The Dunbar Family - Kay's Family History and Genealogy

Kay's Family History and Genealogy

The Dunbar Family of Scotland, Plymouth and Bristol Co., Massachusetts, Madison Co., New York, Butler Co. Pennsylvania and Trumbull Co., Ohio

Zella Marie (Dunbar) Hitchcock (1873-1947)

Robert Dunbar (1630-1693) was probably born about 1630-34 in Scotland. According to family tradition he was a native of Morayshire. No proof of his parentage or actual place of birth has been ascertained. Robert resided in Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts with his wife Rose. It is not known where they were married or who her parents were. He died at Hingham, September 19, 1693. Rose died at Hingham November 10, 1700.

Among the papers of the Suffolk County Superior Court is a case heard in 1659 between the administrator of Mr. Joshua Foote's estate and Ferdinando Thayer. Within these papers is the following deposition:

Robert Dunbar aged about 25 years testifieth and saith that being a servant unto Mr. Joshua Foote when he lived at Boston I was sent by him unto Minotoquid (Braintree) River to work when I came there I was ordered what work I should do by Ferdinando Thayer who wrought with me the work for Mr. Foote.
Further I do testify that Ferdinando Thayer did order not only my self but an other Scotchman who wrought with us at the same place and I looked at him as in the roome of our master and obeyed him accordingly Further I do testify that Ferdinando Thayer did not xxxxx (strike out) only work with us but carried the bolts unto the waterside to the loading place the time being so long since that I cannot remember how much work hee did nor what quality of bolts he carried downe but he also shewed us our work and appointed us the timber wee should work upon in the woods and further saith not.
Taken upon the oath this 11th 9th 1659 before Thomas Savage, Commission
Suffolk County Court Files, Volume 3, Case #347,
FHL microfilm #911115.

Charles Franklin Dunbar (1830-1900), a descendant in the fifth generation and an active member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, spent much time both in this country and Scotland attempting to find Robert's parents. Others, including myself ( Chaplin, Ann Theopold , C.G. ), have done the same.

Charles W. Eliot's Tribute to Charles Franklin Dunbar, which appeared in the February 1900 issue of the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, pages 428-442, states that: "By a series of careful investigations Charles Franklin Dunbar established the strong probability that this Robert Dunbar who was held to the service of Joshua Foote for a term of years as early as 1655, and possibly as early as 1652, was one of Cromwell's Scottish prisoners taken at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, or at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The Saugus Iron Works, now a National Monument, displays a plaque upon which are the words:

"In commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of the Settlement of the Scottish War Prisoners at the Lynn and Braintree Plants of the Company of Undertakers in New England. A Tribute to the group of Scots prisoners taken by Cromwell's armies at the Battle of Dunbar (September 3, 1650); consigned to John Becx and Joshua Foote, two of the Undertakers; carried in the ship Unity to Boston whence they were sent, some to the ironworks, others to where men stood ready to buy their services; and quickly assimilated into the Puritan community to which they had come as tragic victims of war and in which they remained to aid in the building of a new country and to raise up a large and worthy progeny."

A list of Scots at the Lynn Ironworks in 1651, taken from the George S. Stewart manuscript collection at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society, comprises 43 names, among which is that of Robert Dunbar.

According to a Parliamentary History of England , pages 341-342, mentioned in Mr. Stewart's manuscript, five thousand prisoners were sent down to Durham and Newcastle by way of Berwick and entrusted to the care of Sir Arthur Hesilrigge. The Council at London was considering what to do with these prisoners of war who could not safely be released. As the Colonists, especially as laborers, were greatly needed in New England, Virginia, and the West Indies, the decision was quickly made. There was an order in Council, September 19, 1650, only sixteen days after the battle. "to write Sir Arthur Hesilrigge to deliver to Samuel Clarke, for transportation to Virginia, 900 Scotch prisoners, and 150 more for New England, to be sent there by Joshua Foote and John Bex, but they are to be such as are well and sound and free from wounds; letters to be prepared to Sir Arthur Hessilrigge according to such desires as shall be made by any who will carry them to plantations not in enmity with the Commonwealth" (Mary Anne Everett Greene, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1650 , London, 1876, 346). A subsequent Order in Council of October 23, 1650 stated "The Admiralty Committee to examine whether the Scotch prisoners now come and coming into the river (Thames) are carried to places where they may be made of use against the commonwealth, and stay to be made of all, until assurance be given of their not being carried where they may be dangerous; the proportion for New England to be shipped forthwith as they ship is ready and the place is without danger" ( ibid. 397). Here we have mention of a shipload of prisoners about to be sent to New England. Nothing definite has been learned about this company, although the number of Scotsmen found in New England soon after indicates that other Scot prisoners may have been sent to Boston besides those who came in the ship Unity and a year later in the ship John and Sara.

Reverend Peter Hobart write in his diary:
"Robert Dunbarr settled in Hingham in 1655. He was a Scotsman and lived on Scotland Street. The opinion generally prevailed in Hingham that Mr. Dunbar brought money enough with him to begin life without embarrassment, as for years there were but two men in the place who paid a higher tax."

As no record of Rose (____) Dunbar seems to appear in Massachusetts Bay Colony records, other than her death at Hingham, could it be possible that they were married in Scotland and that Robert "sent home to Scotland" for her and requested her to bring funds when she came?

Roberts' Will, dated September 13, 1693 and signed in the presence of Enoch Wilton, Thomas Wilton and Thomas Garner names his wife Rose ans sons John, Joseph, Peter and Joshua. Also named is "the son of my son James, deceased", as well as three daughters, Mary, Sarah, and Hannah.

Children of Robert and Rose Dunbar are:
Benjamin, John, Mary, Joseph, James, Robert, Peter , Joshua, Robert, Sarah and Hannah

Peter Dunbar (1668-1719) was born September 8, 1668 at Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts and died, April 23, 1719 at Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Peter married March 25, 1691 at Hingham, Sarah Thaxter, daughter of Samuel and Abigail (Church) Thaxter, born November 16, 1668 at Hingham. There is a Mayflower line back to Richard Warren through Sarah's mother, Abigail Church.

Peter Dunbar was a selectman of Hingham in 1699. In 1706 he bought the Jacob Leonard place in Bridgewater and his name no longer appeared on the Hingham tax lists after 1707.

On July 4, 1720 James Dunbar of Bridgewater posted bond as adm of est. of Peter Dunbar of Bridgewater. The inventory was taken May 6, 1720. An undated settlement mentions widow Sarah; sons James, Elisha, Peter, Samuel, John and David; daus, Abigail Ffoobes and Sarah Alger.

Children of Peter and Sarah (Thaxter) Dunbar are:
Abigail, Sarah, James, Leah, Elisha, Peter, Samuel , Josiah, John and David

Samuel Dunbar (1704-1786)

Samuel Dunbar was born at Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts May 11, 1704and died there April 7, 1786.

Samuel married 1st, December 14, 1732 at Bridgewater, Melatiah Hayward, daughter of Joseph and Mehitable (Dunham) Hayward, born August 30, 1706. She died November 5, 1743 at Bridgewater. Samuel married 2nd February 11, 1745, at Bridgewater, Mary Hayward daughter of Deacon Thomas and Bethiah (Brett) Hayward, born January 4, 1718/19 at Bridgewater. She died there 3 February 1793 (ibid. 2:459).

Samuel's Will, dated May 4, 1780 and proved May 1, 1786, named his wife and all his sons and daughters. The three daughters were each to receive "one Spanish Mill Dollar." His son Barnabus was named executor.

Children of Samuel and Melatiah (Hayward) Dunbar are:
Sarah, Mehitable, Samuel, Melatiah and Hannah.
Children of Samuel and Mary (Hayward) Dunbar are:
Asa, Robert, Daniel, Peter, Simeon, William, Barnabus, Thaxter and Caleb .

Caleb Dunbar (1760- 1811) was born March 22, 1760 at Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. He died December 24, 1811 at Pompey, Madison County, New York. Caleb married 1st November 17, 1782 at Bridgewater Hannah Drake, daughter of Joseph and Thankful (Pratt) Drake, born February 9, 1762 at Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts and she died in 1801. Caleb married 2nd at Pompey Cloe ____. Hannah and Caleb are buried in the Eaton Cemetery, Eaton, Madison County, New York.

Caleb was living at Easton, Bristol County when he purchased land there. His brother Simeon and his brother-in-law Daniel Snow were witnesses to the deed dated March 3, 1790. On April 13, 1789 Caleb and Hannah sold for 34 (£) seven acres in the south precint of Bridgewater to Peter Dunbar. This property joined the north side of Peter's homestead.

Caleb and his family moved to Madison County, New York, by oxcart and settled about one mile northeast of Log City, now Eaton Village. He had purchased 107 1/2 acres of land in Hamilton, Madison County while still "of Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts" on May 28, 1799.

After Caleb died Samuel Guild of Easton was appointed guardian April 8, 1814 "to Joseph, George, John, Patty, all children of Caleb Dunbar and Hannah his wife, late of Pompey, Madison County, New York." Calebs will is recorded in the Madison County Court House at Wampsville.

On the death of his father in 1811, his mother having died earlier, the farm was given to Thaxter on the condition that he would care for the younger children and pay all of them a few dollars when they became of age, which he faithfully fulfilled.

Children of Caleb and Hannah (Drake) Dunbar are:
Thaxter, Solomon , Caleb, Robert, Lewis, Hannah, Joseph, George, John and Patty

Solomon Dunbar (1786- 1849) was born January 25, 1786 at Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. He died at Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio, April 13, 1849. Solomon married, possibly at Pompey, Madison County, New York, Asceneth Snow, daughter of Seth and Mary (Snow) Snow, Jr., was born at Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts April 19, 1789. Asceneth died August 29, 1881, at Johnston City, Trumbull County, Ohio. Solomon and Asceneth are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, North, Johnson, Trumbull County, Ohio.

Solomon removed to New York State with his father in 1797. He moved sometime before 1830, when he appears on the Federal Census, to Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

January 11, 1838, Solomon Dunbar bought three fourths of an acre in Johnston Township, Trumbull County, Ohio from James and Mary McCartney for six hundred and fifty dollars. In 1837 Solomon Dunbar moved from Pennsylvania with part of his family consisting of his wife, Asceneth, two daughters, Mary and Hannah, and four sons, Daniel, Fayette, John and Barnabus. It is probable that at that time he took possesion and conducted the Hotel in Johnston, Ohio until his death in 1849 and his widow and children continued to operate it until in the 60's when they sold out to Lyman Lampson.

Children of Solomon and Asceneth (Snow) Dunbar are: Ambrose, William, Daniel, Phyrus, Tarleton, Lafayette , Mary, John, Hannah and Barnabus

Lafayette "Fayette" Dunbar (1823-1885) was born October 14, 1823 in Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, and died June 18, 1885 in Johnston. He married January 02, 1856 in Trumbull County, Ohio, Mary Otis, daughter of Robert and Lucy (Richards) Otis was born 1837 in Williamsfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio and died September 1905 in Fowler, Trumbull County, Ohio. They are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, South, Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio.

In the Civil War records of Men Drafted October 1, 1862, (the only draft made), Fayette Dunbar was excused for physical disability.

1837 Place: Williamsfield, Ashtabula Co. OH Died: Sep-1905 Place: Fowler, Trumbull Co. OH

Children of Fayette and Mary (Otis) Dunbar are: Ida, Lucy A., Robert O., Minnie B., Clayton H. and Zella Maria .

Zella Maria Dunbar (1873-1947) daughter of of Fayette and Mary (Otis) Dunbar, married Feb. 7, 1892, in Trumbull County, Ohio, Herbert Calhoun Hitchcock (1866-1934), son of Daniel Mills and Margaret (McElravy) Hitchcock. They resided in Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio. Please see The Hitchcock Family page for Herbert and Zella's family and descendants.


  1. Chaplin, Ann Theopold , C.G., The Descendants of Robert Dunbar of Hingham, Massachusetts 1630-1693, (Decorah, Iowa 1992).
  2. Lincoln, George The History of Hingham, Massachusetts , (Hingham, 1900)
  3. General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Mayflower Families in Progress, Richard Warren of the Mayflower, and his Descendants for Four Generations
  4. General Society of Mayflower Descendants, The Mayflower Descendant (Boston, 1921, 23:145)
  5. Hammond, Mrs. L.M. History of Madison County, State of New York (Syracuse, 1872)
  6. Smith, James Hadden History of Chenango & Madison Co. NY 1784-1880 (Syracuse, NY, 1880)
  7. Buell, James K. History of Johnston Township, Trumbull County Ohio, 1802-1922 (Canton, Ohio, 1922)
  8. Trumbull County Probate Court Records.
  9. 1840 Federal Census, Johnston, Trumbull Co., OH
  10. 1850 Federal Census, Johnston, Trumbull Co., OH
  11. 1860 Federal Census, Johnston, Trumbull Co., OH

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by Kay Starr Schaney