Sarah Sill (Welles) Burt.

Old Silltown Stillwater: something of its history and people; being principally a brief account of the early generations of the Sill family .. online

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Online LibrarySarah Sill (Welles) BurtOld Silltown Stillwater: something of its history and people; being principally a brief account of the early generations of the Sill family .. → online text (page 1 of 8)
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This book is one of 100 copies printed

for private circulation by

Mr. W. G. Burt.

Presented to

111 r S m] a r l^ oTci h \/\/ ooc{ U io n ^ ^


^ Old Silltown




Sarah Sill Welles Burt

Great Grand-daughter of Lieutenant Colonel David Fithian Sill,
Grand-daughter of Captain Thomas Sill.

Being principally a brief account of the early
generations of the


Their settlement in Connecticut and their accomplishments, gleanings
from old letters heretofore unpublished, early histories, rem-
iniscences and traditions — also appreciations of those
decendants of recent generations who were well
known to the writer in their life time.

Copyright 1912

- inn






In memory of my Progenitors




Inscribed this little volume





Sarah Sill Welles Burt, born in Utica, N. Y., in 1839,
was the oldest daughter of Alfred Lee Welles and Sarah
Griswold Sill, daughter of Captain Thomas Sill, of Lyme,
Conn. (See Thomas Sill, Sixth Generation). Mr. Welles,
her father, was for thirty years a prosperous merchant of
Utica, a leading citizen of that city, and highly esteemed by
the community.

The family residence at the time of the birth of Sarah
Welles was located on Devereaux street, later on Broad street
and, still later the family moved to a suburb of the city,
Whitesboro, in order that Mr. Welles might be near to the
Utica Cotton Mills, of which he at that time was proprietor.

The childhood education of Sarah Welles was acquired
at a private school in Utica. At the age of fifteen, she was
sent to the Maplewood Seminary at Pittsfield, Mass. Later
she went with a friend (Sarah McCurdy Lord of Lyme) to
the Spingler Institute of New York City, Fourteenth street
and Broadway, conducted by Rev. Gorham D. Abbott
(brother of John C. Abbott, the historian, and Uncle of Lyman
Abbott, our present noted divine). Here, with much happi-
ness, she acquired the finishing of her education. At that time
her older brother, Thomas, was in Hamilton College, in the




same class with the present Honorable Elihu Root. After
the completion of her studies, and until her marriage, she
divided her time quite equally between her aunt, Mrs. Mary
Sill of Lyme, Conn., and her Utica home. It was thus by
reason of such close association with and her love for her Aunt
Mary that she came to so highly cherish and revere the tradi-
tions and memories of the old Sill family, and to love and
respect so many of their friends amongst the Lyme people.

Previous to the death of Mrs. Mary Sill in 1903, Sarah
Welles Burt came from her home in Chicago each season to
spend part of the summer with Mrs. Mary Sill, and in later
years to stay a few weeks at the Inn or Boxwood. Her old
Lyme associations were always dear to her and she took a
proud interest in the lives of its people, generations past and
present. As a descendant of the old Sills, who had lived pros-
perously and honorably in the locality known as Silltown,
who had faithfully served their community, state and country
in civil and military capacities, she found pleasure in locating
and acquiring the geneological data of the family and its con-
nections, the stories and anecdotes of their lives and in doing
what she could to preserve their traditions, relics and land-
marks. The old Thomas Sill homestead, still standing in Sill-
town, where Mrs. Mary Sill lived and died, the old farm at
the head of Lieutenant River with its boat landings and sur-
rounding hills were scenes of her childhood that were always
fresh in her mind and ever were the source of happiness in her

In 18^ Sarah Welles was married to William Burt of
Chicago, and for the remainder of her life resided in the city
of Chicago itself or its North Shore suburb of Evanston.


Her husband for thirty-five years was a well known busi-
ness man, esteemed for ability and integrity, and beloved by
men for the strength and force of his character. For the past
twenty-nine years Sarah Welles Burt, with husband and
son, resided in their Evanston residence. Mr. Burt, died of
old age on June 6th, 1912, aged 84 years. For four years his
wonderful New England constitution withstood the oncom-
ing of the inevitable. During these trying years those who
were close to Sarah Burt saw in the flesh the spirit of the
Divine Master, whom she served. Seven weeks after the death
of her husband, with whom she had for forty-five years trod
the path of life, that Divine Master called her also to her
everlasting rest.

The Lord is my Shepherd
He restoreth my Soul

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death I will fear no evil.

Obituary as Published in The Index of Evanston, III.,

July 27TH, 191 2.

Mrs. Sarah Welles Burt.

Mrs. Sarah Welles Burt, widow of William Burt, who
for twenty-seven years, has been a resident of Evanston, died
suddenly Sunday evening, July twenty-first, at the Mohican
Hotel, New London, Conn., where she was stopping in ex-
pectation of proceeding to Old Lyme, Conn. Her remains
were brought back to the Evanston home she so dearly loved
where kind friends gave her their final earthly tributes.



The funeral service Wednesday afternoon was conducted
by her pastor, Rev. David Hugh Jones of the First Presby-
terian church of this city and she was laid to rest at the side of
her husband and children in the family lot in Graceland ceme-

From the days of her girlhood she had derived much
pleasure from oft repeated visits to the old New England home
of friends and ancestors and was looking forward to her antici-
pated visit there this summer.

On Friday night an attack of acute indigestion induced
by fatigued condition affected her heart. However by Satur-
day evening she was much better and on Sunday she was con-
sidered to be rapidly regaining her normal condition, but at
seven fifteen o'clock Sunday evening during the hour of twi-
light her brave heart suddenly ceased to beat and her soul took
flight to its Heavenly home.

Sarah Welles, born in Utica, N. Y., was the daughter of
Alfred L, Welles, who for many years was a prosperous mer-
chant of that city. Of the family two brothers still remain,
Mr. George S. Welles of Park Ridge and Chicago, 111., and
Mr. Samuel M. Welles of Chicago. Sarah Welles, being the
second child and oldest daughter of a family of ten children,
many responsibilities fell to her. For the welfare of brothers
and sisters she was ever mindful and after their death her deep
affection continued unto their children.

In 1867 she was married to William Burt of Chicago, to
whom she bore four children, first a son who died when eigh-
teen months old and successively two baby daughters who died


in earliest infancy, lastly a second son, Mr. W. Griswold
Burt, who was with her at the time of her death.

Mrs. Burt survived the death of her husband by scarcely
eight weeks. Never failing was her devotion to him during
his four years of illness. As a daughter, as a sister, as a wife,
as a mother her flow of sympathy was inexhaustible.

For those she loved no effort was too great, no service too
small, no sorrow severe or trifling but that her devotion and
sympathy went forth to alleviate it.

With a faith in her God and Saviour that was certain and
unshakeable, with steadfast adherence to principle of right-
ness she fought the Battle of Life midst all circumstances with
a smile on her face and a spirit that was brave. Truly could
she have said

"I have fought a good fight,

I have kept the faith.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness

Which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day."

The death of Mrs. Sarah Welles Burt comes as a shock to
all who knew her, especially to the friends who bade her good
bye ten days ago at her departure in company with her son,
on a visit to her old home in the East.

Mrs. Burt has been a member and regular attendant of
the First Presbyterian church for the past twenty-two years
and has always been interested in its various activities. In her
church circle she leaves a vacancy which cannot be filled.


She will also be missed at the gatherings of the University
guild, of which she has been a member since its organization.

Mrs. Burt was a: descendant of the Sill family on her
mother's side and of the Welles on her father's. These fami-
lies were among the early settlers of these states and figured
prominently in their development. Being of this descent she
was naturally interested in genealogical lore and historical
events in connection with old New England, and especially in
those events in which her forefathers were participants.

These associations led her to a keen interest in the organ-
ization of the Fort Dearborn chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution of which she was a charter member.
She has also been affiliated for many years with the Chicago

Mrs. Burt was a woman of rare refinement and delicacy,
of high intellectual qualities, — capable, sympathetic, gracious.
As her pastor, Mr. Jones, stated at her funeral service, there
are heroes in life, who endure burdens with fortitude and re-
serve, and as truly give their lives for others as do the heroes
of the battle-field. Mrs. Burt was one of these, assuming with
uncomplaining cheerfulness and unswerving fidelity all de-
mands which the circumstances of life made upon her. Amidst
many exacting duties, she found time to think and act for
others. Many were her deeds of kindness and thoughtfulness
which endeared her to her neighbors and friends. By these
her loss is deeply grieved; by these she will be sorely missed;
among these her memory will linger long, for to know her
was to love her.




Genealogy of Sarah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of

John Sill of England. , ,

Sarah Sill Welles Burt, daughter of

Alfred L. Welles and Sarah Griswold Sill, daughter of

Mahitable Mather and Thomas Sill, son of

Sarah Griswold and David Fithian Sill, son of

Phoebe Fithian and Lieutenant John Sill, son of

Phoebe Lord and Joseph Sill the 2nd, son of ^

Sarah Marvin Clark and Joseph Sill the ist, son of

John Sill of England.


Genealogy of Sarah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of

George Clark.
George Clark (1610-1690), among the original proprie-
tors of the town of Milford, Connecticut, Deputy to General
Court of Connecticut — 1666.

Sarah Sill Welles Burt, daughter of
Alfred L. Welles and Sarah Griswold Sill, daughter of
Mahitable Mather and Captain Thomas Sill, son of
Sarah Griswold and Captain David Fithian Sill, son of
Phoebe Fithian and Lieutenant John Sill, son of
Phoebe Lord and Joseph Sill the 2nd, son of
Joseph Sill the ist, and Sarah Clark, daughter of
George Clark, of Milford, Connecticut.


Genealogy of Sar.ah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of
Judge Nathanl^l Lynde.

Sarah Sill Welles Burt, daughter of
Alfred Welles and Sarah Griswold Sill, daughter of
Mahitable Mather and Thomas Sill, son of
David Fithian Sill and Sarah Griswold, daughter of
Thomas Griswold and Susanna Lynde, daughter of
Sarah Pratt and Nathanial Lynde, son of
Susanna Willouby and Judge Nathanial Lynde, son of
Hannah Newdigate and Simon Lynde, son of
Elizabeth Digby (related to Earl of Windsor) and Enoch
Lynde (of England).

Note. — Lieutenant William Pratt died 1678, early settler of Saybrook,
Conn., Deputy from Saybrook to General Court of Connecticut twenty-
three times, Soldier in Pequot War 1637, County Magistrate in 1666, Lieu-
tenant of Saybrook Band Oct. 3d, 1661. See Connecticut Colonial Records,
Pratt, General.

Hartford in the Olden Times, pp. 117.

Hinman's Early Settlers.

Bodges Soldiers of King Philh'p's War.


Genealogy of Sarah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of
Thomas Lee (or Leigh).

Sarah Sill Welles Burt, daughter of
Sarah Griswold Sill and Alfred Lee Welles, son of
Alfred Welles and Abigail Lee, daughter of
Betsy Elizabeth Smith and Seth Lee, son of
Hepzibah Lee and Elisha Lee, son of
Elizabeth Graham and Thomas Lee.

Thomas Lee was representative to the General Court
from Lyme sixteen times and repeatedly Justice of the Peace.

.Elisha Lee (above mentioned), born in 1714, served in
the Indian Wars as paymaster. A great-grand-daughter of
his writes that Elisha Lee, having been captured by the Indians
and sentenced to be burned at the stake, a friendly Indian took
him on his back at midnight when there was snow on the
ground, carried him to a river and leaving him, returned alone.
As only one set of foot prints, and those an Indian's, were to
be seen the white man could cross the river without being
traced, which he did.



Genealogy of Sarah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of
Rev. Richard Mather of England.

Rev. Richard Mather of England married Catharine


their son
Timothy Mather married Catharine Atherton

their son
Richard Mather married Catharine Wise

their son
Samuel Mather married Deborah Champion

their son
Richard Mather married Deborah Ely

their son
Samuel Mather married Lois Griswold

their daughter
Mahitable Mather married Thomas Sill

their daughter
Sarah Griswold Sill married Alfred L. Welles.

Sarah Sill Welles was their daughter.

Note. — Rev. Richard Mather came to this countr}- in the vessel Angel
Gabrial, born in Lancashire, England, 1596, was schoolmaster at Toxeth
Park, near Liverpool, at the age of fifteen ; studied at Braymore College,
Oxford; 161 8 was ordained in the English Church and became Minister of
Toxeth, in which position he remained fifteen years. He was suspended for
non-conformity to the ceremonies of the Established Church in 1633. He
therefore emigrated to New England, arriving in Boston in 1635; the next
year he became pastor of the church in Dorchester and remained in that posi-
tion until his death, 1669. He was one of the compilers of the Bay Book
Psalms. (See Mather Genealogy and Savage's Genealogy and History.)







Genealogy of Sailah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of
Major General Humphrey Atherton.

Catharine Atherton (daughter of Humphrey Atherton)
married Timothy Mather, '

their son
Richard Mather married Catharine Wise

their son
Samuel Mather married Deborah Champion

their son
Richard Mather married Deborah Ely

their son
Samuel Mather married Lois Griswold

their daughter
Mahitable Mather married Thomas Sill,

their daughter
Sarah Sill married Alfred Welles

Sarah Sill Welles was their daughter



Genealogy of Sarah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of
Deputy Governor Francis Willouby.

William Willouby of Portsmouth, Hampshire, England,

his son
Francis Willouby married Margaret Locke Taylor (2nd
cousin to Queen Elizabeth of England). He was Deputy
Governor of Massachusetts from 1665 to 1675.

their daughter
Susanna Willouby married Judge Nathanial Lynde

their son \\\

Nathaniel Lynde married Sarah Pratt

their daughter
Susanna Lynde married Thomas Griswold

their daughter
Sarah Griswold married David Fithian Sill 'V

etc., etc. (See Genealogy by Greenwood-Frothing-

ham's History Wallinghampshire.)

Note. — William Willoub\- was commissioner of the British Navy from
1648 to 1 65 1, when he died. His son, Francis Willouby, came to New Eng-
land in 1638 and returned to England in 165 1. In 1652 he was appointed
successor to his father as commissioner of the navy, and in 1658 chosen mem-
ber of parliament from Portsmouth. In 1662 he returned to New England
and became Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Colony in 1665 and con-
tinued so until his death in 1675.





Genealogy of Sarah Sill Welles Burt, as Descendant of
Matthew Griswold of England.

Matthew Griswold of Warwickshire (Kennelworth,
native place) married Anna Wolcot.
their son
Matthew (born 1653, died 1699, representative for Say-
brook often, and for Lyme after division of the town in 1667)
married Phoebe Hyde
their son
Judge John Griswold married Hannah Leigh

their son
Thomas Griswold (brother of Gov. Matthew Griswold)
married Mary Lee
their son
Thomas Griswold married Susanna Lynde

their daughter
Sarah Griswold married David Fithian Sill,

etc., etc. (See Savage, Sill and Mather Genealo-


Preface to Old Silltown

The contents of this book were collected and arranged by
Sarah Sill Welles Burt at the expense of much time and patient
effort. It was her expectation to have them put into book
form in order that the descendants of the old Sill family might
thus have the data compact and systematically arranged, that
their children and their children's children might thus the
more readily become familiar with the record of their honor-
able ancestors and themselves be inspired to lead lives worthy
of such noble progenitors. Owing to the sudden death of
Sarah Sill Welles Burt this was not accomplished in her life-
time, but that her efforts may not have been in vain, her pur-
pose has, in this volume, to the extent of his ability, been car-
ried out by her son, W. Gfiswold Burt.

This volume is not intended as a complete genealogy of
the Sill family. The reader will note that parts of the contents
are in the nature of personal expressions of appreciation and
love for those mentioned. The incidents herein related con-
cern only a very small proportion of the descendants, and are
recorded here by reason of their special interest to those living
in this present time. Thus many who have left records of
good and useful lives remain unmentioned here. The writer
is indebted to many sources of information for what is related



Many of the items were made memorandum of after hear-
ing them told by living lips, many of whom have now gone to
their everlasting rest. Also certain books and records have
served as authority among which may be mentioned:
Connecticut Records 1678, Sq., pp. 195-208-21 1.
Connecticut Records 1689, Sq., pp. 23-33-42-69.
General Gookins' History of the Praying Indians.
Hubbard's Narration of the Indian Wars in New England.
Page's History of Cambridge.
Increase Mather's History of King Phillip's War.
George Bodge's Soldiers of King Phillip's Wars.
Sill Family Genealogy, by George G. Sill and Louisa P. Sill.
Trumbull's History of Connecticut.
Old Letters — deeds, Inventories of Estates, etc.
Knox's Campaigns.
Connecticut Records at Smithsonian Institute, Washington,

D. C.
Shurtleft's History of Boston.
Orcult's History of Dorchester.
Salisbury's History and Genealogy.
Connecticut Colonial Records at Hartford.
Matthew's American Armory and Blue Book.
Sill-Treadway Genealogy, by F. S. Sill.
Genealogy of the Loomis Family.
Hyde Genealogy.

Ancient Windsor, Connecticut, by H. R. Stiles.
Oneida Historical Society Transactions.
Savage's Genealogy Dictionary.





"Our ancestors, a gallant Christian race of every

virtue, every grace."

* * * *

" — There is also a moral and philosophical
respect for our ancestors, which elevates the
character and improves the heart. — "

— Daniel Webster.

* * * *

The Divine command to "remember the
days of old and consider the years of many gene-
rations" (Deut. 32-7), so oft repeated in varying
terms in Holy Writ, is an imperative argument
for the preservation of memorials of the past.

















A demi — (one-half) griffin — Symbol of a guardian
of treasure, or one entrusted.

Rampant — Showing courage and generosity.

Proper — i. e. — colored like a mythical griffin, bronze,
green and glistening.

Collard argent — silver — (honor and clear con-
science) .




Argent — Silver, symbolizing honor or a clear con-

A fesse engrailed — Indicating the sash or belt of a

Sable — black^ — Meaning fame.

In chief — or top part of shield.

A lion — Signifying courage, majesty and strength.

Rampant passing — or progressive.

Gules — Red, the royal color, denoting zeal.




In New London County, Connecticut, on the road leading
from North Lyme and Hamburg to Old Lyme, there lies be-
neath the hills an especially charming and fertile valley, em-
bracing a few hundred acres.

Its western boundary is Lieutenant River, whose source
is amidst the hills and whose waters (about a mile and a half
farther south) mingle with those of the Connecticut River
before its entrance to Long Island Sound.

At the east and south of this attractive valley is Mill
Creek, which, in its turn, flows into the Lieutenant River, and
thus serves as an outlet for the Great Lake farther north, now
called Roger's Lake.

From the Old Lyme Station of the New York, New
Haven and Hartford Railroad this locality may be reached
by driving up the main street of Old Lyme, taking the North
Road, where it diverges from the New London turnpike,
when on crossing Mill Creek bridge at the foot of the hill one
arrives at its southern boundary.

For generations this locality has been known as Silltown.

It was on this tract of land, nearly surrounded by hills,
that Captain Joseph Sill settled more than two hundred and
fifty years ago. He was the son of John Sill of England (First



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First Generation

John Sill of England.

John Sill of England came to this country with his family
in the year 1637 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
about eighteen years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Ply-
mouth, seven years after the settlement of Cambridge was com-
menced, and the same year in which Harvard College was

Mr. Sill was admitted to the privileges of a freeman at
Cambridge in the year 1638, and was received as member in
full communion of the Congregational Society of Cambridge,
Rev. Thomas Shepherd pastor.

The earliest genealogist of the family, Henry A. Sill, of
Cuyahoga Falls, has stated that a tradition in the family was
that John Sill came from Lyme Regis, Dorchestershire, Eng-
land. History states this to have been a seaport town located
on the Linn River, a summer resort of the kings of England,
a royal manor from the time of Edward the First, and a place
mentioned in history from "The Doomsday Book" onward.

The eldest daughter of John Sill, born and baptized in
England, was Elizabeth, born in 1637, married Zachariah
Hicks in 1652, died in 1736, according to the gravestone still
standing in Cambridge.

A second daughter, born in Cambridge, Mass., married
Abraham Shepherd, of Maiden, Mass.



In 1838 John Sill owned property at the corner of Eliot
and Winthrop streets, and in 1842 he owned a house and
several acres of land, and in 1845 he had an additional grant
of land. He was living in 1647, when he was among the
creditors of a certain estate, and in 1648-9 he was named among
the proprietors of land in Cambridge, but he died before 1652,
for at that time his wife is spoken of as a widow. It is prob-
able that his birth took place in about t6io, in the early years
of James the First. (See Sill-Treadway Gen., by Frederick
S. Sill.)

Mrs. Joanna Sill survived her husband about twenty
years. She received allotments of land in 1652. (See Paige's
History of Cambridge.) Her will was presented for probate
in 1671, so she probably died in that year. (See Sill-Tread-
way Genealogy.)

The year in which this young emigrant, John Sill, and his
wife, Joanna with infant children, came to New England was
the one in which John Hampden was condemned for resisting

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Online LibrarySarah Sill (Welles) BurtOld Silltown Stillwater: something of its history and people; being principally a brief account of the early generations of the Sill family .. → online text (page 1 of 8)