NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
Walter De Veutre came to England at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, in the train of his counsin-genman, Earl Warren, son-in-law of William himself. He was made lord of the Saxon village of Burnham and others, and from Burnham, where he lived, he was known as De Burnham. He took his surname, as many others of the Norman conquerors, from an old English town. The name is spelled Buram, Berham and Barnham, as well as Burnham, and in the old Anglo-Saxon is Beorn and Burn (a bear) meaning according to Feguson, "chief, hero, man." There were towns of this name in both Somersetshire and Sussex county before 900, and the family has been distinguished ever since. The ancient coat-of-arms of the family is: Sable, a crown between four crescents argent.
(I) Thomas Burnham, immigrant ancestor, born in England, in 1617, died June 28, 1688. He was descended fromn the Burnhams of Herefordshire, England, and is believed to have been born in Hatfield, Herefordshire. November 20, 1635, according to an old record, he "imgarqued for the Barbadoes, in the expedition, Peter Blacklee, master, took the oath of allegiance and supremacy, examined by the minister of the town of Gravesend." He appears first in America in 1649, where he is recorded in Hartford as bondsman for his servant Rushmore, "that he should carry good behavior." He was an educated man, and on first coming to this country practiced as a lawyer.
In 1659 he purchased from Totonimo, chief sachem of the Petunke tribe of Indians, a tract of land now covered by the towns of South Windsor and East Hartford, on which he afterwards lived, and a part of which is still (1910) in possession of his descendants. He held this land under a deed from Tatonimo, and in 1661 by a deed from six of the former's successors and allies, by which they renounce "all our gith and title to those lands aforesayd unto Thomas Burnham and his heirs." The possession of this land led to endless lawsuits, supported by the govenment, and it was ordered to be divided. Burnham refused to give it up, however, and the contest continued many years, resulting finally in the appointment in 1688, at a town meeting of the inhabitants of Hartford, "of a committee in behalf of the town to treat with Thomas Burnham, Senior, upon his claim to the lands on the west side of the Great River." He erected a house on those lands at Potunke, which was of five on the east side of the Connecticut to be fortified and garrisoned during the Indian war of 1675. In 1649-56-60 he appears as plaintiff in court, and usually argued his own cases. In 1659 he was attorney for Jeremy Adams, Northampton, and in 1662 for Abigail Betts, accued of blasphemy. For his successful defense of her, "for saving her neck," the court condemned him "to ye prison-keep." This sentence was not carried into effect, however, though he was deprived of his citizenship for a time and prohibited from acting as attorney for others, though allowed to argue his own cases. In 1658 he was on the jury, and in 1662, being complained of for abuse in the case of Abigail Betts, gave bonds to keep the peace.
He married, in 1639(?), Anna Wright(?), born in England, 1620, died Aug. 5, 1703. He died June 28, 1680. Before his death he had divided the greater part of his estate among his children by deed, with the condition that it should remain in the family. His wife did not produce his will when it was called for by the court, and it was subsequently proved by the witnesses, June, 1690.
Elizabeth, born about 1640.
Mary, about 1642.
Richard, 1654, mentioned below.
(II) Richard, son of Thomas Burnham, was born in 1654, and died April 28, 1731. With his brothers he inherited a large landed estate. May 29, 1711, he and three of his brothers received a deed of land from thee Indian women, a small part of the same lands deeded in 1661 by the Indian chiefs to Thomas Burnham, Senior. There is also another deed from John Morecock to Richard, of land belonging to the latter's father, dated 1721. In 1730 the proprietors of the five miles of land on the east side of the great river in the township of Hartford confirmed to the heirs of Thomas Burnham the title to two hundred and twenty-seven acres of land, in place of lands taken by the town of Windsor.
Richard Burnham married, June 11, 1680, Sarah, daughter of Michael and Priscilla (Grant) Humphries, of Windsor, Conn. Michael Humphries came to Windsor in 1643. He married, Oct. 14, 1647, Priscilla Grant. Nov. 17, 1664, he with others demanded, as a member of the Church of England, baptism for his children and admission for himself to full church privileges in the non-conforming church of Windsor, or else relief from taxation in support of the ministry. For this demand he came before the court, charged with making trouble in the church. Before coming to Windsor he had doubtless been at Dorchester; was freeman of Connecticut, 1657; removed to Simsbury, 1669, and died there before 1697. Matthew Grant, father of Priscilla, was born in County Devon, England; came in the "Mary and John," 1630; removed 1635 to Windsor; freeman May 18, 1661; was many years town clerk; supposedly the ancestor of President Grant.
Children of Richard Burnham:
Sarah, born July 11, 1683, died young.
Rebecca, born Sept. 20, 1685.
Mercy, April 14, 1688, died young.
Mary, May 18, 1690, died young.
Richard, July 6, 1692, mentioned below.
Martha, Oct. 28, 1694.
Esther, March 22, 1697.
Charles, July 23, 1699.
Michael, May 30, 1705.
Susannah, twin with Michael.
(III) Lieut. Richard (2), son of Richard (1) Burnham, was born July 6, 1692, and died Feb. 11, 1754. In 1738 he was confirmed by the assembly to be lieutenant of the third company, first regiment, this colony. Dec. 26, 1716, he, with Roger Wolcott and Captain Stoughton, was appointed to "dignify the seats of the meeting house." In 1726 he received a deed of land on the east side of the Connecticut from the administrators of the estate of John Easton, of Hartford. There is also another deed of land to him from Joseph Keeney.
He married (first) May 5, 1715, Abigail Easton, born March 16, 1687. He married (second) Hannah (probably Goodwin or Risely, as both these Hannahs were baptized April 12, 1695). She died March 28, 1784. Sept. 3, 1754, the court granted letters of administration on his estate, and his widow Hannah had her third set out to her.
Elisha, born June 22, 1717.
Aaron, May 5, 1719, mentioned below.
Ezra, July 16, 1721.
Moses, Aug. 20, 1723.
Abigail, June 3, 1725.
(IV) Aaron, son of Lieut, Richard (2) Burnham, was born May 5, 1719, and died Sept. 14, 1760. He married, Nov. 12, 1748, Hannah, daughter of Caleb Pitkin. She was born Nov. 12, 1722, and died Aug. 17, 1809. Her father, Caleb Pitkin, was born July 19, 1687, and was son of Roger Pitkin, who married, 1683, Hannah, daughter of Caleb Stanley. May 29, 1761, an inventory was taken of the estate of Aaron Burnham, and his will was exhibited in court June 16, 1761. As the will left unprovided for the three sons born since the date of its making, the court disappoved of it and granted administration to the widow Hannah and to Ezra Burnham, of Hartford. May 1, 1764, the former was made guardian of Aaron, Simeon and Michael, sons of deceased. Hannah the widow married (second) March 24, 1765, Thadeus Olmsted.
Hannah, baptized March 11, 1750.
Aaron, baptized May 23, 1756.
Simeon, born Aug. 1, 1757, mentioned below.
Michael, April 15, 1759.
(V) Simeon, son of Aaron Burnham, was born Aug. 1, 1757, and died Oct. 13, 1788, in Middletown, Connecticut, from smallpox. He was a resident of Middletown, and a seafaring man by occupation.
He married, April 12, 1779, Jerusha Rockwell, baptized June 26, 1763.
Children (baptismal dates):
Jerusha, bap. Dec. 3, 1780.
Sally, bap. Feb. 9, 1783.
Clarissa, bap. April 3, 1786.
Joseph, bap. Feb. 18, 1787, mentioned below.
Sophia, bap. Nov. 23, 1788.
(VI) Joseph, son of Simeon Burnham, was born in Middletown, Jan. 7, 1787. He camt to the town of Leyden, N.Y. at the age of fifteen, and remained there until 1808, when he went south, traveling through Virginia, North Carolina and other states as an itinerant merchant. When the war of 1812 broke out he returned to Leyden and was drafted into the service, but furnished a substitute.
In 1814 he went into trade in the old house situated on the farm owned by Noah C. Brooks, and for seventeen years was a merchant in that town. He was loan commissioner and supervisor of the town.
He belonged to the Universalist church, and was liberal in his views, and of a kindly, charitable nature, of sound judgment and exceptional ability.
He married, July 10, 1814, Elizabeth Rice, born March 4, 1788, died Dec. 21, 1865.
Louisa, born April 12, 1815, married Orrin Hutchinson, and settled in New York.
Juliet, born Sept. 23, 1817, married Dr. Charles N. Bass.
Joseph S., mentioned below.
(VII) Joseph S., son of Joseph Burnham, was born in Leyden, Oct. 6, 1825, in the house in which he spent his entire life, and in which he died Dec. 24, 1906. He was educated in the public school and at Williston Seminary, Easthampton, Mass. He followed farming for an occupation.
In politics he was a Democrat. He was a man of sterling character and had the confidence and esteem of the entire community. He married, June 4, 1867, Elvira S. Brooks, born in Leyden, April 29, 1834, daughter of Mathew T. Brooks and Maria (Douglass) Brooks.
Eliza M., born Nov. 22, 1869.
Frederick Charles Joseph, mentioned below.
(VIII) Frederick Charles Joseph, son of Joseph S. Burnham, was born at Leyden, N.Y. June 4, 1871. He was educated in the schools of Boonville and Carthage, N.Y., and graduated from the Carthage high school. He assisted his father with the work on the farm during boyhood, and afterward continued in the work until his father died, when he had the homestead.
The old house, which was built in 1824, was destroyed by fire Jan. 10, 1910, under tragical circumstances. The fire was discovered about two o'clock in the morning by Eliza Burnham, who aroused the family. Heroic efforts were made to extinguish the flames, but in vain. Neighbors came to their assistance but no apparatus was available and the flames were practically unchecked. Miss Almira Brooks, who had been an invalid for years, occupied a room on the lower floor, and was rescued by a neighbor, Thaddeus E. Munn, who broke in the window and climbed into the burning house when the interior appeared to be a mass of seething flame, found the sick woman, and bore her to safety. With the help of other neighbors he carried her to the house of Mrs. Florence Roberts. Miss Brooks is a sister of Mrs. Joseph Burnahm. In the meantime Eliza Burnham went into the house and was not missed until too late to effect a rescue. Her remains were found in the ashes of the house. It was zero weather, with two feet of snow on the ground, and the family suffered intensely from cold and exposure. Mrs. Frederick Burnham also had a narrow escape. After assisting in the attempt to put out the fire, she went upstairs to her room to dress, and then to get what she could of value there. She was overcome by the smoke and fell unconscious to the floor below. She was found there by her husband, who carried her from the building. After rescuing his wife, Mr. Burnham learned from his mother that his sister Eliza had re-entered the burning building. He went into the house and made a desperate effort to rescue her, but was unable to do so, as the fire had then broken through from the rooms above. He had a narrow escape from suffocation. Mr. Burnham then tried to get his wife and mother to the home of the nearest neighbor, Mrs. Florence Roberts. It was a difficult task, as the one was nearly exhausted from suffocation, and the other quite lame. They were met on the way by Ernest and Madeline Roberts. Ernest carried Mrs. Frederick Burnham to his home, and Madeline assisted Mr. Burnham in getting his mother there. As Mrs. Burnham was clad only in her night clothes, she suffered much from exposure, and her right hand and foot were badly brozen. The fire was a sad blow, not only on account of the financial loss, but from the destruction of the heirlooms and things prized for the sake of association and, more than all, for the tragic death of the sister. Eliza was a woman of much intelligence, ability and refinement, highly esteemed in the community. Mr. Burnham has rebuilt upon the site of the old house.
In politics Mr. Burnham is a Democrat, but has never sought nor accepted public office. He is a member of Port Leyden lodge of Odd Fellows, of Talcottville Grand, Patrons of Husbandry; of the Adirondack Guides' Association, and of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He is an enthusiastic sportsman.
Mr. Burnham married, June 27, 1908, Lillian Clemenza, born Dec. 6, 1871, daughter of Isaac and Clemenza (Nichols) LeQuay. No children have been born of this marriage.
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