1730 - 1816                         INDEX      PEDIGREE



Marriage: 26 November 1764
Place: Salem, Essex, Massachusetts

Birth Date: March 1730
Birth Place: Island of Guernsey, Essex, Mass.
Death Date: 14 January 1816
Salem, Essex, Massachsetts

Sarah Whitford

OCCUPATION(S): British Navy through 1769                 Laborer on Wharf 30 years

Father: unknown
Mother: unknown



IGI for Island of Guernsey
Parish Register
British Navy Records
British battles w/ Indians



From Salem Marriages
Dawson, John, and Sarah Whitford, November 26, 1764

From Salem Deaths
Dawson, John, of Guernsaey Island
1, h[usband of] Sarah (White) Whittemore 2, at the charity house, aged,3 January 14, 1816, age 86 years. [East Church Records]

From The Diaries of William Bently , Pastor of the East Church, Salem, Massachusetts.

October 8, 1786

John Dorson & wife & prayers for son at Sea. [In index: Dawson, see Dorson]

Sunday. January 21, 1816

Sarah Dawson, death of her husband, pr[ayed] for her children... If character deserves to be contemplated, Uncle Dawson deserves to be remembered as a uncommon example of a long habit of indulgence in intemperance & actual intoxication without loss of health, good temper, willing labour & kind affections. He was as much lamented & as tenderly caressed by his wife without reproach in his last as in his first days.  He lived 16 years in the Pest House
4 and 15 months in the Charity house 5 & in this he died. John Dawson was born in Gurnsey in March 1730, and died aet. 86.  He escaped seven times from a British Man of war 6 & in 1757 was taken by the Indians at Crown point when in the British service 7. At 33 he married his wife, the widow Whitford, alias White 8.  He was five years in British service after marriage & has left two children. For 32 years I have known him at labour at the wharves, afterwards with a small cart & last beyond labour.  His intoxication seemed to be easy and constant. At the pest house he was often in my path, silent, when alive enough, cheerful & finally died of the mere old age by a collapse of the bowels but without any loss of his senses, his memory or things around him.  I never thought he could bear much, but his calm temper balanced evils of his habits.  In the last period of his life he was deaf, but gradually as is common in age.  He was honest, kind, affectionate, generous, & not uncommonly prophane or licentious. I notice it a rare case of uniform indulgance.

1 Guernsey Island is the westernmost of the Channel Islands in the English Channel (close to Britany, France).

2 Whittemore is an error, her married name was Whitford.

3 'aged' is the cause of death.

4 The Pest House was a hospital for those with pestilent diseases (contageous). Why live there 15 years?

5 According to Bentley "Our charity house relieves only the humblest class, most often the most vitious."

6 A combat ship in the British Navy (escaping what? if he was in the British service?)

March 14, 1757 at a Salem town meeting 108 Pounds Sterling was appropriated to encourage enlistments at four pounds per head to fight in the French-Indian War. In August, the French leader, Montcalm, had assembled an army of six thousand French and Canadians and sixteen hundred Indians, and launched an attack on Fort Ticonderoga. Despite the reinforcements which included these troops from Salem, the British were outnumbered by more than two to one.  After the fort had fallen to Montcalm's troops, the French began to escort the English from the fort, but the Indians who had taken the fort with Montcalm, fell upon the captured English, killing many, and carried off two hundred prisoners. At least six Salem soldiers were carried away to Canada by the Indians and two or more were among the killed. The captured were John Oakman, John Dawson, Peter Smith, Moses Atwood, John Knapp, and Jonathan Morrison. The latter was carried to Quebec and then to France and died there. Richard Butman and Daniel Robertson were among the killed. (From Salem in the Eighteenth Century pages 205-208)

White is his wife's maiden name.

Footnotes 1-7 : NHC, 10/2001


Vital Records of Salem, Mass
Vol. 3,4- Salem Marriages
Essex Institute [Salem, Ma] 1916
US/Can 974.45/S1 V2e v.4

Vital Records of Salem, Mass
Vol. 5 Salem Deaths
Essex Institute [Salem, Ma] 1916
US/Can 974.45/S1 V2e v.5

The Diaries of William Bentley
Essex Institute [Salem, Ma] 1906
JSMB US/Can 921.73 B446b v.2

Salem in the Eighteenth Century by James D. Phillips
[Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1937]