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
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.
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 , 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  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
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 , 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.