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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
McElwain

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 854-857 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

This family was originally of Scotland. A branch of the family settled in the north of Ireland, from whence prior to 1727 there came James McElwain and his two sons, James and Timothy. James, the elder brother, never married. Timothy married and reared a large family in Massachusetts. It is probably from this family that Hoel Smith McElwain sprang. By marriage they formed alliances with many of the old Massachusetts families, among them the Dunhams, who trace to the "Mayflower," although that point is in controversy.

(I) ———— McElwain married Rhoda Hurd, who died at the age of thirty-three. Her mother died November 7, 1813, aged fifty-eight; her father, Bethel Hurd, died May 13, 1817, aged sixty-eight years. Both are buried at Georgetown, New York. Children: Hoel Smith and Hamilton McElwain.

(II) Hoel Smith, son of ———— and Rhoda (Hurd) McElwain, was born about 1817, died in Amsterdam, New York, 1885. He was an active, representative business man of Amsterdam, where he operated a foundry for several years. He was a member of the Baptist church, and a liberal supporter of all benevolent institutions. He married Mary Clayton, of Little Falls, New York, who died in Amsterdam in 1900, at the age of eighty-five. Children:

  1. Augustus, married Mae Gertrude Vedder, and left two sons, Wilmot, now living in Syracuse, New York, and Vedder; and a daughter Clara, now residing in Amsterdam.
  2. Helen, died at the age of twenty-one, unmarried.
  3. George, died at the age of six years.
  4. Albert, married and left a widow Sarah, son Clayton, and a daughter Ruth, now residents of Rockford, Illinois.
  5. Judson, married Sarah Cherry; they left sons, Hoel Smith and Judson F.
  6. Mary, married Dr. J. Manning Winslow, physician, residing at Cold Springs, New York, and has a son Sherman Winslow.
  7. Williard, died unmarried.
  8. Wilmot, a well known stock broker of Amsterdam, unmarried.
  9. Henry Clayton, see forward.
  10. Florence.
  11. Georgiana.

Florence and Georgiana died unmarried.

(III) Henry Clayton, son of Hoel Smith and Mary (Clayton) McElwain, was born in Amsterdam, New York, June 23, 1852, died there June 17, 1900. He was educated in Amsterdam, New York, and Williamstown, Massachusetts, and later at Andover. After finishing his studies he engaged with his father in business and became manager of the foundry, placing the business in the front rank of substantial industries of Amsterdam. He continued the business until his death with marked financial success. He took a deep interest in the government of his city and was both prominent and influential in public affairs. At the time of his death he was treasurer of the board of water commissioners who showed their appreciation of his service to the city by passing strong resolutions of eulogy and sympathy. He was successful in his private business, and gave the same careful attention to the city business entrusted to him. He was offered the nomination for mayor of Amsterdam, but refused the honor, although election was easily within reach. He married, at East Hampton, Massachusetts, November 30, 1885, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth (Dunham) Smith (see Dunham VIII). She has a daughter Mabel Louise, born February 1, 1888. After passing through the Amsterdam common and high schools she entered Smith College, where she was graduated, class of 1909, with the degree of B. A. Mrs. McElwain is a member of Submit Chapter, Daughters of the Revolution, of Northampton, Massachusetts, and of the Montgomery County Historical Society, of which Miss McElwain is a life member.

(The Dunham Line From Dunham Genealogy by Isaac Watson Dunham, A. M., 1907.)

In the published lists of the "Mayflower" passengers in 1620, there appears the name of John Goodman, reported a single man. He was assigned one of the garden plots adjoining that of Elder William Brewster, and three years after his arrival was allotted land in the general distribution in 1623. Governor Bradford did not commence writing the Plymouth Annals until 1630, ten years after the arrival of the "Mayflower" at Plymouth, and continued the writing until 1641. At this time John Dunham was deacon of the church, having been chosen in 1633 to serve under Brewster. He also held the office of deputy for the colony, for which office he was chosen on June 4, 1639, when the general court was organized. These offices he held almost continuously the remainder of his life. It was not till the year 1650 that the list of passengers brought by the "Mayflower" in 1620 was made up by Governor Bradford. The Pilgrims on board the "Mayflower" in the fall of 1620 made a solemn compact for their mutual benefit. It is a disgrace that so precious a document could have been lost. It was not until 1669 that Nathaniel Morton gave the names of the signers of the compact. This was one year after the death of Deacon John Dunham and twelve years after the death of Governor Bradford. John Goodman was John Dunham, who as a separatist fled from England, escaped from his pursuers by assuming the name of John Goodman when in Holland and America.

(I) Deacon John Dunham was born in the village of Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England, in 1588-89. He married Abigail Wood, who was a distant relative. He was married in Leyden, Holland, October 17, 1619, and their son John was born near the time of the departure of the Pilgrims in 1620. The mother and child were not able and not allowed to accompany him. This accounts for his being recorded a single man. She, however, secretly joined him in Plymouth. That he was known as one of the old stock is evidenced when in 1662 his son John received a grant of land, being one of the first born in the colony. In accounting for John Goodman (John Dunham) being reported as dying during the first winter, two reasons have been suggested: Either to avoid considering John Goodman as one of the first settlers, or for the purpose of concealing his identity as John Goodman. Three years after the arrival of the first settlers an assignment of garden plots was made to the "Married Men of the Plantation." John Goodman had a lot next Elder Brewster. Historians state that lots for planting purposes were awarded to John Goodman and others. The same authority says he died during the first winter. It should be considered that John Goodman if a single man (as stated) could not hold a garden plot. Single men were obliged to live in the families of the married. John Dunham at that time was alive; he was a married man and provision was made for his family. He was a protégé of Elder Brewster and also a native of Scrooby, and it would be very natural to give them adjoining lots as Governor Bradford states. John Dunham was chosen deacon of the church in 1633. This is the year some historians say he arrived in the colony. It is not creditable that immediately upon his arrival he should have been chosen for so responsible a position. The following extract concerning Deacon John Dunham taken from the records expresses the opinion of those who were about placing him in power as deputy of the Colony (1638). "He was a man of strict honesty and sterling character, quite prominent in the growth and prosperity of the Colony." By purchase and grants he accumulated considerable property. His son John had also received a special grant, being one of the first born of the old comers. By trade he was a weaver and plied the loom. He was a cattle raiser and one of the first purchasers of Dartmouth. "In church, state and business he was an approved servant of God and a useful man in his place." (Plymouth Colonial Records.) Children of John and Abigail (Wood) Dunham were:

  1. John, born 1620, in Leyden, Holland.
  2. Abigail, born 1623, the first child born in Plymouth; married Stephen Wood.
  3. Thomas, married Martha Knott; their son Jonathan was one of the first New England colonists to settle in New Jersey.
  4. Hannah, married Giles Richard.
  5. Jonathan, see forward.
  6. Persis, married (first) Benajah Pratt; (second) Jonathan Shaw.
  7. Joseph, married Hester Warnall.
  8. Benjamin, married Mary Tilton.
  9. Daniel, married Mehitable Hayward.
  10. Benajah, married Elizabeth Tilson; he settled near Woodbridge, New Jersey; he was captain of militia, and one of the committee of safety and council of war.

Deacon John Dunham died March 2, 1669.

(II) Jonathan, fifth child of Deacon John and Abigail (Wood) Dunham, was born in 1632, died December 18, 1717. At an early date he became a missionary among the Indians, along the coast of Massachusetts, going as far north as Saco, Maine. In 1659 he went to Martha's Vineyard, and in 1694 he was ordained at Edgartown by Elder Gibson. He was a resident of Plymouth, Eastham and Middleboro, and an owner of real estate. In 1673 he was constable for Middleboro; in 1675 selectman; in 1689 deputy to the general court. He married (first) November 9, 1655, Mary De La Noye, daughter of Philip and Hester D. Delano, who came in the "Fortune" in 1621. Delano was an ancestor of President U. S. Grant. He married (second) October 15, 1657, Mary, born March 24, 1637, daughter of Elder Henry Cobb, who came from England in 1629. Children of Rev. Jonathan Dunham: Daniel, Jonathan, Eleazer, see forward, Gershom, Samuel and Hannah.

(III) Eleazer, son of Rev. Jonathan and Mary (Cobb) Dunham, was given property at Middleboro, Massachusetts, on which he lived. He married and had issue: Ebenezer, Ephraim, Lemuel, see forward; Stephen and Manasseh.

(IV) Lemuel, son of Eleazer Dunham, was born at Middleboro, Massachusetts. He married, September 16, 1735, Elizabeth Tinkham, and had issue at Middleboro: Ebenezer, Priscilla, Lemuel, Joseph, see forward; Sarah Johnson, Ephraim, Manasseh, Elizabeth and Gamaliel.

(V) Joseph, son of Lemuel and Elizabeth (Tinkham) Dunham, was born at Middleboro, Massachusetts, April 21, 1749. He removed to Wilbraham and later settled at Sandisfield. He married, July 12, 1770, Sarah Johnson, born in 1746. Children: Jacob, Electa, Gamaliel, see forward; Harman and Deborah.

(VI) Gamaliel, son of Joseph and Sarah (Johnson) Dunham, was born at Sandisfield, Massachusetts, 1779, died in August, 1864. He was a soldier of the war of 1812. He married Sophia Thwing, who died in April, 1818. He married (second) in 1828, Sarah Spencer. Children: Joseph Sylvester, James Samuel, Sophia, Sala Gamaliel, see forward, Sarah Sophronia, Mary Elizabeth, Emily, married George Jones, of Cold Spring, Massachusetts; she and two children were murdered by negroes in 1861.

(VII) Sala Gamaliel, son of Gamaliel and Sophia (Thwing) Dunham, was born at Sunderland, Massachusetts, April 4, 1818, died at Vershire, Vermont, December, 1889. He was an iron worker at Troy, New York, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Worcester, Massachusetts. He married (first) in November, 1838, Ann Maria Robb, of Otis, Massachusetts, who died in 1853. He married (second) Julia Robb. His children, all by first wife:

  1. Harriet Sophia, born April 4, 1840; married Henry Titus and had a daughter, Carrie Titus.
  2. William Curtis, born February 18, 1842; served in the Fortieth Massachusetts and Eighth Vermont regiments during the civil war; he married Clara Jones; child, Lewis Bramter, married Abbie Johnson.
  3. Martha Ann, born January, 1846; married Eleazer Lackey.
  4. Jane Maria, born October 18, 1847.
  5. Albert Madison, born August 11, 1849.
  6. Mary Elizabeth, see forward.
  7. Sala Virgil, born March 18, 1853; married Martha Renshaw.

(VIII) Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Sala Gamaliel and Ann Maria (Robb) Dunham, was born in Otis, Massachusetts, February 27, 1851. She married (first) Cornwall Smith and had a son Willis Smith, of Stockport, New York. She married (second) Henry McElwain and has Mabel McElwain (see McElwain III).

Ann Maria Robb, first wife of Sala Gamaliel Dunham (see Dunham VII), was the daughter of William Robb, born in Scotland. About the time of the beginning of the war of the revolution, his parents emigrated for America, bringing the boy with them. While on the voyage he broke his leg. When near the American coast their vessel was captured by a British ship and the parents were forced to return to Scotland. On account of his crippled condition William was allowed to land. He fell into the hands of an excellent man, a Mr. Chittenden, of Stockport, New York. Here he grew up. He later was an inmate of the home of Rev. John Adams in Massachusetts, and there he met and married Betsey Curtis. After their marriage they lived in Kinderhook, New York, for some years, finally settling at the home of his early benefactor, Mr. Chittenden, in whose family lot they are buried.

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