Jonathan Singletary Dunham

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Jonathan Singletary Dunham
Jonathan Dunham WoodbridgeNJ Memorial.JPG
Memorial at Trinity Episcopal Church in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
Born Jonathan Singletary
(1640-01-17)January 17, 1640
Newbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Died September 6, 1724(1724-09-06) (aged 84)
Woodbridge Township, Province of New Jersey
Spouse(s) Mary Bloomfield

Jonathan Singletary Dunham (January 17, 1640 – September 6, 1724) was a prominent early American settler of Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, who built the first gristmill in New Jersey.[1][2][3] He is U.S. President Barack Obama’s eighth great-grandfather and the first of Obama’s Dunham ancestors to be born in North America.[4][5]

Life[edit]

Jonathan Singletary Dunham House in Woodbridge, NJ, Original millstone used by Dunham and memorial plaques appear in foreground.

Jonathan Singletary Dunham was born to Richard Singletary in Newbury, Massachusetts on January 17, 1639/40.[2][5] He married Mary Bloomfield (relative of later New Jersey Governor Joseph Bloomfield, for whom the township of Bloomfield, New Jersey is named).[6][7]

Dunham and his wife migrated to Woodbridge Township, New Jersey (the first Township of New Jersey, which was chartered on June 1, 1669 by King Charles II of England),[8] where they were granted 213 acres (0.86 km2) of land by the newly appointed Governor of New Jersey.[3][9] Upon this land, Jonathan Dunham built the first grist mill in New Jersey. He later received a bonus of 203 acres (0.82 km2) and acquired many other tracts of land in New Jersey and Massachusetts.[6][7] After finding success with his mill operation, Dunham became a politician, serving as the Clerk of the Township Court, overseer of the highways, and was elected to the New Jersey Provincial Congress in 1673.[3][10][11][12]

Possibly due to an unsubstantiated family legend about his father being the lost heir of the House of Dunham, or because Jonathan Singletary Dunham was the result of an earlier marriage of Richard to a Dunham wife who had died in 1638-9, Jonathan Singletary called himself Dunham after moving to New Jersey. While all of the other sons of Richard Singletary used the Singletary surname, Jonathan Singletary Dunham and Dunham's children all retained the Dunham name.[13][14]

Death and legacy[edit]

Dunham died in Woodbridge, New Jersey in 1724.[5] The house the Dunhams built in 1671, the Jonathan Singletary Dunham House, still stands and currently serves as the Rectory of the Trinity Episcopal Church.[15][16]

In the words of Woodridge historian Rev. Joseph W. Dally, "Dunham was a man of great energy. When he determined upon an enterprise he pushed it forward to success with indomitable perseverance. So many of his relatives settled in the north of the Kirk Green that the neighborhood was known as Dunhamtown for many years."[17]

In addition to one of the original millstones used by Dunham, two memorial plaques have been placed in front of the Trinity Church Rectory. The first plaque reads, "This millstone from the mill of Jonathan Dunham builder of Trinity Church Rectory 1670 was placed here by Trinity Young Peoples Fellowship on the 250th Anniversary of Trinity Church May 16, 1948." The second memorial plaque reads, "In Memory of Jonathan Dunham who in 1670 established the First Grist Mill in New Jersey at Woodbridge, New Jersey and built the Brick House now Trinity Church Rector dedicated October 5, 1969 by the 300th Anniversary Comm. of Woodbridge Township NJ."

Notable descendants[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SINGLETARY to DUNHAM FAMILY HISTORY, STORIES and TIMELINE". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  2. ^ a b Charles Henry Pope (1900). The Pioneers of Massachusetts. p. 416. 
  3. ^ a b c "The SINGLETARY-DUNHAM HISTORY, NOTES, & RESOURCES". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  4. ^ Fornek, Scott (2007-09-09). "Obama Family Tree". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  5. ^ a b c Reitwiesner, William Addams. "Ancestry of Barack Obama". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  6. ^ a b Ed. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff and David Pulsifer (1968). Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. 
  7. ^ a b Anderson, Robert Charles (1995). The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633: Great Migration Study Project (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society. 
  8. ^ John P. Snyder (1969). The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968. p. 174. 
  9. ^ "JONATHAN SINGLETARY-DUNHAM FAMILY LINE". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  10. ^ James Robert Woods, Laurence Charles Baxter, Sue Spotts, Sue Cooley (1984). William and Eliza (Johnson) Woods of county Antrim, Ireland: their descendants and some allied families. 
  11. ^ Dunham, Kenneth Royal (1987). Dunham-Singletary Genealogy, Descendants of Richard Singletary of Salem, Newbury, and Haverhill, Massachusetts And Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts, With Particular Emphasis on the Life of David Elson Dunham, Architect of New Brunswick. Canada, Royal Press, Rochester, NY. 
  12. ^ Leonard, O. B. (1930). THE DUNHAM FAMILY (pp. 194-196), in Monnette, Orra Eugene (Eds.) FIRST SETTLERS of YE PLANTATIONS of PISCATAWAY and WOODBRIDGE, OLDE EAST NEW JERSEY, 1664-1714. The Leroy Carman Press, Los Angeles, CA. 
  13. ^ "JONATHAN SINGLETARY(aka Jonathan Dunham)BIOLOGICAL MOTHER POSSIBILITIES". Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  14. ^ Hoyt, David W. (1981). The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury. NE History Press. pp. 317–18. 
  15. ^ "A Brief History of Trinity Parish". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  16. ^ http://www.wthpc.org/WHS%20map-3.pdf
  17. ^ Dally, Joseph W. (1989). Woodbridge and Vicinity. p. 44. 
  18. ^ Trimble, Scott. Donham Family History. STST Productions, August 1995. Accessed: 25 April 2010.