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Robert Dunbar (abt. 1630 - 1693)

Robert Dunbar
Born about in Morayshire, Scotlandmap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Hingham Suffolk, Massachusetts Bay Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 7 Aug 2011 | Last significant change: 12 Feb 2021
19:38: Patricia (Walsh) Tidwell removed Jeremiah Dunbar (abt.1693-abt.1715) as a child of Robert Dunbar (abt.1630-1693). [Thank Patricia for this]
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Disputed Parents

Robert Dunbar's parents are in question. He was probably not the son of Ninian Dunbar, who had a son Sir Robert Dunbar in Scotland.

Speculation: Robert is definitely not the son of Sir Ninian Dunbar of Grange. Sir Ninian did indeed have a son named Robert, but that Robert went on the become a member of Parliament. Robert never left what is now the UK. While he was arguing in Parliament, Robert & Rose of Hingham were busy building their family in Hingham. Robert of Hingham never left Massachusetts after arriving there in 1650. Obviously they can not be the same man. Robert was a very commmon name in the Dunbar line, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Robert was a Cromwellian prisoner of war. The name of Lt. Col. Dunbarr [sic] is on a handscript list of prisoners taken at the Battle of Dunbar; no first name is given for any officers; he is listed second after Col. Leslie. In 1659. Robert deposed that he had been a servant of Mr. Joshua Foote when Mr. Foote lived in Boston. He also stated (in 1659) that he was 25 years old.

Rev. Peter Hobart's comment that "the opinion generally prevailed in Hingham that Mr. Dunbar brought money enough with him to begin life without embarrassment, as for years there were but two men in the place who paid a higher tax."

Possibly, Robert returned to Scotland in 1660 to be knighted. As a Cromwellian prisoner he would have supported the Stewarts who would have been reinstated by then. Charles II immediately rewarded those who had supported the house of Stewart after he was crowned. Certainly this would be preferable to remaining in servitude in a strange land. This would explain Robert returning to Scotland and being knighted and then returning again to the New World with substantial wealth. These events may seem strange at first, but are actually quite in accordance with Scottish history at that time.[1]


Robert, a Scotchman, and probably the ancestor of all the families who have borne this surname in Plymouth County, became a resident of Hingham shortly after 1650. [2] Robert Dunbar was probably born about 1630-34 in Scotland. According to tradition, Robert was a native of Morayshire, Scotland.[3]

Some circumstances indicate that this person may have been one of the Scotch prisoners sent to Massachusetts Colony in 1652 by Cromwell, after the battles of Dunbar and Worcester.[4][5]

The christian name of his wife was Rose. She survived him and died 10 Nov 1700. [2]

Robert died 19 Sept. 1693.[6] In his will, dated at Hingham 13 Sept. 1693, gives "to wife Rose a living in my now dwelling-house, and the use of all the land, which I give to my sons Joseph and Joshua, the whole term of her keeping the name of Dunbar ; and in case of necessity she may sell or let said land for her maintenance." To sons John, Joseph, and Peter, the home land. To son Joshua "the rest of my land as far as the river." Bequeaths to James Dunbar "the son of my son, James, deceased," £10. He further gives to Joseph "enough apples, annually from the tree in my orchard to make two barrells of cyder." To his three daughters, "Mary Dunbar, Sarah Dunbar, and Hannah Dunbar, all my land on the other side of the river, share and share alike, ann my indoor movables after my wife's decease." The inventory of his estate, appraised 28 Sep 1693 included, dwelling-house and land, £130: two oxen, seven swine, two cows, two caves, household goods, etc."[2]


  1. John, born 1 December 1657, baptized 13 December 1657; Rev. Hobart's journal refers to him as "1st born son"
  2. Mary, born 25 October 1660, baptized 9 December 1660, died about 1707; married at Hingham 28 June 1698 Isaac Harris of Bridgewater, son of Arthur Harris and Martha Lake -- Isaac's second marriage.
  3. Joseph, born 13 March 1661/2, baptized 11 May 1662
  4. James, born 5 June 1664, baptized 5 June 1664, died at Bridgewater, Mass., 12 December 1690; married about 1683 at Hingham Jane Harris, daughter of Isaac Harris by his first wife Mercy Latham.
  5. Robert, born 1 Nov. 1666, baptized 24 March 1667, died soon.
  6. Peter, at Hingham, 8 September 1668 m. Sarah Thaxter.
  7. Joshua
  8. Robert
  9. Sarah, died 12 February 1761, age 51; married 5 December 1729 Robert Garnet, born at Hingham 31 August 1706, died 5 December 1788.
  10. Hannah, born 3 October 1715, died by 7 May 1725.
  11. Benjamin


Robert lived on Scotland Street in Hingham.[2]


  1. Written by Barbara Jones on 20 Jul 1998
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts (The Town of Hingham, Massachusetts, 1893) Vol II, p.196
  3. [citation needed]
  4. Hobart, Benjamin. History of the Town of Abington, Plymouth County, Massachusetts (T.H. Carter and Son, Boston, 1866) p.366
  5. Scottish Prisoners of War Society
  6. "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 October 2020), Plymouth > Hingham > Births, marriages, deaths 1635-1844 > image 58 of 546; citing Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, Boston.

Also see:

  • Chaplin, A. T. (1992). The descendants of Robert Dunbar of Hingham, Massachusetts, 1630-1693. Center Barnstead, NH: Snackerty Enterprises.
  • William, R. C. (2008). Genealogical and Personal Memoirs. Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Four Volumes. Partially Indexed. Vol. 1, p.1953

Previously listed as sources


No explanation of these possible sources provided

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Comments: 6

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Dunbar-1984 and Dunbar-287 appear to represent the same person because: Looking over dates and genealogies. This is a distant relative.
posted by Michael Parks
The Dunbar Prisoners came on the ship Unity arriving in December 1651.

Group Description This group focuses on finding our Scots ancestors who were taken prisoner after the Battles of Dunbar (1650) and Worcester (1651), in which the Scots were defeated by the English under Oliver Cromwell. Some were Covenanters, some were Royalists (supporters of Prince Charles). They were later sent to the American Colonies. Our goal is to locate historical data, ships' lists, prisoner lists, and other information of genealogical value to descendents of the "Scottish Rebels."

posted by Andrea (Stawski) Pack
Dunbar-1177 and Dunbar-287 appear to represent the same person because: Looks good to me
posted by James Luper III
I disconnected Sarah Dunbar as his daughter, and connected her to the other profile for the Robert Dunbar of Hingham, Massachusetts.
posted by Ellen Smith
There seems to have been a mix-up with Robert Dunbar, who emigrated to Massachusetts, and Robert Dunbar of Grangehill. I think this profile should be merged with Dunbar-287, but some of the biography needs to be moved to Dunbar-1846? As do Katharine and Florence
posted by John Atkinson

Rejected matches › Robert Grant (1624-1653)

D  >  Dunbar  >  Robert Dunbar

Categories: Hingham, Massachusetts | Clan Dunbar