradish, b. Cattaraugus Co. 28 Oct. 1796.; Lydia Bradish, b. Cattaraugus Co. 2 July 1799; Lucy Bradish, b. Cattaraugus Co. 9 Dec. 1809. Kenneth H. Parker of Clawson, Mich. has tracked Samuel, Artemus, Joel and possibly John Bradish to Conneaut Twp., Erie Co., Penn.

    3. Dr. Joseph L. Druse of East Lansing, Mich. (who is collecting data on Ball families of North America) believes that Sarah Ball, wife of Levi Dunton, was the Salley Ball born at Shrewsbury 1 May 1760, daughter of Daniel and Lucy (Newton) Ball (Shrewsbury VRs, 14, 122).

    Earlier NEXUS articles by Joy F. (Hartwell) Peach have covered Smith/Hartwell, Woods/Moore, Obadiah Walker, Richard Hall, Kimmens and the above Dunton families. Julie Helen Otto is co-editor of NEXUS.

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