An American Family History

Mary Bonham Dunham

The Bonhams are Mayflower descendants: Samuel Fuller, Hannah Fuller Bonham, Hezekiah Bonham, Amariah Bonham.
Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.

Mary Bonham Dunham was born on October 4, 1661 in Barnstable, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Her parents were Nicholas Bonham and Hannah Fuller.

When she was 20, she married the Reverend Edmund Dunham on July 15, 1681 in Piscataway. He was born on July 25, 1661 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. His parents were Benajah Dunham and Elizabeth Tilson. According to Leonard, Edmund was born in Piscataway and was the first European child born there.

Edmund was ordained at Westerly, Rhode Island in 1705.

. . .the 19th day of August, 1705, we did then and there and with one mind choose our dearly beloved Edmund Dunham, who is faithful in the Lord, to be our elder and assistant according to the will of God, whom we did send to New England to be ordained, who was ordained at the church-meeting in Westerly, R. I., by prayer and laying of hands by their elder, William Gibson, the 8th day of September, 1705.

The Dunhams were members of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway. He was the founder of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in New Jersey in 1709 and was pastor at Piscataway, New Jersey.

He inherted from his father in 1680 "the Seventy Acres of land belonging to me which lyeth by Rariton river and I give to him my Musquet and my razier."

Mary and Edmund's children included:
Benajah Dunham (1684, married Dorothy Martin),
Elizabeth Dunham Martin (1689, married Jonathan Martin),
Edmund Dunham (1690/91, married Mary Hill and Dinah Fitzrandolph),
Reverend Jonathan Dunham (1692/93, married Jane Pyatt),
Ephraim Dunham (1696, married Phebe Smalley),
Ruth Dunham Thomas (1698, married David Thomas),
Mary Dunham Smalley (1700, married Elisha Smalley), and
Hannah Dunham Davis (1704, married Josiah Davis).

On January 23, 1709, Edmund was commissioned justice of peace by Queen Anne.

Edmund died on March 17, 1733/34 and Mary died July 15, 1742 when she was 80 years old.

Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

Piscataway Township in New Jersey was first settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists who had left the Puritan colony in New Hampshire.

Queen Anne ruled England and Great Britain from March 8, 1702 to August 1, 1714.
Children of Nicholas Bonham
and Hannah Fuller
  • Hannah Bonham Lippington
  • Mary Bonham Dunham
  • Elizabeth Bonham Slater
  • Sarah Bonham Fitz Randolph
  • Nicholas Bonham
  • Elijah Bonham
  • Hezekiah Bonham
  • Samuel Bonham
  • Jane Bonham
  • Priscilla Bonham Langstaff
  • Barnstable, Massachusetts was settled in 1639 when Parson Joseph Hull came to Cape Cod with and his congregation from Weymouth. A little later in the year, the Reverend John Lothrop brought his Congregationalists. They incorporated as the Town of Barnstable.

    Women played an essential role in American society as mothers and homemakers.



    The town clerk was one of the first offices in colonial America. The clerk recorded births, marriages, and deaths.

    Dunham Genealogy: English and American Branches of the Dunham Family by Isaac Watson Dunham

    Edmund [Dunham], b. July 25, 1661, Plymouth; m. July 15, 1681, Mary Bonham, of Nicholas Bonham, and Hannah Fuller, of Samuel Fuller, and Jane Lothrop, of Edward Fuller and Ann, who came over in the Mayflower, Jane Lothrop was of Thomas of Robert, of John Lothrop, from Cherry Burton, England.
    Edmund, ordained at Westerly, R. I., 1705; pastor at Piscataway, N. J.; 1705, founded Seventh Day Baptist, in New Jersey; Jan. 23, 1709, commissioned justice of peace by Queen Anne; d. March 17, 1734.
    i. Benajah, town clerk. 1714 to 1731 ; b. Aug. 13, 1684; m. Aug. 21, 1704, Dorothy Martin; b. June, 1681; he d. Aug. 11, 1742.
    ii. Elizabeth, b. Nov. 26, 1689; m. Aug. 21, 1704, Jonathan Martin.
    iii. Edmund, Jr., b. Jan. 15, 1691; m. (1) March 11, 1717, Dinah Fitzrandolph, dau. of Thomas; m. (2) Mary Hill.
    iv. Jonathan, b. March 4, 1693; m. Aug. 5. 1714. Jane Pyatt, dau. of Reynier and Elizabeth Sheffield; m. 1677, in Long Island; d. March 10, 1777; she d. Sept. 15. 1779.
    v. Ephraim, b. May 2, 1696; m. Jan. 16, 1716, Phebe Smalley.
    vi. Ruth, b. Nov. 26, 1698; m. David Thomas. Thomas had Elizabeth; m. Mad Anthony Wayne; she was b. Newton Square, Philadelphia.
    vii. Mary, b. July 1, 1700; m. June 12, 1721, Elisha Smalley.
    viii. Hannah, b. April 14, 1704; m. March 29, 1724, Josiah Davis.

    Planter is an archaic term for a settler. Plantation was a method of colonization where settlers were "planted" abroad. A plantation is also the kind of large farm that was the economical basis of many American Colonies and owners of these farms were also called planters.

    Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.
    A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.



    Dunham Genealogy: English and American Branches of the Dunham Family by Isaac Watson Dunham, published by Bulletin Print, 1907

    Edmund Dunham's will is recorded in Liber B. of Wills, page 496, on file in the office of the Secretary of State, Trenton. It mentions his wife, Mary, and sons, Benajah, Edmund, Jonathan, and Ephraim, and daughters, Mary Smalley, Hannah Davis and nephew, John. Thompson. Also mentions land in New England.


    Extracts from New Jersey Archives Relating to the Dunham Family, Volume 1, p. 134.

    Edmund Dunham's name mentioned in an account of several men's bills for Quit Rent. Page 194.
    Was witness to the will of Hopewell Hull proved May 8, 1693. Page 233.
    Deed Edmund Dunham to Cap't John Langstaff, both of Piscataway, for 10 acres of land there. Page 282. March 10, 1697.
    Confirmation to Edmund Dunham and others of Piscataway, of a small tract of meadow there on the north side of the Raritan River, west of the lower landing. Page 111.
    Patent of 100 acres of land at Ambrose Point, Piscataway Township, issued to Edmund Dunham. Page 290.
    Deed of 20 acres of land from Hopewell Hull to Edmund Dunham. Page 290.
    Deed from Benjamin Fitz Randolph and wife Sarah, to Edmund Dunham for two lots, one of 40 acres and one of 100 acres. Volume II., pages 326 and 396.
    In 1700 and in 1701 Edmund Dunham signed petitions of remonstrance against the acts of the proprietors and asked for the appointment of a competent Governor. Volume III., page 200.
    Edmund Dunham is mentioned as one of the contributors to the Lord Cornbury fund in 1707. Page 211. Is named in an affidavit as one who contributed to that fund. Page 217. Affidavit of his contributing to that fund. April 29, 1707. Volume IV., pages 188, 189. Signs a petition of the Freeholders of Middlesex Co. against the election of Thomas Ffarmer as representative: At this election Dunham was the opposing candidate. Volume I., page 283. Volume XXI., page 112.
    Patent of 103'/2 acres of land granted to Edmund Dunham in right of his father, Benajah Dunham. Volume XXII., page 643.

    A freeholder is the owner of a freehold estate which is an interest in land that is not fixed by a specified period of time, but which may last during the lifetime of a person.

    A land patent is an exclusive land grant made by the government. The certificate that grants the land rights is also called first-title deed and final certificate. In the United States, all land can be traced back to the original land patent.

    Colonial legislatures granted land to a group of settlers (proprietors) who chose how to divide the land. They had some rights of governance.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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