by Barbara BURT Boyce
In 1879 the little family of William Herschel Burt age 40 and his wife Harriet Smith Burt age 30 consisted of six members. Their oldest daughter Nellie, who was the apple of her father’s eye, was ten. Susan was eight. Howard (my grandfather) was seven. Smith was five. Alice was not yet born. They lived on the River Road just East of Wellsburg in the large old house that Wm. Herschel had purchased from the Rev. Goff when Herschel had married.
The Burt family could look across the wide Chemung River and see the hill that the British and the Indians had occupied during the Sullivan - Clinton Campaign 100 years ago this year. William Herschel’s Grandfather, Ensign Benjamin Burt 3rd was a surveyor for Sullivan. Grandfather had liked the area so much that he had come back with his wife Johanna and three children (having five more children born here) to settle along with his own brothers David, and Thomas from Warwick, Israel Parshall his father-in-law, and many friends from the Wyoming Valley settled here as well. Benjamin3rd had been gone since 1826, 53 years now and six years before William Herschel had been born. William Herschel’s own father David died in 1869, ten years already. David’s wife Phebe was gone five years. William Herschel the last son of David and Phebe was now a husband, father, and land owner. While it was true he had never seen Benjamin he had heard all the family stories of the war and the settling. It was told that his father David was born out in the open country on Sugarloaf Mountain, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.
William Hershel had done quite well in fact considering the Indians had only been gone 100 years. In last year’s inventory there were four horses, 24 cows, three- two year old young stock, one- two year old bull, 6 calves, one hog, 75 chickens, ten turkeys, and two hives of bees. In addition to the livestock there was 150 bushels of shelled corn, 220 bushels of wheat, 30 tons of hay and plenty of Maple Syrup. He had 6,150 pounds of tobacco in the shed, 500 pounds of pork in the smoke house and attic, 15 bushels of apples, and $300.00 worth of farm tools. He had sold $839.63 worth of farm produce, including, butter, honey, eggs, and crops. He had paid out $318.18 in labor both for the farmhands and the house girls. The expenses from the store bought goods had been less than $100.00. The taxes of $37.50 were paid and the $1.46 tax for the school was paid as well.
This year was going just as good. He had ordered a new slate roof for the house including new valleys and gutters from T. M. Losie. Mr. Losie would start without delay about November 1st. He had ordered the best slate Lehigh had to offer. Of course he would have to haul the slate from the depot to the site, but the team could handle that. Mr. Losie would be paid in cash as agreed upon. It looked as though there would be money for State Fair Tickets in Elmira. There had been picnics on Hewitt Island three miles up from Owego and maybe another sociable at the house before Christmas.
|Contract for new roof 1879|
Also, there was the building of the Monument across the river and the valley.
The monument had iron stairs with wooden treads with a splendid view from the top. William Herschel intended to take his family for the celebration on August 29th, 1879. In 1912 William Herschel also documented, “went to Elmira, took Norman and Truman (my grandchildren) with me to see the parade for unveiling of the new Sullivan’s Monument. I went from there on the hill to the Monument. My son-in-law H.T. Harding (Nellie’s husband) rode up with me. Expenses $.50.” (Taken from the diaries of Wm. Herschel Burt.). Compiled by Barbara Burt Boyce
At a ceremonial held in 1936 by the Sons of the American Revolution at the grave of Benjamin Burt 3rd in the cemetery adjoining the Baptist Church in Wellsburg, New York, Mr. R. D. Herrington gave this address. It is as follows:
“Henry and Ulalia Burt came to America from England about 1630 and settled at Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1636 they moved to Springfield, Massachusetts.”
“Of the family of Henry and Ulalia Burt, consisting of nineteen children, we have a complete record of twelve of them, part of whom were born at Roxbury and all of whom entered into the early life and fabric of the colonies, and who became prominent as patriots, statesmen, writers and ministers: Henry Burt him self, being a lay exhorter at meetings on the Sabbath, when Springfield was without a minister.”
“Among the descendants of Henry and Ulalia Burt, who became prominent in American Life; was a daughter, Elizabeth Burt, who married Samuel Wright and became the ancestor of Silas Wright, who held many high offices of trust, among them that of United States Senator and the Governor of New York, who died I 1847 at his residence in Canton, New York.”
“Another daughter Dorcus Burt, married John Stiles and became the great grandmother of Ezra Stiles, Professor of Divinity, student of law, oriental languages, a minister, and President of Yale College.”
“Also another daughter Mercy Burt, who married Judah Wright and who became the great grandmother of General Ethan Allen of the Green Mountain Boys and Fort Ticonderoga fame.”
“Another daughter Mary Burt, who married William Brooks, and became the ancestor of Col. Seth Warner, one of the Green Mountain Boys and who made himself famous at the Battle of Bennington.”
“Also many other prominent personages, more or less remotely connected with the family, such as Henry Ward Beecher, Dwight L. Moody, and P.P. Bliss.”
“However, a son of David Burt is the family line of which we are most interested today. Because, from David Burt and his wife Mary Holton have descended the man we would honor here at this time. David Burt and Mary Holton were married and settled at North Hampton in the year 1654. There homestead was on King Street and their marriage ceremony was the first to be performed in the Town of North Hampton.”
“Among the children of David Burt and his wife Mary, comes one Benjamin Burt 1st, born in 1680 and who married Sarah Belden and settled in Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1702. This Benjamin Burt and his good wife, Sarah, were among the Deerfield Captives who escaped the tomahawk at the Deerfield Massacre in 1704, only to be forced to march over two hundred into Canada, through nearly four feet of snow and in the dead of winter.”
“An expedition of French and Indians numbering about three hundred and fifty, under the command of Major DeRouville of Montreal, attacked the settlement at Deerfield and almost exactly repeated the destruction of Schenectady a few years before. The assault was made at night, as the foe, aided by four feet of snow and immense drifts, climbed over the top of the palisade that encircled the devoted village. A general attack was made by the invaders upon the undefended and unsuspicious town, with the simultaneous and frightful war whoops of the savages as the unfortunate inhabitants awakened from slumber and pleasant dreams, faced a terrible massacre, illuminated by the awful scene of their burning homes. Very few of the unfortunate people escaped to the forests, and such of the others who were not slain, were gathered in the open space near the church. Among those assembled were Benjamin Burt and his wife Sarah, together with her mother, Hepzibah Belden, and Reverend Williams and his family, and about one hundred and twelve others. That day they were forced to turn from their kindred slain and the treasure of burning homes, and face the dreadful uncertainty that obscurity their own fate, as they started on their terrible journey to Canada. Their route was up the Connecticut Valley, and because of the deep snow and the rugged character of the wilderness, their progress was slow as it was painful. The conditions and sufferings of these people cannot be described. In the few brief moments of the attack, they neither had forethought nor time to make the least preparation for such a fearful journey. Poorly clad and shod, the rocks and bushes rent their scanty garments, and when sodden with the penetrating melted snow, their power to resist the icy blasts was almost exhausted. At night when the exertion of travel no longer stimulated their blood to action, they could only save their vital warmth by lying close together in the snow, a feebly palpitating mass of misery. There was always the further privation of insufficient food, and a few died from sheer starvation. There also the women and children suffered the most from fatigue and deficient food and those who lagged behind were slain by the savages. The wife of Reverend Williams was the first victim to be slain, in the presence of her husband and children, and later Mrs. Belden, Mrs. Burt’s mother, who was about sixty years old at the time, met the same fate, together with about twenty others. On this direful march none endured more than Mrs. Burt, as through piercing cold and sore, aching frostbitten limbs and ever gnawing hunger, the party reached lower Canada, where during a cold night, Mrs. Burt gave birth to her first child, haunted by the vague dread of the morrow, with all its unknown terrors.”
“Through it all, Benjamin Burt and his wife Sarah, endured in a manner beyond comprehension, and after two years of captivity and servitude were ransomed and returned to Deerfield, but the scene there brought back so many vivid memories that they soon went to Norwalk, Connecticut and established their home.”
“Among the children of Benjamin Burt 1st and his wife Sarah Belden Burt, the captives, now of Connecticut, was one Benjamin Burt 2nd born in 1707 who after his marriage to Anna Blain came to Warwick, New York, and purchased a farm. On this farm they lived a long and useful life, and in their old age both died within an hour, and were buried in one grave in a small burial place on the old farm.”
From the union of Benjamin Burt 2nd and his wife Anna Blain Burt, came a son, Benjamin Burt 3rd, the man who we are here to honor as a true and noble son and patriot of the Revolutionary War. This Benjamin Burt3rd was born in Warwick, New York March 7, 1749. He lived on his father’s farm and along with four brothers, helped their father with the usual farm work. Benjamin Burt 3rdmarried Johanna Parshall in 1775 at Warwick and the next year, with her, migrated to what was then Wyoming with a group that comprised the Susquehanna Company. The early Connecticut Charter conveyed to Connecticut a strip of land the average width of Connecticut, that is, between the 41st and 42nd parallel North Latitude, and extending from sea to sea, except such land as had previously been settled by Christian people. The Connecticut people, or the Susquehanna Company as they became known, then purchased from the Six Nations of Indians their rights to the land, on which they allowed the Delaware Indians to reside. This gave the Susquehanna Company legal rights to about 175,000 acres of land that now is covered by parts of six counties. Benjamin Burt and his wife Johanna settled in the south central part of this purchase, or a little East of Muncy, then known as Northumberland County. This country at the time was an extreme wilderness, as evidenced by the fact that they were among the third group of people, and but a few years from the time the first white man ever trod the soil.”
“January 24th, 1776, Benjamin Burt 3rd volunteered for service in the 2nd Battalion of a Company that was raised in Northumberland for service in the Revolutionary War with England. He advanced to the rank of Ensign, and fought near to the close of the war.”
“Following the Wyoming Massacre in 1778, Benjamin Burt became a part of the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition against the then powerful Six Nations of Central New York. He was engaged in the Battle of Newtown, together with Israel Parshall, his father-in-law, and Asahel Burnham, whose son later married Benjamin Burt’s daughter.”
“It is believed that during his march up through the Chemung Valley, he had a watchful eye out for future habitation; at any rate he, together with many others of that famed expedition returned to establish his residence in the land he fought to subdue, and to live in a country who’s LIBERTY he helped to establish.”
“In October 1788, at Albany, he procured title of lot known as No. 33, consisting of 230 acres of fine land, and builded his home. His brother David, of Warwick, joined him there and took title to Lot No. 35, consisting of 228 acres. And about the same time Asahel Burnham took title to Lot No. 38. And Israel Parshall, Benjamin Burt’s father-in-law, established his home directly across the river, located in what is now the Town of Chemung.”
Benjamin Burt 3rd died May 10th, 1826, at the age of 77 years, 2 months, and 1 day and was buried in the Wellsburg Cemetery, and at his grave we are assembled, and his name we would honor, as a noble son and father, an upright citizen, a true and loyal patriot, now resting from his labor in the shadow of the Church he and his family helped to establish in the land of his adoption. And while we pay tribute to his memory, let there be appreciative hearts for the heritage that he and other noble men established in this beautiful land where peace and security reign.”
This is the conclusion of Mr. R. D. Herrington’ address, in tribute to Ensign Benjamin Burt, soldier in the Revolutionary War and The Sullivan – Clinton Expedition, held in 1936 at Mr. Burt’s graveside.
From the Book “The Raynor – Burnham Families” by Emma Machacek comes the following excerpt:
“Benjamin Burt 3rd was born June 24th, 1746, ( March 9, 1750 in History of Chemung County) at Warwick, Orange County, New York, the son of Benjamin Burt 2nd and his wife Anna Blaine. Benjamin 3rd married Joanna Parshall, daughter of Israel Parshall and his wife Ruth Howell of Lycoming Pennsylvania. Joanna or Johanna was born February 16, 1754, and was 21 when she married in 1775.”
“Benjamin Burt 3rd signed, dated Muncey June 10, 1776, the Memorial of the Inhabitants of the West Branch for Militia to protect them against the Indians. However there was an Indian Massacre at Lycoming Creek, Williamsport Creek on July 10, 1778. It is stated that Benjamin’s son David, and perhaps Ruth were born at Sugar Loaf, Lycoming County, Pa., and it has been stated that they had a son born in a fort. The hardships endured by these pioneer families were equal to those of their New England Ancestors. Benjamin Burt and his father – in –law Lieutenant Israel Parshall decided to seek a home in the Chemung Valley. These families are mentioned on pages 480 thru 482 in “The Western Gateway”.
In Ray Herrington’s book “The Western Gateway” in Chapter 29, page 481 there begins a description of Asahel and Johanna Parshall with children Keeney and Asahel Junior entering the Chemung Valley and being welcomed into the crude cabin home of Benjamin and Johanna Burt with their children Benjamin, Ruth, and David. They were busy building, clearing and living off the land, after being part of the ‘Great Runaway’ up the Susquehanna River from Muncey. They fled the Pennymites and Indians from Fort to Fort along with fellow neighbors to the new safety of the great Chemung Valley.
“Benjamin had traveled into New York State during his service in the Revolutionary War with General Sullivan. The Burt’s were the first settlers of Chemung in 1789, and several other related families soon joined them at Chemung. Benjamin Burt received Militia Land Bounty Rights. He had a Certificate of Survey for Lot 33 in the Town of Chemung, consisting of 230 acres. The original is on file in Albany. Israel Parshall was nearby, selecting Lot 10 for a home.”
In the geneology of David Burt’s son Benjamin Franklin Burt it is recorded
that after the Wyoming Valley Massacre on July 10, 1778 Benjamin Burt 3rd
signed on with the 4th Regiment, Orange Co., Militia, Captain Sackett’s
Co.. Sackett’s Company joined General Sullivan’s Campaign. Benjamin
was a member of the army when they defeated the Iroquois at Newtown.
SOME BURT GENEOLOGY
Benjamin Burt 3rd (pg. 78. The Emigrants’ by Roderick H. Burnham )
(son of Benjamin 2nd, g’son of Benjamin 1st, g’g’son of David, g’g’g’son of Henry) of Chemung, N.Y.;
Born March 7, 1750 Died May 10, 1826
Married Johanna Parshall 1775
Born February 16, 1755 Died March 20, 1850
Benjamin Griswold Born January 18, 1780 in a fort. Died February 23 or 28, 1876 Married: Mercy Rickey 3 children. Benjamin G. founded Burtville, Potter County, Pennsylvania.
Married Orilla Lyman 4 children
Ruth Born December 23, 1783 Sugarloaf Mt. Lycoming Co. Pa. Died October 17, 1857
Married: Asahel Burnham Born April 22, 1781 Died May 30, 1852
David Born April16, 1786 Sugarloaf Mt. Lycoming Co. Pa. Died December 14, 1869
Married Phebe Burnham Born October 30, 1818 Died January 6, 1874
Elizabeth Born 1788 Chemung County Died 1874
Married William Hewitt Born December 26, 1771 Died April 28, 1830
Asahel Born July 20, 1790 Died August 29, 1872
Married Clarissa Moore
Keziah Born February
Married James Bentley
1820 Census Ceres Township, McKean Co. Pa.,
One daughter Mary b. 1822/23 d.Oct.6, 1843 buried in Wellsburg Cemetery
Belden Born October 09, 1793 Died October 23, 1864
Married Rebecca Died December 15, 1855 Married (2 more) Rebecca’s
Israel Born March 19,1801 Died After October 1900
Married Polly Hammond d. 1865
‘The Emigrants’ by Roderick H. Burnham states that Benjamin Burt 3rd was the 5th generation of Burts living in America. Benjamin 3rd and his wife Sarah had eight children. One of his sons David Burt was born April 16th, 1786. He was married to Phoebe Burnham on September 30th, 1818. The result of that union produced eleven children.
Burnham indicates that there was a note in David Burt’s own handwriting, “I was raised here, a wilderness, as it was in 1789. I had but little chance for education. But in the early day I formed a scheme of life. Endeavored to inform myself as fast as possible. For knowledge was my greatest object. Not so much for wealth or office but a comfortable living and a profound knowledge of nature.” (His thirst for knowledge gave him the name Philosopher) “I was always pleased with land and thought it best I could get. There was large tracts of unsettled lands at that time back from the river. But the title at that time was not known to us. I secured much but did not like to improve them at a risk. Made farming my occupation, and gave to each of my children from 125 to 150 acres.” (pg. 118)
David gave land to each of his ten living children, sons and daughters alike. David and Phebe had eleven children in all, having two sets of twins;
Benjamin Franklin Burt born March 20, 1821, died May 2, 1893. Benjamin Franklin moved to Cornell, Illinois around 1854.His mother’s sister Lucinda Burnham married an Allen Breed Miner and had already moved to Kane County, Illinois. This may have had some influence in the young man’s adventure. He was married on August 10, 1859 at Cornell, Livingston County, Illinois to Rebecca Mercy Campbell. She was born July 13, 1832 at Bentley Creek, Bradford County, Pa. She and her twin brother Alexander Campbell lost their mother Mercy at birth. Rebecca was raised in the David Burt home, while Alexander was raised in the Calvin West home. Rebecca Mercy Campbell died on November 28, 1884. Benjamin Franklin moved to Cornell, Illinois around 1854.
Children; Nancy Jane b. June 26,1866, married Theodore Elmer Miner 1886.
George Washington Burt born December 28, 1823. died on
He married Harriet Baldwin, Children, Frank, Sara, Emma, and Jacob.
Then he married Abbe Benedict. Children, Bennie.
Then he married Rachel Willis.
David Andrew Jackson Burt born on October 7, 1826 and died on December 27, 1891 at 65 years of age. He married Helen Clark born February 17, 1840 and died on March 7, 1895 at age 55.
Children; Mary Belle, and Hovey L.
Mary Burt was born on June 18, 1828 and died on March 23, 1859. She lived 30 years, 5 months, and 5 days. She was married to Charles Stringer. He was born on November 18, 1828 and died May 21, 1893.
Children; Gertrude, and Charles.
Christopher Columbus Burt (twin) was born on April 17, 1830. He died on March 31, 1909. He lived 79 years. He married Mary F. Wooley born in1846 and died in 1923. She lived 77 years.
Children; Jud H., Grace, Lillian, and Harry C.
Isabella Burt (twin) was born on April 17, 1830 and died on November 2, 1908 in Morton Washington. She was married in 1859 to George Salisbury Lowman. He was born on September 20, 1829 and died on March 20, 1899.
Children; Martin Lowman (b. 7/4/1863) (d.7/6/1931), Dr. Ulysses Mercur (b. 2/4/1867)
Susan Burt was born on March 27, 1832 in Chemung County and died July 18, 1917.She is buried at Rushville, New York. In 1858 she was married to Abner Griswold and they made their home at Lawrence, Kansas. Mr. Griswold was killed on August 23, 1863 at the Lawrence Massacre during the Civil War. Susan remained in Kansas for several years and in 1872 married Cuyler Sawyer who died in 1897. On her return to New York she resided at Rushville for five years. Susan then moved to Chemung to live with her brother William Herschel. Susan had a stroke and William Herschel accompanied her to Tyrone, Michigan to live with her sister Mrs. Phebe Gardner, Susan had been residing with her niece and nephew Mr. and Mrs. Townley.
Children: In 1860 she had Twins; M. D. and D.B. Griswold. They died at about 1 year of age one on March 27, 1861, and one on February 19, 1862. Another son Sigel F. D. Griswold, b. April 20, 1863 and died on July 20, 1863 about 3 months of age. (Complete Tombstone Census Douglas County by ‘Jean Snedger’)
John Webb Burt was born on August 24, 1834 and died on March 7 or 17, 1915 at Roscoe, New York his body was shipped to Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, New York. There is no stone. He is buried in the Sayre Plot. He was married to Anna Sayre who died on November 19, 1896.
Children; Zella, Helen
Phebe Ann Burt was born November 3, 1837 and died on January 12, 1923 in Tyrone Township, Livingston County, Michigan. She was married on November 20, 1866 in Chemung County to Ira Randall Gardner. He was born February 10, 1843 and died on February 9, 1929 in Tyrone, Michigan.
Children; Mabel Edith Gardner b. October 10, 1867, d. March 28, 1965 m, Wells Griswold Townley. Grace Ethel Gardner b. December 11, 1871, d. January 27, 1876, Gertrude B. Gardner b. December 9, 1876, d. August 16, 1971. m. Frank H.Dodds.
Josephine Burt (twin) b. September 9, 1839 died the same day.
William Herschel Burt (twin) b. September 9, 1839. d. July 28, 1924 at 86 years of age. He married Harriet Smith. She was born July 25, 1848 and d. February 21, 1910 at 62 years of age. m . September 27, 1867
Written by William Herschel’s own hand in his personal diary is the following:
On Saturday January 3, 1874, “I went to a family dinner down to brother George’s, my sisters Ann, Susan, and Bell there and two brothers George and David, also Jacob Burt and his intended Sis West, Jacob Decker and Sarah Burt, Mark Martin and Eve, Mark Baldwin and his wife” . Entry on Tuesday the 6th , “My mother died last night between eleven and twelve o’clock unexpected by a fit nervous on epelectic. She was seventy-eight years old. Born in the State of New York, January 12, 1795. My father, David, died
December 14, 1869 four years, one month, and 14 days before being in his 84th year. Entry on Thursday, January 8th, 1874, I followed the remains of my mother to her last resting place at the Cemetery at Wellsburg. The funeral served by Elder Gardner, Methodist minister, at the Baptist house, her place of worship.
William Herschel the last child of David and Phebe’s had five children. They are:
Nellie b. August 28 ,1868 d. May 1, 1905 She was the apple of her father’s eye.
Married 1st Clarence Harding b. March 27, 1860 d. May 22, 1892 Married 2nd Albert King b. January 10.1868, d. July 9, 1952.
Susan b. February 16, 1871 d. August 12, 1889
Howard Elmer b. October 27, 1872 d. July 5, 1912 married on May 19, 1895 Jesse Cooper b. April 14, 1871 d. August 9, 1910
Mabel Isadore b. April 3, 1896 d. January 12.1986
Minnie Griswold b. October 6, 1897 d. July 26, 1978
Harriet b. September 13, 1898 d. January 2, 1962
William Herschel b. December 19, 1899 d. September 22, 1979
Norman Smith b. June 2, 1901 d. April 3, 1952
Truman b. march 18, 1903 d. August 1, 1969
Charles Atwell b. June 25, 1904 d. October 28, 1993
Marian b. April 27, 1906 d. September
George Washington b. April 22, 1908 d. May 21, 1995
Howard Elmer b. August 9, 1910 died the same day.
Elijah Smith b. November 3, 1874 d. 1957
Mary Alice b. October 25, 1886 d. March 19, 1939 m. John Tanner
Children; Ralph Tanner b. July 11, 1928 d. November 11, 2002
George Washington Burt and Louise Spencer Burt b. November 9, 1911 d. October 4, 1977 age 65 years and had three children.
Married on August 8, 1929
Children; Mary Louise b. March 31, 1931
Shirley Jean b. February 29, 1932
Barbara Ann Burt Boyce b. November 1, 1939
Married Blair Frank Boyce b. January 14, 1957
Child: Matthew LeRoy Boyce March 20, 1976
Today there are many descendents living in the Chemung Valley some of them are; Ackerman, Barton, Boyce, Buckland, Burt, Birney, Burhnam, Evans, Fudge, Greiger, Herrington, Howell, Kennedy, Liberatore, Miner, Norgren, Pallone, Robinson, Rogers, Seymour, Shepard, Short, Tanner, and White.
The collection of information is the work of Barbara Burt Boyce of Pine City daughter of George Washington Burt and Louise Spencer Burt. The red lettering follows her line of descendency.
Benjamin Burt 3rd ‘s brother Thomas Burt was also a participant in the Revolutionary War. Thomas Burt was born May 26, 1752, m. Ms. Welling(sister of Thomas Welling) and then he m. Ms. Betty Hawthorn, Thomas died July 24th, 1842. He was buried in Drake Cemetery, Village of Chemung, Town of Chemung. ( a stone was not found in 1975)
Pvt.: 4th Regt., Orange County., N Y Militia: Col John Hathorn; also Col. Beardsley’s Regt., Capt. Wm. Blain’s Co., Orange Co., NY Militia.
Census Records for Town of Chemung 1790-1840.
DAR Patriot Index, p 105* , “New York in Rev”, Roberts, 2nd ed., 1898, p162
Rev. War Pension #s23140 – U.S. Archives Towner, p 452, 455 No
Children from the first marriage, Second Marriage Thomas, Anna, Peggy,
Sally, Betsy, and Hathorn.