John Dunham and his second wife Abigail sailed from Leiden, Holland between 1629 and 1632.  It is likely that they arrived in Plymouth closer to 1630, but the earliest date certain is from the Plymouth list of Freemen of 1633 on which John Dunham is shown “before those admitted on 1 January 1632/3.” [1]

   John Dunham married his first wife, Susan Kaino of Clophill, Bedfordshire, England on 17 August 1612.  Their first child, a son John, was baptized in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England 19 February 1614/15. [2]  The father of John Dunham has been the subject of speculation for a long time.  In an article by Robert Leigh Ward a probate record dated 5 October, 1624 “Richard Dunham, the elder, poulter of Langford” names a son John. [3]  Langford is about 7 miles from Clophill and is very close to Henlow where John and Susan Dunham’s first child was baptized.  These facts establish a strong probability that John Dunham’s father was Richard Dunham of Langford.

   Sometime after 1615 John and Susan (Kaino) Dunham went to Leiden, Holland.  Two more children, Humility and Thomas, were born before Susan died, probably while the family was living in Holland.  John Dunham married second, in Leiden 22 October 1622 Abigail Ballou.  John and Abigail were parents of at least three children born in Leiden; Samuel, Jonathan and Abigail.

   John Dunham was a weaver by trade both in Leiden and in Plymouth.  In 1638 John Dunham and three others were given power to control the stock of cows for the poor at Plymouth for the next four years. He had land for grazing cattle and sheep. On the inventory that was taken when he died a loom and weaving equipment were listed as well as cotton, sheep wool, and linen yarn. He was granted land several times by the town of Plymouth for grazing sheep. He was a deputy from Plymouth for many years and served on law making committees. This indicates that he was at least moderately educated. Although he signed documents with a mark, books were listed in his inventory. These books were religious in nature. At the entry that marked his death in the court records, he is referred to as a "deacon of the church of Christ att Plymouth." [4]

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1. PCR Vol. 1:3
2. TAG Vol. 71:130-133; Ward, Robert Leigh, The English Origin and First Marriage of Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts
3. Ibid.
4. TGMB Vol. 3:599-603

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