Burdick Newsletters

Fall, 2016

Clark Don Burdick

by Marge Burdick (m.r.b@comcast.net)

(Marge and her husband, Clark Don Burdick, were married for many years. Unfortunately, Clark passed away in 2007. Marge has graciously provided a brief history of Clark's involvement in World War II. He was one of the Greatest Generation and one of our many Burdick military family members. We honor them all. -- HB)

Renton, WA
February 10, 2016

Clark Don's father, David Frederick (Fred) Burdick, left the family when he was between 2 and 3 and he never saw him again until he was 14. When Clark's mother became very ill his sister tracked Fred down and he took Clark to live with him and his second wife, Etta. For the first time in his life Clark had a male role model.

On January 21, 1942, after the Pearl Harbor attack, Clark and a buddy skipped school and joined the Army Air Corps. He called his dad as he was put on a train to a Texas base. At that time they were pinched (literally) and if they jumped (good! a live one!) they were sworn in. At the base in Texas they were given a few shots, winter uniforms, shaved heads and taught how to stand in formation, march, salute and memorize their serial numbers. Then they were put on a train of only military recruits and sent to the east coast. No training of any kind, no drilling, how to hold a rifle and shoot, absolutely no training in anything.

Two weeks after being sworn in in Seattle Clark was marching aboard the Queen Mary on the east coast which was leaving the dock and taking her passengers to war. This was her first trip with American soldiers. Rather than going to Europe, as their shots and uniforms suggested, they went around the Horn of South America to Australia where it was summer and they were in wool winter uniforms. The Q.M. was so advanced and faster than her escorts that she was often ordered to slow down as she was getting ahead of them.

Clark had never in his life held a gun until on the deck of the Queen Mary. They were given cases of rifles, taught how to clean and assemble them. The seasoned Army troops would take them to the rails and fire them to see that they worked, and then stacked them in crates for the trip. That was the first and only time Clark had ever held a gun in his life. Arriving in Australia as they walked off the Q.M. they were handed a rifle, and as they left the ship they were to hand it to the Army troops waiting with big trucks to put them in for the trip to the front lines. Those troops were desperate for arms and ammunition.

Japanese war ships were gathering off the coast of Australia, preparing to invade, but when their spies reported that the Q.M. brought a countless number of fresh soldiers the ships withdrew and invaded Guam instead.

After being given summer uniforms and jungle shots in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, Clark and many others were sent to New Guinea where he stayed for 3-1/2 years with a week of R&R twice a year at Townsville. So he had "arrived at the war" without even being taught to hide behind a tree! There are many books written about the war and participants as it played out in Australia and the Pacific Theatre. Most books quote the native military as saying the American soldier was a dummy and useless... well, they had been taught nothing, not even how to hold and fire a gun.

They were to learn how to be a soldier on the front lines. Fortunately, Clark quickly made friends of several seasoned Australian soldiers who took him under their wings and taught him as they experienced situations and events. They even took him home with them when they happened to have R&R together. Many of them so young and, like Clark, were raised on the streets of big towns such as Denver, Colorado, without fathers to hunt and fish with and did not even have "street smarts" such as the young do today.

Clark was in the 1040th Army Air Corps and then when the Air Force was formed from all the separate branches (Army, Navy, etc.) he finished his time in the service as a member of the 5th Air Force.

Clark enlisted in the Army Air Corps on January 21, 1942 and was discharged in October, 1945.

After the War, Clark had two main interests which he pursued the rest of his life: children and veterans. He was always playing and talking with any children in shopping carts at stores. His activities in the American Legion were foremost in his thoughts and time.

His ongoing committee on the state level was Children and Youth and as State (Department) Vice Commander one of his last projects was the need of rocking chairs for the local children's hospital, raising $20,000 for them. Now that was a good supply of rocking chairs!

We had some very interesting visits with Mitsuo Fuchida and at the end of his year with the 'Sky Pilots' we missed his going on to the main interest in his new life -- that of the 'Pocket New Testament League'. We had just moved out of the state for a new job for Clark.

(In case you do not recognize the name Mitsuo Fuchida he was a Captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and a bomber aviator during World War II. He is perhaps best known for leading the first air wave attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and was responsible for the coordination of the entire aerial attack. After the war Fuchida became a Christian evangelist, settled permanently in the United States and traveled through the America and Europe to tell his story and spread the Gospel. -- HB)

Clark was the Legion's state representative for Special Olympics until he could no longer function but he continued attending the events wrapped in a blanket in his chair. Some of the older athletes would quibble to get to push him in his wheel chair to make sure that he was at their personal event. That gave me the freedom to chair the leisure time area for the athletes.

At the state events at Ft. Lewis, Washington, the Army would assign me a unit of soldiers to get all of the equipment out of our semi-trailer and set up on the parade ground. The state McDonald's CEO would give me all the orange drink I needed and the Army would set up their water buffaloes wherever I wanted them. Those were such memorable times!

Memories of World War II and One Day in Life on the Farm

by Marge Burdick (m.r.b@comcast.net)

(While Marge's accounting of her husband's World War II experience is interesting, she has her own experiences during the War years. She has graciously provided us with some stories of her life. The first is how she experienced the War from her hometown in Kansas, the second takes place a bit earlier on the farm. -- HB)

The small town Scott City, Kansas was built on both the north and south side of the railroad tracks. We who lived on the north side had to cross the tracks to reach the High School.

All of the teachers had radios in their rooms that December day when President Roosevelt made his terrible speech. We were at war with Japan. They began coming, chugging, creeping slowly through the town in February of 1942, the troop trains heading west. When we began getting stopped at the tracks by the troop trains going west we knew they were heading for the West Coast and the Pacific rim and eventually the war zones.

Even in the coldest weather all of the windows would be open and young men, boys who looked to be our age dressed in Army uniforms, crowded at them leaning out as far as they could and calling to us as we waited for them to pass. "Hey kids, where are we?" and we answered "Scott City, Kansas". Then we would hear a chorus of "Where in (blank) is Scott City Kansas?" Then we would explain to them they would cross the Colorado State line before long and the next big city would be Denver.

Then they would plead "Hey, will you mail this letter for me?" Of course we would always agree and the letters would come flittering down to the ground. Occasionally the letter would not be in an envelope, just a page or two folded together with hasty scrawl and the address written below.

We would take them all home to our mothers and they would put stamps on them and send them on their way. In the ones Mom had to put in an envelope she would add a little note explaining why the address was in a strange handwriting and often we would see tears escaping down her cheeks. She could see a future we kids had no clue of.

Often some of them would beg us girls for our scarfs or whatever we had on our heads. "Please, I'll bring it back to you some day, I will take good care of it, please. I need a souvenir from a girl as pretty as you." We knew we would never see the item again but we were flattered by their request and would reach up to them to the out-stretched hands. A couple of times I only gave my scarf but my glove would be taken also as I held the scarf up to them.

Eventually my mother warned me that she was not going to buy me another scarf or knit another hat and I would have to go bare-headed the rest of the winter if I continued to give them away. Later, after the end of the war and the troop trains no longer chugged through, I understood how the items would remind them of the citizens in the small towns and peace of the countryside they last saw before boarding the ships that would be a one-way ride for so many of them.


I was ironing when I heard the shrill, terrified squeal of a little pig in trouble. We had a big sow with a litter of eight piglets in their pen by the barn. Instantly I dropped the iron back on the stove and raced out the door of the house to its rescue. I could hear the frantic snorts and deep raging voice of its mother as she answered the cry for help.

(For the younger readers, Marge wanted to be sure everyone understood: "We lived on a farm without electricity, phone, etc.; all of the things that make life more comfortable. Those wonderful aids came along later. I was ironing with what is often referred to as 'sad iron' a handle that snapped on and off and was heated to necessary temperature by sitting on a wood/coal cooking and heating stove (and I do mean heating!) Summer, Winter, 90 degrees or more summer days - no matter - that was life." -- HB)

It was a very hot summer day on the farm near Modoc, Kansas, the temperature close to 90 degrees. Mom and Dad were working in the field and I was doing house chores and taking care of Charley, who was about 4 years old, and Richard about 2-1/2 years old.

As I raced around the house toward where the squealing was coming from I remember thinking "The sound of the piglet is getting closer. Good grief, something has caught it and is carrying it away!" I immediately suspected the neighbor's dog, a big one that was always up to no good. I was prepared to do battle to save the little critter.

When I reached the yard behind the house the scene that met my eyes brought me to a skidding stop! Running across the yard from the direction of the barn, his bare feet scarcely touching the ground, was little 40-pound Charley. I could not and did not want to believe my eyes! Clutched tightly to his chest was a squealing, terrified little pig with the 300-pound, raging mother in hot pursuit, intent on rescuing her precious child.

Getting my breath I began yelling "Drop the pig!! Drop it!! Charley! Drop the pig!!" He was so terrified he could neither hear me nor, in his fear, could he have relaxed a muscle enough for the piglet to drop to the ground.

I raced as fast as I could but couldn't get to him before he reached the 2-seater outhouse and flew inside, the door slamming shut behind him. Mere seconds behind him the sow slammed into the outhouse, rocking it with the force of her weight and rage. She and I both knew by the squealing of her baby that Charley was still clutching it in his hands.

At the moment four thoughts spun through my mind almost as one:

1. I was not about to let my little brother get hurt. Like any little boy he only wanted to play with the cute little animal.

2. I could not let anything happen to the piglet. The barnyard animals were almost more valuable than kids. They meant money and/or food on the table.

3. I could not let the sow tear down the outhouse, something she was intent on doing if she had to in order to save her baby. If Dad had to stop and rebuild the outhouse in this, the busiest season for a farmer, my physical well-being would definitely be in jeopardy.

4. I was praying that the sow herself would, at the worst, not drop dead with the combination of the heat and her rage or, at the very least, and for the same reason not loose her milk for her litter of piglets.

With these thoughts racing through my mind I circled the outhouse with the sow raging at my heels. The second time around I was far enough ahead of her that I could yank open the door and leap inside. The piglet was still squealing with all its strength and there stood Charley, plastered against the 2-hole platform - empty handed - he had finally dropped the little critter. And where was it? Where Charley had dropped it - oh yes - DOWN THE HOLE! Why didn't he just drop it to the floor at his feet? Why not Charley?

In absolute horror and disbelief I listened as the sow made her way around the outhouse looking for a loose board to start her demolition. When I heard her at the back I opened the door and told Charley "Run! Run to the house!" I did not need to say "and fast!" because lightning could not have caught him as he streaked across the yard and around the corner of the house to the door and safety.

I had no choice but to continue my rescue efforts (see 2, 3 and 4 above). Thankfully I was a skinny kid so I took a deep breath and squeezing through the biggest hole, hanging by my waist, I grabbed the still very vocal little critter. Sunk in up to its belly, bogged down, unable to move, it couldn't get away.

When I tossed it out the door the unhappy mother quit trying to pry off the side of the building and raced to claim and console her precious baby. With her little one trotting at her side she headed back to the barn snorting her irritation every step of the way.

I headed to the stock water tank to clean up. Charley, watching from a bedroom window, hid when he saw me walking to the house dripping wet. He continued to hide from me the rest of the afternoon and didn't resurface until the folks came in from the field for supper. All afternoon I kept checking on the mother and her litter praying that they would not suffer any ill effects from their harrowing ordeal.

Charley kept his distance from me all evening and was the sweetest, more cooperative kid anyone would want to have around. Mom asked me why I was snapping at him all evening, remarking that she had never seen such an angel. It was months before we ever told the folks what had taken place.

I promised Charley that the day would come when I would get even with him. So far he has escaped retaliation because I have not thought of anything evil enough to do to him that would erase the memory of the stress of that day. If only he had just dropped the little critter at his feet!

Through the years I have watched county and state fairs advertise "catch a greased pig" events and I just smile and shake my head. I know it can be done but it helps if the animal is cornered in a small place. I have been there and done that and know there are other activities that are easier on the blood pressure and, as I recall, much more fun.

The Strange Ending for Edward/Edwin Burdick

by Tim Hall (timhall1@gmail.com)

(Tim is an excellent family researcher. In the Spring 2010 Newsletter he relayed the story of Edward Burdick (I10120002) who led an "interesting" life - as a bigamist. Tim has recently come across new information about his ancestor and has kindly made it available to all of us. -- HB)

I thought you might be interested in a footnote to the Edward Burdick story.

Recently quite a few issues of the Port Jervis, NY Tri-States Union newspaper became available online at http://www.fultonhistory.com. Previously I had only examined this paper at the Port Jervis Library on microfilm, so I've never been able to "search" it. The editor of this paper was friends with Edward and wrote a more detailed obituary for him than the town's other paper, the Evening Gazette, did. Among other things this confirmed my suspicions that he married a third time late in his life (and led me to her obituary which allowed me to discern her identity... she was my wife's 4th great-aunt on the Griffin side of her family, who had been widowed many years earlier). Since the 3rd wife Sarah Jane had only been married to Edward about 6 months when she died, the other newspapers referred to her by her first married name, Sarah Jane Griffin. (Her maiden name was Quick).

Edward's obituary confirms all my previous findings, including the fact that the second wife was the much younger sister of the first wife. But the editor incorrectly states that Edward married his second wife years after his first wife died. In fact, his first wife outlived his (illegal) second wife by over a decade, and was still alive when he married his 3rd wife in 1891! (The first wife died in 1896, the second in 1885). It's quite possible the editor did not know he was printing a lie, since the first wife remained in Fulton County. But some of his readers surely knew it!

Here is the newfound obituary for Edward, plus the old and new obituaries for Sarah.

So far I haven't had too much luck tracing the family of Edward's brother William who is mentioned in his obituary, other than finding that a William C. Burdick died in Forestburgh in 1869.


Port Jervis Tri-States Union, Thu 2 Feb 1899:
Edward Burdick.

Mr. Edward Burdick died at. 1 p. m., Thursday, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Frank Griffin at Godeffroy, of dropsy, aged about 92 years.

He is survived by the following children: Josephine, widow of R. R. Colfax of New York City and mother of Mr. J. C. Fonda of this village; Anna, wife of Jas. Wyncoop of Gloversville, N. Y.; Eliza, wife of J. J. Fraley of Gloversville; Ella, wife of A. W. Moore of Gloversville; Daniel of Epratah, Fulton county, N. Y.; William of Binghamton, N. Y., and Edward of Fort Worth, Texas. These children are the issue of the deceased's first marriage to Catherine Kesselman [sic] of Ephratah, Fulton county.

Some years after the death [sic] of his first wife, the deceased married his deceased wife's youngest sister, Emeline Kasselman [sic], and by this wife the following children survive : Clara, wife of Albert Griffin of Huguenot, Elizabeth, wife of Frank Griffin of Godeffroy., N. Y.; Mary, wife of Cornelius Dewitt, of this village; Louisa, wife of Newton Fisher, of White Sulphur Springs, N. Y., Cora, wife of James Dutton, of Duttonville, N.J., and one son Maurice, of Binghamton, N. Y.

The deceased came to this part of the country with his brother, the late Wm. Burdick, father of the late Colonel Edsall's widow, and Colonel Samuel Fowler more than half a century ago, and he has resided in the immediate vicinity of this village ever since, excepting at times when he was visiting among his numerous family.

He was of a vigorous constitution and enjoyed the best of health until about three weeks ago, when he was attacked by his final illness.

Mr. Burdick was a life long subscriber to the TRI-STATES UNION; in fact, it was conceded that he was our oldest subscriber, being a reader of our weekly paper since its earliest issue in the year 1850, until the present date.

The deceased was a generous, warmhearted man and enjoyed the esteem friendship of all with whom he came in contact. He was married three times, his third and last wife only surviving her marriage about six months.

The funeral arrangements have not yet been made, as the relatives are awaiting the arrival of the son, Maurice. Notice of the same will appear in the UNION tomorrow.


Port Jervis Union, Wed 23 Mar 1892:
Mrs. Sarah J. Griffin

Mrs. Sarah J. Griffin, for many years a resident of Godeffroy, died Tuesday evening at half past seven o'clock at the home of her son, F. L. Griffin, aged seventy-two years.


Middletown Daily Times Thu 24 Mar 1892:
Mrs. Sarah J. Griffin, for many years a resident of Godeffroy, died Tuesday evening at the home of her son, F. L. Griffin, aged 72.


Port Jervis Tri-States Union, probably Thu 31 Mar 1892:

GODEFFROY, March 29.
Sarah J. Burdick, the wife of Edward Burdick, passed away Tuesday, March 22, at 6.45 p. m. at her son's residence at Godeffroy of general debility at the age of 72 years.

The deceased had been complaining for the past month. Besides her husband and one sister, Adeline Truex of Milford, Pa., she is survived by six children : Mrs. J. V. Sullivan of Port Jervis, Mrs. Edward Howe of Otisville, Mrs. Thomas Boyd of Middletown, Henry C. Griffin and Wickham C. Griffin of Jersey City and F. L. Griffin of Godeffroy. Interment in Laurel Grove cemetery at Port Jervis.

Funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Lane of Cuddebackville. She had been a member of the Methodist church for the past thirty years.

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

Ann Dickerson (Brutsche2@Bresnan.net) wanted to let everyone know about Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov). This web site provides access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Quite an amazing web site, check it out.

There is only one marriage between a Burdick and a Tobey in the genealogy, and Corrine Supernor (corsup52@gmail.com) is trying to find out more about it. Lankford Burdick (I1191) (1797-1886) married Caroline Tobey (1804-1881) in Louisville, Otsego Co., NY. They were married by Caroline's grandfather, 91-year old Zacheus Tobey. In 1833 Lankford and family moved to Michigan and spent the rest of their lives in Galesburg. Corrine's ancestor, Thomas Tobey, and his spouse, Martha Knott, were among several families who left England for America. Several of these families lived in Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod and nearby Dennis. Most of Corrine's Tobey family members moved to Michigan. Corrine is searching for other members of this Burdick/Tobey family in Michigan. If you are one, or know of one, please contact her.

Patricia Merchant (hburd@yahoo.com) is looking for information about Silas Burdick who was born in 1807 in Arcadia, NY. He was married to Laura Cook. Patricia has searched about everyway she can think of, but cannot find any information about him. Can you help?

Nancy Kursman (mrngglry@gmail.com) is related to Orson John Gallup through her grandmother's sister. Orson (b. 26 Apr 1894) is the grandson of Orson D. and Alvira (Burdick) (I3309) Gallup. He married Anna Silin (b. 29 Dec 1895) on March 8, 1916 and they had two children: Chester Orson (b. 31 Dec 1916) and Claire Purd (b. 25 Mar 1919). Unfortunately, that's all the genealogy contains about them. Can you help fill in more details?

Michele Wilson (4433261684@mms.att.net) is looking for descendants of Clinton DeWitt Burdick (I2700) (1863-1933). He began working as a junior clerk at the Title Guaranty & Trust Company in New York and 36 years later became President and CEO. His son, Howard Burdick (I212700), ran the company after Clinton died. One of Michele's family members, Horace G. Wilson (1868-1934), whose parents were slaves in Virginia, also worked at the company starting out as a janitor and becoming the building Superintendent. Horace left an estate of about $200,000 which included beachfront property in Long Beach, Long Island. Horace's wife, Margaret, was a rather "odd" lady. After Horace died Margaret was afraid that people were "after her" for her money. At one point she was living at the Brooklyn, YWCA and in 1937 she was found dead at the Long Beach home amid unopened envelopes, many containing uncashed checks. The Burdicks and Wilsons obviously knew each other and Michele would like to reconnect the families. So if you are related to Clinton, please contact her.

Ziggy Pijewski (zpijewski@gmail.com) saved a set of silver Air Force wings from being melted down and lost forever. You can see images of the wings in the "Photos" section of the Burdick Family web site. Ziggy is not a Burdick family member or collector of military memorabilia, just a kind person doing his part to preserve our history. He believes the insignia is from World War II and from the design all he can find is "Observer", whatever that means. The name on the back is "James T. Burdick" and the number "6698968". This James may or may not be recorded in the Burdick genealogy. If you know more about these wings or James Burdick, please contact Ziggy and me.

Vicki Frye (vicki@borlandgas.com) is a descendant of Eliza Ann Burdick (I210664). Eliza married Gardner Wilcox and they had four children: Clinton Elberton, Delina, Melissa and Flora. Vicki knows a lot about Eliza and Gardner's descendants but not much about them. Can you help?

Kali' P. Rourke (kalirourke12@gmail.com) is the ggg-granddaughter of George W. Burdick (1816-12 Sep 1888) and Almeda Martha Sweet (12 Feb 1824-18 Dec 1908). They were married on April 6, 1840 in Rensselaer, NY. Both were born in New York and died in Maynard, Iowa. George and Almeda had 4 children: Zorah, Georgianna, Franklin and Wilson. Kali' has done a great job at tracing her line but is stuck at George and Almeda. Can you help?

Leah Patton (gray.leah@gmail.com) is the g-granddaughter of Bessie Clark and Enos M Gray. Bessie is the daughter of Elisha Dennis Clarke (I211969) who is the son of Harriet Elizabeth Burdick (I1969). Leah is looking for information on Elisha's wife, Luella Strickland. She is unable to find any information on her except her headstone. Any help would be appreciated.

Jim Sternitzky (jwsterni@hotmail.com) wanted to let us know that his great aunt, Clara Louise (Sternitzky) Lewis (I313532) has passed away. She was born November 30, 1917 in the Town of Lynn, near Granton, Wisconsin to the late Louis and Martha (Burdick) Sternitzky. Clara lived her life "one day at a time" and cautioned everyone to "wait until you are 98 and see what you do". Clara's dad was so happy when she was born because he had four brothers but no sisters. Clara passed away peacefully on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at Sunset Gardens Assisted Living, in Neillsville, WI. Clara is survived by her two daughters: Lois (Tom) Ziegler-O'Donnell, California, and Loretta, PhD (Edward) Grobe of Florida and Michigan; and six grandchildren: Shelly (Rev. Dr. William) Lewis, Florida; Dean (Kathy) Ziegler, Tennessee; Laurie (Steve) Horton, California; Bryon (Julie) Ziegler, Washington; Kevin (Andrea) Grobe, Ohio; and Justin, PhD (Connie PhD) Grobe, Iowa. She is also survived by 11 great grandchildren: Elijah and Taylor Lewis, Sam and Lilah Horton, Mackenzie and Isabel Ziegler, and Madeline, Garett, Haley, Oliver and Edison Grobe. Also surviving is one brother, Thearn (Linnie) Sternitzky, Arizona.

HIRODGERS@aol.com passes along word that Wallace T. Burdick, 88, of Hillsborough, NJ, passed away on August 2, 2016. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lived in Washington Township, NJ, until moving to Toms River in 2001, and Hillsborough in 2014. He was a U.S. Army Veteran and graduated from Duke University. Wallace retired from Napp Technologies in Lodi in 1995. He then went to work part time at Beaver Express Delivery Service in Mahwah, NJ. Wallace was a devoted Met's fan and enjoyed playing poker. He was devoted to his family and will be dearly missed by them. Wallace was predeceased by his parents Wallace and Dorothy Burdick; his beloved wife Margarete in 2002, and his brother Thomas. He is survived by his loving daughter Margaret Lynn La Monte and her husband Bruce; his two grandsons: Brendan and his wife Alexandria, and Daniel; his great-grandson Landon; his sister-in-law Jane Burdick; his niece and nephews, and his cousins Hans and Ingrid.

Don't forget to search the obituary web site that Carol Reppard (reppardc@gmail.com) has told us about: http://www.legacy.com/ns/obitfinder/obituary-search.aspx.

Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2019. All Rights Reserved.