Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. For this prompt
I've tried to concentrate on ancestors I haven't researched as much as I have others in
my family tree. But I ran across some new interesting stories about my 7x great grandfather Samuel Dunham Sr. (1651-1718) of Plymouth Colony. So they will be
the subject of my Week 16 post.

I've written before about the Dunham men and the court records I'd found of some of
their shenanigans, but I'd found no evidence of Samuel Sr. having broken any laws.
Well, today I discovered that while he hadn't broken any civil laws, he seems to have strayed a bit off the straight and narrow as far as the Church was concerned. I found
two instances in the Googlebook edition of Plymouth Church Records, 1620-1859,
Part 1 .The first is from 1683:

June, 17: Samuel Dunham senior was called forth to manifest his Repentance publickly in order to his Reconciliation with the church, his speech was psenitentiall & well tending to satisfaction, but one Brother alleadged some matter of scruple upon his spirit as to the sincerity of his Repentance, intimating he had both spoken & done something inconsistent therewith, upon which it was concluded to respite the issue of the matter a fortnight longer.

June, 27: at the conference-meeting, it was propounded to the church concerning Sam: Dunham; sundry of the Bretheren spake charitably concerning him that Brother who before had spoken in publick, said he should rest in the act of the church:

July, 1: Samuel Dunham senior was Reconciled to the church
. p252

While the first incident played out over the course of a few weeks, the second took nearly
a year befored it was resolved, starting in 1689:

Nov: 20: the church stayed after the Lecture After prayer by the Pastor the Elders then declared matter of offence against Brother Samuel Dunham, partly in that he had taken the Name of God in vaine before many witnesses, in [o]ften saying those words, the curse of God is upon the head & pluck with many other unsavoury speeches; partly by intemperance in drinking which sister Jackson testifyed against him before [t]he Elders to his face, as to the next day after the sacrament in October last; others of the church then testifyed, that it was commonly reported of him, & they had divers times seene him disguised with drinke; said offender though he spake some good words yet not soe as to satisfy the church, & therefore by an universall vote of the church he was laid under Admonition & not to come to the Lords supper till he had manifested his Repentance for his inordinate walking by a reformed conversation, the Elder then concluded with prayer.p267

And it appears that's where matters stood until September of 1690:

Sep: 8: The church met at the Pastors house, after prayer performed by the Pastor, the Elder propounded to the church the desires of Samuel Dunham to be reconciled to the church, he being called to manifest his Repentance before the church, did expresse himselfe humbly & penitently, some bretheren1 Testifyed that of late they had observed some amendment of his conversation, the Issue was, by the vote of the bretheren he was accepted againe to communion with us.p270

Plymouth Church Records, 1620-1859, Part 1 (Google eBook) First Church of Christ (Plymouth, Mass.), Plymouth (Mass.). First Church  Colonial Society of New England 1920

I need to see if there's any mention of my other Plymouth area ancestors in this book!

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