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Dunn wall

10 Feb 2015

I’ve been getting approximately nowhere trying to figure out John DUNN and Ruth RECORD.

They were, according to Descendants of John Collins, the parents of Anna DUNN, b. 17 Aug 1792, who married Solomon COLLINS of Hopkinton, Washington, RI. RECORD is not a common surname, although “record” is a very common word on genealogy pages, which complicates automated searches.

From what I can see in the census and Rhode Island vital records, there was a RECORDS family in Little Compton, Newport, RI during the early to middle 18th century — including a Ruth RECORDS born about the right time but married to the wrong man — but they may have gone elsewhere by the end of the century. In the 1777 state census there were only John and Thomas RECORDS in Richmond, Providence County. By 1790 Providence county had been split and Richmond was in Washington County, and was home to John and Comfort RECORDS and their households. In 1800 there were only Anna RECORD in District 14, Washington, RI and Jonathan RECORDS in Newport, Newport, RI. Judging by the nearby names, Anna probably was living at or near the same place as John and Comfort ten years before and I’d guess she was the widow of one of them. And was Anna DUNN named for her?

Meanwhile there was a John DUNN in Richmond in 1790. Add in the fact that Richmond is the next town east of Hopkinton and I arrive at a fair amount of confidence this is the right John DUNN, and that Anna, John, and Comfort RECORD[S] were relatives of Ruth — perhaps mother, father, and uncle? But by 1800 the only John DUNN in RI is on Block Island and the only other DUNN in the state is Bernon in Providence, and in 1810 there aren’t any RECORDs in RI — though there are two RICHARDs and a RITCHER, none of whom was in Washington County. Nor do any John DUNNs turn up in Madison County, NY in the early 1800s — though there are two of them in Smyrna, Chenango, NY by 1810. One wasn’t old enough to be Anna’s father, but the other apparently had two daughters between 16 and 25 that year.

Then there’s another tack.

In a post from 2012 I wrote in regard to the Sabina DEWEY of Byron, Genesee, NY appearing my Jerome HOLMES’s address list:

There are several DEWEYs, but not Sabina, in Byron in the 1880 census. Perhaps this was Mary S. DEWEY, wife of Henry H. DEWEY, living in Byron in 1870. By 1880 she was about 5 miles away in Elba, a widow. living with George W. and Mary DUNN.

“HENRY HOBART DEWEY, son of Charles Grandison, b. March 29, 1835, at Alford, Mass.; d. June 12, 1871, ag. 36, of erysipelas, at Byron, N. Y., where he had lived; m. Nov. 26, 1861, at Elba, N. Y., MARY S. DUNN, dau. of George and Mary (Ballard), b. Nov. 10, 1840, at Byron, N. Y. ; there d. Dec. 26, 1895, ag. 55, of pneumonia.” (source)

Oliva’s mother was Anna DUNN, daughter of John and Ruth (RECORD). So this could be the connection though it would be remote; Oliva and Mary S. could have been no closer than second cousins.

I don’t know how I reached that conclusion. Anna was born in 1792. George DUNN, according to census records, was born about 1803. Why could not George have been Anna’s brother? Then Oliva and Mary S. would have been first cousins.

Good hypothesis but it runs into trouble. In the 1875 New York state census it says George was born in Oneida County. And I can’t find any evidence of a John DUNN in Oneida County before the 1840 census, and the one who shows up there appears to be in his forties, way too young to be Anna’s father. There are some John DUNNs buried there, but none on that site that were old enough, either.

(While we’re searching graves, how about Ruth DUNN? The only one in New York or Rhode Island with a reasonable birthdate is this one, in Wayne County. And her husband was William.)

I do find a David DUNN in Westmoreland in the 1800 census, in the 16–26 age bracket. No DUNNs in Oneida in 1810. Unless their names were misspelled or mistranscribed, of course: DANA, DANE, DEAN? Or DUN: There was an And. DUN (with two sons under 10), and another DUN whose first name is some hard to read abbreviation, looks like Jch. to me, also with two young sons. Both were in Benton.

In 1820 there are about five (depending on which index you go by) DUNN heads of household in the county. That starts to get too far from George’s birth to be useful, though.

Of course there could have been other DUNNs the census missed, or who were not heads of household.

Another source: Apparently there was some sort of county census in 1814, and here are images of a typewritten list of land owners. I see two DUNNs there: Samuel, in Augusta (p. 2) and William, in “Vernon, Augusta, Verona” (p. 29). There’s a Samuel in the 1820 census in Augusta; no William in the census before 1860.

I don’t see any DUNNs in the wills index before the 1880s, and the probate files don’t seem to start until 1867 (and there appears to be no index for them).

Summary: I feel fairly confident I have John DUNN pinned down in 1790 and relatives of Ruth RECORD in 1790 and 1800. Before and after that, though, nothing but fog and bricks.

 

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