Burdick Newsletters

Winter, 2018

Death of John Gray

submitted by Susan Brummett (debruhtt74@gmail.com)

(If you recall, in the last Newsletter Susan provided two Civil War letters from her great-grandfather, Lorenzo Dow Burdick (I661). She also has the transcript of another letter written in 1866. This is a letter sent to Anson Gray (the father of Silva Gray, Lorenzo's wife) about the death of his son John Gray (Silva's brother) in the Pacific Northwest. It is taken from a family book written by Lettie (Burdick) Allerton's (I1574) daughter Ellen. The letter is written with phonetic spelling and little punctuation. I have taken the liberty of breaking it into sentences and paragraphs for readability. What I find truly amazing about a letter like this is the sense of decency and respect people had in this time, especially considering they lived in an untamed wilderness. Unfortunately, the Native Americans were not afford that same level of respect, as you will see. -- HB)

Oct. 1/66

Mr. Gray

Dr Sur. Yours of the 3d of August came to hand yesterday. You ask me to give you any inforamtion that I can concurning your Son. I am as you ??? to be satisfied that it was the same.

Last fall I went to Walla Walla after goods with a pack teame. I have become acquainted with Mr. Gray. He wished to come to this country and I wanted another hand and engagned him as a cook for the outfit. We left Walla Walla on the 12 of november which was verry late but we thought that we could come through the distance by the route that I had to come was about 550 ms.

Through as verry rough mountainous and densely timerred country on reaching the Pendaralla Laake we encountered a tremendus Snow Storm which shut me in. The weather was intencely Cold. The Snow fell about 2 feet deep. My animals ware ??? ??? ??? ???. Any further I was obliged to leave my goods therr in the timber with no white inhabitance within 35 (85?) miles and take my horses back to Walla Walla about 300 Miles for the Winter.

I chose Mr. Gray to stay with My goods for his Scrupulous honest and furm Deciviev cool unexcitable caracter. Therr would be several pass through the course of Winterland ???. I had a man of that Kind the passing by together with the Indians would get nearly all my goods to other tranes ware abserved in the same place. Each left a man making 3 men to stop with the goods until Spring.

He went to work and built a house in which to liv and to put the goods and had everything in the Cargo that he desired to eat and ware I payed him nuthing during the Winter he divurted himself fishing and traping Mink and Martin. I returned in the Spring ??? ??? ??? about the 15 of May after the most severe and most intence sufering for myself. I did not sleep under a roof last Winter until the 12 day of January.

I left Mr. Gray with the Cargo on the 16 of december. When I reached here my goods were damaged and prices ware low. My trip was a failure I was 7(?) months in mapping the trip had several horses freze and starved. When I sole my goods I could not pay my debts. After ???ing in I settled off with Mr. Gray and on the 12 of June togather with a Man by the name of John Rowe started from my store to go on a prospecting trip to a new gulch called Stonewall Gulch about 12 miles from my place. (Mr. Gray left a balance with me his due of about $200.00 which I could not pay him at that time)

They camped within 3 miles of theyr destination on a fine grass flat near timber. The mule became ??? ??? ???. They noticed the mule watched close and seamed to be verry shy of the timber keeping a constant looking in that direction. They started verry early. Mr Gray walked unconcious of danger. Mr. Rowe led the mule belonging to him about 12 steps behind.

They had only gone about 50(?) yards from whare they had slept. The first intimation they had was a shot from behind a tree, which took affect in Rowe's shoulder. Boath was scared and Rowe droped the mules halter and took to the brush. He saw 2(?) Indians. One had shot him and the other atacked Mr. Gray. The Indian that atack Mr. Gray steped from behind a large tree near the trail and struck him with the but of his gun over the head. Rowe was scared and ran for life. He did not see Gray after he came back to my place ran nearly all the way. Found a rope or string and slung his arm and came as fast as he could but was weak from lose of blood. ??? ??? ??? as quickly as possible about 4:00 onely to find our unfortunate friend lying dead.

His skull was badly broken and a shot had taken afect in the head. Most of his clothes ware striped from the body. There were Mocasin tracks all around therr. They had carryed off most of his clothes. He had a larg pare of blankets with him which he used. A party struck out imeidate on theyr track while others remaned to pay the last debt to our unfortunate friend. Some went after lumber and every one with a heavy hart seamed anvious to do all in theyr power. He was buryed deacently in a coffin on a beautiful open place under the shade of a large pine and a square fence built around his grave.

Mr. Gray had numerous friends. Non knew him but ??? esteme him highly and all admired his character. He was a man of high moral caracter. His quiet unessuming manner would always ??? ??? horses from the valley.

We followed them and ware out about 7(?) days overhalled and had a tolerable brisk scurmish with them. Got several horses. Killed one Red Skin and wounded we did not know how many. We had got a long way from home and concluded that we had beter get back as we ware rite in theyr midst. On our way back just at daybreak we ware surprised and fired on. A runing fite insued in which we became victorious completely routing a Small party of indians and getting horses enough to pay for our trouble and ??? another Indian. Since which time we have not seene any Indians in the Valey of the black foot river.

We came home feeling tolerable well satisfied with our trip. None of us hurt - was out 7 days. Mr. Gray had sum thing over $200 about him when he was killed which they took and had a note against a man in Powder River Valey of about one thousand dollars ? ? ? or friends. He was a man of but few words sayed but little about his business to anyone. I never became aquainted with a man on whoom I would rely with greater safety his returns to me in the Spring for the goods that he had sold every item was most satisfactory. At the time he was killed I felt it a duty devolving directly on me to du all in my power for him as he was almost an intire stranger in this cuntry to all be me and as we had only been in about 2 weeks I payed up and settled up his little bills around and still in his debt about $200.00.

As I tole you my trip was a bad and unprofitable one. I am still in Short Cirsumstances but hope to soon meet all demands. I will write to Mr. Hobbs of Walla Walla and learn more if I can direct as before Helena City Montana Territory. I was once a resident of your State. Lived in the town of Peru. Worked ??? ??? ???.

Please escuse this lengthy letter. Much of which will not interest you. I have indevered to ??? you all the new information of your Son that I could. I am onely to fearful that it is your Son. We will know more from Mr. Hobbs. Sympathezing deeply with you in your berievement.

I remain verry respectfully yours.

Walter L. Barrett
Helena City Montana
to Mr. Anson Gray

Capturing a Life's Work of Family Research

by Howard Burdick (howard@burdickfamily.org)

(As I have stated in these Newsletters over the years, I truly appreciate every piece of family information that comes to me. Recently I received compilations of a couple Burdick family lines and it struck me how important it is to preserve these works of research for future generations. And I wanted to let you know about it. -- HB)

Over the last 10 years I have received over 325 extensions to Burdick family lines from you, our family members. I have received corrections or minor additions from another 200 of you. All of them are important, not just to me but to future generations. The volume of this information is not important - whether it is 10 or 1000 new family members added to the database, every one of them needs to be preserved. It is an honor and a privilege for me to preserve our family's genealogy and I am humbled by you allowing me to do so.

Many times as I am entering what seems like an endless list of names into the Burdick family database, I am reminded that I am helping to preserve someone's life's work. Two such treasures came to me this past summer.

Gary Carlson is a descendant of William (I1020) and Cynthia (Crandall) Burdick of Westford, VT. He recorded his family's history in a book entitled "Westward Journey" that he completed in 2008. This is an appropriate name since William and his family migrated from New England to rugged Minnesota. His children ventured even further to the wilderness of the Dakota Territory, then onto Washington State, and Western Canada. Gary lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, one of areas his ancestors help settle.

As many of these family histories begin, Gary goes way back to recount the early generations of the Burdick family starting with Robert (I1) and Ruth. But this is a brief departure. As I always recommend to people who send me family information, start where your information is better than what has already been recorded. And that is exactly what Gary has done.

William and Cynthia, as well as their children and some grandchildren had been recorded by Nellie Johnson, Gary fills in the many gaps Nellie left and provides slices of their lives that brings them to life. I love these types of tidbits about our ancestors. To know they were farmers, or wheelwrights, or anything else makes them real people instead of featureless names, dates and places.

Gary them moves into the more recent generations. This can cause a rather sticky problem for family historians. In addition to the wonderful accomplishments of our aunts, uncles, children and others family members, all families hold secrets or potentially objectionable or hurtful information. The historian's dilemma is if and how to record such information while not creating family distress. People like Gary can, obviously, walk that tightrope and preserve the important data while still maintaining family bliss.

Gerald Dooley is a descendant of a different William Burdick (I402). His tome is entitled the "William W. Burdick Family Research Project." Like Gary, Gerald provides information about the earliest generations but he does not devote much space to them. Instead he provides detailed background information on resources discussing his Burdick family line which, in his situation, includes the towns of Brookfield and Stafford, New York.

There are a variety of materials presented in Gerald's work such as family charts and Bible records. All good information that both tells the family story and substantiates his findings.

Gerald's work is also on-going. He is sending me information as he finds and catalogs it. This makes sense for someone who is still actively researching their history. It makes my job of recording these works a little harder as it is easier for me to have an entire history ready to enter, but by no means is it detrimental. Over the years I have had several family members handle information this way, and I always look forward to receiving the next "installment" of their discoveries.

As an illustration of how working on one's genealogy is never done, Gerald has a mystery to solve and perhaps you can help. There is some confusion regarding his ancestor, William Burdick (I402). Nellie Johnson indicates William was one of the founders of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But Gerald's research places him in Pennsylvania where all of his children were born. There are also no official records of William having been in Wisconsin during the 1830s. But... William's brother, Paul (I401), is also shown as a founder of Milwaukee and there is a long paper trail showing Paul's residence in the area (census, real estate, etc.) from 1835 through 1850.

So Gerald's hypothesis is that over the years, William was confused with Paul. It was probably an honest mistake, but we know how these things take on a life of their own. Once an error is presented enough it becomes "truth", often to the consternation of some parties when the "truth" becomes proven false. So if you can help Gerald untangle this historic mystery please contact him.

But along the way, much of Gerald's earlier finds have been confirmed and re-confirmed. So while the mystery remains it has produced useful information.

Every family historian must face the inevitable reality that their work will soon be outdated. Most histories include hand-written notes in the margins or additional pages that record the "latest" births, deaths and marriages that occurs after the writing was done.

I believe that's where I come in. We will all be gone someday but, if preserved, the research we produce will outlive us. I hope my efforts will help ensure that to occur for Gary and Gerald. There will always be new information to record. I know that at some point I will not be able to continue maintaining the Burdick Family Association web site or the Burdick genealogy and I, too, will need to preserve my work.

There is one aspect of recording family histories that causes me pain. Every once in a while I come across a researcher who chooses not to share their family information with me. While I respect their decision for whatever their reasons may be, it is painful nonetheless. While some of these works may be preserved (I hope they are) my fear is the majority of them will be lost once the author is gone. So please do not let your research disappear after you are gone. Take the steps now to preserve it.

Nathan Joshua Burdick - A Successful Search

by Homer 'Bud' Burdick (hburdick14626@yahoo.com)

(It was over 2 years ago when Bud contacted me looking for his Burdick connection. He knew his line of descent from his gg-grandfather, "Nathaniel" Burdick, but could not find his ggg-grandfather. After 2 years of searching Bud has broken through his brick wall, and I wanted to share it with you. It is yet another example of how opening your mind to unlikely possibilities and seeking help from every imaginable source can pay off. -- HB)

Original post in the Fall 2015 Newsletter:

Homer also has some exciting news about the Burdick family. We all know about Robert Burdick immigrating to Rhode Island in 1651, but did you know there were other Burdicks who arrived after that? Homer is the descendant of one of those immigrants, specifically his gg-grandfather Nathaniel Burdick. The story passed down in Homer's family is that Nathaniel's first wife died during childbirth on the ship enroute to America and that he took an Indian maiden as his second wife. He is supposedly listed as Scottish-Irish. Homer estimates Nathaniel arrived around 1820-1825, as his first child was born in 1827. If anyone knows more about or can substantiate this important finding please contact us. If anyone knows where ships' registries and manifests from this era can be found that would also be helpful.

Bud's latest findings:

My search has taken a turn for the better. You may recall my searching for my gg-grandfather, whom I had assumed was named Nathaniel, and had come to America separately from being descended from Robert Burdick. But here's what I now have regarding my Burdick ancestry.

A family legend tells that my gg-grandmother was a Native American, which would make me 1/16 Indian. I thought that if I could verify that, it would be an interesting fact to mention in my family history. During my search, I came in contact with several distant cousins who were performing the same search. These contacts provided enlightening information and fascinating stories. Our grandparents or g-grandparents were siblings, all children of my g-grandfather, Nathan Burdick.

Somehow, I got the idea that his father was named Nathaniel Burdick, and that Nathaniel was married to a Native American. My search stopped with Nathan Burdick, born 1827, in Frewsburg, NY as I found no records of a Nathaniel, his father.

With help from the historian at the Fenton Museum in Jamestown, NY I have a copy of the 1850 census which listed a Joshua, age 21, Nathan 26, and Philena, age 47, and a Susan, age 10. I assumed Nathan and Joshua were brothers. But the thought was advanced that since Joshua was listed first, as is the custom for the head of household, Joshua could be Nathan's father.

Thanks to Donna Bowman and her sisters it fit that if Joshua's age was entered incorrectly, or the years had faded the ink, it could read age 51 which would make Joshua Nathan's father and Philena's husband.

It is common that when father and son have the same name one will use his middle name. Thus Nathan Joshua became Joshua. My Dad was Robert and my brother is also Robert, so Dad went by Robert and my brother was called Bill.

Further searching thru the Mormon service verified that Nathan Joshua was born in 1796, and lived in Frewsburg in 1850. Nathan Joshua evidently went by Joshua, and his son by Nathan. Over the years, ages were recorded off by a couple years, and probably nicknames were also used.

Nathan Joshua, and his father Adam were born in Hopkinton, 1759, and 1796, respectively, and moved to Herkimer co. NY, and later to Frewsburg, NY. Son Nathan, b. 1827, moved from Frewsburg, to Forest County, Pa, and raised 13 children. During my search, I have come in e mail contact with several distant cousins whose grandparents were siblings of my grandparent, involved in the same search, and with enlightening information.. Also some fascinating stories.

The upshot is, now thanks to Donna's computer prowess, we have our ancestry traced back to the Robert Burdick of Rhode Island:

Robert Burdick and Ruth Hubbard
Hubbard Burdick and Hannah Maxson
Nathan Burdick and Goodeth Maxson
Adam Burdick and Hannah Burdick
Nathan Joshua Burdick and Philena Harrington
Nathan and Margaret Patterson (my g-grandparents)

In one search it was found that a Joshua Burdick owned land in the Frewsburg, NY area, but he would be too old to be Nathan's brother. So this is more evidence that Joshua was Nathan's father. In the 1840 census of Carroll Twp, page 97, lists Joshua Burdick. On the same page is Nathaniel Hubbard. Those two names seem like too much of a coincidence. Could it be Joshua came to Western NY following an uncle, perhaps?

Another finding is that Joshua's first wife died shortly after giving birth, and the baby was Nathan. So Philena was Nathan's step-mother, and Nathan was not part Indian, nor would Nathan's descendants be.

New questions have now been raised. Where was Joshua born? What brought him to western New York? What was his first wife's name? What was the motive for moving to Pennsylvania? Was it possibly to work in the oil fields, or lumbering or the railroad? Most of Nathan's sons worked in those fields.

There was (or is) a pocket of Burdicks in the Alfred/Angelica area of New York. I checked with a person there but no connection to my family was evident.

My father was Robert Burdick Jr - son of Nathan's eldest. He worked in an uncle's (George ?) saw mill in his youth and had his own saw mill in Lickingville and later in Marshburg, near Custer City.

I have lots of anecdotes regarding my branch of the tree, but this is the basics of what I and others have collected.

I would be interested to hear how other families may be connected. I am still trying to close up gaps in details and would appreciate any clarification you might have to offer.

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

I'd like to start this section with another success story. Carol A Reppard (reppardc@gmail.com), longtime contributor to this newsletter and the Burdick genealogy, has always believed her g-grandfather to be Frank Burdick (I1690). After years of searching she has definitive proof. Carol has been in telephone contact with the 91-year-old grandson of Frank who confirmed everything Carol had thought. She now knows her g-grandfather is buried at Prudum, Nebraska and she will soon be receiving his obituary and other family information. Carol wanted to tell everyone to never, ever give up on your genealogy research no matter how frustrating it gets.

Becky (Budick) Consonni (becky.consonni@gmail.com) came across a Burdick sewing machine at an estate sale in Jackson County, Michigan. She sent a picture of it which is posted on the "Photos" section of the Burdick Family Association web site. From the Sears archives, the Burdick sewing machine first appeared in the Spring 1899 catalog and its last appearance was in Spring 1903. If you know more about the Burdick sewing machine, please let us know.

Jacci Arbs (mustangjacci@aol.com) is proud to announce the arrival of her great-grandson, Camden. He was born September 30. Congratulations!

OK... here's an odd one. Malcolm Burdick's (malcolmburdick@yahoo.com) son, Jairus, was visiting New England and stopped by a local bar in Providence, RI. He Was "carded", and the bartender noticed Jairus' last name. He called to a man at the end of the bar, a regular customer - "Hey, Bruce, we have a Burdick here." Jairus and Bruce had a long chat about family, and Jairus reports that Bruce knew a lot about Burdick family history. Unfortunately, the two parted without exchanging contact information. Do you know Bruce? Sounds like someone I should meet.

Tammy Jetton (marymostadmirable@gmail.com) is seeking information about Cora Burdick. Cora was born in 1877 and died September 20, 1901 in Cape Girardeau, MO. She married Franklin Earnest Caraker (1870-1936) at the age of 19 in East Cape Girardeau, Alexander County, IL in 1898. She lost one baby in 1899 and had a son, David Allen Caraker, in 1900. Tammy cannot find who her parents were but Cora was friends with Gussie Brown, wife of John Brown, when they were in Illinois. Gussie Brown's Roots Web page contains a letter from Cora Burdick and Frank Caraker before they were married. Hickman, KY is close to East Cape Girardeau and the Brown's were from Kentucky. After researching Burdicks in Kentucky and Illinois Tammy has not found any with a daughter names Cora. Gussie Brown's married name was Thompson and there is written evidence of them along with J.C. Burdick of Hickman, KY who mentions the Brown families there. Tammy thinks J.C. may be Cora's father but she has not been able to prove it. At one point it appeared that Cora's parents were Edward Whitford Burdick (I410522) and Elizabeth Saunders but that no longer seems to be the case. Can you help?

Ashley Morgan's (ashleys_angels04@yahoo.com) grandfather, David William Morgan, served in the Korean War and the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. Ashley has been searching for a Lt. Burdick who was a company commander as well as a lawyer. Ashley's grandfather, who is still with us, always says how much Lt. Burdick helped him and how he appreciated everything he did for him. Ashley thinks it would be nice for her aging grandfather to say hello to old friends and she knows it would help him. Maybe Lt. Burdick is still in touch with some old Army buddies. Ashley would also like to locate the records her grandfather gave to Lt. Burdick from when he was court martialed. It would mean a lot to her family to get a copy of these records, if they exist. If you can help locate Lt. Burdick or the legal documents please contact Ashley - for one of our American heroes.

Evelyn Schlenker (evelyn.schlenker@usd.edu) is with the University of South Dakota and is writing a short biography of Frank Noyes Burdick (I1188) who lived in Vermillion, SD from 1873-1899. Frank was a doctor and veteran of the Civil War. If you have any information about him, including photographs, Evelyn would appreciate hearing from you.

As you know, there are a lot of Robert Burdicks in the genealogy (nearly 200). I am hoping you can help locate one of them. I received an email from a man stating that he was put up for adoption in 1954 (the year of his birth) by Helen Schiller (stated on the adoption record). DNA testing shows that a Robert Burdick is his likely father and that he has a half-brother, also Robert's son. Robert's father is also a Robert Burdick. His grandmother (Robert's mother) is probably Anna Dabrowski (b. 1909). Robert's siblings are Nancy (Burdick) Dittburner and Raymond Burdick. Anna's father is Walter Dabrowski (1883-1943) and her siblings are Victoria (1913-1989) and Walter (1912-1979). If you can help connect a father and son please contact me (howard@burdickfamily.org).

Michael Schons (mschons@yahoo.com) came across the obituary of Robert Joseph Burdick in the Antrim County Review in Northern Michigan. Robert Joseph Burdick, 89, died peacefully in his sleep on Sept. 5, 2017 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was formerly a resident of Bellaire. Robert was born in Detroit to parents Margaret and Joseph Burdick on June 23, 1928 as the first of five children. He is survived by his wife, Doris Burdick; children, Deborah Williams, Karen Kowalski, Kevin Burdick, David Burdick and Robert Burdick; grandchildren, Andrea Maher, Charles Ardell, Ian Kowalski, Henry Kowalski, Alison Burdick, Ryerson Burdick, Gabrielle Burdick and Jack Burdick; great-grandchildren, Michael Maher, Grace Maher, Connor Ardell and John Paul Maher. Robert served our country honorably for seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed in China and Korea. Formerly a member of the Kiwanis Club in Garden City, Michigan, he joined the Rotary Club when he moved to Bellaire in 1994.

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.