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10 April 2017

Mrs. Esther Dunham, wife of Lindsey Dunham - who is she?

Mrs. Esther Dunham, wife of Lindsey William Dunham (1820-1899), who is she or who are they? The census records reveal a female named Esther living with the family from 1850 to 1900. As with all research, more questions than answers.

Lindsey William Dunham was born in Vermont and died in Wisconsin. He lived an interesting and exciting life during his 78 year span. Many interesting tales could be written about Lindsey such as his working with Jane A Dunham in Rome, New York, possibly as a tailor. But, this article is about who are the two Esther's?

In 1844, Norman Baldwin and his wife Louisa and Moses Baldwin sold land in Rome, Oneida County, New York to Esther Ann Dunham and her husband, Lindsey. At that time, all the people involved lived in Verona, New York. In 1850, Norman, Esther and Lindsey live in the same house in Manitowoc Rapids, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  The Manitowoc Herald newspaper provides a notice for non payment of others debts by Lindsey. The paper is dated 1856. The notice states that father-in-law, Norman Baldwin and Esther A, his wife, have left the home. Lindsey files for divorce in 1858. I am unable to find Esther Baldwin in the 1860 census. According to the divorce court records, she went to Iowa with her father. In the 1870 census, Esther Baldwin is living in Honey Creek, Iowa County, Iowa with Moses Baldwin, her brother. Norman, her father, was buried in Koszta, Iowa County, Iowa, in 1859. The Find-A-Grave memorial offers information on the rest of Norman's family. This information includes Esther Ann Baldwin's death in 1878. At this time, I am unable to verify her death or burial.

Who is Esther James? The census offers either New York or Vermont in 1834 as possible birth locations. In 1850, she was living with Samuel and Rebecca James in Port Washington, Washington County, Wisconsin. In 1860, Esther is living with Lindsey and Jay Dunham in Howard, Brown County, Wisconsin. The 1870 census lists Esther Dunham with Lindsey, Jay and Rebecca James. A note on the census page states that Rebecca is living with her daughter. The 1880 census offers only Lindsey and Esther with a wide age difference. In the 1900 census, Esther is living with Jay, listed as his mother. This is where the confusion starts. She is widowed and married 49 years, the calculations would state she was married in 1851. Also, stated that Esther had three children with one living. To me, this sounds like she was previously married. To whom? When? Where? I am not able to find another records on her.

Compare the two Esther's in Lindsey Dunham's life:
Esther Baldwin was born about 1826 in New York to Norman and Louisa Baldwin
Esther James was born in 1834 in either New York or Vermont to Samuel and Rebecca James

Esther Baldwin married Lindsey about 1844 in Verona, New York. Hopefully will find church records to verify this marriage.
Esther James lived in home in 1860. Married about 1860? Unable to find records. Was she previously married?

Esther Baldwin died 1878.
Esther James died 1901.

For more of my research, view my tree, Roots_Digger family tree, on

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