Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Robert Burdick

Male - 1692


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  • Name Robert Burdick 
    Gender Male 
    Alternate death Bef 25 Oct 1692  [1
    Died 25 Oct 1692  Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4
    Buried Burdick Ground, Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I172  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of TNH
    Last Modified 14 Sep 2019 

    Family Ruth Hubbard,   b. 11 Jan 1640, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1691, Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years) 
    Married 2 Nov 1655  Newport, Newport, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4, 5
    Children 
    +1. Deborah Burdick,   b. 1 Jan 1662, Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Dec 1697, Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 35 years)
    Last Modified 3 Dec 2017 
    Family ID F4870  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • [The following text about Robert Burdick appears on many different genealogical sites. We've been unable to identify its original author.]

      Robert Burdick, the immigrant ancestor of the Burdick family [...] came to Newport, Rhode Island from England in 1651. Robert Burdick was admitted a Freeman of Newport on May 22, 1655, and a Freeman of the Colony of Rhode Island on May 20, 1657. He married Ruth Hubbard, the first white child born at Agawam (now Springfield), Massachusetts, on November 2, 1655.

      Robert Burdick gained early notoriety during a land dispute between the colonies of Rhode Island and Massachusetts over a tract of land known as the Pequot Country -- land taken by the English colonists in the Pequot War of 1637 -- which is now situated, largely, within New London County, Connecticut. Boundary disputes had been going on for some time between Massachusetts and Connecticut over land within the Pequot Country, but the conflict in this instance was primarily between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The dispute was centered upon a small settlement located in Pequot Country, between Mystic and Pawcatuck, which, in 1658 was named Southertown, and which, today is mostly contained within Stonington, Connecticut and a small part of Westerly, Rhode Island. In October 1658, the colony of Massachusetts laid claim to this settlement, declared it to be a plantation with the name of Southertown, annexed it to Suffolk County, Massachusetts, and appointed special commissioners and a constable to administer the new plantation.

      In the meantime, the colony of Rhode Island purchased land in a transaction known as the Westerly Purchase to add to its Narrangansett settlement. Included in the Westerly Purchase was some of the land within the boundaries of Southertown. A group of Rhode Islanders, including the Newport farmer, Robert Burdick, and his neighbors Tobias Saunders and Joseph Clarke, laid claim within the new settlement. In retaliation for the Massachusetts claim to Southertown, the Rhode Island Assembly sent out the warning to all settlers within the area of dispute that their land would be confiscated if they put it under the governance of another colonial government (e.g. Massachusetts).

      On September 30, 1661, William Cheseborough, an early settler of Southertown from Plymouth Colony, testified before the General Court of Massachusetts of his concern that some thirty-six inhabitants of Rhode Island had come into Southertown and had divided and laid out lots. The General Court of Massachusetts issued a warrant to apprehend the Rhode Island men who had settled in Southertown. A stand-off ensued, and Robert Burdick, Tobias Saunders and Joseph Clarke were arrested (although Joseph Clarke was "upon extraordinary occasion...set at liberty.") For two years, the colony of Rhode Island attempted, unsuccessfully, to negotiate the release of Burdick and Saunders. As a last resort, Rhode Island authorities abducted two Massachusetts officials, who were then exchanged for the release of Robert Burdick and Tobias Saunders.

      The issuance of the Charter of Connecticut by King Charles II on April 25, 1662 fixed the eastern boundary of Connecticut at the Pawcatuck River. Southertown was situated within this boundary, and thus under the jurisdiction of Connecticut. Later, the British Crown settled the conflict by dividing the disputed land between Connecticut and Rhode Island. The land where Robert Burdick had settled was awarded to Rhode Island, and became part of the area known as Westerly. The land that was awarded to Connecticut became part of the area known as Stonington.

      After his release from prison, Robert Burdick settled on the same land he was taken from and inprisoned over. He and his wife, Ruth, had eleven children, nine of whom survived to adulthood and had children of their own. He served as a deputy to the General Court of Rhode Island from Westerly for the years 1680, 1683 and 1685, and he was one of the earliest members of the Seventh Day Baptist Church (the Sabbatarians).

  • Sources 
    1. [S648] New England Families Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, ed. William Richard Cutter. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913.

    2. [S3505] Find a Grave page for Robert Burdick.

    3. [S587] Ray Greene Huling, "Extracts from the Letter Book of Samuel Hubbard." Magazine of New England History 1:172, 1891., year only.

    4. [S995] Burdick Genealogy, by the Burdick Family Association.

    5. [S587] Ray Greene Huling, "Extracts from the Letter Book of Samuel Hubbard." Magazine of New England History 1:172, 1891.