An American Family History

Mary Dunn Bonham

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

Mary Dunn Bonham was born on January 19, 1671/72 in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey and was the daughter of Hugh Dunn and Elizabeth Drake, the daughter of Francis Drake.

She married Hezekiah Bonham about 1690 and was the mother of his first four children.

Her sister Martha Dunn may have married Thomas Runyan, Sr.

The Runyans and Dunns were early members of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway.

Mary died on November 7, 1799.

Children of Hezekiah Bonham:
  • Mary Bonham
  • Samuel Bonham
  • Hannah Bonham Stout
  • Sarah Bonham Runyan
  • Hezekiah Bonham
  • Nehemiah Bonham
  • Zachariah Bonham
  • Zedekiah Bonham
  • Amariah Bonham
  • Temperance Bonham Ayres
  • Amaziah Bonham
  • Malachiah Bonham
  • Jeremiah Bonham
  • Ephriam Bonham
  • Josiah Bonham
  • Zephaniah Bonham
  • Uriah Bonham
  • Obadiah Bonham
  • Piscataway Township in New Jersey was first settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists who had left the Puritan colony in New Hampshire.

    New Jersey's first permanent European settlement was in 1660.



    Learn more about the Dunham family.

    from History of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway
    Stelton, New Jersey, 1889, by Oliver B. Leonard, Esq.

    The Drakes of this part of New Jersey are the direct descendants of Francis and Mary Drake, who moved into this township about 1667-8 from the New Hampshire district of same name. The ancestors of Francis Drake had lived there on the banks of the swift-flowing Piscataqua River since 1635...

    Francis Drake, who was the founder of the family in New Jersey, was a petitioner in 1665 at Dover, N.H., for protection to his property and religious rights. . . His sons Francis, George and John, born in New England, came with him, and their posterity has materially assisted in peopling this province for generations past.

    Of George [Drake], it is known that he married, in 1677, Mary Oliver, of Elizabethtown, and was a useful public servant of the township and colony. He was appointed supervisor of many important local matters and served as a legislator in the General Assembly for 1684 and several successive years following. From his sons George and Andrew many useful and industrious citizens have descended who helped to make the church and community an honor and a blessing. The Rev. George Drake and Simeon J. Drake were descendants of this line.

    John Drake, the most distinguished son of Francis, became a lay preacher in the early days of the settlement, and in after years, as is generally known, was the regular pastor of this Church. He married, in 1677, Rebecca Trotter, his first wife, daughter of one of the original associates of Elizabethtown, who came from Newbury, Mass. Pastor Drake had, by this and two other marriages, thirteen children, whose names are recorded as John, Francis, Samuel, Joseph, Benjamin, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Ebenezer and Ephraim. . .


    The First Baptist Church of Piscataway is in Edison, New Jersey and was formed in 1689.




    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.

    Baptist churches were found in early colonial settlements and grew out of the English Separatist movement and the doctrine of John Smyth who rejected infant baptism.

    The New Hampshire Genealogical Record by New Hampshire Genealogical Society, New Hampshire Society of Genealogists, published by George W. Tibbetts, 1904

    The first definite trace of Hugh Dunn, the subject of this genealogical sketch, is met among the landowners of New Hampshire as early as 1663. In that year Hugh Dunn was received a freeman in Dover and had a 10 acre grant for a house lot located for him below Lamprey River lower falls July 18, 1664. He also received a grant of 20 acres up the river at "Sandey Bank" a short distance above the falls. The former was in present New Market township and the latter in the town of Durham.

    On account of the disquietude in property holdings and unsettled land titles, Hugh Dunn disposed of his real estate in the Piscataqua region of New Hampshire and transferred his citizenship to New Jersey 1666-1670. Aside from his interest as one of the original patentees in 1666 of the large township of New Piscataway in East Jersey, Hugh Dunn became owner 1670-72 of 92 acres in adjoining township of Woodbridge. His permanent home he made in Piscataway and here in 1678 he had a patent for 138 acres of land and the following year took title for additional real estate.

    Among the first public notices of his name are the cattle marks recorded for him in the Old Town Book 1686. About the same date his name is found with five other men as forming the constituency of the Piscataway Baptist church. His active associates in this religious movement were Edmund Dunham, John Drake, John Smalley, Nicholas Bonham and John Fitz Randolph, all New England acquaintances. From the first Mr. Dunn, Mr. Drake and Mr. Dunham acted as exhorters or lay preachers, encouraging the early settlers in a life of consistent Christain living. Hugh Dunn lived for several years after the public organization of the Baptist Church. He saw this religious society well established under the first official pastorate of John Drake his brother-in-law. He died November 16, 1694, his last Will and Testament being dated October 7, 1691 and probated December 10, 1694. This early document is on file in the Prerogative Court at Trenton, N. J.

    Hugh Dunn married in 1670-1 at Piscataway, N. J., Elizabeth Drake, a sister of Rev. John Drake and daughter of Francis and Mary Drake who formerly was a resident of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

    New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans in 1623. It was separated from Massachusetts in 1679.
    Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.

    from History of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway
    Stelton, New Jersey, 1889, by Oliver B. Leonard, Esq.
    Hugh Dunn the founder of this family name in New Jersey, was devoutly religious, and encouraged the early settlers by exhorting them to a holy living. His advocacy of an untrammeled conscience in the worship of God, greatly aided in the enjoyment of the Gospel in purity and peace. He lived through all the trying times of establishing a new colony, and died in 1694. This was five years after the public organization of the Baptist Church of which he was a constituent member, and for the realization of which he toiled and prayed. His descendants have always been prominent members in the faith of their mother Church, and that of the sister branch observing the seventh day as their Sabbath.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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