MARY ROSS of Massachusetts


MARY ROSS, "daughter of John and Mary Rosse of Boston, Massachusetts," became entangled with Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary) when he "returned to Massachusetts about 1682." They were "embroiled in a curious set of circumstances..." "Mary Ross was no whore, however, she did get pregnant without benefit of marriage to an Abraham Albin who did not marry her. She was an individual who, I am certain, choose to proselytize a doctrine outside the accepted religious interpretation."
(Source: Patricia Junkin, 15 & 21 Mar 2004, Dunham-Donham@Rootsquest & Singletary-Dunham@Yahoogroups: states "I take as much caution in accepting Cotton's account of Jonathan as I do I.W. Dunham.")


Records indicate Jonathan was evidently separated from his wife for lengths of time and perhaps during that time he became the vagabond suggested in previous stories and articles. Much to the dismay of Plymouth Colony fathers, Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary) appears to have taken up residence there. He was warned by authorities to return to his family because of his disruptive behavior and his wandering place to place. Evidently his sojourn in Plymouth did not meet well with the inhabitants as his unruly and rascally behavior got him into serious trouble with the law. He was accused of "deseminating" corrupt principles, of "drawing away" another man's wife and doing as she bade him to do. Records indicate that John (at Mary Ross's bequest) shot and killed a dog of John Irish, at Little Compton, and that John & Mary made a fire at the house, threw the dog upon the fire, and burned other things in the house. He also is said to have discharged a gun in the home. For this action, the Court sentenced John to a public whipping at the post, and banished him from the Colony. Should he return, he was to be whipped and banished each time. Mary Ross was sentenced to be whipped and banished to her mother's home in Boston.

Note from Patricia Junkin
7 April 2004
[email protected]
Subject: [SINGLETARY-DUNHAM] Mary Ross & Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary)

"We are all aware of the discrepancies in IWD [Dunham, Isaac Watson, Dunham Genealogy..., 1907, p. 42]...but he seems to quote directly here, so for what it is worth since it speaks of two women, not just Mary Ross. Also the transcription in the Woods and Baxter book, Court of Elections at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the session of July, 1682," follows:
"Jonathan Dunham alias Shingletary" absented himself from his wife and family, though advised and warned for some considerable time by the authorities hath been wandering from place to place as a vagabond in the colony, also disseminating his corrupt principles and drawing another man's wife, she following up and down against her husband's consent; and he at last meeting with accompanying a young woman, Mary Rosse, led by enthusiastic power, he says, hee must doe what she bade him, and accordingly, did, both of them, on her motion, att the house of John Irish, att Little Compton, Kill his dogg, against the declared will of the said [John] Irish; and although hee did put them out of his house, yett they would goe in againe, [IW-and according to their] by foolish antics and [IW-foolish power] behavior, [IW-made] set a fier in the house and threw the dogg upon it, shot [IW-off] a gun several times, [and] burnt some other things [IW-several times] in the house, [IW-to the hazard of burning his house and young children] placing his house and children in peril, keeping the doors closed against Irish [IW-and not opening them to the said John Irish] when he came with some of his neighbors to rescue the [IW-same] children, and disturbig his majesties peace [IW- to the disturbance of the Colony.]"

Patricia asks:
"Depositions of Jonathan and Mary should be at this court, if they were taken. Does anyone have access?"

1689 December 2
Deed information (as shared below by Patricia Junkin) seems to indicate that Mary Ross was given or purchased "A dewlling House and About six acres of Land with all other appurtenances & premises,..." in Woodbridge, NJ from Jonathan Dunham & Mary, his wife. This appears to indicate that Jonathan Dunham (alias Singletary) was now back in Woodbridge by December 1689, and that Mary Ross being pregnant with child by said Abraham Albin according to her statement, was also in Woodbridge with Jonathan Singletary (alias Dunham). It does not appear that after her whipping at Plymouth that she went to Boston to live with her parents, as told to do when banished from Plymouth. It appears that she went to Woodbridge, and that Jonathan & Mary (his wife) for whatever reason were concerned about her welfare and thus presented or sold to Mary Ross the dwelling and land, and they apparently cared for her.

This original deed from Jonathan and wife, Mary, to Mary Ross [according to Patricia Junkin] was signed by James Seaton and Ja. Emmott. [SOME EMMOTTS WERE FROM LANCASHIRE [England...ash] AND MAY BE QUAKER.   pj] Patricia Junkin notes: "MARY ROSS PAID 'A CERTAIN SUM OF CURRENT SILVER MONEY OF BOSTON' FOR THE PROPERTY IN WOODBRIDGE." Patricia Junkin further states, "JONATHAN IS 'OF THE PROVINCE, TOWN AND CORPORATION ABOVE SAID [WOODBRIDGE IN EAST JERSEY] WITH THE CONSENT OF MARY MY WIFE.' "

[NOTE: It would be advisable to compare the original deed with the transcription below by I. W. Dunham, if the original is available.   ash]

[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.

1689 Dec 12
Deed of trust from Jonathan Dunham to James Seaton.

Rebecca (Adams) Seaton requests separation from James Seaton.

It appears that during Mary Ross' sojourn in Woodbridge, NJ that she became entangled with James Seaton, a married man, who appears to have taken Mary Ross as his "common-law" wife after his separation from Rebecca (Adams) Seaton, but while still married to his first wife.

1692/1693 Mar 13
Seaton's wife divorced him 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.'

1693 January 13

Deed information (as shared below by Patricia Junkin) seems to indicate that the "dewlling House and About six acres of Land with all other appurtenances & premises,..." in Woodbridge, NJ from Jonathan Dunham & Mary, his wife, were reassigned back to Jonathan and Mary, his wife. In the deed she states her reasoning.

Mary Ross' Testimony Transcription
Research & Transcription
Courtesy of:
Patricia Junkin
(Credit given as requested. Thank you, Patricia.)
6 April 2004
as posted at [email protected]
1693 January 13 Instrument to Jonathen Dunham to bee his owne voluntaire Act & Deed before me John Pike [This is a record of which is written on the back of a Deed of Conveyance from Jonathan Dunham and Mary Dunham his wife to Mary Ross Recorded Liber D Folio (95), New Jersey State Archives] New Yorke Januarie the thirteenth Day Anno Dom: one Thousand six hundred and ninety three, Know all Men by These Presents Writeing on the back of this written ded of conveyance (bearing the date December the second Anno Dom one thousand six hundred Eightie nine) of A dewlling House and About six acres of Land with all other appurtenances & premises, scituate __in this within written conveyance Is expressed As by Jonathan Dunham of Woodbridge In the province of East New Jersey Carpenter and Mary his wife & was made unto mee Mary Ross the Daughter of John & Mary Ross formerly of Boston In New England. I the sayd Mary Ross with the Sayd Jonathan and his wife Mary Being at Boston in my Mother�s House and minded to travel with them, being by her comitted to theire Christian Care, some years before the Conveyance was made & at its makeing, being with them at Woodbridge with childe by one Abraham Albin of Woodbridge ____ Aforesaid In which condition & the sharp cold of the then present winter etc. I could not without too much hazard then Admitt of an Imediate transport to Boston, ___ was then Like to bee urged hard upon mee, for prevention of which with the Illness that might fllwow, The sayd Jonathan according to trust Reposed in him, as Remains thereof, made this sayd conveyance to mee, I ____Enjoying that neither hee nore ___should suffer loss thereby, but that I would give him the sayd deed of conveyance with All its appurtenances & premises to bee full at his dispose ___they were before it was made; which accordingly before I enter marriage _____believe that I have done it, hee the sayd Jonathen _____helped mee throught the said winter I being with child and by the giveing & ___ following providing both mee and my childe but ______ In the case thereof when in the great trials of Spirit & body that ___met with,--I lost almost all my owne & my childes ___-according to my offer? then made of __esgning up the sayd Deed? with that & then ____with all my Interest therein to him the sayd Jonathan, if hee would but supply me with a few cloaths. In my then present want, for myself & childe and help mee on my way to Boston which then before Justice Samuel Hale I offer & hee accepted & performed partly by selling one Cow & A calfe & one yoake of fatt oxen for cloathes & monie to help mee on my Journey and partly by three pounds fifteen shillings hee payd to John Gibb for my transportation to Coles Harbour at the Narragansett Land & fuirnishing the said vessel with provisions & his own helpe In sayling--and partly otherwise, helping mee then forthwith far beyond what I then proposed and hee ccepted before the sayd Justice Hale and John Blumfield ___wherway Also this present the first of October one thousand six hundred & ninety viz the End of the sumer Aforesaid to whome for keeping between the sayd Jonathan & I in my present Straite I then delivered the within written deede of conveyance made by the sayd Jonathan Donham to me the sd Mary Ross of the within mentioned part of his house lott In Woodebridge with the dwellling house & all other th premises appurtenances & privileges therein Expressed Now Know Yee, that upon the Good Just and Lawfull considerations here above Expressed I the sayd Mary Ross for my self my Heires Exeators Administrators & Assignes have Resigned up and by this presents wrieing doe Resigne up all my right Title Interest In this forsayd deede of conveyance I ____ I In all respects relating thereunto In the same estte right title and enjoyment hee had & was In before the sayd conveyance to mee was made, the whole & sole dispose the house Land Freehold and All therein to me and mine granted henceforth to be & remaine unto the peaceable use and behoof of him the sayd Jonathen Dunham his Heires and Asigned forever free from anyMolestatione pretense of claime thereto made by mee my Heires Executors Administrators or Assignes or by mee or any of theire means of procurements by any other person or persones claiming from by or under me, or any of them. In witness whereof I have hereunto my hand annexed & my seale affixed Mary Ross her MR marke Signed sealed and delivered In the presence oof Mary Grigs her M marke, Elizabeth Hill her EH marke The agreement Resigning up to Jonathan Donham this written bill of sale with all he Right Title & claime of Marie Rose to the premises therein mentioned as is Abovee sd was by heer the sd. Mary Ros owned to be her owne free and solitary __& deede before me Samuel Hale, John Blumfield

E-mail:  Audrey (Shields) Hancock

Webpage Created: 21 March 2004
Webpage Revised: 09 April 2004

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