Roderick H. (Roderick Henry) Burnham.

Genealogical records of Thomas Burnham, the emigrant : who was among the early settlers at Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. America, and his descendants online

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Online LibraryRoderick H. (Roderick Henry) BurnhamGenealogical records of Thomas Burnham, the emigrant : who was among the early settlers at Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. America, and his descendants → online text (page 1 of 26)
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in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center


3 1833 01761 4097

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The C-\se, Lockwood & Brain.\rd Co. Puint


C'opvriiilitfd by





Preface. ......... 7-11

Origin of the n:iiue iu England (lOSO), ..... 13

Saxon Villages of, ...... 14-lS

Manors held liy the Burubaras (10Si.Vl.-,i;4). .... l!l-2.5

Abby Church (12.50), ....... 2.5

Inscrijition on Monuments, Marriages, etc. (1100-1818), . . 2G-28

Coats-of-Arms, . . . . . . . 29, 30

Sumraarj- of Records of the Family in America (1G49-1884), . . 31-34

In all the Wars, including the Indian and Rebellion, . . . 31-34

Potunke Indians, ....... 35-37

Title to Indian Lands (lGOO-1084) 38-43

Deeds (1061-1790), ....... 43-52

Courts (1049-1078), ....... 53-03

Acts of the Colonial Government (107.j-17j7), .... 64-73

Naval (1747-17.58), ....... 71-73

Miscellaneous Papers (1079-18.80). ..... 74-115

Church at Kensington (1.712), ....'.. 75

Wills and Inventories (1090-1760), ..... 79. .80

Card-playing forbidden in the Army (1780), .... 81

Letter from Lisbon. Portugal (1704). ..... 81-82

Slavery in Algiers (1793), ...... 82-85

Burnham Estate in England. ...... 86, 87

Bride Stealing (1740), ....... 88-93

Revolutionary Pensioners (1840), ..... 94

Hon. Oliver Burnham, .Judge, etc., . . . . .95,96

Lieut. J. D. Burnham. ....... 96-99

Letter from West Point, . . . . . . 90-98

Letter from Old Point Comfort. ..... 98-99

Guy Carletou Burnham, ....... 99, 100

Col. James C. Burnham, . . . . . . 100

Col. H. B. Burnham, ....... 100, 101

Col. George S. Burnham, ...... 101

Major Walter Burnham. ....... 101

Capt. Edward T. Burnham. ...... 102

Capt. Edward JI. Burnham, ...... 103

Lieut. D. R. Burnham, ....... 102

Lieut. H. M. Burnham, ....... 102-104

Battery H, 5th U. S. Artilleiy . 102-104

Burnham Places, ........ 105, 106


rroniincnt Stabh',


.lursi^y Cattle-.



114, iir,

I[oine of llic Family i" Englaml,


(ifiiealogical HccorJs with Biogra



Blank Pages for Family Koeonls,








-jlranibuin -Vruu^

j(ti -fhe ^Ttirrlcun Jpannlii.- -Page s

'• Thou unrelenting Past!
Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain,

And fetters, sure and fast,
Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign."

" Thine for a space are they —
Yet shalt thou yield thy treasures up at last;

Thy gates shall yet give way,
Thy bolts shall fall, inexorable Past! "

— Hbyant.

Tli(! autii|uary speaks of " the individual who is advanceii enough to take a
l.ackwura look."

L —


The compiler having exhaustively searched and digested the
records of the family's early history, has re-produced them (the
records) in these annals, ■with little comment, in the endeavor,
primarily, to bring our emigrant-ancestor before his descend-
ants as he lived and contested two centuries ago. As I review
his life in the many records he has left, dating all along the
way from 16i9 to 16S8, it seems clear to nie, that in seeking a
home in this land of space and aborigines — his fortunes at low
tide in England — he purposed to become the proprietor of a
large landed estate, which he could leave to his descendants.
Opposed in this by the policy of the Colonial government, in
its autonomy adverse to the holding by individuals of large
landed possessions, he used his legal acquirements to counter-
act, as far as possible, the abridging of his boun.daries, and to
retain a part of the Indian lands he had ac(iuired by deed and
will. That he was not in sympathy with the Puritan element,
is clearly shown by the constant contentions, in which he was
involved with those in power in the Colony. Additional infor-
mation, relating not only to Thomas Burnhain, Senr., but also
to his descendants (derived from public an<l private records in
England and America) has accumulated in the hands of the com-
piler during the fifteen years that have elapsed since the first
publication of the Burnham genealogy. The contents of old
papers, deeds and wills, in the possession of a Burnam family in
England, supplemented by information obtained at Hatfield, in-
dicate the connection of the Burnhams in America with the Bur-
nams, formerly seated at Hatfield Court, Herefordshire, England.*

* I have little doubt that the Chebacco Burnhams, as well as this family, are
descendants of the Herefordshire Burnams. The tradition so prevalent that
we are from Wales is significant, Herefordshire bordering on Wales, and easily
reached by those of our English ancestors seeking new homes. Both families
also omitted the h from their names.


Aiming tlie l'ainilie.~ to be I'uuiul in tin's edition, but omitted in
tiie ori^'iniil jiublieatioii, tliere i^ one, in wliirli a very old oil paint-
ing of the IJurnani or liurnhani coat-ot'-arnis has been handed
down through a female liraiu-li (the male line extinct) from gener-
ation to geiieratiiiii through this line of the descendant? of
Thomas Buridiam, Seiir., through his son William, who with liis
descendants, for several generations, \vere settled at Wetherstield,
Conneetient. -Thev (the arms with(.>ut the ei-est) are the same as
No. 2, ]iage '_".•, and similar to that in stone over the entrance
to llattield (old) Ci.iurt." That the many dates and biograpliies,
>o accumulated, may be preserved and ]ilaced in the hands of the
family, has consequentially led to his issuing a second edition, the
genealogical part confined to the families of the descendants of
Thomas Buriduim, Senr., of Hartford and Potunke, whose tani-
ily, as it descends through the generations, fluctuates between
prosperity and adversity. t Among its members most iiave l)een
landholders, some of tracts covering townships. His descendants
ai-e I'ound in the army and nav\-, on the bench, in the pulpit, as
physicians, and in all the learned ju-ofessions, as merchants ami
manufacturers, and in many trades. It is — with exceptions — the
^tory i.<i many a ]S'ew' England family, and — if the ctunpiler's
t'eelings are a criterion, — tliese annals, as told in this collection of
records and printed notices of its members, will be of more
value to the [ireseut and future generations, than if the matter
found in the records had been shaped by the obsei-vations of the
writer into the most ditiusively written histoi-y. Several of the
miscellaneous jiajiers will undonl)teilly be deemed of little
accoimt (and the omitting of them in lietter taste) to those now
living, but even those papers will have an increasing interest for
the family as the generations iiass"into the stillness of the far-
oti land." The merging of the compiler's own jiersonalitv
(through the hing and deep interest he has taken in his work) in

*Tlie arms (in stone) are surmounted by a helmet, side view, visor closed, in-
dicating an Esquire.

P'ltis, however, a subject of curious inquiry at the present day, to look
into the brief records of tliat early period and observe how by the third gener-
ation they " (grandchildren of emigrants of good position) " descended to a
point, below which, in this happy country, it is barely possible for honesty, in-
tellect and sobriety to fall. Then there came a principle to stimulate them to
endeavor to rise again, and they began to re ascend in the scale of society.
This is a very common course of things, even in the present state of the Union;
but it was pcciiliarly the case in that early time."


that of the family at large, must excuse to those disposed to ad-
verse criticism, his treating his immediate family records, as he
would those of a branch personally unknown to him. The un-
couth naming of children from the Scriptures,* substituting for
the good old English names of their fathers, those of Moses and
the prophets, was fortunately not t;ery common in this family. In
the first three generations there are none that are very objection-
able. In those which follow there are too many. It is to be
hoped that parents in the future will not inflict upon their chil-
dren names so grotesque and ugly.

The principal value of this work is concentrated in its genea-
logical records, forming a family tree, which, starting with the
emigrant ancestors for its trunk (its roots in England), throws out
its constantly expanding branches, through its eight and nine
generations, with comparatively few missing limbs. The intro-
duction into this work of the Burnhams who were in England
with the jS'ormans, and of the villages which gave name to the
family, rec^uires no apology, as it will not be without its interest.

There is given in Part I the origin of the name in EnghxTul. A
sketch of the Saxon villages of Burnham. Mention of some of
the manors owned by the first Bnrnham and his descendants, with
a genealogy. The coats-of-anns, seal, etc., etc.

Part II. Summary of records. History of the Potunke Tribe
of Indians, whose chiefs deeded their lands to Thomas Burnham,
Senr. Title to Indian lands, Indian and other deeds, will of Uncas,
etc. Courts, Thomas Burnham, Senr., as attorney, plaintifl-', and
defendant. Acts of the Colonial government, in which' some one
of the family is mentioned ; naval. Miscellaneous papers, church
at Kensington ; wills and inventories ; orders from headquarters,
Morristown (1 7S0), forbidding card-playing in the army ; slavery in
Algiers; estate in England; bride-stealing; Hon. Oliver Buni-
ham ; notices of army officers ; letter from West Point (lS2-i); let-
ter from Old Point Comfort (182$). HLome of the family in Eng-
land. The genealogy of the family of Thomas Burnham, Senr.,
who came in 1619 to Hartford in Connecticut, U. S. A., brought

*" Those that will have all names out of God's booke,
And bold all other names in detestation;
Poor begging Ijizarus' name they never tooke;
They more feare pocerty than prophanation."

— Rjbcrt Ilatpiiitn.


ddwii to the present day, witli bio^frajiliical sketclies and notices
of its members who served in tlie Indian, the French, and tlie
Mexican wars, and the wars of the Revolntiun and tlie Rebellion.
Blank pages for tamily records.

The arrangement of this work gives first the name of the head
(.if the family, with the names of his ancestors in italics, properly
nnmbercd ; then follows the date of his birth and death ; the
date of his mai-riage, with the maiden name of his wifr, the
date of lier birth and death ; the names of their children, \vith
dates of their birth, marriage, to whom married, and date of
death. Following which record, a biographical sketch ut' the
heads of the family is given, including the genealogy of the
wife when it has been furnished; als.i any notices of children
who have a historj of their <:>wn, and who do not li\"e to become
themselves heads of families. Each head of a familv has
its appropriate number; the tigiircs attached to the name of the
father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc., etc.. refer bac'k to the
section, in the preceding generations, in which the history of cacli
•will be f niiid. Against the name of each son wIki has a finiilv.
is pla(_-ecl a nundier, referring forward ti) the section of that nnm-
\n'V in the ne.\t generatirm, in whicli the record of tliat son and
his family is given. jS'o attempt is made ti> f illiiw the female
branches after giving the dates of their birth, marriage, to whom
married, and death, as in assuming another name, they and their
descendants belong to another family as well as this, and will be
a part of that family whenever its history is written. The de-
taclied records of the family are jdaced le/ore the genealogical
records, in order tliat nothing may intervene between the printed
family records (i. e., the family tree) and the blank pages prepared
to receive the written records "of the generations yet unrecorded
and yet unborn. Among the abbreviations used arc : b. for born ;
bap. fir baptized : m. for inarj'ied ; d. for died; a\ for aged ; gdson
for giandson; grgd.-on fVir great-grandson; grgrgdson for great-
great-grandson, etc.

The compili'r ir^ indebted for the part of the work which refers
to the Buridiam family and villages in England to Lewis's Topo-
graphical Dictionary, Leppenburg's England Under the Saxon
Kings, itcCuUock's (genealogical Dictionary, Kichols's Topo-
grajiher and (Tcnoalogist, Weever's Funeral Monuments, Fergu-
son's English Suriuimes, Encyclopedia of Heraldry, and to the


county histories, Bloomfield's Norfolk, Suckling's History of
Sutlblk, Parkins's jSTorfolk, Lipscoml/s County of Buckingham,
Manning and Bray's History of Surrey, Morant's History of Essex,

The facts connected with the early history of tlie family in this
country have been found in many original papers preserved in
the families, in Colonial records, records of probate courts and
registries of deeds, church and town records, inscriptions in
church-yards, personal statements, and from answers to innu-
merable letters of inquiry.

He takes pleasure in acknowledging the assistance rendered
him in this second edition by Kev. Mr. Pettigrew, vicar of Hat-
field, in furnishing information, connecting the family with their
ancestors at Hatfield, in Herefordshire, Eng., and, in compiling the
first edition, by Mr. Thomas Burnham.of East Hartford, Conn., and
by Mr. Guy Carlton Burnham of Albany, K. Y. ; the valuable
papers furnished him by Mr. Aaron G. Williams, who received
them from his wife's father, Coi'nelius Burnham, who was of the
line of descent from Thomas, Senr., through John and John, Jr. ;
the encouragement and assistance of Capt. Chas. H. Olmstead,
and the politeness of the librarians of the "Watkinson library and
of the library at the State House, Hartford, Conn.

This edition — of the foot-prints of the family — like its predeces-
sor, contains little that will interest the general reader, and,
although still without striking incidents, the compiler ventures to
reproduce it, trusting his rouleau oi chronicles will be appreciated
by those members of the family who are interested in the
annals of their ancestors, and who wish to place in the hands uf
their children and their children's children the archives of their
family, heretofore far scattered and liable to be ultimately lost,
but now brought together from all available sources and con-
densed in this convenient form for eas}- reference. To the
FUTURE GENERATIONS, as they rise, the compiler sends his cordial
greeting. To you he now leaves the carrying on of his work by
inserting in the blank pages appended your family records in your
generations, that each copy of the work may increase in interest
and value, to the family in whose possession it may chance to be,
through all the coming time in which your posterity continues to
e.xist. He dedicates to you this history of your ancestors, and
bequeaths this, their muster-roll, to you as his legacy.

" They are all gone ; and the trampling of ever new generations passes
over them."



Walter le Veutee came to England at the Conquest (lOGG),
with "William of Normandy, in the train of his cousin-german
Earl "Warren ;'■' and at the survey (lOSO). was made lord of the
Saxon villages of Burnham (and of many other manors) : from
these manors he took his surname of De Burnham and became
the ancestor of the numerous family of the name, that have lived
through the succeeding generations, as will be seen from the extracts
from old Englisli records given below. The name is often spelled
Burnam, Bernham, and Barnham. In the old Anglo-Saxon,
it is Beornhom, Byrnhom, itc. The old Xorse, Bjorn ; the old
Anglo-Saxon, Beorn and Burn (a bear), mean, according to Fer-
guson, in his " English Surnames," pages 131-135, " Chief, Hero,
Man ; " others give its meaning as " a Kni^^dit, a I^oble ; " it also
means "a brook or small river." Ham signifies "a town, a vil-
lage, a rich, level meadow ; '' the name, when applied to a person,
signified the lord of a town or village; when applied to a place,
it signified a town or village by a river ; but it was probably
never used as a surname until after the Conquest, when W'alter
added de Burnham to his name.f We find the name very early
in old Saxon history. In the genealogy of the kings of Bernicia,
appears Beornhom (sometimes Byrnhom), son of Bofa, great-
grandson of Alric, descended from Woden. King Alfred the
Great, in his will, made before 900, mentions Burnhamme, Co. of
Somerset, and Burnham, Co. of Sussex.

" To the Kormans belongs the credit of having first regularly
instituted and employed surnames — in the present acceptation of
the word ; and they may be said to have been formally intro-

• William de Warrenne, Earl of Surrey, who married GondreJ, daa;jhter of William tlie

tThe "de" remained attached to the name until about the fifteenth century, at which time
the principal manors had poased from the family.


diu.-eil iiitt) Engluiid at the Cuiiq'ucrtt. It appears, liowe\-er. cm
good eviJenee, that tliey were not whiillv uiiknuwn tlie-re jiriur t.i
that event. The feudal system naturally tended to create sur-
names out of landed posse.-^sioiis, ani.l at the same time to limit
their use to the upper classes. For a long time, thc'ref ire, they
were the privileged titles of the few, and not the means of family
distinction employed l)y the penplo in general. It -may be said
that five centuries elap^ed from the date of their in^portation to
that of their general adoption throughout the country, during
which interval they wei'c slowly spreading downwards through


The f jllowing notices of- ])laces of this nann?, are princi]ially
taken from LcNvis's To]Higra[ihical Dictionary of England :

'• Burnham, a parish in the union of Iviton, hundred of linndiam,
county of Buckingham, comprising the liberties of U]iper Bouve-
ney, Britwell, East Burnham, Cippenham, and town with AVood,
and the cliajjelry of Lower Boveney. Tins yilace, which gives
name to the hundred, is.<if very remote anticpiity, and was the
residence of the Saxon Kings of Mercia, 'among them Roderick
Burlired, called Rotri Maur (Roderick the Gi-eat), whose marriage
with Aethelswyth was solemnized here (at the royal villa of
( 'ippciiham), S51, in a great festival." The moated site of a
palace of the Kings of Mercia is still traceable here.

■■ It was also the residence of their successors of the Xorman line,
after the Conquest, from which is dated th'j charter granted to
Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who in lir,.'p tijunded an abbey here
for nuns of the order of St. Augustine, the oidy remains of which
are some ruinous walls, converted into a barn : part of the abbot's
dwelling-house: and the fish-pond, now attached tt> the Vicarage
garden. There are also the remains of an ancient encampment
in the woodland called Buriduim Beeches.

■' The parish is bounded on the west by the river Thames, ami the
village is pleasantly situated on rising ground, about two miles
east of the river."



From Jesse's Favorite Haunts.

" Tlie drive from Biilstrode, through the lower gate of the park
to Burnliain Beeches, is very pleasing. There ai-o the beechen
copjtices, ami the sheltered lanes, and the pretty cottages ; but
Burnham Beeches surpass any sylvan locality I have yet met
witli. As we approach the parish bounds of Burnham, the open
surface of the country entirel}' disappears, and is covered with
thick coppice-wood, interspersed with tine old beech-trees, and
penetrated in various directions by green lanes winding throuo-h
their varied scenery, and adorned by hollies and by bushes of the
evergreen juniper. These latter are of extraordinary size and
beauty, and form a peculiar conti-ast to each other. Some of them
take a spiral shape, while others trail along the ground. As we
proceed into the interior of the wood, we find the surface varied
by glens and valleys, interspersed with little rushy pools, the
winter haunt of the snipe and woodcock, and overhung with the
rich f iliagu of the holly, birch, juniper, and other trees, under
whose shade the purple heaths flourish, and the fern and fo.x-glove
add a variety and charm to the scenery. Much beauty is derived
from the forest roads that wind among the pollard-trees, some-
times throngh open spaces of greensward, and sometimes dipping
down a declivity, or gradually lost in the thickening foliage of
the wood. Some of these trees are of gigantic growth, and of
most picturesque character. In open spots, where two or three
lanes meet, a hawthorn-tree is frequently found, partly covered
with brambles and honeysuckles, and generally a juniper bush
standing close to it, with a patch of fern or broom. As we enter
the forest glades, and saunter under their shade, the mind is insen-
sibly carried back to the times of the bowmen of Harold, and the
days of Robin IIoo<l."


" Scathed by the lightning's bolt, the wintry storm,
A giant brotherhood, ye stand sublime;

Like some huge fortress each majestic form
Still frowns defiance to the power of time.

Cloud after cloud the storms of war have toll'd,

Siuco ye your countless years of long descent have told.


Say, for yc saw brave Flarold's bowmen yield,
Yc heard the Norninn's priECely trucipct blow ;

And ye beheld, upon that later field,

Red with her riyal's blood, the Rose of Pnow ;

jVnd ye too saw, from Chalgrove's hills of flame,

■When to your shelt'ring arms the wounded soldier came.

Can ye forget when by yon thicket green,

A troop of scatter'd horsemen crossed the plain,

And in the midst a statelier form was seen, —
A snow-white charger yielded to his rein ;

One backward look on Xaseby's iield he cast,

And then, with anxious tlight and speed redoubled, pass'd.

But far away these shades have tied, and now —

Sweet change 1 — the song of summer birds is thine;

Peace hangs her garlands on each aged bough,
And bright o'er thee the dews of morning shine;

Earth brings with grateful hand her tribute meet, —

Wild flowers and colour'd weeds to bloom around thy feet.

Here may, unmark'd, the wandering poet muse.

Through these green lawns the lady's palfrey glide.

Nor here the pensive nightingale refuse
Her sweetest, richest song at eventide.

The wild deer bounds at will from glade to glade.

Or stretch'd in mossy fern his antler'd brow isJaid.

Farewell, beloved scenes! enough for me

Through each wild copse and tangled dell to roam,

Amid your forest paths to wander free,
And find where'er I go a shelt'ring home.

Earth has no gentler voice to man to give

Than, " Come to Nature's arms, and learn of her to live."

J!ev. I. Mitu,rd.


A bard, dear muse, unapt to sing,
Your friendly aid bescehes;

Help me to touch the lyric string
In praise of Burnham beeches.

O'er many a dell and upland walk
Their sylvan beauty reaches;

Of Birnam Wood let Scotland talk,
While we've our Burnham beeches.


If ' sermons be in stonea,' I'll bet

Our vicar, when he preaches,
He'd find it easier far to get

A hint from Buraham beeches.

Poets and painters hither hie,
Here ample room for each is ;

With pencil and with pen to try
His hand at Burnham beeches.

O, ne'er may woodman's axe resound,
Nor tempest making breaches.

In the sweet shade that cools the ground.
Beneath our Burnham beeches.

Henry Luttrell.


Cool passed the current o'er my feet,

Its shelving brink for rest was made ;
But every charm was incomplete.

For Barnham Water wants a shade.

The traveler, with a cheerful look.

Would every pining thought forbear.
If boughs but sheltered Barnham brook, *

He'd stop and leave his blessing there.

Robert Bhomiield.


Burnham-East, a liberty, in the parish and hundred of Burn-
ham, (fee.

Burnliam, a parish in the union of Maldon, hundred of Dengie,

Online LibraryRoderick H. (Roderick Henry) BurnhamGenealogical records of Thomas Burnham, the emigrant : who was among the early settlers at Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. America, and his descendants → online text (page 1 of 26)