An American Family History

Thomas Dwinnell


"[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported.
We have a right to it, derived from our Maker.
But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us,
at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."

-- John Adams, 1765


Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts is approximately 25 miles north of  Boston. Boxford was set apart from Rowley Village and incorporated in 1685.

New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans in 1623. It was separated from Massachusetts in 1679.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

Thomas Dwinnell was born in 1752 in Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Benjamin Dwinnell and Mary Estey.

He married Sarah Hammond. Sarah was born December 8, 1762 in Swanzey, New Hampshire. Her parents were Colonel Joseph Hammond and Esther Pierce. 

Their children included:
Octavia Dwinnell Leonard (born February 28, 1784, married Calvin Leonard),
Sally Dwinnell Ellis (born January 18, 1786, married Samuel Ellis a farmer),
Nabby Dwinnell (born March 24, 1788),
Thomas Dwinnell (June 13, 1790-July 9, 1866, married Arabella, who died August 26, 1865),
Solomon Dwinnell (born July 3, 1792),
Artemisa Dwinnell (born December 9, 1794),
Abigail Dwinnell Grimes (married Alexander Grimes a farmer),
Olive Dwinnell Wilson (married Aaron Wilson a millwright), and
Joseph H. Dwinnell (a millwright married Almira Holbrook). 

They were living in Boxford at the start of the Revolution. He served as a private in the Massachusetts Militia. He was in  Captain William Perley's company of Minutemen, Colonel James Frye's regiment, which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 and was in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He also served under Captain Farnum.

The family appeared in the 1790 census in Keene and appeared in the 1800 census of New Hampshire. The household consisted of one boy under ten, one between sixteen and twenty five and one man over 45, three girls under ten, two between ten and fifteen, one between 16 and 25, one woman between 26 and 44 and one woman over 45.

In August 27, 1792, the town of Keene set up a school district that included Timothy Colony, Frederick Metcalf, and Thomas Dwinell's families.

They were still living in Keene in 1810 and in 1820.

Benjamin died in March 31, 1838 in Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. He is buried in Ash Swamp Graveyard in Keene with his wife, his son Thomas and his wife, and other descendants.

Sarah died on November 29, 1848 at age 84.

Shays's Rebellion was an armed uprising in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. Daniel Shays led four thousand rebels (Shaysites) in rising up against perceived economic injustices.

Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck
from Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack

Children of Benjamin Dwinnell
and Mary Estey

  • Jonathan Dwinnell
  • Thomas Dwinnell
  • Mary Dwinnell Pomeroy
  • Elizabeth Dwinnell Banks
  • Abigail Dwinnell Francis
  • Hannah Dwinnell Wheeler
  • Benjamin Dwinnell
  • Israel Dwinnell
  • Sarah Dwinnell Colony
  • Esther Dwinnell Metcalf
  • Three daughters of William Towne and Joanna Blessing were wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem. Rebecca Towne Nurse, Mary Towne Estey, and Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes were persecuted in 1692. The children of people in the line below are all descendants of Mary Estey.

    William Towne,
    Mary Towne Estey,
    Isaac Estey,
    Aaron Estey
    Mary Estey Dwinnell
    Israel Dwinnell,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Sr.,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Jr.
    Victoria Zellena Dwinnell
    Robert Wilson Miller, Sr
    Robert Wilson Miller, Jr.
    Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire was settled after 1736 and was a fort protecting Massachusetts during the French and Indian Wars. It was called Upper Ashuelot. When New Hampshire separated from Massachusetts in 1741 it became Keene, New Hampshire. During King George's War, the village was attacked and burned.

    Various spellings of Dwinnell
    Doenell, Donell, Donnall, Donnell, Duenell, Dunnel, Dunnell, Dwaniel, Dwaniell, Dwainel, Dwennel, Dwinel, Dwinell, Dwinnel, Dwinnill, Dwonill, Dwynel

    The Battle of Bunker Hill was on June 17, 1775.




    The Granite Monthly Volume 15 edited by Henry Harrison Metcalf, John Norris McClintock

    Col. Joseph Hammond was, in 1744, one of the first settlers of Swanzey, going to that place when a young man from Littleton, Mass. He was a colonel in the French wars, and on receipt of the news of the battle of Lexington was elected captain of the Swanzey company, and with sixty-two men marched, April 21, to the defence of Boston. He was lieutenant-colonel of Col. Ashley's regiment at the second Ticonderoga alarm, but being considered too old for active service, was employed as mustering officer, and also placed in charge of the transportation of supplies for the army. He resigned June 14, 1779, and his letter was accepted with regrets on June 19th, accompanied by a vote of thanks from the Assembly. He was also a grantee of Jefferson, in 1772. Born about 1722; died 1804.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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