Dunn #2744

English St George flag animationRichard Dunn (1652-1690)

Born in England.  Date of arrival in Rhode Island is unknown and

USA flag animation[Unknown] Bowditch (1653- )

Probably born in Rhode Island.

Dunn 2744

Details are scant regarding my ancestor Richard Dunn.  The following details are taken from Colonial Families of the United States, edited by George Norbury Mackenzie (originally published Baltimore, Maryland, 1912), p. 236:  The American family of Dunn traces its ancestry to Capt. Richard Dunn, said to be a descendant of Robert De Dunn, Lord of Breadsall, temp. Henry I, 1100-1135.  He came from England to America about the middle of the 17th century and settled at Newport, Rhode Island in 1647.  He died about 1712.  Richard was a Deputy from Newport to the Colonial Legislature in 1681, 1705, 1707-1709 and 1711.  He held the rank of Lieutenant and Captain in the “Train Band” of the Continental Forces of the Colony.  The given name of Richard’s wife is not known to us, but she is believed to be the daughter of William Bowditch of Newport, Rhode Island, discussed under his own heading.

The children of Richard Dunn (Sr.) are listed as follows:

  1. Richard Dunn (Jr.) born about 1669
  2. Samuel, born about 1670
  3. Nathaniel, born 1671 and died at New Shoreham, Rhode Island on 28 Feb 1735.  Nathaniel’s son, Capt. Samuel Dunn (my 1st cousin 9x removed), was born about 1710 and according to some accounts he commanded one of the three boats that captured and destroyed HMS (or HBMS) Gaspée on 9 Jun 1772, in what became known as the “Gaspée Affair”.  The Gaspée Affair was a significant event in the lead-up to the American Revolution.  On 9 Jun 1772, HMS Gaspée, a British customs schooner that had been enforcing unpopular trade regulations, ran aground in shallow water near what is now known as Gaspee Point in the city of Warwick, Rhode Island, while chasing the packet boat Hannah.  In a notorious act of defiance, a group of men led by Abraham Whipple and John Brown attacked, boarded, looted and torched the ship.  Some sources report that Capt. Samuel Dunn was the man who shot and wounded Lieut. William Dudingston, the commander of the Gaspée.  Although Samuel Dunn’s identity has not been established with certainty, this “Samuel Dunn” should not be confused with Samuel Dunn (my 7th g-grandfather), son of Richard Dunn (Jr.) – see below.  For more on the Gaspée Affair, follow the link to an article on the subject.

The destruction of the early Newport records renders it difficult to construct the early history of the family.  Richard Dunn (Jr.) appears in the will of Nathaniel Bowdish, which was discovered by G. Andrews Moriarty among the records of the Newport Historical Society in  about 1912.  The will is dated 5 day of [illegible – probably 1706], and the inventory is dated 12 Apr 1706.  He calls himself Nathaniel Bowdish of Newport, weaver and mentions his sons Nathaniel and William, his daughters, Sarah Bull, Hannah and Katherine, and his cousin Richard Dunn.  Moriarty explains as follows[1]:

“In regard to Richard Dunn, who was a neighbor of Nathaniel Bowdish at Newport, and whom he calls cousin in his will.  He was the son of Richard Dunn, sr., of Newport, and had a brother, Nathaniel Dunn, who removed to Block Island and founded a family there.  I therefore conclude that the first William Bowditch had a daughter, who married Richard Dunn, sr., and thus Nathaniel Bowditch could call Richard Dunn, jr., his cousin.”

Richard Dunn (Jr.) was born about 1669 at Newport, Rhode Island and died about 1745.  Before about 1698 at Newport he married Hannah (or Elizabeth) Bailey.  She was born about 1675 and died 28 Dec 1734.  He son of Richard Dunn (Jr.) and Hannah (or Elizabeth) Bailey is Samuel Dunn, born about 1699, probably at Newport, and died in Jamaica, West Indies in February 1740.

Samuel Dunn married Anne Clarke, who was born 8 Sep 1698 at Newport, Rhode Island and died 9 Nov 1746 at Westerly, Rhode Island.  Anne may previously have been married to a man by the name of John Lewis, born 1696 (son of Daniel Lewis and Mary Maxson).  The daughter of Samuel Dunn and Anne Clarke is Bathsheba Dunn, born 11 Jul 1734 and died 1790.  On 17 Mar 1754, she married John Dyer, who was born 1733 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and died 9 Mar 1791 also in North Kingstown.  John’s parents are 2nd cousins 1x removed (both being descendants of Roger Williams and Mary Bernard, discussed under their own heading).  Also, both John Dyer and Bathsheba Dunn are descendants of Anne Hutchinson (1643-1716) and Samuel Dyer, who are g-grandparents of John Dyer through their son, Edward and g-grandparents of Bathsheba through their daughter, Ann[2].  This makes John Dyer and Bathsheba Dunn 2nd cousins to each other.

The daughter of John Dyer and Bathsheba Dunn is Freelove Dyer, born 28 Mar 1759 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and died 1831 in Sandy Creek, New York.  In January 1777, she married John Pearce, who was born 4 Oct 1756 in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and died 1792 in Kingston, Rhode Island.

The daughter of Freelove Dyer and John Pearce is Phoebe Pearce, born 25 Sep 1779 in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and died 28 Sep 1872 in Sandy Creek, New York.  In 1803 she married John Clarke, who was born 22 Sep 1780 in Exeter, Rhode Island and died 29 Jun 1865 in Sandy Creek, New York.  They are known to have been resident in Sandy Creek, New York at the time of the 1850 census.  Their lineage continues under the heading of Joseph Clarke (1618-1694).


[1] Moriarty, G. Andrews.  “Nathaniel Bowditch of Newport and his Family” in Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, Vol XLVIII (48), January 1912, p. 335-38.

[2] I am also descended from Anne Hutchinson and Samuel Dyer through their son, Samuel (1635-1678).


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