Burdick Newsletters

Fall, 2007


Burdick Pardon, Part 1

by Howard Burdick (howard@burdickfamily.org)

(As readers of this Newsletter know, we Burdicks have been involved in the history, growth and culture of the United States since its inception. Following is one more example of that involvement. I hope you enjoy it. - HB)

In 1914, the city editor of The New York Tribune, George Burdick, flatly refused to testify before a federal grand jury about his sources for an article on fraud in the United States Custom House in New York. He said he might incriminate himself in his testimony. Wanting to put the whole affair behind them, the federal prosecutor in the case saw a quick and easy answer to this problem, and President Woodrow Wilson agreed.

Wilson gave Burdick "a full and unconditional pardon for all offenses against the United States" he might have committed in connection with the article and for any other matter the grand jury might ask him about. Here is the text of that pardon:

'Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:

'Whereas George Burdick, an editor of the New York Tribune, has declined to testify before a Federal grand jury now in session in the southern district of New York, in a proceeding entitled, 'United States v. John Doe and Richard Roe,' as to the sources of the information which he had in the New York Tribune office, or in his possession, or under his control at the time he sent Henry D. Kingsbury, a reporter on the said New York Tribune, to write an article which appeared in the said New York Tribune in its issue of December 31st, 1913, headed, 'Glove Makers' Gems May Be Customs Size,' on the ground that it would tend to incriminate him to answer the questions; and, 'Whereas, the United States attorney for the southern district of New York desires to use the said George Burdick as a witness before the said grand jury in the said proceeding for the purpose of determining whether any employee of the Treasury Department at the custom- [236 U.S. 79, 86] house, New York city, has been betraying information that came to such person in an official capacity; and,

'Whereas, it is believed that the said George Burdick will again refuse to testify in the said proceeding on the ground that his testimony might tend to incriminate himself;

'Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, in consideration of the premises, divers other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant unto the said George Burdick a full and unconditional pardon for all offenses against the United States which he, the said George Burdick, has committed or may have committed, or taken part in, in connection with the securing, writing about, or assisting in the publication of the information so incorporated in the aforementioned article, and in connection with any other article, matter, or thing concerning which he may be interrogated in the said grand jury proceeding, thereby absolving him from the consequences of every such criminal act.

'In testimony whereof, I have hereunto signed my name and caused the seal of the Department of Justice to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington this fourteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth.'

There was only one problem. George Burdick refused the pardon.

Not only did he decline to accept the pardon but he continued to refuse or answer questions as to the sources of his information, or whether he furnished certain reporters information. His reason, as before, was that the answers might tend to incriminate him. He was presented by the grand jury to the district court for contempt, was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of $500. He was provided with another chance to testify fully as to the sources of his information 'and in event of his refusal or failure to so answer, a commitment may issue in addition until he shall so comply.' The district court decided that the President has power to pardon someone for a crime of which they have not been convicted and which they do not admit, and that acceptance is not necessary to toll the privilege against incrimination.

George Burdick again appeared before the grand jury, again was questioned as before, again refused to accept the pardon, and again refused to answer upon the same grounds as before. A final order was then made and he was committed to the custody of the United States Marshal until he purged himself of contempt, or until the further order of the court.

The question in the case is the effect of the unaccepted pardon. The Solicitor General determined the following:

(1) that the President has power to pardon an offense before admission or conviction of it.
(2) the acceptance of the pardon is not necessary to its complete exculpating effect.

The conclusion is hence deduced that the pardon removed from Burdick all danger of accusation or conviction of crime, and so any answers to the questions he answered could not incriminate him.

My, we Burdicks can be stubborn, can't we?

The case went to the United States Supreme Court, BURDICK v. U S, 236 U.S. 79 (1915), which held that Burdick was within his rights and ordered him discharged. In doing so, the court embraced Chief Justice John Marshall's 1833 definition of a pardon as "a private, though official" act of grace whose validity depended on its acceptance: "It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him."

Marshall's pronouncements were nonbinding observations but the courts treated them differently. In the Burdick case, the court held that "a pardon, to be effective, must be accepted" because it "carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it." This made Marshall's view the law of the land.

The final judgment was the George Burdick could not be held in contempt of court and was released.

So that would appear to have been the end of it, but it wasn't. As we have all seen, court decisions can sometimes have unexpected and far reaching consequences. This could not be truer in the case of President Wilson's pardon of George Burdick. The pardon and subsequent Supreme Court decision would play a very pivotal role in the future, but you'll have to wait until the next Newsletter to find that out.


Frustration of DNA Testing

by Sharon Ellis (versd50@yahoo.com)

(While the Burdett DNA project is progressing nicely, Sharon wanted to relay this firsthand information about how this type of testing may not produce the desired results. This, of course, is something to which I can attest, as described in the last Newsletter. On that subject, by the way, some great progress has been made and I should have some results to report in the next Newsletter. - HB)

I wanted to provide you with a note about a friend's family research project. I could understand what she wrote because one of my direct male line cousins recently contributed DNA to the Fletcher DNA project and we were hoping to find out to which Fletcher line our family, belongs; however there were no matches amongst all the many Fletchers who had contributed. We were all saddened and frustrated at these results.

Her point about elderly direct male descendants is a good one, and I encourage elderly Burdick males to participate in our project...

The DNA process is a useful tool in genealogy, but it certainly doesn't always give quick or real definite answers. There is still lots of research that must be done. The site noted from the Sorenson Institute in Arizona is searchable even if the DNA was taken by another laboratory. There are conversion abilities and charts that allow that easily. One must simply put the markers and allow the search, and even then unless you want the information kept by them, it isn't. Also, they do allow a free test, both for YSearch, the men, and the other type for the women, but require a 4 generation gedcom. Also, they don't necessarily give you the results of your own test. Yet, if you have people you are comparing with and checking against, that doesn't matter.

Keep in mind also, that with DNA, generations count, and there can be mutations, especially on some volatile markers, so the thing that one must do is keep working with what is discovered for sure and go beyond that if necessary. The oldest family member known is a good candidate since less chance for a problem is, then, hoped for. Comparing DNA for family members within different lines of the family is also good to better establish the family markers. A 24 marker test to begin is good, and that can then be updated when one finds a match to a surname, so that perhaps within a given family more determination of definite relationships can be found.

I know this is general information, and the whole thing is much more complicated. Both FTDNA and the Sorenson Institute have charts and other information to help in understanding the technicalities. Yet, these are the things I have learned since working with the DNA for our Colbert family in the past couple of years. We still have not come up with matches that make sense to us either, but there can be lots of reasons for that, which just have to be sorted out through research -- and perhaps no one who matches us completely and exactly has made a submission yet. Then, too, we are just now getting around to another known family line submitting DNA so that finally perhaps we can discover the true family markers and discover that for sure. DNA simply is not yet an exact science yet, but, even so, there is much to be learned by the process, regardless of whether it is what one hoped to learn or not.


Lanesborough Vital Records

by Tom Krakow (tomkrakow@juno.com)

(One of the fun aspects of maintaining the Burdick Family Association web site is the emails I get from everyone. I love them all, but there are a select few that stand out amongst the others. Namely, those that describe the research done by genealogists. I am in awe of their work and try to promote it at every opportunity. Tom Krakow is one of those people. Someone included me on the "copy" list of email recipients that were involved with finding distant relatives in Lanesborough, MA. While Burdicks are not the primary focus of the search I thought Tom's work may help others. By the way, the Susannah Burdick mentioned in Tom's research is ID 976 in Nellie Johnson's book, and is a VERY long entry. - HB)

There were a few entries of interest in the vital records of Lanesborough, FHL#250291. They were tough to find or were not indexed - nevertheless, here goes.

The first group might be related to Phebe Choat SMITH, the wife of James BURDICK, all on page 10:

Huldah SMITH, daughter of Joel and Pheobe Smith, born June 15, 1757
Joseph SMITH, son of Joel and Pheobe Smith, born October 27, 1760
Isaac SMITH, son of Joel and Pheobe Smith, born December 25, 1762
Phebe SMITH, daughter of Joel and Pheobe Smith, born ___ 31, 1765
Joel SMITH, daughter of Joel and Pheobe Smith, born July 8, 1767
Jabish SMITH, son of Joel and Pheobe Smith, born December 24, 1770
Matthew SMITH, son of Joel and Pheobe Smith, born April 3, 1773

Then there were a few ROADs entries on pages 8 and 9:

Thomas Drakely, son of Azariah and Lydia ROAD was born December 5, 1767
Define, daughter of Azariah and Lydia ROAD was born August 16, 1769
Comfort, daughter of Azariah and Lydia ROAD was born March 4, 1771 died May 4, 1771
William, son of Azariah and Lydia ROAD was born February 4, 1772

Two more possible ROADs. The last name looked like _OAD, and the first letter might have been an "R". So don't take this as 100%:

Children of Liseum ROAD[?] and his wife (unnamed): Laura born December 6, 1807 and Harvey born August 16, 1809, page 49.

Then several THORNTONs on page 25

Elmer SMITH married Anna THORNTON on November 11, 1784
Theopholis GROVESNER married Bethsheba THORNTON on October 28, 1784.

The only BURDICK found was the following marriage:

David GOODRICH and Susannah BURDICK were married on December 25, 1803 - marriage solemnized by Rev. Samuel Collier. I'm not sure if or how Susannah is married to James Burdick. Possibly she is a previously undetected daughter. If this was her first marriage, she would have been born about 1783.

1813: then there was a marriage of Joshua LAURANCE and Betsy LAMBERD, married December 16, 1813 - married by Woolcott HUBBELL, Esq. and Justice of Peace. I don't know if this Joshua is related to "our" Lawrences.

Source: FHL#250291, Records of the town of Lanesborough, 1765, Birth, Marriage, and Deaths, Plantation of New Framingham, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

No sign of the ROUSEs in Lanesborough. Have any of you seen any primary sources that would place the ROUSEs in that area?

Question: the Robert MUTRIE genealogy of James BURDICK has that many of James's children were born in Lanesborough. The only source of this is " Collections of the Norfolk Historical Society, Preliminary Inventory, Public Archives of Canada (Ottawa, ON: 1958), Doc. No. 945." Does anyone know where he found that James's children were born in Lanesborough? Also, Robert says that James flip-flopped back and forth between Lanesborough and Coeymans in Columbia County, New York. Has anyone ever looked over there for the BURDICKs and ROUSEs?


Burdick News... Up-To-The-Minute!

Judy Burdick (Celticburd@aol.com) is trying to confirm a story about Samuel Burdick who testified about the Boston Massacre, stating that he heard the shots and ran out into the streets with his "Highland broadsword." Was in Boston in March of 1770. Could the sword be an indication of Scots heritage? Has anyone researched him?

Murph (yhprum@verizon.net) passed along the obituary of Marion (Mimi) Burdick that was in the Syracuse Post Standard on 7/3/2007, who passed away June 30, after a brief but hard battle against pancreatic cancer. She was 80, and celebrated her birthday May 31. Mimi was born and lived in Syracuse, NY most of her life, until she moved to Hilton Head Island in 1984. She was a graduate of the Goodyear-Burlingame School, Bradford Junior College, and received two degrees from Syracuse University, both with honors. She majored in Russian Studies for her Bachelor's Degree, and then obtained a Master's Degree in Education. She went on to teach History and Social Studies at the high school level. In addition, as an administrator, she was instrumental in developing an "Arts and Athletics Foundation" to inspire inner city students to stay in school and graduate. On Hilton Head Island, Mimi was a member of the Sea Pines Country Club, competing on its tennis teams in USTA matches. She was also a past chairman of the Beaufort County Chapter of the American Cancer Society. She is survived by her husband, Arnie; four sons, Stephen Sherry of New Canaan, CT, Peter Sherry of Englewood, CO, Tom Sherry of North Tonowanda, NY, and Richard Burdick of Liverpool, NY; and five grandchildren.

Rita (FoxyInSLC@aol.com), whose maiden name is Rita Joan Fults, is desperate for some answers. She suffered a bad head injury in a car accident and some of her memories are just "gone." She knows she is related to the Burdick family but can't remember how. She even has an entry in the 2003 Burdick whitepages. Her g-grandmother was Sarah Effie Reeder whose parents were Frances Susan Potter and George Washington Reeder. Her parents were JD Potter and Catherine/Kathryn Brillhart, daughter of Valentine Brillhart. Sarah's husband was Charles Allen McGinnis. The Reeders and Potters all settled in Bourbon County, KS, Rita was raised in Iola, Allen Co., KS just West of Bourbon County. Rita believes a lot of her family settled in or near Ft. Scott and Bronson. Sarah Effie's daughter, Addie McGinnis Johnson, raised Rita and "Grandma Effie" lived just 3 blocks from away in Iola, KS. The Reeders came from Kane Co., IL and the Potters came from Indiana. Does anyone know how Rita is related? As she reads previous Newsletters they don't mean much to her but she has some feeling of "connection" with the Burdicks. If you know Rita or have connections to the Potters, Brillharts, or McGinnis families please let her know.

Our friend in the Maxson family, Jane Maxson (jhm2727@cox.net) reports that the Maxsons are following the Burdett example and starting their own DNA project. Paula Maxson Pescatello will be organizing the study, contact Jane for more information.

Brendan Burdick (doogan02@yahoo.ca) lives in Toronto, Ontario and is looking for his relatives. His father is Steven Michael Burdick, born in 1945, from Miami, Florida. Branden believes his grandfather's name was Harold Aitken (or Aiken) Burdick, born in 1901, and died in 1985. Unfortunately Branden never did meet his grandfather and is not sure what part of the United States he was from, although he thinks it is Rhode Island. Can you help?

Renee Molina (luminousflux@gmail.com) is a descendant of Asa Burdick and Elizabeth White who settled in Cambridge Springs, Crawford, PA around 1820. The Nellie Johnson book states that Asa was 'probably' the son of Benjamin Burdick and Martha Huling but Renee has found no evidence thus far to either prove it or to suggest he is from another line. He was 'at sea' for approx. 10 years (his first 3 children born there), so records of his early days are scarce. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

We have yet another Burdick author! Graham Burdick (g@burdick.co.uk) has just published "Knitting Fog: How to Access, Harness & Exploit Your Innate Creativity" (ISBN 1847999891). Graham explains how creativity is not a gift bestowed upon a fortunate few, such as artists, writers or musicians, but a definite process which can be learned - once you know how - and it is much easier than you may think, with this book! Whatever your job or background, you can quickly learn how to develop your innate potential for original thought with a battery of techniques designed to make creative thinking an exhilarating, everyday experience. You will discover that the vast resources of creativity and brilliance which are latent in every human brain can be effectively harnessed and exploited to dramatically enhance your professional, domestic and inner life. The cost of the book is $23.80 and is available from Amazon.com.

Keith Burdick (kth_burdick@yahoo.com) is Shoshone. He was born and grew up on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. His mother is Shoshone and his father is white. His Great Great Grandfather, Lutillis Burdick, was the first medical doctor for the pioneers in Manti, UT around 1874. Kevin would like to know when and how these Burdicks came West. Any information would be appreciated. Can you help?

Richard Burdick (burdick@btinternet.com) is trying to trace his roots. He born in Torrington, CT on Aug 14, 1957 (now residing in the UK) and is the son of Richard G. and Virginia (Borla) Burdick also of Torrington (both now 81 tears of age). His uncles were Russel and Harry, both now deceased. His grandfather was William Burdick, brother of George, from the New Hartford, CT area. Their father remarried, and when they were approx 14 years of age, were sent to work on local farms. William became a milkman and worked for the Torrington Creamery and was the first in the area to use a motor vehicle for milk deliveries. Richard does not know what became of George. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Andrew Burdett (andrew@ournorthernroots.com) wants to provide a quick update on the Burdett DNA Project. After analyzing the recent results for Gerald Eugene (96158), it appears there may be a connection after all to Josef Baurderick, of Germany. Gerald is the same genetic distance to Josef as he is to Malcolm, however Malcolm is not the same to Josef. Therefore, Gerald is now the 'standard' to compare to in the chart on the Burdett DNA Project webpage - he is the closest connected to everyone. The next step is we need everyone(especially Gerald) to refine their DNA test to 37 markers to be able to answer this question and find the link to Europe. Currently, Malcolm and Dennis have already done the 37 marker test with great results.

Katharine Westwood (NAPLibrary@verizon.net) is the Special Collections Librarian at the North Adams Public Library in North Adams, MA. The library collects family histories about local folk. As we know, there are lots of Burdick family members in and around the northern Berkshires of Massachusetts. She would like to get a copy (or two!) of Frank Mueller's 1990 book, "The Burdick Family Chronology". It would be a great addition to their collection. If you have a copy of Frank's book looking for a good home, please contact Katharine.

Belinda Condit (pcondit@hotmail.com) is looking for information about Carl Burdick, a World War II casualty. He was married to Belinda's mother, Imogen Milliren, before shipping out in World War II, and is the father of Belinda's sister, SueAnn. SueAnn had two children who are now adults. SueAnn died in 1964 and Belinda is trying to find information about their grandfather. It is Belinda's understanding that Carl died over the "China Hump" in WWII. Does anyone know more?

Barbara Cagle (barbaracagle@gmail.com) has done a fantastic job scanning in lots of family books and other historical materials. Take a look at her web site at http://www.cagleonline.com/.

I always love to end the Newsletter on a happy note when I can. Leah Davis (leah@thevisionaryagency.com) provides me with the opportunity to do so with this one. She and Jeff Burdick and will be married in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on December 12. Jeff is the nephew of Frank and Lorraine Mueller ("The Burdick Family Chronology"), and the son of Curt and Dolores Burdick. A “bunch of Burdicks” are expected to attend the wedding including Jeff’s siblings Scott, Debbie and Doug Burdick as well as Jeff’s Uncle Wayne Burdick. The newlyweds live in Chicago, and plan to raise a family there.


Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2018. All Rights Reserved.

howard@burdickfamily.org