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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Elizabeth Dunster Bowers

Her husband, "Benanuel Bowers was a militant Quaker sympathizer and suffered much for his religion by fine, whip and prison. Some letters and doggerel lines of his are yet preserved in the Middlesex County Court, one addressed to Thomas Danforth the magistrate, date March 3, 1677. (not yet transcribed)

"The following excerpts from "The Letters of Mrs. Robert Clay" are not completely accurate.

"My Grandfather, Benanuel Bowers was born in England of honest Parents, but his father, being a man of stern temper, and a rigid Oliverian, obliged my Grandfather (who out of a pious zeal, turned to the religion of the Quakers) to flee for succour into New England." The Letters of Mrs. Robert Clay.(Ann Curtis Clay Bolton)

"He purchased a farm near Boston and then married. Both were Quakers. The Zealots of the (Presbyterian party) sic. ousted them. They escaped with their lives, though not without whippings, and imprisonments, and the loss of a great part of their worldly substance.

"History of Cambridge, MA 1630-1877, preface, p 37. Baxter, Joseph, H. C. 1693, witness to will of Benanuel Bowers.

The above quote is an attachment to Benanuell Bowers on Ancestry DOT com. I have no way to verify it.  But I know that Cambridge and Harvard in the 1600's were not ruled by Presbyterians, but by Puritans.

Benanuel married Elizabeth Dunster on Dec 9, 1653.



He had been born in  1627 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts.  His father George Bowers had been born in 1590 in Manly, Lincolnshire, England.  Ancestry hasn't bothered to check that this place even exists, or ever did.  But some place like Manby, Manley, or some other such spelling must have at one time.

Elizabeth Dunster was born however, on 15 Jul 1632 in Bury, Lancashire, England, which isn't near Lincolnshire.  So it was a good thing that she immigrated to America also.

Elizabeth Dunster had a much older brother, Henry Dunster, born 16 Nov, 1609.  He not only studied at Cambridge, England, but when he immigrated to Charlestown, MA, he became the first President of the newly formed Harvard College.

Dunster, Henry 1609-1659 First Harvard U. Pres.

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Dunster House, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
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 The Harvard Charter which he developed, says:

Transcription of text in document

WHEREAS, through the good hand of God, many well devoted persons have been, and daily are moved, and stirred up, to give and bestow, sundry gifts, legacies, lands, and revenues for the advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences in Harvard College, in Cambridge in the County of Middlesex, and to the maintenance of the President and Fellows, and for all accommodations of buildings, and all other necessary provisions, that may conduce to the education of the English and Indian youth of this country, in knowledge and godliness: It is therefore ordered, and enacted by this Court, and the authority thereof, that for the furthering of so good a work and for the purposes aforesaid, from henceforth that the said College, in Cambridge in Middlesex, in New England, shall be a Corporation, consisting of seven persons, to wit, a President, five Fellows, and a Treasurer or Bursar: and that Henry Dunster shall be the first President, Samuel Mather, Samuel Danforth, Masters of Arts, Jonathan Mitchell, Comfort Starr, and Samuel Eaton, Bachelors of Arts, shall be the five Fellows, and Thomas Danforth to be present Treasurer, all of them being inhabitants in the Bay, and shall be the first seven persons of which the said Corporation shall consist: and that the said seven persons, or the greater number of them, procuring the presence of the Overseers of the College, and by their counsel and consent, shall have power, and are hereby authorized, at any time or times, to elect a new President, Fellows, or Treasurer, so oft, and from time to time, as any of the said person or persons shall die, or be removed, which said President and Fellows, for the time being, shall for ever hereafter, in name and fact, be one body politic and corporate in law, to all intents and purposes; and shall have perpetual succession; and shall be called by the name of President and Fellows of Harvard College, and shall, from time to time, be eligible as aforesaid. And by that name they, and their successors, shall and may purchase and acquire t...

Henry Dunster, Harvard

The above quote doesn't have a source, but Ancestry does give a photo of this book on Henry Dunster..
LifeofDunsterTitlePage

Henry Dunster's gravesite
 This is Henry Dunster's gravesite in the Old Burying Yard ("God's Acre") just a stone's throw from Harvard Yard. After his voluntary exile in Scituate, Plymouth Colony, it was Dunster's express wish in his will that he be buried close to the College he loved after his death.







So Harvard changed the original covenant which Henry Dunster began, and he had some difficulties with other members of the administration.


But I am glad great Uncle Henry (time many greats) had a younger sister who is my direct ancestress.
Henry Dunster 1609-1659 marker bench

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