James Seaton

A Scotsman

JAMES SEATON (aka JAMES SEATOWN), a Scotsman, was brought into East Jersey by Scottish proprietors before 1 December 1684. He was to serve four years as an indentured servant.

James Seaton married Rebecca Adams probably sometime before 1689, but the marriage appears to have been of short duration. James Seaton, being married, apparently becomes entangled in a scandalous relationship about 1689 with Mary Ross, who also had a strange relationship and involved with Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary).

On 2 December 1689, Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary) and Mary (Bloomfield) Dunham (alias Singletary) deeded property to Mary Ross, and James Seaton signed as a witness.

[Copy courtesy of: Daryl VerStreate Jr., April 2004]
Transcribed by Isaac Watson Dunham
Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts 1589-1669
His Descendants
Bulletin Print, Norwich, Conn., 1907,
pp.40-77: Thomas Dunham
pp. 43-44
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Vol. V, Book D.D.

"Woodbridge in East Jersey, December the Second Anno Domini one thousand Six hundred Eighty and Nyn. Know all men by these presents that I Jonathan Dunham of the Province, Town and Corporation above said with the Consent of Mary my wife. In consideration of a certain sum of Current Silver Money of Boston in New England the tenth day of August last past in Boston by us then and there Received and more Money Goods and Merchandise the Second day of November Last past here to us in hand and secured. The Receipt whereof I doe herby Acknowledge myself to be fully satisfied with and for other good and just Causes me thereunto moving have Given Granted and Sold unto Mary Ross formerly of Boston in New England, the daughter of John and Mary Ross formerly of Boston aforesaid, the which said Mary Ross now in this place Residing I the said Jonathan Dunham hath from me my heirs, executors and Assigns for Ever Alienated and to her said Mary Ross Granted bargained and Sold enfossed and confirmed and delivered unto her possessione my late dwelling place in Woodbridge with all that part of my house lot on the South side of the highway where the said House is now standing wiht a frmae for a dwelling house foure and twenty foot Square in Length bredth and height under the Top of the Roof and a frame for a Merchants Shop twelve foot square in Length bredth and height under the Top of the Roof to the frame of the said house as Near the Creek River or Water side as may be without Annoyance of floods and accomplished with all convenient speed the said Dunham being not to build any other frame for any other persone till this aforesaid he done on the said land which contained about six acres more or less of Upland Low ground, pasture and marsh with all fencings Edifices and Buildings Gardens Enclosures Apple trees and other trees Timber Wood Water stones Oar Mines and Minerals (the fifth part of Gold and Silver only excepted) with all outlets inlets and passages by land or water with all Improvements thereon made and all appurtenances and priviledges thereonto belonging And also my Freehold in this Town and Corporation of Woodbridge all aforesaid Privilledges premised from hence forth to be and Remaine in and unto the peaceable possession Improvement and sole disposal of the said Mary Ross her husband, her heirs, Executors Administrators and Assigns for ever as she shall see cause to order and dispose the same free from any former bargains sale mortgage or Intaignelement what soever without Sett disturbances or Mollestation by me the said Jonathan Dunham or Mary my wife or any of our heirs ever Laying Claims from by or under us or our heirs or by any of ours or their means approbation Sufferance or procurement and to their Warranty making good this sale and performance of ye premises herein contained. Wee the said Jonathan and Mary Dunham doe buid [bind] ourselves our heirs Executors and Assigns as witnes our hands here annexed and seales affixed
Jonathan Dunham   Mary Dunham
signed sealed and delivered in the presence of James Seatoun [Seaton/Seatown] & Ja. Emmott.

Then on 12 December 1689, Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary) signed a deed of trust to James Seaton. This deed of trust involved property on Canoo Hill, which Seaton was to hold in trust for Jonathan's sons: Jonathan, David, and Benjamin Dunham. At the present, no one knows or understands why this trust was made with Seaton as trustee.

By 1689/90, Rebecca (Adams) Seaton, wife of James Seaton, requests separation from her wayward husband, who has apparently taken Mary Ross as a mistress.

On 13 March 1692/1693, Rebecca (Adams) Seaton was granted a divorce from James Seaton for desertion and adultery.

James Seaton & Rebecca (Adams) Seaton
The First Divorce Case
[Said to involve Mary Ross.]

as shared by Gladys D.
[Permission to repost received 9 Apr 2004.
Thank you, Gladys]
[email protected]
8 April 2004

The Estabishment Of An Early Court System In One Of the Original Counties of New Jersey

By George Miller
Perth Amboy N.J.
Reprinted by HERITAGE BOOKS INC., 1986
3602 Maureen Lane
Bowie, MD 20715
Page 30: The first Divorce Case & Decree in the County Courts

"Just Before Christmas of 1692, Rebecca Seaton petitioned the court that, Notwithstanding she had been lawfully married to James Seaton and had lived with him two years and had had a child by her said husband, yet he deserted her and betook himself to the company of Mary Ross. Her husband even declared in the presence of several witnesses that Mary was his wife, and they had lived together as such.

The Court ordered his appearance at the next term by a summons set up at the public meeting house at Woodbridge, and also at his late residence. Should he fail to appear, the Court would pass judgement according to the merits of the case. As it was ordered he be secured if he came into the county, In all probability he excaped with his paramour [lover]. He did not appear, nor was he expected, and the case proceeded. several witnesses were sworn and gave evidence that would, today, easily find proper place in the headlines of our daily papers.

John Allen, son of the minister at Woodbridge, Attempted to bring the unhappy couple together, but failed. The evidence was so damaging that 'after a serious debate and consideration of ye heinous adulteries commited by the said James Seaton, Husband of the above said Rebecca Seaton, this Court declares that she ought not any longer to stand bound to ye said James Seaton in ye conjugiall bonds of marriage but she ought to be discharged, set free and devorst from the said James Seaton****** and that it be recorded accordingly.' "

On 13 January 1693, Mary Ross was living in New York, and it was here that she reconveyed the deeded house and property in Woodbridge, NJ back to Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary). James Seaton does not sign as a witness, and his whereabouts are unknown. However, some researchers believe that both James Seaton and Mary Ross had removed to New York, giving up residence in New Jersey.

E-mail:  Audrey (Shields) Hancock

Webpage Created: 20 May 2004
Webpage Revised: 25 May 2004

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