New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

James Buncker

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The James Bunker who moved from Gouldsboro, Maine to Rusagonis in the early 1820s was the second great grandson of this James Buncker who was the first of that line in North America.

James Buncker was born in England in 1628, and was baptized on February 10, 1633 or 1634 in the Parish church of Slapton, Devonshire, England.

In March of 1646, James served on a Coroner’s Jury in Kittery, Maine. We do not know how or why he came to America, but he apparently came without other family members. He was living at the home of Mrs. Trueworthy between about 1648 and 1649 and was employed by Catherine Shapleigh.

James moved to a section of Dover, New Hampshire (later became the town of Durham) when he was in his early to mid-20s and built a fortified home known as ‘Bunker’s Garrison’ in the Oyster River Plantation. The fortified home had nine-inch thick timber walls.

There are many records of James Bunker in Dover. The Selectmen of Dover granted 236 acres of land to him and to William Follett on October 8, 1653. This land was located between Bunker’s Creek and Johnson’s Creek. He signed a petition in 1654. In 1655, he took an oath of fidelity, and in June of 1657 he was a Grand Juror and was also on the Dover tax list.

James married Sarah Nute, daughter of James and Sarah Nute.

Records of James Bunker continue. He was on various tax lists. He signed a petition to be freed of Massachusetts jurisdiction on July 26, 1665. He was administrator of the estate of William Roberts in 1676, and he was on a list of persons eligible to vote for a representative to Portsmouth on February 16, 1679.

Bunker’s Garrison was the last garrison of the Oyster River Plantation to be attacked by Indians in 1694, when 250 warriors ravaged both sides of the river over a path some six miles long. They swept outward in groups of eight or ten, killing and capturing ninety-four or more people, one-third of the population. Half of the settlement was burned to the ground. The attackers destroyed countless crops and killed hundreds of head of livestock, bringing famine and financial ruin. Bunker’s Garrison was one of the few to escape destruction.

Testimony given following the raid paints a gruesome picture of what transpired. To that extent it is very sensational and does not bear repeating here without a better understanding of the dynamic between the natives and the white men. There is also reference to some french men among the attackers which would further complicate a proper telling.

James’ will was dated October 14, 1697 and was signed James ‘Buncker’. The will was probated on June 24, 1698, and mentions his wife Sarah and sons James Jr., Joseph and John. James Jr. was the executor. There was also a daughter, Mary, who married Thomas Drew. Sarah died after 1698.

This summary is derived from Bunker Genealogy by Edward C. Moran Jr., 1961, and internet sources.

Written by johnwood1946

July 10, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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