Burdick Newsletters

Spring, 2011

John Lewis of Westerly, Rhode Island

submitted by Jacquelyn Berkley (r.berkley@verizon.net)

(Jackie has supplied some great information extending her Burdick line, which comes through the Lewis family. She was so kind to provide the information below that relays the history of the Lewis family in Colonial Westerly, Rhode Island. -- HB)

Pioneer Lewis Families
Michael L. Cook, C.G.

John Lewis was one of the original settlers of Westerly, R.I. According to tradition, the first settlers were John Babcock and his lover, Mary Lawton, who eloped from Newport. The landed on the east side of the Pawcatuck River and built themselves a wigwam. Their first child, James Babcock, was the first male white child born in the Narragansett Territory. The place of their retreat having been ascertained by the people of Newport, the deputized five men, viz., William Vaughn, Robert Stanton, John Fairchild, Hugh Mosher and James Longbottom, to purchase title of land from the Indians. They purchased of one Sosoa his title to the land and the deed was dated June 29, 1660. It was not long before settlers began to arrive, and among them were John Lewis and his family. It is supposed that he came from Newport, but nothing definite can be ascertained as the records of Newport were captured by the British during the Revolutionary War and carried to New York. When they were returned they were in such condition (having been in the water) that they were incomplete. The RECORDS OF THE RHODE ISLAND COLONY, Vol. II, p. 238, state that “John Lewis, of Misquamocott, was admitted a freeman October 28, 1668. The records of Westerly were not kept in any regular form until 1683 when the town obtained “a book” and the “list of free in habitants” were entered. Under the date if May 8, 1669, the name of John Lewis appears; September 16, 1679, that of John Lewis, Junior, lot; and of March 3, 1680, James “Lewes”, “1 lote”, David “Lewes”, 5 lot, Izreall Lews, 16 lot, and Samuel Lews, 38 lot.

However, John Lewis was in Westerly in 1661 as he signed articles of agreement March 22nd of that year. On May 16, 1671, a warrant was issued requiring the inhabitants of Westerly to appear “tomorrow at Tobias Saunders house to see how they stand as to their fidelity to His Majesty and this colony”. Twenty-two persons, including John Lewis, appeared and took the oath of allegiance to the government of Rhode Island. John Lewis died before 1690 and was buried just below the village of Westerly, near the road leading to Watch Hill, on the east side of the highway. The place where he was buried is a large, unfenced spot, in the southeast corner of a field in front of the house owned at one time by Thomas E. Saunders. The land once belonged to the Lewis family, and afterwards to Arnold Kenyon. It is said that seven generations of Lewises are buried here, there is no lettering on the stones. There is another Lewis burying ground in Westerly situated on the crest of a gravel hill, south of the house owned by Pardon Lewis.

According to a Land Grant Chart in the Rhode Island Historical Society, compiled by Edward H. West of Portsmouth in 1932, a John Lewis had a grant of land between 1638 and 1657 in Portsmouth, R.I. on the mainland in the southern part of the town toward Newport, or what is now Middletown. This could possibly be the John Lewis herewith concerned. If he was the one b. ca 1631 (which is not proven) he might easily have secured this grant upon reaching legal age. If so, he was probably searching for productive land outside the Newport area, before the Misquamicut Purchase. In 1648, John Winthrop was given a half mile square on the Thames River, at Groton, Conn., then called Towowesuck. HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF THE TOWN OF GROTON, pub. 1935, states “This grant extended north from Broad Street. The following January, lots of 20, 30 and 40 acres were laid out between the Bill property and the Atlantic Coast Fisheries. These lots were given to Robert Hempstead, William Hallet, Samuell Lothroup, John Gager, John Robbison, William Bartlet, Andrew Loungden, William Nickhols, Carie Latham, Jacob Waterhouse, Robert Bedell, Thomas Miner, William Boardman, Gils Smith, John Stubens, Isacke Willie, John Lewis, and William Morten…” These men, along with john Winthrop, held proprietor’s rights though many of them never came to New London to live, and only Cary Latham ever settled in Groton. Austin, in his GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF RHODE ISLAND says that “There has been no relationship found between John Lewis and Robert Lewis of Newport, who made his Will April 12, 1682, having but two witnesses although the law required three. Nothing more is learned of this Robert, nor of his Will except that it was named in a list of others as deficient in witnesses.”

From THE HISTORY OF HOPKINTOWN, R.I. by Rev. S.S. Griswold, it was stated “…John Lewis came from England in company with his four brothers, at the first settlement of this country and settled not far from the present residence of John H. Cross, Esq., Westerly. His brothers located themselves near Boston, Massachusetts. John had seven sons, Daniel found his home in Hopkintown, Israel at Long Island, Jonathan at Richmond, in this state, another in Exeter, while several remained with their father at Westerly.”

From THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS, PENNSYLVANIA, Vol. I, pub. 1906, it is state that “John Lewis, the founder of the family in this country, came from East Greenwich, England in the year 1630. He bought 600 acres of land from the Indians near Misquamicut, now called Westerly, R.I. He was a signer of a treaty with the Indians and one of the five Deputies who established the Rhode Island colony, March 22, 1661. He was admitted as a freeman October 28, 1668. Tradition has it that John Lewis was well versed in the Indian dialect and that he was elected captain of a company for protection against the Indians, and was a famous and brave Indian fighter. The name of his wife unknown, but she came to America against the wishes of her parents, to meet John Lewis, who had a reputation of being a ‘wild blade’. When the boat on which she embarked neared the land, John Lewis waded into the surf, clasped her in his arms and carried her to shore. They were married and were the parents of seven sons and one daughter.

Tradition given to Mrs. Sally Lewis, wife of Jeffrey Sheldon Lewis, is that “John Lewis came to America and the young lady with whom he was in love did not come over because her parents did not like him. She wrote to him asking him to come to England to get her, but he answered her that he could not but would meet her if she came to him. She wrote him that she would come, and he went to work and build a log cabin and when the time for the boat to arrive came, he went down to the shore at Plymouth and met her. As soon as the boat touched the shore he jumped on board and met her. He kissed her and then they went and got married immediately. They lived together for a number of years before he died. She survived him fifteen years.” This is related in LEWISIANA, Vol. 4, p. 35.

Thus, John Lewis, born in England, died around 1690 in Westerly, Rhode Island, and is buried near Watch Hill; his wife, name unknown, died in Westerly around 1705.

The Miracle of Kevin and Jill Burdick

By Richard Walker (rwalker@northkitsapherald.com)
North Kitsap Herald Editor
North Kitsap, Washington
Reprinted with Permission

(Some stories about our family are joyous, others are very sad. This one is, perhaps, both. I believe it is important to celebrate the lives of our family members, even if some are cut way too short. Kevin Burdick passed away on February 5, so it is up to us to keep his memory alive. -- HB)

January 28, 2011

Kevin Burdick is a humble, hard-working guy who loves his family and friends and is loyal to a fault. By all accounts, he wouldn’t think his story worthy of a lot of fuss. But his story is being told... on phone lines and over coffee, in churches and workplaces, at the swimming pool and the Sons of Norway Hall, in petitions to God for a miracle as esophageal cancer saps Burdick’s strength and his life.

And they are joyful stories. Joy, it seems, is a Burdick family trait. If you were a friend of the Burdicks, you were family. If you needed anything, Burdick’s parents, Uncle Bill and Auntie Elsie, would have your back. In fact, Uncle Bill was helping somebody the day he died. (Elsie’s spaghetti, I’m told, was the best in North Kitsap.)

Kevin and his wife, Jill, mirror his parents. Friends know them as Prince Charming and Princess. Inseparable. Never leave a room without saying, “I love you.” They are godparents to Norene and David Reeves’ three children — Jeffrey, 22, Mikal, 24, Ingrid, 20 — and have never missed a birthday or special event. Every birthday party features Jill’s lasagna, dubbed by those who’ve enjoyed it as “the best lasagna in the world.”

It would be tough to find a couple with a tougher work ethic, friends say. Besides raising a son, Bill, now 26, Kevin worked as a handyman in North Kitsap and Bainbridge, janitor at the Sons of Norway Hall, and delivered The Seattle Times and other newspapers, catching 45 minutes of sleep between jobs. Jill, who works part-time at Central Market, often worked with her husband at Sons of Norway and on the paper route.

“He’s the hardest-working guy I’ve known in my life,” said Jeffrey Reeves, an assistant swim coach for North Kitsap High School. Once, he and Burdick did some construction work at Reeves’ grandmother’s house. Burdick worked 6 1/2 hours non-stop, then left to work at the Sons of Norway. He would deliver his newspapers before dawn the next morning.

“I asked him, ‘When do you sleep?’,” Reeves recalled.

When Liz Campbell, Norene Reeves’ sister-in-law, was treated for breast cancer, Jill Burdick responded with lasagna and love. Fed the family and cleaned her house. “She took the gloves right off of me,” Campbell said. And after Campbell’s mother-in-law died, Jill checked in on her regularly, even as she cared for her own sick husband.

In July, Norene Reeves’ car broke down at Walmart and she called Jill Burdick. To Reeves’ surprise, Kevin, two months into his cancer treatment, showed up to get her car started. “That’s so Kevin Burdick,” she said.

Even now, in a hospital bed in Harrison Medical Center, as medication dulls his pain level from 10 to 4, Kevin Burdick will apologize for not staying awake during a visit.

His body is too tender to touch. Norene Reeves keeps a brave face, caresses his cheek, and says, “I love you.” And she prays for a miracle.

“I asked him to marry me when I was 4,” she said. “The standing joke between us is that he had to marry Jill so they could be godparents to my three kids.”

And the Burdicks aren’t complaining, even as cancer saps their finances. Kevin hasn’t been able to work since June, Reeves said. And Jill hasn’t been able to work enough hours to qualify for medical benefits for February and possibly March. “They could lose their home,” Norene Reeves said.

A benefit account has been opened at Kitsap Bank for the Burdicks. The nearest Kitsap Bank branch is at 19725 7th Ave. NE, Poulsbo. Visit www.kitsapbank.com for other branch locations.

Campbell said now is the time to give. And to pray. And to remember how precarious life can be, how precious every moment is. “That but for the grace of God go I,” she said.

In Poulsbo, people are praying for a miracle. But a miracle has already been performed: The miracle of Kevin and Jill Burdick and the lives they’ve touched.

Electricity was Homemade

Submitted by Emelyn (Lyn) Kalinowski (lynkal@sbcglobal.net)

(Sometimes it seems like our family is involved in everything. Lyn sent this short excerpt that appeared in the Milton Courier on April 19, 1984. Electrification in Southern Wisconsin started with a Burdick! Dr. Burdick was the local physician and a very special & talented man. The Milton House, in Milton, WI, has a display, which Lyn and her brother Malcolm helped build, honoring his many accomplishments. -- HB)

Dr. J. H. Burdick purchased a generator in 1908 and began generating electricity for his home. He ran wire to his next-door neighbor's house, and then to the college, and before long the Burdick home, which stood where the Milton College Campus Center is now, became the Milton Power Company.

In 1912 a brick (concrete) building was built in what was known as Burdick's woods, where Burdick Hall now stands. This served as the generating plant for four years, until the large gas engine driving the generator blew up. Then, in 1916, the Milton Electric Company began purchasing power from the Janesville Electric Company, which became the Wisconsin Power & Light Company in the 1920s. Wisconsin Power & Light bought the Milton Electric Company in 1935, but continued the office on Main Street and then Parview Drive until 1969 or 1970.

Internet Brickwall Solutions

Submitted by Howard Burdick (howard@burdickfamily.org)

(Following is a solicitation for input from Internet Genealogy magazine regarding a new book they are working on. I know a lot of you have some great stories to tell about your Internet adventures, so perhaps this is a way to tell it. -- HB)

We Want Your Internet Brickwall Solutions!

Appeal for Submissions.

We are in the early stages of planning a new book, a follow-up to our successful "Brickwall Solutions" series. Tentatively titled "Internet Brickwall Solutions", we want to hear how you overcame your brickwall using the World Wide Web! Was it an obscure online database? A posting on an online message board? An old photograph you identified using a fantastic website you discovered? Whatever it is, we want to know about it!

Please email your submissions (Word document or RTF file) to brickwalls@internet-genealogy.com. Please limit your submission to no more than 500 words, and include images (200 DPI or higher) as a separate email JPEG attachment, with caption details.

Please include your name, address and telephone number. Each submission used will receive one free copy of the book upon publication. Please note that, at this time, we do not have a publication date. Thanks for your help!

Internet Genealogy Magazine
Ed Zapletal, Publisher & Editor

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

Let me (howard@burdickfamily.org) start with a correction. In the last letter I relayed that there was a Burdick in England whose DNA matched that of Josef Bauerdick of Germany. I misspoke... the English DNA donor has the last name Burditt, not Burdick. While I misrepresented the name, the concept still holds true: there is a definite connection between the English and Germany branches of what could be our greater Burdick family. My bad. I apologize.

Mark Robeson sends word that his father, William Graham Robeson, passed away on December 28 after a short stay at the Queen Anne's County Hospice House. William's wife, Diane, is a contributor to this Newsletter and to the Burdick genealogy.

On another sad note, Joan Bergman (yarandnaoj@att.net) wanted to let everyone know that her husband, Ray, succumbed to his lymphoma cancer on August 2, 2010 and is now interred at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL. He had a beautiful service with a 21 gun salute, flag ceremony, and taps. Fortunately, he led a fairly normal life until the end, even golfing just a few days before entering the hospital. Ray was able to enjoy his big 75th birthday party at the end of July. After that he entered hospice and left peacefully surrounded by Joan and their children.

I enjoy this type of news much more... James Burdick (et2653@yahoo.com) wanted to let us know that there IS a connection between the Burdick and Burdette families. On December 13, 2010 James' daughter, Sheela, married Joshua S. Burdette. Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Even better... Greig Burdick (gbsc@sc.rr.com) has a new grandson! Bryon Arrowood Burdick was born February 16, 2011, in Durham, NC, to Matthew Grey and Keisha Arrowood Burdick. One more addition to our family!

Suzanne Burdick (tozuss@aol.com) informed me that she received a spam email from "me". It wasn't actually from me, but rather from someone who obtained her email address from my web site. Since I have a public site, there is no way to prevent this sort of activity. It is, unfortunately, a fact of life in today's world. I wanted to let you know that if you get an email from me but it doesn't sound like me, just ignore it. There are programs called “scrapers” that peruse through web sites looking for email addresses. I made a conscious decision a long time ago to include email addresses on my web site because I felt that it is better to have more communication between members of our family than less. If, though, you wish to have your email address removed from any Newsletter, article or other part of my web site just let me know. The email distribution list of over 1000 Burdick family members and friends who receive this Newsletter is NOT made public and is guarded very closely!

As you may know, there are many Burdick-Stillman connections. Actually, there are 305 Stillmans in the Burdick genealogy. Jane-Anne Lund (mom@kansas.net) is a Stillman through her father, Stuart Ormal Lund. Jane-Anne is trying to link to the Colonial Dames, which is an organization similar to Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). If you or someone you know is involved in researching the Stillman family, please contact Jane-Anne. Thanks!

On a similar note, Mike Schons (mschons@yahoo.com) is wanting to join the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution). He needs documented evidence of Bloodline from Elizabeth Mae Burdick (I2765) to her father Herbert Dealba Burdick to Wait Stillman Burdick to Elizabeth Stillman and Daniel O. Burdick to Wait Stillman who is documented as a soldier in the Continental Army. I know there are some DAR/SAR members out there, can you help Mike? Thanks.

David Burdick (dcburdi@yahoo.com) wants to be sure we remember our veterans who served in Vietnam, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Please visit www.thewall-usa.com and search for the name Burdick. You will find Brain Harry Burdick, Daniel Joseph Burdick, Douglas John Burdick, Howard Earl Burdick and William F. Burdick. I am sure there are other family members listed there who happen to not carry the name Burdick. We owe our veterans a lot. Thanks for the reminder, David.

Daniel Brown (dpbrown@pressenter.com) is the gg-grandson of Charles Woodworth. Charles' 3rd wife (not Daniel's gg-grandmother) was Narcissa Electa "Lettie" Burdick (I312099). Narcissa is the daughter of Stephen (I2099) and Emeline (Goodenough) Burdick. Daniel has discovered that Lettie and Charles had one child, Ross Woodworth, who died of pneumonia in Europe, November 1, 1918, after being drafted for WWI. Does anyone know more about this line? If so, please contact Daniel.

Kayla Woitowich's (kaylawoitowich@gmail.com) g-grandfather was Larne Lewis Burdick who took part in the Dieppe Raid during World War II and was taken prisoner. For those of you who don't know, the Dieppe Raid was an assault on Nazi-occupied France in August 1942. More that 3600 Allied troops (mostly Canadian) were killed or captured -- Larne Burdick was one of those captured. His brother, Sgt. Russell Burdick, was killed. A lake cove near Yellowknife, NT, Canada, is named for Russell. Does anyone (especially the Western Canadian Burdick family) know more about this line? Their parents? Descendants?

Someone contacted me (howard@burdickfamily.org) about an old photo album they have with the name Alvin D. Burdick, Burlington Flats, NY written on the front page. Throughout the book are photos of numerous Burdicks, Maines, Flynns and Sutherlands. This book was probably owned by Alvin Burdick (I1619) who was born March 16, 1853 in Otsego Co., NY. His parents were Augustus and Lucretia (Main) Burdick. The owner would like to return this treasure to a family member for whom it would have personal value. If this is your ancestor, please let me know.

Susan Frazier (RFraz34007@aol.com) has a related historic photo connection. She came across Bob King (BobKing@NorthLink.com) who finds tintypes, daguerreotypes and all sorts of old photos for resale. His web site is fourkings.freeyellow.com/Page1.html and he currently lists the following: Albert C. Burdick's mother (Staten Island, NY) and Ms. S. A. Burdick (Friendship, NY).

Steve Culmer (rikers99@hotmail.com) wanted to let everyone know about a resource he finds helpful: www.findagrave.com. It is free to join and you can contribute. Steve has found the graves of ancestors when no one else had the information. He considers it an invaluable research tool.

Kent Steinke (thelmarosedog@yahoo.com) is trying to locate the living descendents of Charles Hall Burdick (I1177), who lived at Rockport, Washington Co., Nebraska and was married to Angeline Palmities. The Burdick genealogy ends with his children. Kent is very interested in Charles Hall Burdick's uncle, Thompson Burdick, who was married to Elizabeth Noyes from Brattleboro, VT. She appears to be some sort of relation to the famous 19th century religious leader, John Humphrey Noyes. If you know this line, please contact him.

Kent (thelmarosedog@yahoo.com) is also starting a project with which you may be able to help. He is collecting copies of historic Burdick family correspondence from the 19th century, especially if it comes from our Rhode Island ancestors. Kent wants to capture their thoughts and get a feel for the dynamics of their family community. I think it's a great idea, so if you have any old letters hanging around, please contact Kent. One person he is very interested in is Thompson Edwin Burdick (I437), the uncle of the previously mentioned Charles Hall Burdick. Thompson was married to Elizabeth Noyes from Brattleboro, Vermont. She was likely related to the famous 19th century religious leader, John Humphrey Noyes. I know some of you are Noyes researchers, so if you have more information, please let us know.

Kyle Burdick (kburdick@co.weld.co.us) is trying to find information about his family. All he knows is that his mother’s name is Pamela Burdick and she lives in or around Binghamton, NY. Her parents are Gary Richard and Joyce (Wolford) Burdick. Gary is 63 or 64 years old, Joyce is 66 or 67. Pamela has a sister named Lori Burdick and there was a Ruth Burdick or Wolford involved. If you know of this family, Kyle would appreciate making contact with you.

Stephanie Burdick (gpxchick@hotmail.com) was asked an interesting question and perhaps you can help. Someone asked her about Col. Ray Burdick, stating that "he was my husband's commanding officer way back in 1961 at Presidio of San Francisco, CA. He and his wife invited us to stay in their house while they were out of the country for about 6 weeks. That was very kind of them and really helped our financial condition!" Do you know Col. Burdick? Are you related to him? If so, please contact Stephanie. Thanks.

Gene Warner (gwarner@manitouislandsarchives.org) maintains the Manitou Islands Archives (www.manitouislandsarchives.org). Michigan's Manitou Islands are now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Putman Burdick was born December 3, 1814 in Gainesville, New York, and came to the island in the 1850's with his family and became the island's biggest landowner. At some point his family broke up, leaving the island and disposing of all their property. His wife and some of the younger children wound up at a farm on the nearby mainland (near Empire, Michigan) with Putnam apparently buried by himself as "James Putnam Burdick" (not to be confused with a grandson with the same name) in the Mount Hazel Cemetery in Wayne County, Michigan (rather than having died in Traverse City, as indicated elsewhere.) Other than known genealogical information, Gene has been unable to discover anything more about Putnam Burdick. I know some readers of this Newsletter have connections to the Manitou Islands, so if you have additional information please contact Gene.

Jan (greatgrams1@frontiernet.net) is seeking information on Calfrona Burdick, born 1812 in New York and died 1886 in Ohio. She was married to Pierpont Whitney in Ohio. If you know of this family please contact Jan.

Scott Bill Hirst (scottbillhirst@yahoo.com) wanted to remind everyone about the importance of granite in the history of Westerly, RI. "Built From Stone", a weekly series on the subject that appears in The Westerly Sun, is now being turned into a book. Check out http://www.builtfromstone.com.

I have one last news item to note. My father, John David Burdick, passed away on January 9th, about two and a half months short of his 84th birthday. He suffered from heart problems for many years and died from complications of a blocked kidney artery. My Dad and I were not close, but he was a good father while my brother and I were growing up and was very good to my mother in her final years. Many will miss him.

Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2019. All Rights Reserved.