John sold the family home, St. John's Hill, Bermuda in 1816 (Wilkinson, Henry. Bermuda from sail to steam : the history of the island from 1784 to 1901. London : Oxford Univ. Press, c1973, pg. 298-299). He went to Newfoundland and founded Dunscomb & Co. (St. John's Newfoundland Dept of Tourism letter from Don Morris to (Cecil) Edward Dunscombe 4/4/1977). St. John's Newfoundland may have been named after his Bermuda home (Zuill, William. Bermuda journey, p. 74). He was a Lt. Colonel of Militia & Aide de Camp of the first Governor of Newfoundland, John Cochrane. (Bermuda Royal Gazette, 1/11/1848). Also a member of the Legislative Council (correspondence from Don Morris, Researcher, Dept. of Tourism, Provincial Archives, St. John's, Nfld., April 4, 1978). Co-partner in business with Joseph J. Dill of Pembroke Hall, Bermuda, who directed the West Indies branch of the firm in Grenada (Ibid). John went to Liverpool, England for an eye operation and died there (Ibid). One source indicates his father's name was John, but all other sources give it as Edward (Matthews, Keith. Profiles of Water Street Merchants, 1980. Memorial University of Newfoundland). "Profiles" also states that John left Newfoundland with his wife in 1845 for Montreal, then for Liverpool in 1847.

John's residence in St. John's was called "Castle Rennie." After he left the city in August 1845 it was used as a school called the General Academy until 1850 ((O'Neill, Paul. A seaport legacy : the story of St. John's Newfoundland. Don Mills, Ontario, Canada : Musson Book Co., c1976, p. 778). St. John's Hill in
Bermuda was located at Spanish Point in Pembroke Parish. The site is now a park known as Admiralty Park as the property was sold by John to the government and used as the Admiralty House (Zuill, William. Bermuda journey). Most of the house was burned on purpose by the Bermuda government in January 1974 though part remains. A history is contained in a pamphlet prepared by the Bermuda Dept. of Information Services titled "Admiralty House Park." Wilkinson's "Bermuda from sail to steam..." and Fodor's Bermuda travel guides (1993 and other editions) also give histories of the home, with Wilkinson providing a sketch by Lord Mark Kerr dated 1845.

John was also a member of the Newfoundland Legislative Council. He began business in Newfoundland in 1809 and in 1844 the premises was destroyed in a $40,000 fire (Don Morris letter). He met his wife Elizabeth Magill while in Connecticut visiting his brother Josiah William who was a student at Yale ((Cecil) Edward Dunscombe notes).

His surname appears with and without the "e" but usually without.

In 1816, with HM Dockyard taking shape (eventually to exceed Halifax in importance as a Royal Navy base in the mid and late 19th century), the Bermuda Government decided that the colony should invest in a permanent residence for the resident Royal Navy Admiral. It purchased the Dunscombe estate at St. John's Hill (renamed Clarence Hill in 1822 in honour of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence - and, later yet, known as Admiralty House) for three thousand pounds sterling and made it a gift to the Crown. John Dunscombe, the owner of the property prior to the transfer, emigrated with his funds to Newfoundland and became such a prominent citizen there that he was eventually appointed Lieutenant-Governor. During his administration, the brick and stone foundations that replaced the old timbered structures were laid of Newfoundland's capital city, St. John's, named after his former Bermuda home (www site: Bermuda's links with Canada (

Obituary of Hon. John Dunscombe names him as a merchant of Newfoundland, as well as Lieut. Colonel, and previous Aide-de-Camp to the first Governor of Newfoundland. He was a co-partner in business with Joseph J. Dill of Pembroke Hall, Bermuda, who directed the West Indies branch of the firm in Grenada. John Dunscombe had gone to Liverpool for an eye operation and died there. John Dunscombe sold land in Spanish Point to the Bermuda government, and it became the Admiralty House property (Bermuda Royal Gazette, Jan. 11, 1848).

The book Bermuda from sail to steam : the history of the island from 1784 to 1901, by Henry Wilkinson (London : Oxford Univ. Press, 1973) contains information on the formation of the company which led John to Newfoundland (pg. 250) along with information on the sale of his St. John's Hill estate to the Bermuda government. It also includes a circa 1845 sketch of the Admiralty House (former Bermuda residence of John Dunscombe).

Married at Cheshire, Ct. by Rt. Rev. Bishop Abrham Jarvis (Frank Farnsworth Starr papers, Middlesex County Historical Society, Middletown, Ct). Ziebarth, John. Direct connections. NY : Ziemag Publishing has their marriage location as Chester, Ct.

Related document: There was a schooner named "John Dunscombe" belonging to New South Wales, Captain's name "McLean."

Related document: John's name appears on a list of Grand and Special Jurors dated 1833 for St. John's, Newfoundland.

Related document: Atlantic ports, gulf coasts, & Great Lakes passenger lists, roll 2: 1820-73. Document lists John Dunscomb, age 40 in March 1822, merchant, port of arrival Charleston, S.C., Country of origin, U.S., Destination, U.S., Ship: Schooner Industry, port of embarkation: Bermuda, sex: male.

Related document: A "Shipping index" showing a schooner named "John Dunscombe," Master: McLean, Country to which belongs: New South Wales; Where from: Sydney; Cargo: Merchandise. A second reference has the Master as "Hampton."

Related document: Will of William Branscomb, 7/11/1834, probate 7/11/1839. Water Street (St. John's Newfoundland) premises (South side of) which is between Thomas Williams & John Dunscomb's..."

Related document: St. John's, 1833. A list of the names of prominent people in the time Newfoundland was granted representative government, a project of the Provincial Archives. The name John Dunscomb appears on a list of Grand and Special Jurors, 1833.

The government opened a non-denominational academy in St. John's in 1845 with John Valentine Nugent as Principal. The General Academy, as it was called, opened in Castle Rennie on Signal Hill Road, a site occupied by a Sisters of Mercy convent for most of this century. Castle Rennie had been the home of the Honurable John Dunscomb whose business near the foot of Cochrane Street, begun in 1809, was burned out in 1844 in a forty-thousand dollar fire. In August of the following year Dunscomb left Newfoundland, and Castle Rennie became the General Academy a few months later. It was never a popular institution, with an enrollment of never more than sixteen students (O'Neill, Paul. A seaport legacy : the story of St. John's, Newfoundland. Erin, Ontario, Canada : Press Porcepic, c1976, p. 778).

Dunscomb, Hon. John: merchant at St. John's for nearly 40 years, and a member of the Legislative Council, left Newfoundland in August, 1845 to reside in England (Mosdell, H.M. When was that? : a chronological dictionary of important events in Newfoundland down to and including the year 1922. St. John's, Newfoundland : Trade Printers and Publishers, Limited, 1923, reprinted by Robinson-Blackmore Printing & Publishing Ptd., 1974, pg. 32).

Related document: Letter from Joan H. Mowbray, Acting Head, Still & Moving Images Collection, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, Dept. of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, June 14, 1991 indicating she has been unable to locate any portraits of John Dunscombe either in her collection or at the Newfoundland Museum.

Dunscombe, John (1777-1847): b. Bermuda: member of the Executive Council 1833-42; d. Liverpool, England Nov. Dunscombe came first to Newfoundland in 1808, as agent at St. John's for a group of Bermudian businessmen trading between North America and the Caribbean. He later established a number of influential partnerships with other merchants in the Newfoundland-Caribbean fish trade and encouraged a series of Bermuda-Newfoundland trading partnerships, including a 1842 partnership with Eugenius Harvey that was the forerunner of Harvey & Co.
Dunscombe was also involved in the political life of Newfoundland and served as a member of the Governor's Executive Council from 1833-42, although his political influence appears to have been diminished by his frequent absences from the colony. He sold his St. John's premises and moved to Montreal in 1845 (Cuff, Robert H., editor. Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador Biography. St. John's, Newfoundland : Harry Cuff Publications Ltd., 1990, pg. 93-94).
Letters of Administration for John's estate were granted on June 9, 1855 to James Crowdy (his daughter Caroline's husband). Apparently there was no will (correspondence from Marilyn Warren, Probate Office, The Registry, Supreme Court, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, August 13, 1990).
John was the second St. John's agent of the firm of A.E. Harvey and Co. The first was N. Gill (notes from Newfoundland Historical Society, St. John's, Newfoundland).

The web site "Bermuda genealogy and history" has the following note: "Richard Wood ran an import firm with brother Joseph until Joseph fell ill. Firm dissolved and new partnership formed, "Richard Wood and Co" with partners John Dunscomb, Joseph Dill, Jeremiah Leaycraft, and Thomas Seon Jr. and became the richest mercantile house in Bermuda (Biography of a Colonial Town by Sir Kennedy,p.97)(

June 10, 1809

"St. John's Hill" Will be let for one or more years. Ppleasantly situated on North Side of Pembroke - 2 miles from Hamilton. Commands view of Great and Little Sounds. Different signal posts - Muray's Anchorage - the Ferry part of St. Geo., etc. Dwelling house and 8 acres. For terms apply to Mr. Isaac Cox, St. Geo. at the Counting House of the Patriotic Co. Hamilton or on the premesis to John Dunscombe. The estate may have been sold to Hon. Henry Tucker in 1814 - notes are illegible.

A revealing passage from Moses Beach's "The Ely ancestry...", page 311:

The father of John W Dunscomb was Mr John Dunscomb of Bermuda and later of Newfoundland where he built the old Cathedral at St Johns now burned In it was his large Memorial Chancel window St Johns the town was named for him He was a man of great wealth and generosity A photograph of this window is preserved in the family with the memorial inscription indicating the love and veneration in which his memory was held .