(Malcolm is a long-time email friend of the Burdick Family Association. He is also a very good genealogy researcher. Recently, he and took a trip, or "pilgrimage" as Malcolm called it, to Rhode Island to visit many of our family's historic sites we all know about. He was kind enough to provide an accounting of that trip. Lois and I have traveled to Rhode Island and if you have the time and ability I would highly recommend doing so. Malcolm's journey is a model for a successful and fulfilling trip. -- HB)
I would like to pass along some of my experiences and reflections from our recent family trip to Rhode Island. Per your suggestion, I did contact Jane Maxson at the Westerly Library, and we spent an absolutely delightful hour or so with her there. She herself is a great source of information, but also has at her fingertips all sorts of references – property rolls, maps, etc. I rather bombarded her with questions, which frequently sent her scurrying to retrieve one reference or another. I not only learned a lot, but it provided a basis for further explorations in the area. Of course, as I dig further into family histories, I solve some mysteries, while others only deepen.
Our family “stories” refer to my grandmother (Clara Stillman Burdick) having been raised by her grandparents (William Alonzo Langworthy and Julia Potter Langworthy), with some further assistance from her uncle (William Potter Langworthy), as her mother (Clara Lenore Langworthy) died shortly after her daughter’s birth, and apparently her father (Jairus Maxson Stillman) felt it better for her to live with her grandparents. All of that seems beyond doubt. However, the “story” further indicates that the Langworthys had a summer home at Watch Hill and a winter one in Daytona. I have photos of two homes in the Daytona area that I believe to be, respectively, the homes of William Alonzo Langworthy and son William Potter Langworthy. However, I have no photo, and have been unable to locate any photo, of a family home in Rhode Island. I recall my father (Roger Burdick, long deceased) telling of visiting the (presumed Watch Hill) home when his mother was still alive, but in a 1956 visit he was unable to identify the specific house. The mystery here is that the only Langworthy family residential property listings Jane could find were for Potter (or Potter’s – Jane says both names are still used) Hill, which is several miles inland from Watch Hill. I do recall my father talking about a large home on the coast – this would be consistent with Watch Hill, but not Potter Hill. Also, I have numerous references to births, deaths, etc. at Potter Hill, but not for Watch Hill.
Interestingly, though my family story refers to summer home/Watch Hill, winter home/Daytona, Jane reports that many of the wealthier families in the late nineteenth century had summer homes at or near the beach at Watch Hill, to be used for a few weeks in the summer – and a winter home not far away inland there in Rhode Island (e.g., - Potter Hill). It would seem unlikely that my Langworthy forebears had THREE homes – but apparently it is not out of the question. Barring the unlikely uncovering of further information, the mystery will, I fear, persist.
A brief further complication: The bed and breakfast/winery that you mentioned to me, at yet a third location, Langworthy Farm (website langworthyfarm.com). Even though technically not at Watch Hill, Jane speculated that it might be considered “in the Watch Hill area.” I know you have visited the area, and distances are small, and place names by my usual standards a bit strange. Example: Potter’s Hill is not a village, but simply a “place where the Potters lived.” So determining what is where I found quite confusing. Another example: It became evident that one should not confuse the Town of Westerly with the Village of Westerly; the village of Westerly, but also Hopkinton, Pawcatuck, Watch Hill, etc. are in the larger Town of Westerly. Potter Hill also.
Following my return, I did contact the current owners of Langworthy Farm. Their information as to the prior Langworthy owners ruled out the property as belonging to my great great grandparents. In fact, I was able to trace them back through the Langworthy genealogy, and ascertain that our earliest family connection in common was the immigrant Andrew Langworthy, born c. 1630 in Devonshire. I had previously found it to be of interest to note that this Andrew Langworthy married Rachel Hubbard – the younger sister of Ruth Hubbard, who was, of course, the wife of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island.
We spent time in and around Watch Hill, Potter Hill (such as we could find), looking at the graves of several of these folks in the Oak Grove Cemetery (lots of Langworthys, Stillmans, Maxsons, Potters, etc. – and 80 Burdicks!). Also Westerly (village – I was able to find the business location of my great great grandfather Wiliam Alonzo Langworthy’s), and noted the Seventh Day Baptist churches at Hopkinton and Westerly (village), the historical significance of which became clearer after our subsequent visit to Newport.
We were then on to Newport, to visit the Historical Society (alas, closed for remodeling, but a kind and informative gentleman came outside and answered our questions), and the original SDB church building there. Also to learn more of how the history of our early ancestors in this country (before it was this country) is intertwined with the SDB church. And the significance to these early folks of such events as King Philip’s war (I have a 9th grandfather Stillman who fled Hadley, Mass. because of it, and I have also noted a reference to Robert Burdick’s having fought in it). And how many of our folk were drawn to Rhode Island by its dedication to religious tolerance, and the further heretical notion of the separation of church and state. Which apparently was not well received by the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, led to attempts at land grabs by those colonies, and among other things resulted in the imprisonment of our common ancestor Robert because of his involvement in such a land dispute. (I had known some of this before; but now I have seen the places).
I will close by saying that this was all great fun, and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in the histories of the Burdick and associated families to make a similar pilgrimage if at all possible. The sense I had of connectedness to my heritage, and to our families’ involvement in this country’s earliest history, was really quite palpable.
As always, my thanks to you for all you do for Burdicks and associated kin!
(Steve has been researching the Burdick family origins in the Westerly, Rhode Island area for a long time. One of his goals is to find the grave of Robert Burdick, our immigrant ancestor, who died in 1692. As you can imagine, there is little of the oldest history left but Dwight Brown, an archivist in Westerly, has turned up an intriguing item published in the Westerly Sun newspaper some 85 years ago. This is likely the end of Steve's quest since it looks pretty definitive that Robert's grave no longer exists, but at least we know where it probably was. -- HB)
Westerly Sun, June 21, 1930
Grave marker found at corner of Narragansett Ave. and High street, inscribed Betsey (wife of John Burdick) died Apr. 1, 1830 in her 78th year. This marker uncovered while workers were widening the street near the corner of Narragansett Ave. & High street, corner of the Potter property. It was thought that all the bodies had been moved to River Bend Cemetery, and somehow this marker was left behind. No trace of John Burdick's Marker. This then agrees with previous information given, that the cemetery was in the area of the Grove avenue area and probably were either reinterred in River Bend Cemetery (although no evidence exists of this) or else they were just 'covered over' with the new roadway. D.C.B.
Westerly Sun, June 22, 1930
Grave Marker Is Mentioned Back in 1878
"Westerly and Its Witnesses" Tells of Burdick Ground
Slab Then at Rear of Potter Lot; Found at Front
The grave marker bearing the inscription "Betsey, (wife of John Burdick), died April 1, 1830, in her 78th year," which was uncovered last week by workmen engaged in widening the street at the corner of Narragansett Avenue and High Street, is specifically mentioned in "Westerly and Its Witnesses," published in 1878.
According to the history, the plot at the High Street and Narragansett Avenue corner was known in the olden days as the Burdick Burial Ground. An account of it in 1878, as given by Frederic Denison, follows"
"This much neglected spot in the border of the village of Westerly, in the open pasture immediately in the read of the house and garden of Mr. Joseph H. Potter, on High Street. Most of the graves have only little rough pieces of granite above them. Two graves, we judge, have been removed. perhaps ten still remain. From two leaning moss covered marble slabs, we read, --
"John Burdick [I158], dies Jan., 1802, in his 44th year."
Betsey, (wife of John Burdick), died April 1, 1820, in her 78th year."
Since "Westerly and Its Witnesses" was published back in the 19th century, it is thought that all of the graves have been moved to River Bend Cemetery from this section.
According to "Westerly and Its Witnesses" the Betsey Burdick grave Marker was in 1878 located at the rear of the Potter property, and not on the north corner of the lot, where it was excavated last week.
This would seem to show that the body of this early settler had probably been removed years ago and that the marker was in some way left at the High Street corner of the Potter property.
It may be that John Burdick's grave marker was also left around there somewhere when the remains were transferred to River Bend, but as yet it has not been uncovered.
(Michael's father is a retired history teacher and several years ago, along with Ronald and Steven Lauer, found a letter written by David Burdick (I572), Michael's gggg-grandfather, in 1864 to his daughter, Euphemia (I1450), and her husband, William Franklin. The letter was found at the Whiting family farm. Euphemia's daughter, Della, married Ernest Whiting, which is why the letter ended up on the Whiting farm. Michael transcribed the 4-page letter and has kindly provided it to us. -- HB)
West Milton (1)
Dec. 27th 1864
Wm. & Euphemia
Yours of Dec. 10th containing a letter to Andrew is received. And it will, this evening commence an answer. We are in common health tho not very smart. I have been troubled with rheumatism in my neck nearly 3 weeks. It is better. Your Mother’s health is not good (2).
When L’s (3) children are here they are so wild and noisy it affects her nervous constitution so that she can hardly stand it. They have been here, the last time, about a month. They went, this morning, on a visit to Mr. Maryotts. The weather was fine today and we went to meeting. We have had pretty tough weather this month. The sleighing is good enough for any country.
Well about your letter to Andrew (4). I think I better not send it. You will agree with me presently. Andrew, for some time has been at Little Rock, Ark. From that place I have received several letters, and have sent some to him. The last that I sent he did not get. Some 3 weeks ago I received a letter from him dated Leavenworth, Kan. He was mustered out, out of money, rations stopped. And the pay master had no money to pay the soldiers.
Yesterday I received another letter from him. He was in Lawrence working on the new Rail Road driving team. He had borrowed money to pay for board in L, and pay for a ride from that place to Lawrence. He was going to work until he got his pay and then stop and come to Wis.
He said if I could write so that a letter could reach him by Christmas to direct to that place. If not I need not write for he would probably be somewhere else. If he gets his pay by Christmas he will probably be home by New Years. So you see the impropriety of sending letters to him until further orders. I have had four letters from L since he left. The last was from Nashville. They had evacuated Johnsville, and Nashville was full and over-flowing with people. He has not found any work yet I have had had no letter from him since the great battle in front of the city between Thomas and Hood. I am looking for another soon. I think he will see the “elephant” to his satisfaction. I also received a letter yesterday from Lucius (5); the first I have had from him since his wife died. Our first letters he did not get. He said he should try hard to get leave of absence.
Aunt Phebe went home the last day of November. She went with Dea. Clark Burdick, had a good ride, got home safe. We have had a good deal of company this fall which with the unexpected company of Lucius’s children has made a drought of whom our small store of rations, which almost makes me violate the injunction of Christ by(?) “take no thought what you shall eat, or what ye shall drink or wherewithal shall ye be clothed.” Although my crops were almost a total failure yet I had hope that with strict economy, and saving my old wheat to make the string reach around by stretching it well.
I had to sell some wheat to help make out money to pay my tax. I butchered a 2 year old heifer and sold it all. I also butchered 2 yearlings. Of one of which I sold ¾. I have paid my tax. It was only $17.23. My threshing bill ($6.00) is not paid, and I owe a debt of $1.80 for making syrup, besides what I owe Ma, so you see my finances must be on a small scale. But I enjoyed the visits with my sisters much and should have been glad to have been at liberty to have spent more with them. When Phebe went away I filled the old stone jug with syrup and a jar with butter and packed them in her trunk, and she took them home. We have as good syrup as I have ever saw. If you don’t believe it come down here and I will let you taste for yourself.
Dec. 26th, yesterday we spent Christmas as Amos Stillman (6). Francilia has been fixing up trinkets for Christmas presents. They were to have great drawings at the meeting house last night. They were going to have a bur oak(?) tree set high up to hang on these presents. A fictitious deity, long and lank in imagination with long and bushy hair, with long claws called santi clause is worshipped on the occasion more than the author of our blessings. Henceforth this farce will probably be an institution of the church. So we are going on towards popish folly. They were to have a similar farce at Milton. We have not yet been humbled as a people.
We are rather growing vain and extravagant amidst our calamities. We are to have another stirring time. The president has called for 300,000 more soldiers. We have not loyal men enough to fill the quota. The poor copperheads will have to go this time. Let the draft come. No more of my money will go to save the whining sneaks. Nye is home quite unwell with ague and diarrhea.
Jehial (?) Taylor has sold his land at W. Milton and talks of going to Iowa. He has been there this fall to move Mrs. Forsythe. He likes the country much. Mr. Jeer, the man I thought of is dead. Hiel saw his widow. So you have, among others, Andrew Crenshaw. He must be an enterprising man. How many of you live in sod houses? I have got to be an old man, but little better in appearance than old santi clause and not half as enterprising.
I feel about tapered out, sometimes almost discouraged. No one to help me do a chore, quite too much work to do, and what I do amounts to but little.
To live, in my decline of life so isolated don’t suit me. My children don’t think it their duty to stay with me; and to follow them would be worse still as all of my boys are yet unsettled and afloat in different parts of the world. I fear they will never have stability enough to settle anywhere. I would not leave my parents while they lived; although my stay with them was more for company sake than for any pecuniary benefit to them or to myself.
If I must live alone the rest of my days I shall calculate to let what little I possess go towards my support and comfort rather than the consideration of saving anything for my survivors. This will be my necessity. It has been a source of trial to me which I have never expressed, because inexpressible have been so long away.
Your Father David
Michael's transcription notes:
(1) The only towns named ‘West Milton’ I can find on the Internet are in OH and NY. However, I believe this was written in Wisconsin as the reference to his son coming to WI in the 4th paragraph implies. Also – David’s obituary was in the Janesville, WI paper and he is buried in Milton Junction, WI. West Milton may no longer exist, may be unincorporated, or may be an unofficial name.
(2) This refers to Lucy Williams Burdick who is not actually Euphemia’s Mother. Euphemia’s mother Lois Stillman died in 1851.
(3) Refers to Lucius’s children who are under the care of someone else, which would make sense given what we learn of Lucius a few paragraphs later.
(4) Andrew is Euphemia’s full brother born in 1835, died in 1916.
(5) Lucius is David’s son who was born in 1833, served in the Civil War, and died in 1886. Lucius and his brother Charles (also a pastor) were from David’s first marriage to Lucy Greene who passed away in 1833.
(6) A relative of Euphemia’s Mom most likely but I cannot find the link.
(You may recall that in the Fall, 2015 Newsletter Tim Hall sent some very interesting information about Osmer Cuddeback Griffin's experiences as a youngster and during World War I. Tim's continuing research has revealed some additional information about Osmer's later years which, unfortunately, were a bit different than his early years. -- HB)
I haven't been back to the Port Jervis, NY library for a year or two, but found a surprising 1924 article on the Fulton History site (http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html). This is a fantastic source of free old newspaper images, though the search tool is a little unusual. I found a few more newspaper postings from around 1924 implying a major falling-out between Osmer Griffin (I10120062) and his mother, Clara (Burdick) Griffin (I10120021).
Apparently toward the end of her life, Clara had to go back to work as a live-in nurse to make ends meet. Osmer and his new bride lived in Albert and Clara's home (which still stands today in the Huguenot area near Port Jervis, NY). When Clara tried to return to her home a few months later, she found herself locked out! She eventually had to obtain a lawyer and sue her son and his wife to even reclaim her possessions from the house.
The first question is where was Osmer's father, Albert Griffin (I10120037), while all of this was happening? Surely he wasn't living in this house while his wife Clara was locked out. I would have to guess that he was living with his youngest daughter, Osmer's sister Mildred, in Port Jervis. We know he lived in Port Jervis after Clara's death (see 1927 article below) so perhaps he began living there toward the end of the time that Clara was out working as a nurse, especially after Osmer's wedding which took place on September 19, 1923, just 2 weeks after his sister Mildred's wedding. One note says: "last year the home was turned over to my son, Osmer." That would be somewhat of a raw deal for Osmer's sister: he gets the house, and she gets to take care of her dad while trying to set up housekeeping with her new husband.
It's tempting to suspect that Osmer's wife (also named Mildred) had a lot to do with this unhappy situation, but perhaps she only disliked Clara and got along with Albert, or at least had a little sympathy for him. Another note says that "Albert Griffin returned from Port Jervis the same day..." and Albert's obituary states that he died "in Huguenot at the home of his son Osmer." So it appears Albert moved back to the home in Huguenot (which he had built in 1893) and lived there the last few months of his life. Osmer and his wife Mildred went on vacation just a few weeks after Albert's death. Clara died May 26, 1926 and Albert died August 4, 1927.
My wife's mother vaguely recalls meeting her great-uncle Osmer but she never got to know him despite the fact he lived until she was 30. She knew nothing of this story or the following newspaper items from that time:
Port Jervis Evening Gazette, Tue 16 Mar 1924:
I did not leave my home. I have been out nursing for the last four years. I was obliged to work. My husband was on a small pension. He is now seventy-eight years old. Last year the home was turned over to my son, Osmer. He married. My son refused to let me have what belonged to me, and told me to get out. What I did get I had to get through law. I have never contracted any debts or bills.
- Mrs. Albert Griffin.
News items tracking Osmer's life for the next 13 years:
Port Jervis Union Gazette, Mon 24 Sep 1956:
Deaths and Funerals
Osmer C. Griffin, of Huguenot, N.Y., died suddenly this morning of a heart attack here in Port Jervis. He was morn November 8, 1891, the son of Albert Griffin and Clara Burdick Griffin. In early life, he was married to Mildred Piatt, of Port Jervis. A resident of Huguenot, he was employed by the Erie Railroad. An attendant of the Reformed Church, Mr. Griffin was also a member of the American Legion, and a veteran of World War I.
He is survived by his wife at home; one daughter Phyllis, and one son, Melvin, both of Huguenot, N.Y.; two sisters, Mrs. Mildred Medrick of Port Jervis, and Mrs. Maude Winans, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and several nieces and nephews. The funeral will be held on Wednesday at 2 o'clock at the Knight Funeral Home, 19 Kingston Avenue. Interment will be a Rural Valley Cemetery, Cuddebackville, N.Y. Friends may call after 7 o'clock this evening at the Knight Funeral Home.
(One last note... Tim, being the thorough researcher he is, wanted to correct something. Initially he thought that Osmer was named after his uncle. But it appears that Osmer's father, Albert, had a younger sister, Melvina, who married a Cuddeback when she was barely 16 years old. She had a son named Osmer who was 22 years old when our Osmer was born. So it appears he was named after his cousin, not his uncle. Great work, Tim! -- HB)
Kathy Ouimet (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a volunteer at the Otego Historical Association (http://otegohistoricalsociety.com/). This organization is dedicated to the history of Otego Co., NY where several Burdicks were early settlers and where many Burdick families have lived over the years. Kathy has visited nearly every Otego cemetery and has done a tremendous job cataloging most of the graveyards in the area. She may be able to help you locate an ancestor. Or you may be able to provide the Historical Association with family information. Check out their web site to see.
Marv Moore (email@example.com) has extensively researched his family but is having a problem with Elizabeth "Betsey" (Burdick) (I1043) Juckett and her daughter, named Betsey A. (I3310430). The mother was born about 1796 in Vermont and, according to Nellie Johnson, married a Mr. York, a Mr. Love, and Asa "Juskett". Marv cannot find anything more on her, and after the 1850 Vermont census she disappears (he last finds Elizabeth "Betsey" Burdick Juckett Love in 1850 in St. Charles, Kane County, Illinois living with two of her children, Leonard and Lyman.) Of her three children, Lyman, Leonard and Betsey A., there is also no data although Marv believes everything points to Chittenden Co., VT except for Leonard Juckett's children variously saying he was born in Canada in various census records. But daughter Betsey A. is an even greater mystery. Nellie lists her has marrying Solon Burdick in 1835 in Westford, VT. Marv believes Betsey A. also married Elias Mears in 1842 but no other details have been found. Like her brother, some records show Betsey A. being born in Canada. If anyone can help sort this out, especially those who know Vermont records or Solon Burdick, it would be greatly appreciated.
Elizabeth Townsend (firstname.lastname@example.org) met Linda Burdick at their state's DAR conference and believe they have discovered something about Polly Burdick (I681) (b. 29 Nov 1800, Westerly, RI, d. 18 Jul 1889, Ashaway, RI), daughter of Thompson Burdick (I246). Nellie Johnson shows she was married to Sands Palmer, but Elizabeth and Linda believe her first husband was a Burdick, possibly Peleg Burdick. It appears that Peleg (if that is the correct name) is the father of Mary Caroline, but if it not know who his parents are. If anyone knows more, please contact us, it would be nice to clear up this mystery.
Gregory Burdick (Gregory_T_Burdick@mcpsmd.org) descends from Frank Cortez Burdick (I1171), one of the leaders of the First Alabama Cavalry in the Civil War. Over Easter, descendants of Frank's son, Frank Oscar Burdick (I2309), gathered for a reunion at Lewis Smith Lake. They visited the family homestead site in Houston, Alabama where Frank Oscar and his wife Catherine first set up a home. They lived there from the 1890s until 1910s. They sold the Houston property to his brother, Samuel, and Frank Oscar and Catherine moved down the road to Double Springs, Alabama and resided there until their deaths in 1940 and 1938 respectively.
Sallie Cox (email@example.com) is another of Frank Cortez Burdick's descendants and a genealogist for that branch of the family. Sallie has provide us with a wonderful gift: the original order form sent to her grandmother, Mrs. John H. Campbell, by Nellie Johnson in 1937 for her newly published book, "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." The price of the book: $10.00 (postage due upon arrival). Sallie's grandmother badly wanted to buy the book but did not have the money, being the middle of the Great Depression. But she saved the order form and original envelope, addressed in Nellie's own handwriting, complete with a 1-cent stamp! Sallie did not want this historic artifact to disappear - I guarantee you it will not. You can see a digital scan of it in the "Photos" section of the Burdick Family Association web site. Thank you, Sallie, for preserving our family's history!
Onyx Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is trying to find her Burdick connection. Her grandmother on her father's side is Faith Carolyn Burdick. Faith married Roy Anderson, and they had a son also names Roy. Faith's has a sister named Jeanne, and their mother (Onyx's great-grandmother) is Nettie Burdick. If you know about this line please contact Onyx.
Kathy Patton (email@example.com) is am trying to find information on her grandfather's family. His name is Douglas Burdick Jr. from Red Oak, Iowa. His mother's name was Marguerite. He was in the military and Kathy believes he passed away in 1984. Any help would be appreciated.
John Bellinger (firstname.lastname@example.org) is working on cataloging the Civil War Union Veterans buried in the public Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, NY. Henry R. Burdick, who is buried there, died in Elmira at age 57, on March 18, 1898. John has been unable to determined what Regiment he was in. He is recorded as being a member of Baldwin Post, No. G. the G. A. R. John would appreciate any help you can provided about this family member.
Earl Burdick (email@example.com) sends word that his father, Rodney Burdick, passed away on April 13, 2016 at age 76. He was plagued with congestive heart failure and other ailments for the past several years. Long time readers of this newsletter may recall that Rodney was a tireless Burdick researcher. Amongst his many accomplishments is creation of an award-winning quilt featuring his Burdick ancestors in Rhode Island, and a complete transcription of the 1885 Rhode Island census. His expertise and knowledge will be missed.
Don't forget to search the obituary web site that Carol Reppard (firstname.lastname@example.org) has told us about: http://www.legacy.com/ns/obitfinder/obituary-search.aspx.