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I Want To Learn More

Benjamin E. Dunbar (1776-1831) was my third great-grandfather. He spent most of his life in Massachusetts but relocated to Ohio shortly before he died.

More than twenty years ago, a spent a great deal of time researching his life. During those years I had the good fortune to collaborate with other genealogists who shared an interest in the Dunbar line.

Those relatives, my third cousins Ruby Prestly and Jayme Anderson, have since passed away. After their deaths, I focused on other ancestors.

This year I decided to revisit the Dunbar research. With all the databases available now, I hope I can learn more about Benjamin Dunbar’s life and family.

As good genealogists do, I must begin by reviewing documents I already have:

  1. Halifax, MA birth record for Benjamin Dunbar, son of Benjamin and Hannah, 1776.
  2. Chatham, MA land purchase, Fear (Dunbar) and John Ryder to Benjamin Dunbar, 1805.
  3. Chatham, MA marriage intention and marriage record, Benjamin Dunbar to Rhoda Hall, 1805.
  4. U. S. census records for Benjamin Dunbar’s household in 1810, 1820, and 1830.
  5. Chatham, MA birth registrations (1806-1827) for all but one of the children of Benjamin Dunbar and Rhoda Hall.
  6. War of 1812 service record for Benjamin Dunbar of Chatham, MA.
  7. History of Barnstable County by Simeon L. Deyo (1890) describing Benjamin Dunbar’s salt works.
  8. Chatham Town Records of Benjamin E. Dunbar registering as a Methodist (1824) and being appointed Constable (1828).
  9. Benjamin E. Dunbar FindAGrave memorial for Stow Cemetery, Stow, Ohio.
  10. Benjamin E. Dunbar probate file, Portage County, Ohio.

I seem to recall that I had another document pertaining to the disposal of Benjamin’s property in Massachusetts, but I cannot find it.

A close look at all these papers may reveal information I overlooked before. Even if it does not, it offers me a chance to re-familiarize myself with Benjamin’s life.

Once I do that, I can devise a research plan to look for more details. I have a several questions:

  1. Who was Benjamin’s mother? His birth record says simply “Hannah”. Was she Hannah Hathaway, as alleged in The Descendants of Robert Dunbar of Hingham, Massachusetts by Ann Theopold Chaplin (1992)? Or was she the Hannah Latham claimed on several online trees?
  2. Did Benjamin’s mother remarry after his father died (bef. 1779 when Benjamin and his brother Hosea were just toddlers)? If so, did Benjamin have half-siblings?
  3. Where was Benjamin Dunbar’s youngest daughter Laura Ann Dunbar born?
  4. Where in Chatham was the salt works located, and who were the neighbors?
  5. Was Benjamin a sea captain? When I visited the museum in Chatham years ago, I spoke with a man who claimed that he was.

More information about Benjamin E. Dunbar begs to be discovered.

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