Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Thomas Burnham

Male 1617 - 1686  (69 years)


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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  Thomas Burnham was born in 1617 in England; died on 28 Jun 1686.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate birth: Abt 1620
    • Alternate death: 24 Jun 1688, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut

    Notes:

    "Thomas Burnham, of Hartford and Potunke, was born in England in and had evidently been educated as a barrister before coming to the New World. Here he carried on the practice of law, and was, evidently, according to records, a man of determined character. He carried on the practice of the law in the colonies, and among other cases, successfully defended Abigail Betts, who was accused of witchcraft, by which act he incurred the displeasure of the Puritan authorities and was prohibited further practice of the court 'for saving her neck.' He then erected a garrison house at Potunke, purchasing the land directly from the Indians. In 1659 he purchased of Tantonimo, chief sachem of the Potunke tribe, a tract of land now covered by the towns of South Windsor and Hartford, on which he resided, and a portion of which still remains in the possession of his descendants. What amounted to practically a feud with the authorities continued during most of his life, they continuing to call into question his title to the land which he held by deed from the Indians and he as consistently appealing to the law of England as against the highly theocratic form of government which the Puritans had established here. It would appear that in this contest Thomas Burnham was successful, as his large estate afterwards divided between his children and remained practically wholly in their hands. A portion of this tract was held by him under the will of Uncas, chief of the Mohegan tribe of Indians, and an ancestor of that famous Uncas who figured so prominently in the stories of Fenimore Cooper." [American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, citation details below.]

    Notwithstanding many sources' statements to the contrary, Thomas Burnham's forebears are unknown. See "The Confusing Origins of Thomas Burnham" by Mary Stanford Pitkin, which summarizes some of the problems.

    Thomas married Ann Wright about 1645. Ann (daughter of Richard Wright and Margaret) was born about 1622 in England; died on 5 Aug 1703 in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

    Children:
    1. William Burnham was born between Nov 1645 and Oct 1646 in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut; died on 12 Dec 1702 in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut; was buried in Wethersfield Village Cemetery, Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut.

Generation: 2