I. Theophilus DUNNING - b Devonshire, England; m Ellen or Hannah ???; Ch were:

1. Benjamin DUNNING - b 17 Jun 1642; died young

2. Theophilus DUNNING Jr - b 8 Sep 1644 in Salem, Essex Co, MA

3. Ann/Hannah DUNNING - b 8 Sep 1644 in Salem, MA

4. Benjamin DUNNING - b 17 Jan 1646/47 (See Below)


"The earliest mention of the name Dunning seems to be by the Bishop of Nelson, in his Life of Walter de Merton, p. 34, who says that "probably in the year 1269, he purchased the Norman Mansion (the present Pythagoras House, Cambridge), together with the estate of the Dunnings, who had held it from Conquest".

"It seems probable that the Dunning family existed in England from a very early period and that men of the name scattered out over the British Isles and founded families whose relationship to each other cannot, at this late date, be definitely determined. Early in the reign of the later Stuarts, a family of Dunnings lived in Walkhampton, Devonshire, on the western edge of Dartmoor, from which arose the celebrated lawyer and parliamentarian, John Dunning, who became Solicitor-General of England and was created Baron Ashburton, Apr. 8, 1782. There is no evidence that any of the American Dunnings were directly related to this family, which was of the gentleman or landed class. At the same time, a number of families named Dunning, of the yeoman class, lived about 20 miles northeast from Walkhampton, and across Dartmoor, at Throwleigh and the South Tawton. It is probable that several of the early Dunning immigrants to America were of the families from this vicinity."

"There are several branches of Dunnings in America, but the best classified families of record are the Fairfield Co., Conn., Dunnings and the Orange Co., N.Y., Dunnings. These families are presumed to be descended from THEOPHILUS DUNNING, the English immigrant, granted land in Salem, Mass., 1642, and who probably lived and died there. Theophilus is therefore presumed to be the head of the family."

"As no further mention is found of Theophilus, Sr., or of his son Theophilus, it is felt justified in further assuming that the younger son, Benjamin, bapt. Jan. 17, 1647, in Salem, Mass., on reaching adult years located in Boston, Mass., and in support of this assumption it is found in the Town Reports of the Boston Record Commissioners, the following mention: "Benjamin, son of Benjamin and Mary Dunning, born in Boston, Mar. 3, 1679. Benjamin Dunning was a taxpayer in Boston in 1681 and 1685; he was elected Sealer of Leather, Mar 12, 1682, and a tything man in Capt. Turill's Company, Apr. 30, 1684." To connect the Benjamin Dunning of Boston with a Benjamin Dunning mentioned in records at Newtown and Jamaica, Long Island in 1699 and later, seems a rather long step, but the fact that two brothers, Benjamin and John Dunning, appeared at Stratford, Conn. (just across from Long Island) about 1700, and were baptized together (as adults) May 30, 1703, in Stratfield church, (now 1rst Church of Bridgeport, CT), lends a very decided probability to the assumption that the Benjamin Dunning of Boston moved to Long Island where his family grew up. In 1708, Benjamin Dunning, of Jamaica. L. I., is named as the father of Hannah Dunning who married Isaac Hurd of Stratford, Conn; and Benjamin and John Dunning who came to Stratford, Conn., about 1700, were very likely his sons, as was probably Michael Dunning who married 1710 in Jamaica, L. I., and who was of the party which founded Goshen, Orange Co., N.Y., in 1719. Therefore, Benjamin Dunning, bapt. Jan. 17, 1647, in Salem, Mass., named in Boston records and later in records of Jamaica, L. I., is placed as second in the line of descent."

In explanation of the curious fact that the brothers, Benjamin and John Dunning, who came to Stratford, Conn., about 1700, were not baptized until they were adults, the following report is submitted on the condition of Long Island from 1638 to 1700, (contributed by S. Wright Dunning):

"The first settlers, 1638, were Dutch. It was nearly depopulated by an Indian rising in 1643. A colony from Connecticut came in 1652, under a charter from Gov. Stuyvesant and called the place where they settled Middlebury. When the English first took possession, they professed allegiance to Conn., whither nearly the whole colony had gone in 1643 because of the Indians. After the establishment of English rule in 1664, it was named New Towne. When the Dutch resumed possession in 1673, only 23 out of 99 male adults took the oath of allegiance. Rev. Francis Doughty, who, with associates, claimed 13,332 acres of land in Newtown, was made minister of Flushing (adjoining Newtown) by Gov. Stuyvesant. He was an Englishman, banished from Mass. for his views on baptism. He went first to Long Island in 1642 and went with the Quakers in 1656. In 1702 the Governor attempted to establish an Episcopal minister in a parish including Jamaica, Newtown and Flushing. William Urquhart, rector from 1704 to 1709, said that 'most of the inhabitants are Quakers who roam through the country from one village to another, talk blashphemy, corrupt the youth and do much mischief'. If Benjamin Dunning were one of these it would explain why his sons were unbaptized until they became adults."

"In a publication called the Town Records of Jamaica, L.I. from 1656 to 1748, Vol. 1., p. 143, it is mentioned that "Daniell Downing", in Mar. 1693, sold a brown horse to John Harreson of Jamaica." From the same source, Vol. III., p. 133, a deed was made by John Foster to John Messinger, one of the witnesses of which was "Michael Duning." The date of this deed is May 20, 1714, and the witness referred to doubtless was Michael Dunning who was of the party which founded Goshen, Orange Co., N.Y., in 1719. From another source, "Benjamin Dowing of Hempstead, L.I., (adjoining Jamaica), Apr. 28, 1755, had one female slave."

"Therefore, this branch of the Dunning family is divided into three divisions, these divisions being founded by the 3 sons of BENJAMIN DUNNING of Jamaica, L.I. The given names in the families of these brothers are quite similar for several generations and each of the three men had a son named "Michael". While it is not known the order of birth of these brothers, the entry of their names on the baptismal record in Stratfield church was "Benjamin and John Dunning" which is pretty good evidence of their relative ages; hence it is supposed BENJAMIN to have been the eldest, and according to the Boston record was born March 3, 1679; JOHN, who accompanied Benjamin to Conn., being the second; and MICHAEL who remained in Long Island the youngest."

II. Benjamin DUNNING, Sr - Bapt. 17 Jan 1646/47 at Salem, Essex Co, MA; m to Mary ???; Ch were:

1. Benjamin DUNNING, Jr - b 3 Mar 1678/79 Boston, MA; d 21 Mar 1738/39 Newtown, CT; Spouses: Elizabeth MINER; Mary SEELEY; Ch were: (A) Abel - died 1759; (B) John - b bef 1725 Newton, CT; d 1764; m Anna KIMBERLY; (C) Elizabeth; (D) Michael - b 20 Jul 1730 Newton, CT; d 1810; m Abia KIMBERLEY; (E) Amos - b 20 Jan 1733/34 Newton, CT; d bef 1742

NOTES: (these were sent me by Mr. John Taylor in 1994 and are his research)

Benjamin came to Stratford, CT about 1700; was first settler at Newtown (now Bridgeport), Ct, 1711. He was a Sgt. in Conn. Militia.

Some references show the marriage date of "Sgt" Benjamin Dunning to Elizabeth Miner as 1710, but they don't indicate the source of this information. That's not so unusual in these old references, but it would help if it were available because there is a conflict. In referring to D.L. Jacobus', "History & Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield", Vol. I, Part III, P. 413, he says Elizabeth Minor married Benj. Dunning in 1710. HOWEVER!! there is an addendum (I believe it is in Part V) on P. 711, he revised this by saying, "He certainly had a second wife Elizabeth, named in his Will, and she may have been Elizabeth Minor as stated; but the date 1710 is certainly a few years too early... By wife, Mary, b. 6 July, bapt. 20 July 1707; m. Joseph Stilson. Benj. (Capt) b. 9 Aug, bapt 14 Aug 1709 m. Sarah Burrit. David, b. 6 Sep 1711, bapt 11 May 1712; m. Hannah _______. Sarah b. 14 Aug, bapt. 25 Oct 1713; m. Jehiel Hawley. Other children (named in Will): Abil. John b. by 1725, d. at Stratford 1764; m. Anna Kimberly. Michael b. 20 July 1732. Amos b. 29 Jan 1733/34. The last two, and possibly the last four, were by Elizabeth."

Based on the above the Newtown Baptism records (LDS Film 0002911) were checked and the following was found:

   Duning, Mary            Dau Benjamin & Mary        b. Jul 6, 1707
   Duning, Benjamin        Son Benjamin & Mary        b. Aug 9, 1709
   Dunning, David          Son Benjamin & Mary        b. Sep 6, 1711
   Duning, Sary            Dau Benjamin & Mary        b. Aug 14, 1713

This is convincing that Sary (Sarah) and David were children of Benjamim and Mary (Seeley) Dunning not by his second wife Elizabeth Miner and that the marriage date of 1710 must be in error.

2. Michael DUNNING - b abt 1683 Boston, MA; m 10 Jul 1710 to Margaret FOSTER; Ch were: (A) Samuel; (B) Jacob - b 1716 "Highlands", Orange Co, NY; d 1770 Goshen, Orange Co, NY; m Nov 1749 to Deborah WOOD; (C) James; (D) Michael, Jr. b 1725

3. John DUNNING - b abt 1685 (See Below)

4. Hannah DUNNING - b abt 1685; m 11 May 1708 in Stratford, CT to Isaac HURD

III. John DUNNING - b abt 1685 Boston, MA; d 1 Jan 1734/35 Wilton, CT; m abt 1709 in Stratford, CT to Sarah LAMBERT - b abt 1693; dau of Jesse LAMBERT & Deborah FOWLER; Ch were:

1. John DUNNING, Jr - b 1710 Brookfield, CT; d 13 Jan 1794 Brookfield, CT; m 30 Aug 1734 to Hannah KEELER - d 5 Mar 1800; Ch were: (A) Hannah b 1735; (B) Samuel b 1737; (C) John III b 1739; (D) Lucy; (E) Lurane; (F) Benjamin b abt 1745; (G) Desire; (H) Sarah W; (I) Phebe; (J) Abigail; (K) Nathan; (L) Jeremiah

2. Richard DUNNING - b 1710; d Jun 1797; m 8 Aug 1734 to Abigail BETTS of Wilton, CT; Ch were: (A) Capt. Elias; (B) Thaddeus; (C) Abigail

3. Samuel DUNNING - b 1712; had son Samuel Jr., b 15 Dec 1753

4. Matthew DUNNING - b 1714; m Abigail; had son Matthew, Jr.

5. Sarah DUNNING - b 1717; m 10 Dec 1741 to Joseph JUDSON

6. Hannah DUNNING - b 1721; m 5 Dec 1750 to Reuben (Aaron) GREGORY

7. David DUNNING - b 13 Apr 1722; d 10 Apr 1777; m 18 Feb 1745/46 in Wilton, CT to Hannah MEAD - b 17 May 1731; d 15 Apr 1820; Ch were: (A) Stephen - b 18 Mar 1747/48; (B) David - b 28 Jun 1749; (C) Anna - b 25 Nov 1750; (D) David Jr. - b 9 Jul 1753; (E) Stephen - b 19 Aug 1755; (F) Josiah - b 11 Jul 1758; (G) Phebe - b 8 Mar 1761; (H) Moses - b 15 Jun 1763; (I) Aaron - b 22 Dec 1765; (J) Daniel - b 26 Jan 1768; (K) Hannah - b 15 Feb 1770; (L) James - b 28 Dec 1771

8. Michael DUNNING - b 3 Jun 1726; d 29 Nov 1813 NY; m 6 Mar 1744/45 Hannah GREEN; Other spouse - Hannah (MOOREHOUSE) ROWLAND; Ch of Michael & Hannah GREEN were: (A) Jessie - b aft 1745; (B) Michael Jr - b 20 May 1750; (C) William - b 10 Apr 1754; (D) James - b 1756; (E) Lewis - b 11 Mar 1765; (F) Gen. John - b 1766; (G) Richard - b 18 Jul 1767

9. Molly/Mary DUNNING - b abt 1728 (See Below)


FROM: DESCENDANTS OF JOHN AND BENJAMIN DUNNING OF STRATFORD, CONN., Compiled by Hon. Ralph Dunning Smyth (grandson of Hannah Dunning), and communicated by Bernard C. Steiner, Ph.D. (grandson of Ralph Dunning Smyth).

John and Benjamin Dunning, brothers, appear first at Stratford about 1700.

John died January 1, 1734 - his will was dated December 22, 1733 and proved February 11, 1734. In it, he divides his estate into fifteen parts, and gives each of his six sons two parts and each of his three daughters one part. He makes his wife and his brother Benjamin Dunning of Newtown his executors. The inventory, made April 8, 1734, consists of a long list of household goods, a house and barn, and home-lot of two acres valued at 140 pounds; thirty-one acres, with buildings and orchard, 280 pounds; one and one half acres to take up 3 pounds; one half acre east of river, 2-10-0 pounds; six acres west of Buckingham's Ridge, 33 pounds; seven acres north of Mr. Lambert's home-lot, 50 pounds; right of commonage, 6-10-0 pounds (Fairfield Co. Prob. Rec., Lib. 1716-36, pp. 262-318).

Newtown, in Fairfield Co, was settled from 1710 to 1712. Among the earliest records of the town is the following: "Dec. 9, 1712, Benjamin Dunning voted a constable, and John Dunning fence viewer." On December 30, 1712, there is a list of the inhabitants made out, in which John Dunning is the sixth and Benjamin Dunning the fourteenth. The brothers, therefore, were among the first settlers of Newtown. John Dunning removed to Norwalk before April 9, 1717, when he bought land, giving the latter place as his residence (Lib. iv., fol. 280).

Benjamin Dunning remained in Newtown, and died there March 21, 1739. His will was dated March 23, 1737, and probated April 3, 1739. On January 7, 1739/40, Elizabeth Dunning, relict of Benjamin, was appointed guardian of Michael and Amos Dunning; Thomas Skidmore, guardian of Abel and John Dunning; and Obadiah Wheeler, guardian of Benjamin Dunning. All these were sons of Benjamin Dunning.

IV. Molly or Mary DUNNING - b abt 1728 Wilton, CT; d abt 1810 Tully, NY; m 27 Nov 1752 to James TROWBRIDGE

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