Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

John Dillingham (1629-1715) and Elizabeth Feake (1633-1720)

John Dillingham, the son of Edward and Ursula (Carter) Dillingham, was born circa 1629 probably in Cottesbach, Leicestershire, England.

John married Elizabeth Feake on 24 March 1650/51 at Sandwich, Massachusetts, daughter of Henry and Jane (Woolstone) Feake. She was baptized at St. Peter's Cornhill, London, 30 June 1633.

The births of John and Elizabeth’s children are not recorded, but they are shown in his probate and other records:

1.      Rebecca who married William Gray
2.      Hannah who married Zebulon Throp
3.      John who married Lydia Chapman
4.      Sarah who married Jeremiah Jones

I descend through their daughter Sarah. I have read there is an old family Bible that contains information on seven Dillingham generations but do not know where it is located.

Some genealogists have written that John married, 2nd, another Elizabeth, maiden name unknown. One indication that Elizabeth Feake was his only wife is that his will refers to his wife as his son John’s mother.

Although the Dillinghams were members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, John still served in the Yarmouth militia with the rank of Lieutenant. Some Quakers refused to participate in the militia because it conflicted with their religious belief of pacifism.

John was close friends with John Wing who was also a Quaker. John Wing was married to Elizabeth Dillingham, John’s sister. Their land was adjoining. Historian and author Josiah Paine said it would be an honor for any community to have them as leaders. He refers to John as a quiet man who did not hold public office. He was one of the wealthiest men in Yarmouth.

As early as 1681 John Dillingham held Quaker meetings at his home near Bound Brook. The Quakers in Harwich were not jeered at as in other towns and were peacable citizens. They paid taxes for the Congregational Minister until 1691 and then again in 1702 until 1728. It wasn’t uncommon for Quakers to be fined or jailed for refusing to pay the ministerial tax as he was not of their religious persuasion.

John Dillingham's fine old salt box home still stands on Main Street (Route 6A) in Brewster. His son John inherited his father’s land and it stayed in the family for generations. He lived in an area that was first considered part of Yarmouth and then Harwich, but is present day Brewster.
John Dillingham house in Brewster

Jeremiah Diggs wrote that John Dillingham gave the Indians a grand hornswoggling for his land, but the exact year in which his house was built cannot be determined. Later owners have put the year of 1660 on it but Dillingham didn't come to Brewster until about 1668. On June 24 of that year, he bought the lot for this house from Thomas Prence. John came down from Sandwich after his neighbor John Wing had gone there and sent back word saying, in effect, "There is a chance to make a killing here if you get in on the ground floor, John. With these Indians, it's like taking candy from a kid." John came, bought up everything in sight, and died at 85, the richest man in town.

In 1653 he was of Sandwich. He and John Wing were the first settlers in the area. He bought No. 6 and 7 of original lots in Harwich (later Brewster)—Harwich was considered part of Yarmouth for some time. In 1676 he was charged tax of 6 pounds, 17 shillings, 9 pence for "charges of the late war." This shows what a large landholder he was, as most people were charged significantly less.

Thomas Prence built a water-powered corn grist mill in 1662, and John Dillingham soon after constructed a fulling mill nearby with Joseph Wing and Kenelm Winslow. Fulling mills processed wool by shrinking and thickening with moisture, heat and pressure.
Vintage postcard of Brewster Fulling Mill

John Dillingham witnessed the will of his good friend and brother-in-law John Wing on 2 May 1696.

John died at Harwich (now Brewster) on 21 May 1715. “Mr John Diligham died in May the 21 day 1715.” He is buried at the Old Burying Ground, aka Dillingham Cemetery, in Brewster.

"Here Lyes ye Body Mr. John Dillingham aged about 85 years decd May ye 21st 1715." It is a slate stone with an engraved winged skull. His stone is the oldest surviving one in the graveyard.
John Dillingham's gravestone

John Dillingham wrote his will on 15 November 1707. He gives his loving wife Elizabeth her widow’s thirds and one-half of the orchards during her widow hood. He refers to her as a “weakly woman” and the will is worded to ensure she maintains possession of his house. He appointed Elizabeth and son John Dillingham executors. The will also named his daughters Hannah Thorpe and Rebecka Gray and the two children of Sarah Jones. In addition to land Hannah and Rebecka were each to receive 40 pounds and the grandchildren 30 pounds in addition to the goods they were receiving.

John Dillingham’s inventory was taken on 24 June 1715, totaling over 993 pounds. It includes:
wearing apparel
 silver plate
 silver money
 money due by bonds
 iron, pewter, brass, earthenware
cupboard, trunk, chairs, table
sheeps wool, flax, linen, wooley yarn
sheep, cows, horse
housing land and meadows

Elizabeth died at Harwich (now Brewster) on 15 December 1720, “Mrs. Elezebeth Dillingham the relex of Leut. John Dillingham deceased died the 15 day of December in the 73 year of her age.”

She is buried next to John. Her stone is in poorer condition than her husband’s.  "Here Lies ye Body of Elizabeth Dillingham wife to John Dillingham decd Decr ye 15 1720 in ye 73 (rest buried in ground)."
Elizabeth Feake Dillingham's gravestone

 I have two lines from John and Elizabeth:
    1      John Dillingham    1629 - 1715
   +Elizabeth Feake    1633 - 1720
  2      Sarah Dillingham    Unknown - 1699
    +Jeremiah Jones    1650 - 1705
 3      Hannah Jones    Unknown - (note: this marriage is not solidly proven)
    +John Baker    1672 - 1760
  4      Alice Baker    1715/16 - 1771
   +John Burgess    1710 - 1783
 5      Zilpha Burgess    1742 - 1798
   +Samuel Chase    1737/38 - 1778
 6      Richard Chase    1766 - 1850
   +Priscilla Snow    1767 - 1849
 7      Priscilla Chase    1796 - 1882
 + Oliver Kelley    1795 - 1883
  8      Valentine Kelley    1828 - 1882
  +Rosana S. Eldredge    1826 - 1911
  9      Mary Ann Kelley    1855 - 1941
  +David Howes Kelley    1842 - 1925
   10      Ethel Florence Kelley    1890 - 1981
  +Wallace Cedric Booth    1887 - 1970
 11      Mildred Louise Booth    1917 - 1999
   +Arthur Elmer Washburn Davis    1913 - 1976
 12     my parents
13     me

Generations 1-3 and 7-13 are the same as above:
  4      Bethiah Baker    1723 - 1782
  +Patrick Kelley    1722/23 - 1782
5      Patrick Kelley    1753 - 1834
   +Dorcas Chase    1757 - 1834
  6      Oliver Kelley    1795 - 1883
   +Priscilla Chase    1796 - 1882

Sources Not Mentioned Above:
Josiah Paine, History of Harwich, 1937
Marion Vuillieumier, The Town of Yarmouth, Mass., A History, 1989
Jeremiah Diggs, Cape Cod Pilot, 1937
Simeon Deyo, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1890
CW Swift, Dillingham Family, Library of Cape Cod History & Genealogy, No. 95, 1912
CCGS Bulletin, Fall 2005 Volume 31, no 3, Brewster The Sea Captains' Town
The American Genealogist, The Jones Family of Yarmouth and Middleboro, Mass., by Mrs. John E. Barclay, volume 31, 1955


  1. I have been researching the Dillingham family worldwide for 27 years.

    Dave Dillingham Wiltshire

    1. Hi Dave: That's interesting. Where do you find Dillinghams other than England and the U.S.?

  2. I've been researching Sandwich history, the Quakers, the Dillinghams in order to validate part of an historical novel I've written. Is it OK to cite your blog and this article?

  3. Sure Debbie. What is the title of your book? Thanks for asking, Chris