Burdick Newsletters

Spring, 2009

Colonial Rhode Island, Part 2

(The last Newsletter contained a portion of an extensive article on Colonial Rhode Island history from a 1907 edition the "Sabbath Recorder", the periodical of the Seventh-day Baptist Church. The following excerpt illustrates just how difficult life was in those days as settlers had to battle the elements, the local Indian tribes and, surprisingly, other Colonies! -- HB)

Prepared by Corliss F. Randolph

The hostility of the united colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Plymouth, towards Rhode Island, was so violent and active, that no means were left untried which could in any way strengthen their claims to the Narraganset country. Each claimed a portion, and they were ready to annex the "little colony," piecemeal or otherwise, to their own jurisdiction; but the people of Rhode Island were too well acquainted with the intolerance of those united against them, to submit to their claims without a struggle. They had bought the land of the original proprietors, who were ready to sustain them in their possessions, and they were also sustained by the Royal Charter of the colony, made in 1644. Nevertheless, there was a constant jealousy on the part of the Puritans, which would often manifest itself in acts of aggression and annoyance to their less powerful neighbors.

The new purchasers of Misquamicut were exposed to a full share of these annoyances. They had appointed trustees to manage the affairs of the company, and several individuals had gone to reside at the settlement, for the purpose of keeping possession in the name of the proprietors; but successive irruptions were made, and arrests were effected of those residents. A kind of constable warfare was maintained across the lines of the conflicting colonies for some time, till a more serious participation of the colonial authorities took place. Robert Burdick, a son-in-law of Samuel Hubbard, and Tobias Saunders, were forcibly abducted, and confined in prison at Boston till they should pay a fine of 40-pounds that the government of Massachusetts had inflicted upon them.

The following extract of a letter from the Assembly at Boston, dated May 10th, 1662, to the Assembly of Rhode Island, exhibits the nature of the authority set up by Massachusetts:

"You may hereby have notice, that two of your people, namely Tobias Saunders and Robert Burdick, being long since taken on the place, and secured by us to answer their trespass, we have now called them before the court, and find nothing to justify their proceedings. Therefore, the court hath fined them 40-pounds for their offense and towards satisfaction for the charges expended in carrying them before the authority; and that they stand committed till the fine be paid, and security be given to the Secretary, to the value of 100-pounds, for their peaceable demeanor towards all the inhabitants of this jurisdiction for the future."

The next year Connecticut obtained a new charter, and by virtue of it renewed her claim to the territory of Misquamicut. The old patent of Rhode Island included the Narraganset country, Pawcatuck river being the boundary on the west; Connecticut claimed the Narraganset river as the Eastern boundary of her territory; hence the disputes about jurisdiction, which annoyed the new settlement. As no arrangement could be effected, the Commissioners of Connecticut went to the plantations east of Squamicut. in the name of the General Assembly of Connecticut, and demanded the submission and obedience of the people to its authority and laws; hence the arrest and imprisonment of settlers on both sides.

In 1671, John Crandall and others were carried off by the Connecticut authorities, and imprisoned in Hartford jail.

In 1669, the territory of Misquamicutt was incorporated, and named Westerly; and in March following, John Crandall and others, all of whom, with a single exception, were Seventh-day Baptists, were commissioned as conservators of the peace, in accordance with the request of the town. The same year the Assembly directed the Governor to hold a court at Westerly, which was accordingly held on the 16th of May, and a warrant was issued to the constables to require all the inhabitants to appear the next day at the house of Tobias Saunders, when, accordingly, the following named persons appeared and promised to stand by the colony, viz: John Crandall, Tobias Saunders, Joseph Clarke, Robert Burdick, John Maxson, John Randal, Job Babcock, James Babcock Jr., Thomas Painter, Shubael Painter, Jeoffry Champlin Sen., John Lewis, Richard S. Waite, John Mackoon, Richard Segar, George Lanphear. Stephen Wilcox, Jonathan Armstrong. Nicholas Cottrell Jr., Daniel Crumb, John Fairfield. Edward Larkin. and James Babcock; but Jeoffry Champlin Jr., and Augustine Williams did not appear.

This list of the inhabitants of Westerly affords some information as to the extent of the accession made to the church in Newport on their embracing the Sabbath, which they generally did about this time, with John Crandall, their pastor, who was continued conservator of the peace.

The country was at that time filled with Indians of different tribes, who were often treated with great injustice and severity by the "United Provinces" which led to frequent conflicts between them and the settlers. Rhode Island sometimes experienced the evil effects of this warfare. Though the efforts of Roger Williams and his Baptist associates were generally in favor of peace, yet the extensive defection of the natives, through the exertions of Philip, Sachem of the Wampanoags, involved them also in the common danger.

The war commonly called King Philip's War, broke out in 1675, and lasted about one year, during which the colony was greatly exposed. Many of those living in Westerly took or sent their families to Newport for protection. A detailed account of the relation of Westerly to this war was written by Samuel Hubbard in his MS. journal, which was lost some sixty years ago. A letter which he wrote to the Rev. Dr. Edward Stennett, of London, follows:


NEWPORT, R. I., Nov., 1676.

God has been long waiting with patience, by several signs and warnings, these forty years, as I can witness; but we, in our turnings, have not so turned to the Lord as we ought to have done, and his displeasure is broke forth in the country by the natives, who were forced thereto, as some of them said, and in very deed I judge they said truly. They have done much harm in our bordering towns, as Warwick, destroyed by fire, only most of the people are here, and their goods, and some of their cattle; and the like at Pautuxet and Providence, though not altogether destroyed, for a garrison remaineth there to this day. And for the other side, over against us on the main, which once was ours, and is, I judge, by the charter, many are killed by the Indians; the rest came to us, with what they could bring. "Connecticut," "Plymouth," and "Bay" armies being there, wasted very much. When they left it, the Indians burnt nearly all that was left. In Plymouth the war began, and is sore wasted. The Bay lost very many men. Connecticut did most service, and have not heard of one town destroyed or fired in that colony.

In the beginning of these troubles of the war, Lieut Joseph Torry, elder of Mr. Clarke's church, having but one daughter, living at Squamicut, (Westerly,) and his wife being there, he said unto me, "Come, let us send a boat to Squamicutt; my all is there and part of yours." We sent a boat and his wife, his daughter, and son-in-law, and all their children, and my two daughters, and their children, (one had eight, the other three, with an apprentice boy,) all came, and Bro. John Crandall and his family, with as many others as could possibly come. My son Clarke came afterwards, before winter, and my other daughter's husband came in the spring, and they all have been at my house to this day.

Now, dear brother, although we are not destroyed by the Indians, God hath visited this land by taking away many by death; and in this place of all sorts. Of the old church, first, Mr. Joseph Torry; then my dear brother John Crandall, then Mr. John Clarke; then William Weeden, a deacon; then John Salmon. A sad stroke in very deed - young men and maids. To this day, I never knew or heard the like in New England. Last week four or five were buried in this town. Bro. Turner went to war, and God prospered him for a time, but he is now killed by the Indians. The rest are all well, and enjoy their liberty. Mr. Miles, that was at Swanscy, is now with them. Bro. Wm. Gibson, who came from old England with Bro. Mumford, is now gone to New London, to visit our brethren there.

Burdick Genealogy Now On-Line!

by Howard Burdick (howard@burdickfamily.org)

(I want to thank all of you for being so patient while I created the Burdick database and made it available on-line. I also wanted to provide you with some background on how the project came about and how it proceeds -- that last part will require your assistance. -- HB)

At long last it's here! I've been promising everyone for over a year that I'd have the Burdick genealogy on-line in a database, and it is finally available. It has taken quite a lot of work to prepare this, and it is not yet complete. I believe this will be my most important long-lasting contribution to our family history and because of that I wanted to let you know exactly what I have done and what I plan to do next -- because I'll need your help to get there.

When I first started the Burdick Family Association web site way back in the '90s I had three goals:

1) To digitize Nellie Johnson's 1937 book, "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island", so that it could be viewed and searched on a computer.
2) To create an on-line database of the Burdick genealogy that is contained in Nellie's book.
3) To provide a means to update the Burdick genealogy for today and the future.

A few years ago my first goal was realized thanks to the work of Don Burdick. He had scanned Nellie's book, converted it to text and meticulously edited it to correct conversion errors. That text was then turned into a CD-ROM that many of you purchased.

My second goal turned out to be much harder. For several years I evaluated numerous genealogy programs, but none of them provided the on-line characteristics and features I wanted. Specifically, I wanted a program that would not replace Nellie's work but enhance it. As many of you probably know most people use genealogy programs to trace their ancestors, creating the classic "fan" diagram of 4, 8, 16, and more lines. I wanted a program that worked primarily in the opposite direction, namely, start with a single person (i.e., Robert Burdick) and trace all his descendants. Most importantly, the program had to be web-enabled so that it would operate on the Internet.

Since I couldn't find anything "off the shelf" I began formulating my own requirements for creating an application (I'm a business analyst and former software engineer by trade.) I then began hearing about an application called "The Next Generation", or TNG for short. When I began investigating it I realized that this was the program I'd been searching for! Actually, it was much more than I envisioned. It was created by Darrin Lythgoes for his own needs, which he then turned into a sellable product. I cannot express how truly revolutionary TNG is, and the fact that Darrin sells it for a VERY reasonable price (only $30!) means that virtually anyone involved in genealogy can afford it. I think there are now several thousand copies in use and I truly hope Darrin becomes rich through his efforts. I can also see TNG becoming the standard (if it's not already) for the on-line genealogy industry.

So once I had decided to use TNG the next step was to figure out how to get all of Nellie's Burdick information into it. I soon realized this was a daunting task, but I came up with a method that worked for me and in November 2007 I began transcribing data. I made a few attempts at automating the process but given the nature of the source information (i.e., Nellie's book in textual format) and the desired result (a relational database) I realized that brute force was the best method for me. So for the next 14 months most of my free time was spent entering what would be over 48,000 names and nearly 18,000 families into spreadsheets that could then be processed into a GEDCOM file for importation into TNG.

I am still continuing in that effort as I am now going back and entering all the dates and places of births, deaths and marriages. When that is complete one more pass will be required to enter all the notes and reference material contained in Nellie's book. Then I'll be tackling Nellie's 1953 Supplement. As you may know, the Supplement is very poor quality and takes quite a lot of effort to interpret. Luckily, it is only a couple hundred pages long compared to the 1300 pages of Nellie's original work.

I debated whether I should wait until the entire body of work was complete before I publicly released it and decided it could help researchers now, even if not complete. So my plan is to periodically update the genealogy to include new information. Each update will include corrections that I am already receiving from people using the database.

And that leads me to my third goal, which is where I need your help. The on-line Burdick genealogy database is designed to be extensible. Many of you have collected a lot of superb information about numerous Burdick lines, especially family information since Nellie's book came out in 1937.

I have worked out what I believe is a relatively easy mechanism for you to provide me with that information. I'm still ironing out the details, so I'm now quite ready to accept your input, but I can tell you that, unlike Nellie's book, female lines will be treated as equals to male lines and family lines that have not yet made a connection to the greater Burdick family tree will be included.

Security is a concern for all of us, especially when we are dealing with personal information. TNG has a very good method to protect this data yet still record it for future generations. If a person is alive (i.e., if that person has no death date in TNG) the names, dates and places associated with that person are not displayed. You can see this by viewing my own family line, which begins with my grandfather, Howard Elwood Burdick (I10010001). His descendants (including me) are listed, but only as "Living". Also for security reasons I will not accept any financial, medical or other sensitive information.

As you can probably imagine, I will be receiving input from many people. In order to guarantee the integrity of this data, and to process it in a consistent fashion (and to maintain my own sanity!) I will be requesting that information be sent to me in one of several specific formats. Basically, there will be a GEDCOM format, an Excel (spreadsheet) format and a Word (text) format. I believe nearly everyone will be able to fit into one of these formats, but if not I will accept input other ways (such as scanned pages of hand-written notes) -- but realize that these exceptions will fall to the bottom of my processing pile.

I will also not issue login accounts to TNG. Information is "imported" into the database, not "entered." This restriction will also protect the integrity of the data. Could you imagine if Nellie had allowed hundreds of people to create their own sections of her book?

I apologize in advance if these restrictions cause anyone a problem, but after having just transcribed nearly 48,000 names and almost 18,000 families, and since this database is designed to outlive all of us, I do not feel I am being unreasonable to dictate a few rules. As with Nellie's book, everyone donating information will be credited. I am not competing with other record repositories; in fact I encourage others to create their own. My goal is for this database to be the best source of information I can create about our greater family. If you choose to help me in that effort I can guarantee your data will, to the best of my capabilities, be preserved for the future.

This will be an on-going project that will continue for many years. After all, there's new little Burdicks being generated out there all the time! Again, I want to express my thanks for your patience -- and for your help -- in making our family even better documented for future generations.

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

Anita (Sanden) Bikowitz (Abikowitz@aol.com) sends word about the death of my brother, John Sanden, who passed away in Florida on May 7, 2008 at the age of 55. Their parents were Lloyd Sanden and Katherine Mabie. Katherine had been adopted and her birth parents were Harriet Phillips and Fred Beaver. Harriet was the daughter of Myron Phillips and Laura Burdick.

Robin Burdick (rbburdick4622@sbcglobal.net) wanted to let us know that Bernard Bart Burdick, known as Robert Burdick, passed away July 26, 2008. Robin was never able to find any family for him. Bob was born a "Jr." and the father he never knew was born in Missouri, according to his birth certificate. He would have been 86 years old in August. Robin still would like to find any Burdicks in this branch of family tree but there is to little to go on. If you know anything please contact Robin.

Dawn Schroeder (rtk1219@hotmail.com) has sad news to report. Dennis James Burdick, her brother and the youngest of six siblings, passed away on May 6, 2008. He contracted a rare staph infection that affected his heart and he died within 2 weeks. Apparently he had an unknown congenital heart defect. Dawn is still searching for information about the family's lost father, Keith Vernon (or Verdon) Burdick, born November, 1920, who married June Idell Ubber Lester Burdick, born March 21, 1920. The family lived in Madison, WI. Both parents are now gone, so if you have any information that would help Dawn, please contact her.

Connie Barnett (nirysi1999@yahoo.com) is looking for information about her g-grandmother, Leona May Burdick. She was born in Gaines, Tioga Co., PA in 1902. Her father was Rant Burdick. That is where the trail goes cold. The census shows Rant's birthplace, as well as his parents, as Pennsylvania. He married Addie in 1896 and was in Ulysses in 1920. If you know anything about this line Connie would really appreciate it.

Scott Bill Hirst (scottbillhirst@yahoo.com) wanted to let everyone know that a book on Hopkinton City, RI has been reprinted. It was authored by Hope Greene Andrews. Hopkinton City lies on the Rhode Island-Connecticut border and is next to Clarks Falls and North Stonington. Scott recommends the book and is glad it is back in print. Among the sources is Dr. Patricia Fontes, Vice President of the Hopkinton Historical Association. The historical association is offering the reprint for sale. Contact Dr. Fontes (patfontes@netscape.com) to purchase.

Scott also passes along word that the latest edition of Gary Boyd Roberts' book "Ancestors of American Presidents" is available. The author is interviewed at http://www.necn.com/search/node/genealogy or do a search for Six Degrees of Presidential History at http://www.necn.com . Scott has over a dozen relationships to U.S. Presidents, the Adameses being the closest. John Adams is his third cousin, seven times removed and John Quincy Adams, is his fourth cousin, six times removed.

Is Gary Burdick out there somewhere? If so, Gordon Adams, Ltjg passed over, USNR (dearolddad39@hotmail.com) would like to hear from you. Gordon and Gary were close friends in their Navy days. There's even an old link to Gary's photo album on the Burdick Family Association web site that shows when he was first commissioned in the Navy in 1962. So, Gary, if you're out there, please drop Gordon a line.

Barbara Cagle (barbaracagle@gmail.com) has several pages of Nellie Johnson's Burdick book scanned and posted on her website (http://barbaracagle.org/diary.html). She has also transcribed them in large print.

John Wesley Burdick's (attyburdick@linkline.com) father, Spencer Burdick, was from Green Bay, WI. His mother was Georgia Burdick. This is about all John knows, other than his family was from Wisconsin. There are a lot of Burdicks in that state, does anyone know more?

Andrea Knight (andreaknight@shaw.ca), who lives in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, is conducting research into his family's history. She has made fairly good progress with the help of the Internet. Electa Emeline Burdick (1829-1912), daughter of Harris Cheesbrough Burdick, was her ggg-grandmother. Andrea is looking for any information on Electa and her husband, Benson Hall.

Carol Brundage (carol.brunge@roadrunner.com) is seeking information about William H. Burdick. His daughter, Mary or Mary Jane, married Rensellaer Smith, who was in the War of 1812. The family resided Grafton and Rensellaer City, NY and were all Seventh Day Baptists from Rhode Island. She has reached a stone wall, has anyone ever heard of this group?

Sophie Gottemoller (gottemollers@gmail.com) is looking for a Crandall. John C. Crandall (not the owner of the Crandall site) was born in what he called Berlinville, NY. It could have been Berlin in Rennsselaer County or in Chenango County. He was born in 1813-1815. However, the census records have him in Rennsselaer Co. in 1840, 1850 and the state census of 1855. He states that his parents were both born in New York State. He married Mary Hill Rhodes in Berlin, Rennsselaer Co and in 1856 moved to Illinois with her and their daughter, Mary Francis. Sophie's brick wall are his parents. There are so many Crandalls, it is difficult. If his parents were born in New York, the grandparents had to have come to New York before 1790. If you can help Sophie or offer suggestions she would greatly appreciate it.

Homer Burdick (burd14626@yahoo.com) is sure he is descended from Robert Burdick but cannot find his family line in Nellie Johnson's book. He has two theories why... (1) Along the fourth or fifth generation, the founder of the Burdick line to which he belongs moved to Vermont or eastern NY, and then to Frewsburg, New York, so information about this branch was lost, or (2) The Nathaniel Burdick that Homer is searching for was ostracized by the family for marrying a full blooded Native American . Homer thinks theory #2 is probably the most likely. He is getting birth dates of aunts, uncles and cousins to provide more information. You can help him if you know anything about a similar situation.

Tammy (Burdick) Coiteux (rcoiteux1@yahoo.com) is seeking information about Joseph Alfonse Burdick who died 03/02/1949 in Palacios, TX. Tammy's father and grandfather died when she was very young and she is trying to connect the dots. Tammy recalls that Joseph married Theresa Polasek, who was born in Vienna, Austria and emigrated to Galveston in 1907. They had children and lived in South Texas. Tammy has traced them to Palacios, but then the trail ends. She knows that George Polacek was born in 1900 and married Rose Zrnik. Frank Polacek was from Vsetin, Moravia; he stayed in Moravia until his family was taken to a concentration camp where he and his seven children died. Other names include Rose Polacek, Mary Polacek, Theresa Polacek, John Polacek, Frances Polacek and Agness Polacek. If you have information about this family, please contact Tammy.

Brandy Hoyt (strawberrywomanbuffalo@yahoo.com) is working on her husband's family history. He is Danny Hoyt who is the son of Diane Hoyt (yes, he carries his mother's maiden name). Her father was Benjamin Frances Hoyt who is the son of Emma Mae Burdick (1909-2006). Brandy is looking for any information on this Burdick family and members of the Breed family who married into this line.

Gary Orr (visalia1956@gmail.com) is not a Burdick but solved a mystery involving our family. In 1984, while hiking, he found a grave near Three Rivers, CA. He recently thought about the grave and went back to the area to see if he could find it. He did. A large Oak tree had fallen directly onto the grave but the granite headstone was still there, as well as a now-damaged pipe outline around the grave. What is odd about this grave is that it is about twelve miles back on a very poor and seldom-used mountain road that dead ends and you can only reach the area by walking. There is no reason for anyone to go there, as there is no trail going to the grave or any indication that the grave exists; Gary stumbled onto it as he was crossing over a hill to get from one trail to another. Quite a strange coincidence to find it at all. This time he copied down the information from the granite headstone and even took pictures (they are posted on the "Photos" section of the Burdick Family Association web site). The headstone reads: BURDICK, Born August 31, 1838, Died June 30, 1935. But Gary did not stop there. He discovered that the grave was that of Abraham Baldwin Burdick, born in New Jersey, Aug 31, possibly in 1838, 1840 or 1842. Those dates coincide with ages given in different census records. He was a member of a social commune experiment called the Kaweah Colony. The group broke up in 1892 but Mr. Burdick remained in the area (now called Three Rivers, CA) and homesteaded a plot of ground where he farmed until his death. He became good friends with a man who was in charge of the CCC camp during the Great Depression. When he died he left his property to this other man who followed Abe's wishes and buried him on what had been his home for many years. It looks like Abe had no descendants. Thanks, Gary, for filling in the history of a Burdick family member.

Bill Burdick (burdickwm@gmail.com) sends along the address of a wonderful web site:
This is a compilation of the internments in Rensselaer County, NY cemeteries. Needless to say, it includes a lot of Burdicks! Be sure to check it out if you're looking for ancestors in that county.

And while we're speaking of interesting web sites, Phyllis Raymond (raymond2404@msn.com) sends this one:
It is a collection of historic Penny Postcards from around the country. Perhaps you can now put a picture to those areas in which your ancestors lived.

About 15 years ago, Lloyd Burdick (lburdick@telusplanet.net), who lives in Alberta, Canada, met a lady from Lacombe, Alberta who had traced her family to a Roland C. Burdick. Roland married Lucy Monrose on Oct 13, 1852 in Huron, OH, so he was likely born before 1832. Lloyd has found his name on the 1870 and 1880 American Census with family. Roland drowned in Iowa about 1885. Lloyd is trying to find Roland's parents. Can you help?

And last but not least, Jane Maxson (jhm2727@cox.net), our long-time friend in the distinguished Maxson family, has written a new book. It is the "Diaries of J. Irving Maxson, 1898-1923" who was a Rhode Island State Representative. The price is $19.95 plus $4.00 postage, send a check to Jane H. Maxson, 55 Wild Goose Rd., Wakefield, RI 02879. You can also find it at the Rhode Island Genealogy Society web site, RIGenSoc.org.

Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2019. All Rights Reserved.