Dawson, Abraham (DNB00)

DAWSON, ABRAHAM (1713?–1789), biblical scholar, came of an old nonconformist family in Yorkshire. Joseph Dawson (d. June 1709, aged 73) was ejected from Thornton Chapel, near Bradford, Yorkshire. He had six sons: Abraham, Joseph, Obadiah, Eliezer, Samuel, and Eli, of whom Abraham, Joseph, and Eli became nonconformist ministers. Eli, the youngest son (d. 1744), was presbyterian minister at Morley, near Halifax, then at Horton, near Bradford, lastly (from 1728) at Halifax, and had seven sons: Abraham, Samuel, Eli, Joseph, Thomas [q. v.], Benjamin [q. v.], and Obadiah. Except Obadiah, who was brought up to business, all were educated for the nonconformist ministry, but eventually left it. Thomas (a physician at Hackney) and Obadiah (a merchant at Leeds) remained dissenters; the rest conformed. Samuel became a schoolmaster, Eli was chaplain to a man-of-war, and died as a clergyman in the West Indies, Joseph became vicar of Paull, or Paghill, near Hull.

Abraham, the eldest son of Eli Dawson, was probably born at Horton in 1713. For several years he was a presbyterian minister; he had the degree of M.A. Late in July or early in August 1754, he was instituted to the rectory of Ringsfield, near Beccles, Suffolk, and here he remained till his death. He died on 3 Oct. 1789, aged 76, and was buried at Ringsfield on 8 Oct.

He published: 1. ‘A New English Translation of the Three First Chapters of Genesis; with … Notes,’ &c., 1763, 4to. 2. ‘A Fourth and Fifth Chapter of Genesis translated … with … Notes,’ &c., 1772, 4to. 3. ‘The Sixth and Eleven following Chapters of Genesis translated … with … Notes,’ &c., 1786, 4to.

[Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial, 1803, iii. 452 sq.; Monthly Repos. 1810, p. 324 sq.; Hunter's Life of O. Heywood, 1842, p. 255; James's Hist. Litig. Presb. Chapels and Charities, 1867, p. 684; Halifax Northgate End Chapel Mag., 1886, pp. 15, 46; information from Rev. F. M. Arnold, rector of Ringsfield cum Redisham Parva.]

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