Volume II Issue 5

June - July 1997


Can You Identify This Object?

I know that it is a key. What makes this one interesting is the engraving. If you look close (try clicking on the photo and you should see an enlargement -- don't forget to press your browsers "BACK" button to get back here), you will see that it says, "PRES. TO THE MAYOR OF DUNTON 1906".

It is just under 10 inches in length and about 2 1/2 inches across at the "handle" end.

Here is what I do know. These photographs were taken, and provided by the object's present owner. He says, "Near as I can figure, that key may have come from my Grandfather's summer home in W. Saugerties, N.Y., back in the 1920's, 30's or early 40's.

Do you have any clues as to the origin or history of this?



Life On The Farm

I first want to really apologize for being slow to respond to requests (or letting them slip through the cracks altogether). As I have mentioned previously, I live on a Dunton Family Farm that was homesteaded and built by my Great-grandad. It is not giant (just under 30 acres) but during the months from about April - October, things are hopping.

I still have not figured out, or ventured as it may be, how to break free of the corporate world. Because of this, my "farming" is condensed to weekends, holidays, and the extra hours of daylight, after getting off of work, that the summer offers. This leaves little quality time in front of the computer to work on the genealogy project, correspond with friends and kin, or maintain and update the web page.

This is not offered as an excuse . . . just an explanation. I want you to know, I really enjoy all of your email messages. I love the updates regarding your lives, the new family research

that you have discovered and the encouragement. This open communication makes the effort of producing, funding and maintaining a website worthwhile.

It brings genealogy alive . . . and in my opinion, that is what genealogy is all about. It is really easy to forget this when we are buried up to our armpits in reams of old data, entering in birth, death and marriage dates for our ancestors. This documenting and remembering is important too . . . we all wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't. But genealogy is also about the living. Our special blood-ties that make us a unique community -- family.

Please also continue to prod me for information that you need. If you do not hear back from me, please take the time to prod me again. I don't get mad, I get guilty. I am pretty good at organization, I have been a departmental and project manager for 10+ years, but things still fall through the cracks.

Regarding the content of this resource, I would challenge you to get involved. Even if it is just in the form of a suggestion or comment. If you have a birth, death, marriage, or other announcement, drop me a note. If you see a spelling or grammatical error, let me know. If you try one of the links and it has become outdated (link rot), let me know. If you have a family story, a history of one of our ancestral locations, just about anything of interest to this audience, please submit it (copyright laws apply).

I have made an attempt to update the pages on a regular basis. Please stop back regularly. I have ideas on adding more utility to the site, as well as making it a bit more aesthetically pleasing. Hope to hear back from all of you.

John Dunton: Bookseller and Chronicler of Augustan England

by Michael L. Dunton
In our collective and separate searches for our Dunton heritage, many of us have run across the name of the famous 17th Century author and bookseller, John Dunton. This article is intended as a brief biography of the man. It is not going to present a full account of his accomplishments. I have included a bibliography at the end of the article to satisfy your curiosity. If you are really interested in this man, in his own words, read his book "The Life and Errors of John Dunton", written sometime around 1703.

John Dunton was born in 1659 at Graffham in Huntingdonshire, England, the son of John Dunton, an orthodox clergyman. If this John was to have completed his studies and followed in his father's vocation, he would have been forth in his line to do so. As it turned out, whether for his inattentiveness as a student, or as a result of child neglect (his father left him in a foster home as a three year old after his mother died). At 15 years of age, the boy was apprenticed to Thomas Parkhurst, a Presbyterian bookseller and a member of the Stationers Company. He fulfilled his articles of apprenticeship on December 5, 1681. He was 21 years old by this time.

Both his father, and Parkhurst, advised John to look for a "convenient shop in a convenient place" (L.E., p.70) Dunton's "Sign of the Black Raven" hung outside his shop in at least three different locations within the Stock Market quarter between the years of 1681 to 1697.

As soon as he felt that his trade "wou'd carry Two", he set about courtship and marriage

to Elizabeth Annesley , the daughter of Rev. Samuel Annesley (1621-1696). It took place on August 3, 1682.

Dunton set to publishing, building his catalog, selling and writing. His story from 1682 to the end of 1688 is a confusion of chronology. As mentioned, he was an independent bookseller in the Stock Market from early 1682 until October 1685. At that time, he set off to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to sell books and collect debts from patrons. This trip lasted from October 1685 to August 1686. The next several years are jumbled. Some time was spent dodging the London bailiffs and then traveling to Holland, Flanders and Germany. He is alleged to have returned from this trip November 15, 1688 (L.E., pp.198-215). He published biographies critical of James II and elevating William III.

The monument that remains his best work is his periodical, "The Athenian Gazette and Causuistical Mercury". Its five hundred and eighty periodical issues demonstrated for the first time in England the feasibility of a continuing journalistic project as a private enterprise. John Dunton died in 1733.

"The Life and Errors of John Dunton", republished in 1818 by B. Franklin, ISBN: 0-8337-0970-4

"The Oracle of the Coffee House -- John Dunton's Athenian Mercury", Gilbert D. McEwen, The Huntington Library, 1972

"Letters Written From New England - 1686", ISBN: 0-8337-0971-2

"Announcements" - Submit obituaries, marriage, military service, special events, and birth announcements to keep us all up to date!

Noah Jakob Joskow Dunton was born to the proud parents, David and Regina Joskow Dunton, Tuesday, June 10, 1997, 1:42 EST, at St. Vincent's Hospital, Greenwich Village. According to Dave, "He's 7 lbs., 2 oz., 20 inches long, 2 weeks early, cute as a little peach, and good natured". Drop David and Regina a note of congrats by clicking here.

Les and AnnaMae Dunton will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary on Sunday, June 15, 1997 in Salem, Oregon. Drop them an email by clicking here.

If you have an interesting story that you'd like to share, PLEASE submit them.

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Last Updated June 11, 1997