|Battle:||3 Sep 1650, Battle of Dunbar, at Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland|
|Ship/Arrival:||Unity; Dec 1650, Massachusetts Bay Colony|
|Prisoner and List:||Niven Agnew, #2 on George S. Stewart’s Captured at Dunbar list|
|Name Variations:||Nyven Agnew, Niven Agneau, “Nivin the Scot”|
|Residences:||Dover, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine|
|Other SPOW Associations:||John/James Barry, Peter Grant, John Taylor|
Published: 02 December 2014
Updated: 05 Sep 2020
Researchers: Andrew Millard, Teresa Rust, and B. Craig Stinson
Editor: Teresa Rust
Contributed by Dr. Andrew Millard in July 2018:
According to, Christopher Gerrard, Pam Graves, Andrew Millard, Richard Annis, and Anwen Caffell, in, Lost Lives, New Voices: Unlocking the Stories of the Scottish Soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar 1650, (England: Oxbow Books, 2018), on page 248, Niven is categorized as: Probable [that he is a Dunbar prisoner transported on the Unity] Agnew/Agneau, Niven/Nyven/Nivin. Residences: Dover NH, Kittery ME. Appears: 1659. D.1687. Childless. Left Left bequests to the daughter of Peter Grant and the daughter of John Taylor. [Exiles; Banks; DR; BCS; SPOWS; Ch.7 & 8; App.B] For explanations of the category, abbreviations and references see List of Dunbar prisoners from Lost Lives, New Voices.
First Generation in the New World
1. NIVEN¹ AGNEW, was born, presumably in Scotland and died at Kittery, Maine in 1687. He married, MRS. (_____) BARRY, the widow of, JOHN [JAMES] BARRY, a fellow Scot. Died childless.
Read the report below by B. Craig Stinson:
From: B. Craig Stinson:
“After earning his freedom in 1659, Niven Agnew (Niven the Scot) (Unity prisoner #2 on “The Dunbar Prisoners” list) moved upriver to Salmon Falls, where he worked at one of John Wincoll’s mills. Wincoll may have had financial troubles; in 1671 Agnew sued him for back pay amounting to the large sum of £40. His friend and fellow Scot John Barry was killed in the Indian attack of 1675; Agnew administered the estate and not only took possession of Barry’s farm below the Great Works, he also married John Barry’s widow. When Agnew died childless about 1687, his will granted all of his property to two daughters of Scottish neighbors John Taylor and Peter Grant.”
1659: Dover Tax List
1676: Managed estate in South Berwick, Maine
16 Sep – Agnew’s Will
“Kittery, Maine – Probate 16 Sep 1687,” Dobson, David. Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1607-1785, (Athens: Georgia University Press, 1994; paperback version 2004), 36.
“A study of these Scotchmen clears up a lot of mystery heretofore connected with certain names that appear in early tax lists of Dover and in court records. Let us see who they were. Nyven Agnew, called also Niven Agneau, is called “Nivin the Scot” in the Dover tax-list of 1659, shortly after he got his freedom. He administered the estate of James Barry, another Scotchman of South Berwick, Maine, about 1676, and lived on the land that Kittery had granted to Barry. Agnew’s will, 16 September 1687, mentions debts due to him from James Barry, his predecessor. He divides his property between Peter Grant and John Taylor, two other Scotchmen. In the inventory of his estate is this item, “To a sword that Peter Grant did say he would give ten shillings for.” Neither Barry nor Agnew married.” FROM: History of the Town of Durham, New Hampshire, (Oyster River Plantation), by Everett S. Stackpole and Lucien Thompson, Published by vote of the Town, ©1913; pgs 75-83 from the Chapter “Exiles from Scotland”
Nyven Agnew, also called Nivin Agneau, is called “Nivin the Scot” in the Dover tax-list of 1659, shortly after he got his freedom. He administered the estate of James Barry, another Scotchman of South Berwick, Me., about 1676, and lived on the land that Kittery had granted to Barry. Agnew’s will, 16 September 1687, mentions debts due him from James Barry, his predecessor. He divides his property between Peter Grant and John Taylor, two other Scotchmen. In the inventory of his estate is this item, “To a sword that Peter Grant did say he would give ten shillings for.” Neither Barry nor Agnew married. Everett S. Stackpole and Lucien Thompson, History of the Town of Durham, New Hampshire (Oyster River Plantation) (Published by vote of the Town, 1913), 1:76.
July 1, 1703, John Key senior, aged about 70 years, deposed that James Barry, Niven Agnue and John Taylor owned in succession a farm in upper Kittery, now South Berwick. Stackpole, History of the Town of Durham, 1:81.
Probably worked at sawmills in Kittery, Maine, “on the Asbenbedick, now Great Works, River in which Becx and Co. of London had an interest” under Richard Leader, former manager of ironworks. In the same year when Leader left, “grants of land were made to some of them [the Scots exiles] in 1656, indicating that they had been released.” Others in this group included Niven Agnew, Alexander Cooper, William Furbush, Daniel Ferguson, Peter Grant, George Gray, William Gowen, David Hamilton, Thomas Holme, John Key, Alexander Maxwell, John Neal, John Ross, John Taylor, William Thomson, and James Warren.” Charles Banks, “Scotch Prisoners Deported to New England by Cromwell, 1651-1652,” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 61 (1927): 15.
BARROW, Barry, 1 James, Berwick. He had grants in Kit. 1662, 1673. Lists 25, 298. Wm. Gowen had James Barrow at his house and cured him of scurvy. K. by Ind in. 16 Oct. 1675. Adm. 4 Apr. 1676 to Niven Agnew, who mar. his wid. and liv. on his farm, next north of those shown in Stackp. Kittery, p. 133. No ch. Agnew=s will, calling him >my predecessor,= devised his lands. Sybil Noyes, et al., Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (Portland, Me.: Southworth-Anthoensen Press, 1928-39), p. 78.
At court in Wells, April 4, 1676: Lyberty granted to Nivine Nignow to Improve James Barrows Land untill the Court take further order, hee allowing for the uss of It such a Consideration as is meete.
At court in Wells, July 4, 1676: Pouer of Administration granted unto Nivine Nignow of the Estate of James Barrow deceased, who is Injoyned to bring in a true Inventory thereof & to bring in security sufficient to respond that estate unto the next Court of Assotiates houlden for this County on the 2und Tusday of September next Insewing. Ibid., 2:315.
See: Diane Rapaport, “Scots for Sale, Part II: Scottish Prisoners in Seventeenth-Century Maine and New Hampshire,” New England Ancestors (Holiday 2004), 27, which discussed James Barry and his close friend, Niven Agnew: One of Agnew’s closest friends, Scotsman James Barry, died during an Indian 5 attack in 1675. Agnew administered the estate, not only taking possession of Barry’s farm below the Great Works, but also marrying his friend’s widow. When Agnew died childless, about 1687, his will granted all of his property to two daughters of Scottish neighbors John Taylor and Peter Grant.