Burdick Newsletters

Spring, 2015

Excerpts from the Paul Burdick Diaries

Submitted by Richard Maxson (dickmax@aol.com)

(Dick's wife, Marion, is the daughter of the Rev Paul Stanley Burdick (I2773). She recently came into possession of some of her father's diaries. The following excerpts are from 1901 when Paul was about 11 years old and lived in the village of Little Genesee, NY, not too far from Olean. it is an interesting glimpse into history and into the mind of a young old boy from more than a hundred years ago. It also captures an important moment in American history. -- HB)

Tuesday, September 3, 1901 - We expect to go down to Uncle Will’s tonight (at Portville) and stay all night and start for Buffalo tomorrow morning. We are packing and getting ready to go.

Wednesday, September 4, 1901 – This morning, Aunt Ida, Mama, Lucian, Harold, and I went from Portville to Olean on the trolley. At Olean we took a train to Buffalo and got there about nine o’clock. Then we went to our bo[a]rding place at Mrs. Shields and from there to the grounds of the Pan American Exposition. We went into almost all the buildings. In the New York Building the people from New York State that go to the Pan American go and put down their names. We did not have time to go there and so Uncle Ira said he would put down our names. At night we saw the electric display which was fine. They had electric lights all over the Electric Building.

Thursday, September 5, 1901 – Today President Wm. McKinley spoke at the Pan American but we went to Niagara Falls instead of going to the Exposition. We went down the gorge and went across a bridge into Canada. Then we went to the depot and took the train to Olean, then the trolley to Portville and Aunt Jo was waiting for us the{re] and we rode back up to Grandpa Coon’s.

Friday, September 6, 1901 – We stayed all night at Grandpa Coon’s last night. President Wm. McKinley was shot at Buffalo on the grounds of the Pan American by a man whose name is ….McKinley was shot in the stomach and chest. The bullet in the chest is not fatal but they are afraid the one in the stomach is fatal. The man’s name who shot the president is Leon Czolosz.

Friday September 13, 1901 – Wm. McKinley is rapidly failing and there is no hope for him.

Saturday, September 14, 1901 – I went to church and Sabbath School. McKinley died today of disease which was caused by the shot in his stomach.

Ellsworth J. Burdick

by Howard Burdick (howard@burdickfamily.org)

(I was searching for some Burdick information on the Internet - I can't even remember what! - when something caught my eye: a mention of E.J. Burdick associated with the Detroit streetcar system. Being born and raised in Detroit, my antenna went up and before I knew it I was digging deep in to yet another Burdick relative associated with a part of our nation's history. -- HB)

Nellie Johnson lists Ellsworth J. Burdick (I112268) as the son of Harry and Helen (Taylor) Burdick, born March 3, 1869 in Tomah, WI. He was married to Sylvia Belle Cross. In 1937 the couple is living in Detroit with no children. He was educated as an electrical and mechanical engineer and was a railroad VP and General Manager until 1926 when he retired. He was also a 32-degree Mason.

I grew up in Detroit in the 50s and 60s and had heard about how wonderful the Detroit mass transit system was prior to World War II, before busses appeared on the roads. Street cars were the order of the day, as well as railroads that traveled all over southeastern Michigan and beyond. I had also heard stories of how the city basically ruined the rail system in order to make way for the "new" internal combustion technology for which Detroit was already becoming famous.

I never gave it much thought. After all, all that a kid in Detroit in the middle part of the last century knew was cars, cars and more cars. Railroads? Streetcars? Who in the world would travel THAT way!

Well, it turns out that a lot of people did. It seems somewhat ironic that today cities across America have spent or are spending billions of dollars to construct and operate "light rail" systems to help alleviate urban gridlock when Detroit had solved this problem 100 years ago! It's even more ironic that Detroit, now having been plagued with decades of urban blight and mass outbound migrations, does not have the traffic problems of other cites (actually Detroit does have traffic problems but not due to a growing population, but that is another story in itself!) It turns out that Detroit was, in the early decades of the twentieth century, way ahead of its time with moving its citizens from Point A to Point B and blew it. And Ellsworth J. Burdick was in the middle of it all.

I have not yet found out much about Ellsworth's early life. I do not know what brought him from Wisconsin to Detroit but he was there and well-established by the turn of the century. In 1903 he was named the Superintendent of Power for the Detroit United Railway (DUR). DUR was formed on December 31, 1900, backed by a Cleveland-based investor group, and purchased numerous existing streetcar and interurban rail lines in southeastern Michigan. The company expanded through construction of new lines and purchases of others until it operated more than 400 miles of interurban lines and 187 miles of streetcar lines. DUR's growth was impressive and, from what I have been told, the system operated efficiently and reliably.

At its peak DUR operated the most extensive interurban rail system in the country offering service from Detroit to Port Huron, Flint, Pontiac, Ann Arbor, Jackson, Toledo, and even across the river to Windsor, Ontario in Canada.

Even before DUR's inception, the city of Detroit coveted the streetcar business. Since 1890 Mayor Hazen S. Pingree had been trying to take over the city's street railways culminating in a 1900 agreement to consolidate operations into one new system - namely DUR.

Throughout most of the its 22 years of operations DUR was plagued by legal battles with city hall, pot shots by politicians and the press, and growing negative public opinion. Even though Mayor (and later Governor) Pingree could not fulfill his desire to take over the streetcars, another mayor did.

James J. Couzens, a former Canadian industrialist, banker and philanthropist became Mayor of Detroit in 1918. "Big Jim", as he was known, was an associate of Henry Ford and had helped found the Ford Motor Company. He later became vice president and general manager of the company. He was also a member of the Detroit Street Railway Commission. As mayor, Couzens wasted no time in engineering DUR's demise.

After multiple failed takeover attempts through public funding, a final plan was approved in 1920: the city would construct a competing municipal street railway system designed to eventually put DUR out of business. By 1921 52 miles of new Detroit-owned track had been laid, but Big Jim could not sufficiently damage DUR without downtown access, and DUR had a monopoly on that.

So, like all underhanded politicians, Couzens worked it from a different angle. He won ballot approval from Detroit residents for the city to purchase 29 miles of DUR track along with 105 cars and 23 trailers. Multiple legal battles ensued and DUR threatened to pull up the existing tracks. Another blow came to DUR in November 1921 when Detroit voters approved an ordinance to allow the city to force DUR to remove their tracks when their franchise agreement expired.

Things got so bad in 1921 that Ellsworth Burdick, who by this time was the Assistant General Manager of DUR, went to serve a restraining order to city officials to halt the overlaying of city track over DUR track. For his efforts, Ellsworth was kidnapped and held captive on an island in the Detroit River. Upon his release, he began legal action against his abductors, but the city continued to extend its tracks over DUR's.

By 1922 the future of DUR looked dim. The Canadian investors who now had a controlling interest in the company decided to sell out to the city. On April 17 voters approved the purchase and the "Thirty Years War" for municipal ownership was over.

On May 15, 1922 at 12:01AM, the Department of Street Railways (DSR) took over all operations from DUR and Detroit became the first large American city to provide municipally-owned mass transportation. DSR controlled nearly all of the 363 miles of track within the Detroit city limits, employed 4,000 workers, and operated 1,457 streetcars out of 12 carhouses.

In 1936, under the leadership of General Manager Fred A. Nolan, DSR began its "steel wheels to rubber tires" campaign to convert its mostly street railway operation over to an "all bus" operation by 1953. DSR began purchasing hundreds of small-size Ford Transit coaches (surprise!), many of which would be used to help carry out the rail abandonment program. The first abandonment of a rail line occurred in 1937. "Progress" continued unabated, only to be interrupted briefly by World War II. Conversion of streetcars to buses accelerated after the war and on April 8, 1956 the last Detroit streetcar ran down Woodward Avenue.

After the 1922 DSR takeover of Detroit streetcar operations, DUR continued to operate its interurban rail lines but it began to deteriorate. The company continued its downward slide until 1928 when it was reorganized as Eastern Michigan Railways.

I can see why, as Nellie recorded, Ellsworth retired in 1926. I am sure those were very stressful years at DUR. Even though the company was lost, he had many successes during his tenure there. Some of these still affect us today.

In fact, Ellsworth began what could be considered the first emergency response service vehicles. In 1913 he instituted specially-designed trucks called "trouble wagons". Still holding the title of Superintendent of Power, he purchased a number of vehicles from the Federal Motor Truck Company of Detroit (no Fords for DUR!) and had them customized for handling electrical power fires, derailed cars and rail repair. Ellsworth provided Federal with the body designs and mechanical specifications.

The trouble wagons could speed along at 18 miles per hour, considerably faster than the 15 miles per hour of similar vehicles of the day. They often beat fire engines to fire calls. Thanks to the Swinehart cellular tires Ellsworth specified, the trouble trucks could nonchalantly hurdle a curb to run along sidewalks instead of being restricted to crowded streets (I'm sure that caused a bit of excitement with pedestrians!) Another version of the trucks were used exclusively for overhead work to repair trolley power wires that were broken or in need of attention.

Not only did Ellsworth Burdick's use of trouble wagons revolutionize his department's operations, it also ushered in the single-purpose utility vehicles we all take for granted today.

If you know more about Ellsworth Burdick I would love to here from you. He was quite an accomplished businessman and yet another example of how one person can have an impact on history.

Early Migrations

Submitted by Steve Burdick (horracetrout@verizon.net)

(If you have dug into the Burdick genealogy, you have likely come across references to early immigrant ships such as the "Hopewell". Even Nellie Johnson mentions them. These and other ships transported early English settlers to the American Colonies in the early to middle 1600s. Robert Burdick was aboard one of the ships, but was he a passenger? A crew member (there was a Burdick who was Master of at least one of these ships)? Something else? Steve Burdick is heavily engaged in tracing down the final resting place of Robert and sends the following information about these ships. Complete data, including lists and charts, can be found on the Internet at the sites provided but I thought it might be useful to relay some of the information here. -- HB)

From WikiTree (http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Great_Migration_Ships)
Winthrop Fleet:
- Fleet of 11 ships under John Winthrop
- carried approx. 700 Puritans; livestock; provisions from England to New England - summer 1630.
1630 Winthrop Fleet of eleven:
1. Arbella
2. Talbot
3. Ambrose
4. Jewel
5. Mayflower
6. Whale
7. Success
8. Charles
9. William and Francis
10. Hopewell
11. Trial


From The Winthrop Society (http://www.winthropsociety.com/ships.php)
(The Winthrop Society lists many, if not most, early passengers on these ships but there are no Burdicks. Could this lend credence to Robert having been a crew member? - HB)

Passengers of the Hopewell
Master William Bundocke
First voyage of 1635

This table details the roll of passengers of the Hopewell, which sailed from London mid-April 1635, Julian calendar, bound for New England. The ship arrived safe at Massachusetts Bay, although some of the persons listed below may not have debarked. The rolls represent persons who were ready to embark at the date of record, which often preceded the actual sailing by several weeks. Some may have decided not to sail. Some servants may have run away. And there usually was some loss of life among the passengers from disease and malnutrition during the passage.

This information was transcribed in the 19th century by James Savage, and later by Michael Tepper from records found in London, the Public Rolls Office, which were formerly at Carleton Ride. For each common date of record, groupings of persons in consecutive order in the roll often indicate some relation by kinship, household or town origin. Either the persons were present in person before the scribe at that time and queued up in their natural groupings to enroll, or the documents of fealty arrived to the scribe from particular sources and were registered in order as received.

Spelling and Abbreviations:
The surnames are spelled as Savage, Tepper and their English collaborators could best decipher the old handwritten passenger rolls. Expect a few mistakes in interpretation, as well as errors by the original 16th century scribe. Savage's later corrections have been used. These spellings are antique and often curious, so if you are searching a particular name, try all imaginable variations.

We have generally given prenames their modern spelling. In many cases the spelling of a prename was unusual or doubtful, or the interpretation of the original abbreviated form is uncertain. If so we have left it as originally recorded. This is most notably the case for the abbreviation "Jo:" which can mean either John or Joseph or perhaps other names. Where a given name beginning with the letters "Jo..." is fully spelled out here, it was found that way in the original, or the intention is otherwise certain. Variants of "Anne" have been left as in the original, since many times "Hannah" is meant. Elisa may mean Elizabeth. "Francis" was nearly always spelled the same and might be male or female. Recall that Christian and Bennett were usually female names in those times.


Anne Stevens (http://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
(Anne has compiled an extensive list of early immigration ships. I think what is most intriguing here is the actual naming of a Burdick as Master of at least one of them. - HB)

Ship: Thomas & William
Master: Burdick
Departure Date: 1630
Departure Point: Gravesend, England

Ship: William & Jane
Master: Burdock
Departure Date: 1633
Departure Point: London, England
Arrival Point: Boston, MA

Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600s:
- Over 7100 families and 290 ships

Frequently Asked Questions of Anne:

* I DO NOT have any secret or additional information. Everything I have is listed here.

* These pages represent literally years of work, endless coffee and fingers worn to the bone. This data base has been compiled simply in hopes of easing tedious research for other people.

* I started this data base a very long time ago. When researching my family, I had a list of people who were born in England but died in the colonies. They MUST have taken a ship, but which one? There were thousands of manifests all over the web, and I put them all in one place. Like my other projects, it grew from there. 'Deeds were done, no one was spared.'

************ IMPORTANT UPDATE ************

Steve Burdick (horracetrout@verizon.net) has located some newly released information on Ancestry.com. It is listings entitled "England, Cheshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1598-1975." The description says the collection includes christening, marriage, and burial entries from Cheshire, England bishop's transcript Parish registers." What is most exciting is the numerous listings of Burdick family members, or variations on the name. Here's a sampling of listings from the 1600s (there are more from the 1700s) giving name, baptism date and baptism place:

Jane Burdick, 27 May 1629, Saint Dunstan, Stepney, London, England
Katherine Burdick, Jan 1633, St. botolph Without Aldgate, London, England
Posefa Burdock, 10 Jul 1630, Somerset, England
Richard Burdock, 22 Nov 1629, Highworth, Wiltshire, England
Margerye Burdweke, Apr 1639, Stoke Gabriel, Devon, England
William Burdock, 29 Jul 1639, Eastington and Alkerton, Gloucester, England
WIlliam Bourdock, 23 Mar 1633, Backford, Cheshire, England, Mother: Edna Bourdick

What is exciting is all of these people were contemporaries of Robert Burdick. It also shows that the name "Burdick", separate from "Burdette", was established and recorded in England before Robert came to Rhode Island. Finally, the spelling of William Bourdock's last name is very close to the spelling of Josef Bauerdick, our researcher in Germany -- I believe this lends evidence to Josef's theory that the Burdicks originated in Germany, not England.

I have posted Steve's screen shots of the Ancestry pages on the "Photos" section of the Burdick Family Association web site. Please take a look.

I hope that other researchers will take an interest in Steve's findings and dig deeper into these newly released records. Perhaps there are more clues to our family's origin hiding out there...

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

Byron Olsen (lobarnco@aol.com) always see a sign by the road east of Wood Lake, NE. It says Burdick Ranch. There are several articles on-line about the Burdick Ranch in Nebraska, which is a 3-generation operation: Ben Burdick (age 85), son Terry, and grandson Byron. There are a lot of Ben Burdicks in the genealogy, but none match this Ben. Does anyone know more about this line? If so, let us know.

Cheryl Moore (carlm63@yahoo.com) is searching for numerous families that cross over with Burdick lines in New Jersey, Indiana and Ohio, as well as overseas. Unfortunately, none of the names quite match. If you are researching the Burdicks and related families in these areas, please contact her. Perhaps you can compare notes and see if you have any ancestors in common.

Krista Mann (mannkk@att.net) is a descendant of Daniel Comfort Burdick (I1189) through his daughter, Mary Cordelia (Burdick) Hough. There is a relatively large amount of information given about Daniel in Nellie Johnson's book, but no indication of the source of the information . In particular, Krista is trying to confirm that Daniel Comfort was born on April 2, 1804 in Rutland, VT and that his parents were Daniel (I445) and "unknown" (Snow) Burdick. If you can help, or if you can offer any suggestions, please contact Krista, it would be very much appreciated.

Dr. Jonathan Roth (jonathan.roth@sjsu.edu) is the Director of the Burdick Military History Project at San Jose State University (http://www.sjsu.edu/burdick/). Dr. Roth also organizes the annual Burdick Military History Symposium. Both efforts honor the memory of Charles Burdick (1927-1998) who was a professor of history at SJSU and military historian. Dr. Roth is trying to make contact with Prof. Burdick's wife or other family members (he believes Mrs. Burdick moved to Ojai, CA after her husband's death.) If you are a member of this Burdick family, or know of them, please contact Dr. Roth.

Way back in January 1999, Carol Wynn placed a note in the old Burdick Whitepages stating that she was looking for anyone in the Burdick family line who moved from Rhode Island to Macon, Georgia. George Burdick married Martha Powwel in 1867 in Macon. Well, Dominique Gibson Aycock (dgaaug31@aol.com) is that person. Unfortunately, the email address for Carol is no longer valid. If you know Carol please let her know that a Burdick connection to her has been found.

Dave Starkweather (starkweather2045@gmail.com) is looking for an old friend - Howard Burdick. Dave and Howard were classmate at Harpur College (later SUNY Binghamton and now Binghamton University) from 1964 to 1969. Howard was from Syracuse and was pursuing a double major in Math and Philosophy – very ambitious and very intelligent. He was also the best man at Dave's wedding but Dave lost track of him after leaving school. If you know Howard, please have him contact Dave -- and let me know if a connection is made.

Bob Clark (robtclark@comcast.net) passes along that Carl Cortland Burdick Jr. had passed away on September 6, 2011 in The Veterans Home in Paulden, Yavapai, Arizona. Carl passed his father’s books and other family materials on to Bob, as his father had wished; Bob is indebted to both Carls for those items.

Jane Maxson (jhm2727@cox.net) sends word that Mary B. Place, 85, of Fairview Ave., Hope Valley, R.I., died peacefully on Feb. 1, 2015 at South County Hospital. She was the loving devoted wife of Charles E. Place Sr. for over 67 years of marriage. Born in the family farmhouse in Hope Valley, R.I., on May 19, 1929, she was the daughter of the late Ralph C. and Eleanor (Clarke) Burdick. Mary worked for the United States Postal Service in Hope Valley, R.I. She was a life member and founding member of the Hope Valley Ambulance Squad and a member of the Women's Auxiliary. Besides her loving and devoted husband she will be sadly missed by her children. She was the loving grandmother of 23, great-grandmother of 34 and great-great grandmother of 11. She leaves a brother, Raymond Burdick of Hope Valley, R.I. She was predeceased by her daughter, Bonnie Pelchat and two brothers, Fremont Burdick and William Burdick.

I am very saddened to report that Jane's husband, Jonathan Irving Maxson, a kind man with a quiet wit, died Tuesday, March 10, of Parkinson's disease at Apple Rehab, Watch hill, RI. Born in Westerly, RI, February 1, 1927, the son of J. Irving and Kathryn Comstock Maxson. Irv, as he was known by his classmates and old friends, attended Stonington Schools and graduated from Stonington High in 1944. He was enrolled in the Army Specialized Training Program until the war in Europe ended, at which time, he was sent to Germany in the Army of Occupation. Maxson attended Yale University, graduating in 1949. He obtained work in Stamford, Conn. and in Sept. 1949, married his high school classmate, Jane Hoxie. In 1959, the couple and their three children moved to Ridgefield, Conn., where he was employed as comptroller by Marcus Dairy. They retired to their summer home in Green Hill, R.I. in 1991. Jon enjoyed stamp collecting, specializing in island countries, and playing cribbage, which he taught his children and grandchildren. He led his family on memorable trips to Civil War battlefields and on cross-country trips to Yellowstone Park and Grand Canyon. In later years, he and Jane traveled to countries throughout the world, visiting many of the islands whose stamps he collected. I know I speak for the entire Burdick family in sending our condolences to Jane, our good family friend.

On another sad note, the father of one of our Burdick family researchers, James Sternitzky (sternitzky@itol.com) has passed away. Wallace Harry “Wally” Sternitzky, 81, Green Bay, died Friday, February 6, 2015. He was born July 14, 1933, in the German farming community of the Town of Lynn, Clark County, Wisconsin to Alvin and Edna (Burdick) Sternitzky. While attending high school, he was a member of the 4-H. On November 10, 1973, he married Laura Ann (Warner) O’Donnell. On their 40th Anniversary, a perfect stranger observed the adorable couple celebrating and paid for their dinner bill. He was so appreciative that others were touched by their caring interaction. Survivors include his wife, Laura Ann Sternitzky; four children and their spouses; grandchildren; four great-grandchildren (and one on the way); other relatives and friends.

Here are the obituaries Carol Reppard (reppardc@gmail.com) has uncovered recently:

Donald E. Burdick passed away, quietly, on Friday morning, December 26, 2014, with his loving wife of 60 years (Betty), by his side. Donald was born on August 31, 1934. He played minor league baseball for the Red Sox, prior to joining the Marines. He served his country during the Korean War. Although he was a carpenter by trade, he could fix anything. He was very proud to have coached a Little League team with three girls on it (way before it was widely accepted.) He enjoyed fishing, collecting baseball cards, and flea marketing. He loved his family dearly, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren filled his heart with joy. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He was preceded in death by his mother, Mildred, his brothers, Harold and John; and his sons, Keith and Donny. Donald is survived by his wife, Betty; his siblings, Beverly Barbara, Cathleen and Elwin, his children, Martin, Teresa (Brian), Jolene (Ron), Harold and Penny; his grandchildren, Jessica, Michael, Jennifer, Danielle, Joshua, Zach, Tristen, Justine, Tylor, Elizabeth, Amanda, Brittany, Donald Jr., Cierra, Aaron, Brandon, Morgan, Erica and Ryan; also his 14 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Cuba, NY - Dale E. Burdick, 54, passed away Tuesday (Jan. 6, 2015) in Lamar, MO, from injuries sustained in a tractor-trailer accident. Born on Oct. 11, 1060, in Cube, he was a son of Philos H. and Margaret Searl Burdick. Dale was a graduate of the Belmont Central School Class of 1979. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1979 to 1983. He was an avid sports fan who liked watching baseball and football. his lifelong passion was driving tractor-trailer cross-country and locally. Dale always enjoyed when his father would ride along on trips with him. He especially enjoyed spending time with family and sharing his stories of experiences he had while driving truck. Surviving in addition to his father are a daughter, Andrea Burdick of New York; his siblings, Linda Burdick of Wellsville, Michael (Pete Gimmi) Burdick of Port Orchard, Wash., James R. (Nancy) Burdick of Friendship, Pearl (Byron) Hamilton of Belfast and Melanie A. Burdick of Cuba. He was predeceased by his mother.

Patricia "Pat" Lillie Burdick, 84, of Onondaga Hill, NY, passed away Sunday. Born in Hamilton, she spent her early years in Bouckville before moving to the Syracuse area in 1952. Pat was a 1948 graduate of Madison Central School, received her bachelor's degree from Utica College and her master's degree from Syracuse University. She was an elementary school teacher in the West Genesee Central School District for more than 20 years. She was a former member of the Onondaga Hill United Methodist Church for many years. One who enjoyed square dancing and ballroom dancing, Pat and her husband, Sterling, were members of the Top Hats Dance Club for many years. She loved traveling, knitting and camping with her grandchildren. most of all, she loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. She was predeceased by her brother, E. James Lillie. Surviving are her husband of 62 years, Sterling M. Burdick, sons, Paul (Joan) Burdick of N. Granby, CT and Mark (Linda) Burdick of Manlius; daughter, Wendy (San) Stummer of Aurora, OH; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2019. All Rights Reserved.