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A crack in the Dunn wall? (part 2)

A little more digging. Per Findagrave, Comfort RECORD buried in Smyrna, Chenango, New York died 1850 age 82 (so born around 1768). He had a daughter Ruth RECORD (1792–1862) who married a BARBER and a son Joseph S. RECORD (1796–1862). Joseph was in the 1855 state census; he was born in Rhode Island. He was in Chenango by 1807. Could have been in Petersburg, Rensselaer, New York in 1800.

So this Comfort RECORD, who could be the same as the Richmond, RI head of household in 1790, had a daughter Ruth, but of course being the same age as Anna DUNN she’s sort of out of the running to be her mother. Then John RECORD of Richmond in 1790 is our best candidate for our Ruth RECORD’s father, and Anna RECORD of Richmond in 1800, born 1745 or earlier, could be Ruth’s mother. If so then Smith BAILY next door(ish) seemingly wasn’t her brother, but maybe he was a cousin. Alternately, perhaps Anna was John’s sister or other relative, and the second over-45 woman in Anna’s household was Ruth’s mother, one of Smith’s sisters.

Well, it all seems possible.

A John DUNN and a John P. DUNN (or DUN) household lived in Smyrna in 1810 and 1820; John P was still there in 1830. John was the elder of these, born 1765 to 1774; in 1810 there were two women 16–25 in his household. (Anna DUNN would have been 17 then; she married Solomon COLLINS in January 1820.)


A crack in the Dunn wall?

I’ve been thinking about John DUNN and Ruth RECORD again lately, poking through FamilySearch (I’m not paying for at the moment). May have finally hit something.

This is to some degree because I recently got an email from someone researching BORDEN. Solomon COLLINS was a grandson of Elizabeth BORDEN, sometimes also spelled BURDEN apparently, and his first child was named Solomon Burden COLLINS.

While looking that up, though, I noticed his second child was Sally Bailey COLLINS. There don’t appear to be any BAILEYs in Solomon’s ancestry that I know of. (None of his grandparents, anyway; I’m missing one great grandmother’s surname.) But…

Anna DUNN was Solomon’s wife; John DUNN and Ruth RECORD were her parents, and I’ve started to persuade myself they were from Richmond, RI. There was a John DUNN there, and a John and a Comfort RECORDS, in the 1790 census as heads of household.

Were there BAILEYs? In 1790, heads of household named BAILEY lived in Kent (East and West Greenwich, Coventry, Little Compton), Providence, Newport (Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Middletown), and Washington (North Kingston and… Richmond). Just one in Richmond, named Smith BAILY, on page 132, and the very next name in the census is: John RECORDS. Comfort RECORDS is four households further down.

Well, that’s interesting.

Smith BAILEY was born 1745 in Richmond, son of Richard BAILEY and Abigail WOODMANSEE. He seems not to be listed in the 1800 census. At Geni there are no wives or descendants listed for Smith, and the 132 descendants shown for Richard include no DUNNs or RECORDs. So I’m not sure yet what to make of this, but if this is coincidence it’s a whopper of one.

Speculation time? My hypothesis was:

Anna DUNN (b. 1792) had parents John DUNN and Ruth RECORD; parents of Ruth were John RECORD and Anna _____. John DUNN and Ruth RECORD probably were born ca. 1760 so John RECORD would have been born around 1730.

Presumably the BAILEY in the family, if there was one, wasn’t very far back, so … maybe Anna BAILEY was the name of the wife of John RECORD. Recall there was an Anna RECORD head of household in Richmond in 1800. She was over 45, and if she was Ruth’s mother she too would have been born probably around 1730 or so. Before Smith. Unhappily the known daughters of Richard BAILEY don’t include an Anna. Hm. Okay, the idea needs some work.

John Holmes article published

Finally, Denwood Nathan Stacy Holmes’s article, ‘“The Black Sheep of Some Good Family”: The Essex Ancestry of John Holmes, Gentleman, Messenger of the Plymouth Court’ has been published in the Spring 2017 New England Historical and Genealogical Register. I’m not a member of NEHGS and haven’t seen the actual published article, but I’ve seen various drafts including a recent one presumably very similar if not identical to it. I’ve been awaiting this article since December 2014 when Denwood sent me a draft after I contacted him about his post at which sketches the arguments he makes more thoroughly in the new article.

Up until the more recent drafts the article was a good deal longer; NEHGS lately decided they wanted him to split it into two. So there’s a good deal more information about John’s Essex ancestry still to be published. More importantly, I think, there’s additional evidence connecting John of Plymouth with Thomas of Colchester. It seems incongruous to me that they didn’t want that in the first article, but that was their decision.

I’ve withheld discussion of Denwood’s findings in any detail while awaiting publication, and now I guess I’ll still not write about some of it until the second part appears eventually. But to give you the gist of it:

John of Plymouth arrived there by 1632, but after 1629. His son John is documented; Nathaniel is not identified in the records as his son but has generally been believed to be (and yDNA of descendants of both sons match.) Likewise the Sara Holmes who died in 1650 is believed to be John’s wife. John was Messenger of the Plymouth Court, a position whose duties included that of jailkeeper. He’s referred to as “Mister” and “gentleman” and was better off financially than the majority of the Plymouth colonists, but he apparently had a drinking problem and was the plaintiff in a couple of what now would be called nuisance lawsuits, leading to speculation he was “the black sheep of some good family”. But which family was unknown.

Mackenzie in 1912 asserted John was the son of a Thomas Holmes from Colchester, but didn’t offer any evidence. There was indeed a Thomas Holmes, maltster, from Colchester whose son John was baptized in 1603, but was this the same John? The only known connection between John of Plymouth and the town of Colchester was that he had an indentured servant from there. Thomas also was a “Mister” or “gentleman”, indicating elevated social status, and he was keeper of the Essex county gaol in Colchester Castle, an intriguing similarity, but not conclusive.

Then a few years ago Denwood found the will, dated 1652, of Susan Morton, daughter of Thomas and widow of Tobias Moreton. Her principal legatee was Thomas son of her brother John Holmes, but she also mentions two other sons of John: John and Nathaniel. John is a common enough name, of course, especially among sons of men named John, but the biblical name Nathaniel was uncommon at the time — and principally used in Puritan-leaning families of which Thomas the maltster’s seems to have been one.

Tobias Moreton’s will was written in 1629 and witnessed by both Thomas and John Holmes. This is the last evidence of John in England — meshing pretty well with the timing of the first appearance of John in Plymouth. The year before, the birth of John son of John and Sarah Holmes — another name match — was recorded; Thomas son of John was enrolled in Colchester School in 1641, but it appears by then he was being raised by his aunt Susan.

As for John’s black sheep status, that seems amply confirmed. In Thomas’s will his modest bequest appears to have been added as an afterthought, and Susan’s will has this juicy stipulation:

And my mind and will is that my said nephew Thomas Holmes shall yearly pay out of the premises to his father, my brother John Holmes during his natural life, the sum of five pounds of lawful money of England to be paid to him half yearly by equal portions, viz. at Michaelmas and at the our Lady Day each year, or within twenty days next after either of the aforesaid times. And if the said John Holmes my brother shall any way sue, molest, or trouble my said nephew his son, for any matter or thing whatsoever touching or concerning my estates other than for the non due payment of his yearly legacy aforementioned, then my mind and will is that the said John my brother shall be deprived of all benefit of this my will.

Whatever John did or failed to do to antagonize his sister is unknown, but it must have been serious. Serious enough to send him and his wife to America, leaving their son behind? Maybe.

So, comparing John of Plymouth and John of Colchester: Names of two sons match. Names of wives match (but see below). One was a jailkeeper and the other was son of one. Both were “gentlemen”. Both had Puritan connections. Both had Colchester connections. One disappeared from England shortly before the other appeared in America. Both seemed to be “black sheep”. If that’s not enough, as I said, wait for the second article for more evidence the two were the same.

Denwood mentions a couple of interesting possibilities in his article: First, though young Thomas’s mother was “Sarah” and John of Plymouth’s wife was “Sara”, were they the same woman? There was a gap of about eight years between the births of Thomas in Colchester and John in Plymouth, maybe accounted for by John’s marrying twice. There’s also the question of where John was when he died. There’s no record of his death or burial. He was last mentioned (as living) in Plymouth in 1651, and perhaps the wording of Susan’s will suggests he was back in England in 1652.


No relation

A Holmes researcher just wrote to call my attention to a new yDNA result. As seen here close to the bottom, ID H159, her father’s test result is haplogroup R-M269. He’s a descendant of George Holmes of Roxbury via Charles Holmes, born 1808 in Madison County, NY. Like my Madison County Holmes ancestors, Charles’s family came from New London County, CT (specifically Colchester), and like my immigrant ancestor John, George Holmes came from Essex County in England (specifically Nazing). But the descendants of John all test I-L160.

Of course one has to consider the possibility of a mistake in tracing H159 back to George, or of a non paternal event somewhere; confirming tests, preferably from people with no more recent common male line ancestor than George, would be needed to eliminate such caveats. But assuming this test is correct and it reflects George of Roxbury’s actual DNA, then he and John of Plymouth were unrelated.

No big surprise; Nazing’s not terribly close to Colchester in Essex, and there’s no evidence I know of to suggest any link between the two men beyond the Essex to New London to Madison counties migration routes. And we know a fair number of New London people went to Madison, so it’s not surprising two Holmeses did without their being cousins. Besides, Charles was in the 7th generation of George’s line and my approximately contemporary ancestor, Nathan, was in the 6th generation of John’s line — so even if they’d been cousins they’d have been quite remote ones.

But (if, again, there were no mistakes or NPEs) they weren’t cousins at all, not on the male line in genealogical time anyway. Apparently the Holmeses of Nazing and the Holmeses of Colchester were different families.

Nasty women

I don’t know what was going on here, but it sounds like it was an interesting day. But first this prologue, from the Essex [England] Records Office:

25 April 1577

Richard Broke comes in his proper person and after a hearing of his indictment, complains that he has been greatly and unjustly troubled therby, pleads that it is insufficient in law, and declares he is not guilty, and puts himself on the country. And Gilbert Gerrard, Attorney General of the Queen, follows in this behalf etc.

And then the main event:

5 August 1577

Wistan Browne, esquire, sheriff, Henry Graye and James Morice, esquires, justices, had notice that certain malefactors were unlawfully assembled at “Burntwood” [Brentwood], and approaching the said place we found there many other malefactors assembled in our presence, and by virtue of the Act of 13 Henry IV we record that on the above day Thomasine Tyler, Ann Woodall, Margaret Baneter, Alice Greatheade, Priscilla Prior, Margaret Bayford, Mary Maye, Alcie Degon, Dorothy Woodall, Ann Scoffeild, Katherine Kele, Margaret Gibson, Joan Bawsome, Rose Scoffield, Joan Pulley alias Homes, Katherine Mathie, Elizabeth Lumney, Elizabeth Collyn, Elizabeth Dixson, Joan Browne, Joan Hatter, Elizabeth Warner, Mary Cocke, Bridget Hatter, Agnes Nickson, Agnes Parker, Ann Hunt, Alice Hunt, Dorothy Ascue, Agnes Phipps alias Baysie, all of Burntwood aforesaid, spinsters, at the same, were unlawfully assembled in a certain place called Burntwood chapel and in the Steeple of the said chapel and around the churchyard of the same, and with force and arms they pulled a certain Richard Brooke, schoolmaster, out of the said chapel, and beat him, obstructing also the doors of the said chapel and locking themselves in the same, having and riotously useng and bearing against the servants of the said Wistan Browne and other the King’s subjects then present these arms, to wit, pitchforks, bills, a piked staff, two hot spits, three bows and nine arrows, one hatchet, one great hammer, hot water in two kettles, and a great sharp stone; and that they kept themselves in the said chapel until they were arrested and removed by us the sheriff and justices on the same day, and that afterwards the said Mary Cocke, Alice Greateheade, Mary Maye, Alice Degon, Katherine Kele, Margaret Gibson, Joan Bawsome, Elizabeth Collyn, Elizabeth Dixon, Agnes Nickson, Agnes Parker, Ann Hunt, Alice Hunt, Dorothy Ascue, Agnes Phipps alias Baysey, Elizabeth Warner and Bridget Hatter after the said arrest escaped so that they could not be committed to gaol; and further we the said sheriff and justices record that a certain John Mynto of Burntwood aforesaid, yeoman, being commanded by James Morice, one of the justices, to help in suppressing the aforesaid riotous persons, refused to do so; and moreover that wheareas we committed the said Thomasine Tyler to gaol as a riotous person, a certain Henry Dalley of Burntwood aofresaid, labourer, attempted in our presence to rescue the said Thomasine from our custody.
Each woman fined 4d.
Each man fined 2s.
Signed by Wistan Browne, Sheriff, and the Justices:- Henry Graye, Ja; Morice, John Dercy, Thomas Mildmay, Thomas Lucas, John Petre, Henry Capell, G. Nycolls, James Altham, Fra. Mildmay, Henrye Mdeley, Edward Ryche, Chr. Chiborne.

Looks like the women got a lot more for their money than the men did.

References: Q/SR 62/44 and Q/SR 64/46

Debt is forever

I finally took a deep breath and dug into the image archive at for documents relating to John Holmes of Ramsden Bellhouse. There are four there, plus another document listed (though no image) at the British National Archives. All five are suits for debt. John might not have been so good with money.

Here’s one of the items, the first, from 1512. 1512-debt-crop(Click for full size version.) If you’re not sure what language it’s in, you’re in good company. But squint hard and you’ll see the name “John Holme”— no final s — of “Ramston Bellous”, and according to the index it says he’s a tailor, though I sort of have to take the transcriber’s word for that.1512-debt-supercrop

In the other four documents the final s is there, though with some other variations: “John Holmes of Rammesdon Belhouse, tailor” in 1521, “John Holmes of Ramesdon Belhouse, yeoman” in 1529, and “John Holmys of Ramsdon Belhouse, yeoman” and “John Halmes of Ramsden Bellhouse” in 1531. Again according to whoever transcribed them; I can pick out the name of John and his village, and that’s about it.1521-debt-supercrop



Anyway, if you want your name to go down in history, borrow money.


The road not taken

And you know what else I missed, a stone’s throw from the Dinosaur Place?

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No idea who this was named after. It’s not near the Oxoboxo River, so my guess is not Samuel.