Who Was the Faunce in Dartmouth’s Faunce Corner Road?
The history of the Faunce family is difficult to trace, but the roots of the family, for which Dartmouth's Faunce Corner Road is named, date back to some of the first settlers in Massachusetts.
Let's start with the Faunce-Snell-Ashley Cemetery on Faunce Corner Road.
You've probably passed by it many times, as have I, without giving it much thought.
The cemetery is on the east side of Faunce Corner Road, south of Old Fall River Road but north of the Southcoast Behavioral Health Complex.
John Paul Faunce is buried there alongside his wife, Eliza C. Ashley Faunce. Some of their children – believed to have been at least eight – are buried near their parents. Faunce, a farmer, was 87 years old when he died on March 12, 1895. Eliza died on February 11, 1888, at age 79.
John Paul Faunce had a sister Abigail, who married a Snell, and a sister Phebe Anne, who married an Ashley. Members of the Snell and Ashley families are also buried at the Faunce-Snell-Ashley Cemetery. There are other family names represented as well.
It all began with John Faunce, who arrived in Massachusetts from Purleigh, Essex, England, aboard the Anne in 1623, three years after the Pilgrims. He married Patience Morton Faunce, and the couple had a son named Thomas in 1647 Plymouth.
Thomas Faunce lived to be about 98 years old and became widely known as "the man who saved Plymouth Rock."
According to the New England Historical Society, in 1741, town fathers wanted to build a wharf, concealing the now-famous rock on which the Pilgrims are alleged to have first stepped. Faunce rallied the town's people to preserve Plymouth Rock – and the rest is history.
Thomas Faunce was the great, great, great, great, great grandfather of John Paul Faunce.
As the colony grew, the Faunce family spread. Members would settle in other parts of the region, including Rochester and Dartmouth.
I can't tell you much about the Dartmouth clan, but they must have been pretty swell folks, or farmers, to have a road named for them.
Anyone with more info on the local Faunce connections is welcome to share it under this story on our Facebook page.