The first known ancestor of the Dunbar family in America was Robert Dunbar, a Scotchman who, circumstances indicate, was one of the Scotch prisoners sent over to the Massachusetts Colony in 1652, by Cromwell after the battles of Dunbar and Worcester. It is certain that this Robert Dunbar was the ancestor of the Dunbars of Abington and Bridgewater, if not of all bearing that name in New England. The family has always shown the characteristics which have so favorably distinguished the Scotch people. They are good, law-abiding citizens, with a frugal thrift and industry, a careful economy, and cautious and discriminating judgment in all the affairs of life.
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Samuel Dunbar was a native of Bridgewater, MA, a farmer, prosperous and respected, and reared a family there, among whom was Elijah Dunbar, born in Bridgewater April 23, 1759, graduated at Dartmouth College, studied for the profession of law, and began practice at Keene, NH, 1790. He was at Claremont from 1797 to 1804, then reopened his office in Keene, was a magistrate, and represented Keene in the Legisla ture in 1806-08 and ’10. He was an officer for many years of the old Cheshire Bank at Keene, and one of the leading members of the Keene bar. He married Mary, daughter of Alexander Ralston, of Keene. His son, George Frederick Dunbar, was born at Claremont, NH, September 9, 1793. He studied medicine with Dr. Twitchell (a famous physician of Keene, NH) and at Dartmouth College, started practice at Stoddard, but after a short time removed to Westmoreland, where for fifty years he was the leading physician of the town. He married, 1818, Catherine, daughter of Nat Fisk, of Westmoreland. They had three sons and three daughters, —.
Mary Ann, married Horace Starkey, of Westmoreland, and moved to Cherry Valley, Ill., where she died, leaving two children, -Dr. Horace M. Starkey, a noted physician of Chicago, and Ella M.
Amos T., married Emily Cook, of Boston, had two children; both died young. He was for many years a merchant in Boston. In 1849 went to California, had quite an adventurous career and finally died there.
George W. (subject of sketch).
Nat F., married Hattie Gregg, an English lady, has one child living, Frederick; resides at the old homestead at Westmoreland. Most of his life, however, since 1852 has been spent in the California mining regions.
Martha F., married Capt. Lewis Webster, of Westmoreland; has four children,-Jennie F., George D., Florence and Kate; all are married, and all reside in Dunlap, Morris County, Kan., whither Capt. Webster removed and became the proprietor of a large sheep ranch. He is now deceased, and the widow resides with one of the children.
Laura E., the youngest of the six children, died young.
George William Dunbar was born in Westmoreland, NH, February 15, 1822. His education was obtained at the common schools of his native town, Keene, and the Academy at Framingham. His early life till his fourteenth year was spent on the farm. He was then apprenticed to William Stowits, of Keene, to learn harness-making, and thus his time was employed till his nineteenth year, when a love of adventure led him to embark with Capt. Joseph Reynolds on a four years’ whal ing voyage. The cruise did not differ materially from the average whaling voyage in those times; there were the usual hardships to be endured, the usual hair-breadth escapes; but finally Mr. Dunbar returned safe and sound to his native land with his curiosity thoroughly satisfied as to the “jolly life of a jack tar.”
He then went into partnership with his brother, A. T. Dunbar, in millinery business in Boston. This partnership continued about two years, which brings us to 1849, that ever memorable period, when the prose of life all over the world was eclipsed and for a time rendered irksome by the poetry of the newly discovered gold-mines of California. Mr. Dunbar, like thousands of others, became infected with the gold fever, and disposing of his interest in the millinery business, he embarked on the schooner ” Eudora ” from Bangor, ” around the Cape to California,” where, after a tedious voyage, they arrived in September, 1849. He at once sought the mines, and as an Argopaut met with fair success. After nearly two years spent in mining, the longing to see the wife he had left behind overcame the attraction of the shining dust, and he once more sought the granite hills of his native New Hampshire. After a perilous and adventurous trip across the plague-infected Isthmus he reached home, and for a time was engaged in the cutlery manufacturing business in Croydon. He soon exchanged his cutlery business, however, for a store, and became a village merchant in Croydon. In 1856 he again sought the land of gold, this time remaining three years and a half. Again his efforts as a gold-seeker were fairly successful, and once more returning to New Hamp shire, he re-embarked in trade in Croydon, where he continued till 1882, when he retired from active business.
Mr. Dunbar married, June 21, 1848, Sarah D., daughter of Elbridge and Hannah (Derby) Dix, of Hubbardston, MA They had four children,- .
George W., resides at Andover; Mary A., died when nine years of age; Infant (unnamed) dead; and Charles D., resides at Roxbury, NHMrs. Dunbar died March 31, 1873. Mr. Dunbar married, as his second wife, Marietta J., daughter of Abram S. and Lydia H. (Lovering) Philbrick, of Springfield, NH, October 8, 1874.
Mr. Dunbar represented his town in the Legislature in the years 1878, ’79, ’80. He is now town treasurer, and has held that position since 1883. He is deacon of the Congregational Church, and has been clerk and treasurer of the same since the reorganization of the church in Croydon. He has been for a quarter of a century a member of Hiram Lodge, F. and A. M., at Newport, NH, and is a member of the chapter at Claremont. In political faith be has always been a stanch Republican.