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John Hunting (1602 - 1688)

John Hunting
Born in Thrandeston, Suffolk, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 28 Jun 1624 in Wramplingham, Norfolk, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Dedham, Suffolk, Massachusetts Bay Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 3 Apr 2011
This page has been accessed 2,810 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
John Hunting migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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John Hunting was born in Thrandeston, Suffolk, England in 1602. [1]

"HUNTING, JOHN, Dedham, freeman 1638, was an elder of the church, and one of its founders in 1638. His sons, Samuel and Nathaniel, were b. in 1640 and 1643. Rev. Nathaniel Hunting, H. C. 1693, who was ordained in Sept. 1699, at East-Hampton, L. I. and d. in 1753, was his grandson. Six others of the name had grad. at Harvard and Yale in 1826."[2]

John Hunting was baptized 24 January 1601/2 in Thrandeston Parish, Suffolk, England,[3] son of William and Margaret (Randolfe) Hunting.[4] His parents were probably living there at the time and later settled in Hoxne, about 4 miles to the east. [See father’s profile.]

John married in 1624 in Wramplingham Parish [about 18 miles to the north across the Waveney River in the county of Norfolk] Esther “Hester" Seaborne.[5]

They settled first in Hoxne, Suffolk, where daughters Mary and Margaret were baptized,[6] then moved to nearby Oakley Parish where Esther, Elizabeth and John were baptized[7].

He is said to have served as ruling elder of his church and to have been a man of decided opinions, often in the saddle, visiting people, encouraging them and disseminating ideas, thus absent from home a great deal.[8]

The family sailed to Massachusetts arriving in Dedham in the Spring [or Summer, see below] of 1638. The name of their ship is not known. He was admitted freeman in 1639.[9]

Soon after arriving in Dedham, John joined seven other townsmen (John Allin, Ralph Wheelock, Edward Allin, John Luson, John Frary, Robert Hinsdell and Eleazar Lusher) in establishing the Dedham church.

Per the church records: "Towerds ye end of Sum'er we having some experience of Jo. Hunting who came unto us that Summer from England & some of us knowing him before & having very good testimony of him from others we agreed to make tryall whether he might not be found meete for this worke & be willing thereto; in both wch we found yt incouragemt yt he allso came in amonst us into society." A short time later "... now upon ye 2d tryall of ourselves we joined unto us Jo. Hunting who had beene wth us in some conferencies before and given us some good tast of his spiritt & guifts…” Soon afterward these eight men "being ... set a part by ye lord for this Service ... the lord thus far cleering up our way before us we agreed upon ye 8th day of ye 9th month 1638 [November 8, 1638] to ... enter into sollem 'e covenant wth ye lord ..." and on that day they founded the church. The following spring, on April 24, 1639, they ordained John the ruling elder.[10]

John's house lot was in the center of town near the meetinghouse. Present Church Street runs lengthwise through the lot today. He purchased the lot on 28 Aug 1638 from John Coolidge, a Watertown man who never moved to Dedham.[11] He built or enlarged his house in 1644 when he was granted by the town "seaddar & pine” for 2000 boards.[12] In 1648 the house was a little below the town average,[13] however, in 1677, his house was 13th in value in a list of 77 houses.[14]

As well as serving as ruling elder, John for many years held the responsible position of town selectman. As the town lands were distributed, he received numerous tracts in what later became Needham, Wellesley, Westwood, Wrentham, etc.[15]

In 1661/2 "Elder Hunting requested to catechisinge the youth in the towne ... youth to attend at the Elders house once a fortnight after lecture…”[16]

Esther died in Dedham 4 May 1676.[17] In her will written four months earlier 4 Jan 1675/6 (proved 12 Feb 1684/5) she stated that she wished the £45 due her from the estate of her brother Francis Seaborne "in old England" be paid within six months after the decease of her husband and distributed as follows: £20 to John Jr., £10 to son Samuel of Charlestown, and one fourth part of £15 each to "daughter Mary Buck­ner of Boston ... the children of my Daughter Ware ... daughter Hester Fisher of Dedham ..(and).. Hester Peck the daughter of my son in law John Peck of Rehoboth." Francis Seaborne had died in Hingham, county Norfolk, England, just west of Wramplingham, in 1656 leaving his "sister Hannah, now wife of John Hunting living in New England," £45 to be paid within twelve years of his wife's death. She also noted that her husband "should have the full use and im­provement of all the premises as longe as he doth live" and signed the will with her 'S' mark. John signed his 'IH' mark to a statement giving his free consent to the will.[18] For a copy of the entire will see Dedham Historical Register, Vol. 7 p.34-37.[19]

Elder Jno Hunting deceased April 12, 1688.[20][21]

His will was written in 15 Dec 1684 and presented in Suffolk Co. Massachusetts 26 March 1691. He mentioned that he gave his wife permission to write a will (1675/6) to dispose of her property. He confirmed her legacies, and mentioned his brother Francis Seaborne left her money. He then makes bequests to son Samuell living in Charlestown; eldest son, John, of Dedham; daughter, Mary Buckner, widow in Boston and her daughter Mary White; son-in-law Robert Ware Senr.., in right of his first wife Margaret, daughter of John; daughter Hester Fisher of Dedham; son-in-law John Peck of Rehoboth and his daughter Hester Peck in the right of his first wife Elizabeth Peck, daughter of John. An inventory was taken 11 June 1689 fixing the date of his death around 1689.[22][23]


  1. Mary Hunting bap. Feb 26 1625/6 Hoxne, Suffolk, Eng., m. Charles Buckner. Boston.
  2. Margaret Hunting bap. Sep 21 1628 Hoxne, Suffolk, Eng. m. Robert Ware. Dedham.
  3. Esther Hunting bap. Sep 4 1631 Oakley, Suffolk, Eng., m.1 Nathaniel Fisher, m.2 Timithy Dwight. Dedham.
  4. Elizabeth Hunting bap. May 4 1634 Oakley, Suffolk, Eng., m. John Peck. Rehoboth.
  5. John Hunting bap. Oct 9 1636 Oakley, Suffolk, Eng., m. Elizabeth Paine. Dedham.
  6. Samuel Hunting, Capt. b. Jul 22 1640 Dedham, MA, m. Hannah Hackborne. Charlestown.
  7. Nathaniel Hunting b. Dec 15 1643 Dedham, MA, d. Jan 1 1643/4. Died in infancy.
  8. Matthew Hunting b. Mar 6 1648 Dedham, MA. Died young? Not mentioned in will of mother or father.


In 1892, TD Huntting claimed, without evidence, that John was born in 1597. The parish of Wetheringsett, Suffolk, has been suggested as his English home. While the Hunting surname occurs there, no record of John has been found.[24]

In the will of his wife Hester, dated 4 Jan 1675/6, proved 12 Feb 1684, she makes a bequest of estate given to her by her brother Francis Seaborne in 'ould England'.[25] Francis' will was found in Hingham., co. Norfolk, dated 12 Mar 1655, proved 30 Apr 1656, and makes a bequest to his sister Hester nor or late the wife of John Hunting living in New England."

The 28 Jun 1624 marriage of John Hunting and Hester Saburne was found in the parish records of Wramplingham, co. Norfolk, six miles east of Hingham. Ralph Wheelock, also of Dedham, may have been he who married Rebecca Clark 17 May 1630 also in Wramplingham.

He was born 24 Jan 1601/1602 in Thrandeston, Suffolk, England.[citation needed] John was born about 1596. John Huntiing ... He passed away about 1688.[citation needed] 12 Apr 1597 [citation needed]

Summer 1638: John Hunting, wife Hester, and five children arrived in Massachusetts and settled in Dedham. When the church was formally gathered, Hunting was made ruling elder.


Five children born in England

  1. Margaret
  2. Esther
  3. Mary
  4. John
  5. Elizabeth


  1. Great Migration Newsletter, Volume 1: p. 23: 1990 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.)
  2. A genealogical register of the first settlers of New England, by Farmer, John, 1789-1838, p. 154. Published 1829, Lancaster, Mass., Carter, 384 pages.
  3. Thrandeston Parish Register (filmed by Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City at Co. Suffolk, England, Record Office).
  4. . J. Cotton Hunting Manuscript (1950) in Dedham Historical Society, Dedham MA.
  5. Wramplingham Parish Register, marriages only (filmed by Genoa. Soc. of SLC at Garsett House): 'Hester Sabume' (year only given).
  6. Hoxne Parish Register: of John Hunting.
  7. Oakley Parish Register: of John & ‘Ester'.
  8. T.D. Huntting, "John Hunting and His Descendants,” Dedham Historical Register. Vol.3, p.123.
  9. Huntting, p.124.
  10. Early Records of the Town of Dedham, ed. by Don G. Hill (1888), Vol.2: Dedham church records, pp.7-9,15,17,18.
  11. E. Worthington Map Original Grants, Dedham Village' (1936).
  12. Early Records of the Town of Dedham, Vol.3 (1892), p.104.
  13. Early Records. Vol. 3, p.153.
  14. Early Records 1672-1706 (1899), Vol. 5, p.45
  15. Early Records 1659-1673 (1894) Vol.4, pp. various. Also, the inventory of his estate has a list.
  16. Early Records Vol.4, pp.45,46.
  17. Dedham vital records, p.15: 4d 3m 1676.
  18. Suffolk Co. Will Bk.6, p.504: 'Hester', will.
  19. Dedham Historical Register, Vol. 7 p.34.
  20. Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1621-1850 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016). Dedham V1&V2 p. 21 [ link at American Ancestors ($)
  21. Dedham vital rec., p.21: 'Elder Jno Hunting.’
  22. Suffolk County, MA: Probate File Papers.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2017. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. Digitized mages provided by File #1829 26 March 1691 John Hunting. Images at AmericanAncestors ($)
  23. Dedham Historical Register, April 1896, p. 74 Google Books
  24. Robert Charles Anderson, "Clark, Hunting, and Wheelock Families of Dedham, Massachusetts: Some English Clues," in NGS Quarterly, 74(March 1986):3-
  25. "The Will of Esther Hunting," Dedham Historical Register, Jan. 1896, p. 34-37 Internet Archive
  • Huntting, T. D. (Tennis Dimon). The Hunting, or Huntting family in America. Brooklyn, New York.: (publisher not identified), 1888. Reynolds Historical Genealogical Collection, Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2009 with funding from Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center:

Collections: Allen_county, Americana Sponsor & Contributor Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center

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Comments: 3

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s/b that he d. in Suffolk Co., not Norfolk. Norfolk County didn't exist until 1793.
posted by Daphne Maddox
It appears that John has a duplicated wife, each of whom has different parents.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Hunting-11 and Hunting-89 appear to represent the same person because: Same wife, approximately same death date. Hunting-89 is unsourced, so it should be merged into Hunting-11.
posted by [Living Buckner]