Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Thomas Burnham

Male 1617 - 1686  (69 years)


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  • Name Thomas Burnham  [1
    Born 1617  England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Male 
    Alternate birth Abt 1620  [3
    Died 28 Jun 1686  [2
    Alternate death 24 Jun 1688  Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Person ID I2264  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of TNH
    Last Modified 16 Mar 2017 

    Family Ann Wright,   b. Abt 1622, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Aug 1703, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 81 years) 
    Married Abt 1645  [3, 4, 5, 6
    Children 
    +1. William Burnham,   b. Between Nov 1645 and Oct 1646, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Dec 1702, Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 57 years)
    Last Modified 19 Sep 2018 
    Family ID F5824  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • 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.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1100] Findagrave.com page for William Burnham.

    2. [S447] American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, ed. William Richard Cutter. New York: American Historical Society, 1919.

    3. [S501] Gale Ion Harris, "Thomas and Anna (Wright?) Burnham of Hartford, Connecticut: A Note on Dubious Dates." The American Genealogist 74:33, January 1999.

    4. [S160] Wikipedia.

    5. [S447] American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, ed. William Richard Cutter. New York: American Historical Society, 1919., says "1639.".

    6. [S101] The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volumes 1-3 and The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England,1634-1635, Volumes 1-7, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996-2011.