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Full text of "Sketch of Rev. Blackleach Burritt and related Stratford families : a paper read before the Fairfield County Historical Society, at Bridgeport, Conn., Friday evening, Feb. 19, 1892"

929.2 

B9458r 

1568162 



REYNOLDS HISTORICAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



&c 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 





3 1833 01201 1505 



SKETCH 



OF 



REV. BLACKLEACH BURRITT 



AND RELATED 



Stratford Families, 






M. I). RAYMOND, ESO. 



OF 



Tarry town, X. Y., 



BEFOEE THE 



Fairfield County Historical Society, 

At Bridgeport, Conn., 

Friday Evening, Feb. 19, 1892- 



PUBLISHED BV 

THE FAIRFIELD COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



* 

■ 

V i 



1568162 



BRIDGEPORT, CONN . 

THE STANDARD ASSOCIATION, PRINTERS. 

1892. 



REV. BLACKLEACH BURRITT. 

It may seem presumptuous for a resident of New York to 
appear before the Fairfield County Historical Society with a 
page of local history, and yet is it not fitting that Westchester 
Co., especially, should briny some offering as a tribute to the 
debt it owes, for ever since the days of Wouter Van Twiller, 
and William the Testy, and Antony Van Corlear, who essayed 
in vain with windy proclamations and his wonderful trumpet 
to stop the inroads of those terrible. Yankees, the peaceful 
invasion has been going on. so that to erase the names of the 
sons of Fairfield from its annals, would make a blank on many 
of the most illustrious pages of its history. The son may well 
indeed turn back and crown his honored sire with laurels. 

'•There be of them that have left a name behind them, that 
v their praises might be reported; and some there be which 

C£ have left no memorial ; who are perished, as though they had 

Z S. never been."' 

^ In a secluded spot on the eastern slope of the Green Moun- 

tains is the unmarked grave of a son of Stratford whose name 
well deserves to be illustrious in the annals of the County of 
Fairfield. A man of liberal culture, of more than ordinary 
gifts, a stalwart Patriot in the stormy days of the Revolution, 
a pioneer preacher of unusual power, of marked individuality 
and rugged character, of honorable ancestry, and with numer- 
ous and not less honorable posterity, such a man was Rev. 
Blackleach Burritt. The story of his life is not devoid of 
interest, and yet strange to relate, although here born, fitted 
for college, educated for the ministry, and within the borders 
of this county captured during the Revolution and taken to 
the notorious Sugar House Prison in New York, his name 
appears but once in your annals, in a brief note in the history 
of Stratford. Put first of his ancestry : 



v> 



THE BUHR1TTS 

May not have had heraldic fame, but they were of the un- 
crowned Kings of Welshland, whom even "William the Con- 
queror did not find it easy to dethrone, and who when they 
sailed away over the sea to the New World brought with them 
not only their bravo hearts and brawny arms, but their indom- 
itable love of liberty as well. 

Amon« those early of Stratford were "William Burnt t and 
Elizabeth his wife. They are said to have been from Glamor- 
ganshire, Wales, but the exact date of their arrival has not 
been ascertained ; quite possibly they had tarried for a time 
somewhere else in New England before coming here. The only 
place wherein William Burritt's name appears prior to the in- 
ventory of his estate, date of January 15, 1650-1, is iu a mem- 
orandum of the number of rods of fence the share of each 
settler to build. The paper bears no date, but was of course 
prior to his death. In the schedule of his estate he is spoken 
of as "lately deceased." The amount of the inventory was 
about £14.0. A very moderate heritage for the widow and her 
children, of whom there were three, two sons and a daughter; 
Stephen, John, and Mary, who is said to have married a .Smith 
at an early day and hence the numerous Smith family in 
America. 

The widow, Elizabeth Burritt. appears to have been a thrifty 
and sagacious woman, controlling her own affairs and ordering 
her household well. Though apparently not able to write her 
own name, she made her mark all over the early town records 
in more senses than one. She was buying more than selling 
and evidently adding to her possessions. She apportioned 
considerable real estate to her sons by conveyances dated 
April 5, 1G75, as follows: -To my loving and dutiful son. 
John Burritt, of ye said place, an equal half of my whole 
accommodations in Stratford aforesaid, being ye allotment and 
interest of my deceased husband, "Wm. Burritt, or by procure- 
ment of myself and my children, excepting only ye home lot 
and parcel of land at ye Fresh Pond, in ye old field, ye which 
has already been contracted to Stephen Burritt," one of which 
contractions being that "ve aforesid John Burritt should have 



the parcel of land lying on "Quimby's Neclc," &c. Stephen 
Burritt drew lot No. 40 in division of lands in 1671, and John 
Burritt Xo. Si. 

Widow Burritt evidently made her home with her eldest 
son, Stephen. Her will is dated Sept. 2, 1GS1, and she prob- 
ably died soon after. 

Stephen Burritt, the eldest son, was in the list of Freemen 
at Stratford "8th month. 7th day 1669,'' a lot owner 1671, and 
confirmed by the General Court as Ensign of the Train Band 
at Stratford in 1672. appointed Lieutenant Jan. 17, 1675, and 
the Council at Hartford, date of Sept. 18, ll>75, ordered that 
"The Dragoones from Fairfield County being come up, and 
Major Robert Treat sending to us to hasten them to their 
headquarters near Suekquaekheeg, it has ordered that 
accordingly the Dragoones of Fairfield should forthwith 
march away up to Norwottag, and so to our army, under 
the conduct of Ensign Stephen Burritt, and join them in 
defence of the plantations up the river, and to kill and destroy 
all such Indian enemies as should assault them on the afore- 
said plantations." Again, at a meeting of the Council of the 
Colony held Nov. 23, 1675, Stephen Burritt was appoint- 
ed Commissary of the Army, so rapidly was he promoted. 
No wonder Hinman says, "he was a noted Indian fight- 
er." Evidently a man of force, courage and resource, 
Ensign Stephen Burritt stands out a heroic figure on the 
pages of the history of Stratford. He was not only a 
brave soldier, but the old town records give evidence 
that he was a man of affairs. At the Town Meeting held 
Jan. 1, 1673, he was chosen Becorder, and his beautiful 
and character-like autograph which thereafter frequently ap- 
pears on the Town Books, may well be the envv of anv of his 
descendants. In 1689 he was appointed on a committee to 
assess damages for the changing of Black Creek into Mill 
Biver, by which one Robert Lane claimed to have been "dam- 
nified!" The same year he was chosen one of the Townsmen. 
In 1600 was an auditor of the accounts of the Town Treasurer, 
and also chairman of the committee on killing wolves. What 
a wolf killer that brave old Indian fighter must have been! 





He held other offices of trust, and was in his day one of the 
very foremost citizens of Stratford. The inventory of his 
estate, dated March 4. 1G97, shows a footing of £1.177 2v 
which includes £ j Gs, as the value of his "arms andammunil ion.' - 
He had died January 24, 1697-8, according to the old tomb- 
stone, fortunately still preserved. It appears that this ancient 
memorial was recently discovered by Mr. Robert H. Russell 
in the footpath leading from his house to his garden. It was 
several inches under ground, and about 200 feet from the 
southeast corner of the old Congregational burying ground. 
where it was doubtless originally placed. It is believed that 
many years since it was taken from thence by some vandal 
hands, and used for a time as a step-stone. Mr. T. B. Fair- 
child, of Stratford, though not a descendant or of kindred, to 
his credit be it said, caused this memorial stone to be returned 
and reset. 

He had married, Nov. 8, 1G73, Sarah Nichols, the 
daughter of Isaac Nichols, a prominent Stratford family, one 
of her sisters having married Rev. Joseph Webb, and another 
Rev. Israel Chauncey, pastor of the Stratford church front 
1GG5 to 1703, who was one of the founders of Yale College 
and was chosen its first president, but declined the honor. 
By this marriage Stephen Burritt had seven children, as 
follows : 

Elizabeth, born July 1,1075; William, born March 29, 1G77 ; 
(died young,) Peleg, (1st) born Oct. 5, 1679; Josiali, born 
1G81 ; Israel, born 1087; Charles, (1st) born 1090; Ephraim, 
(1st) born 1093. 

Peleg Burritt (1st) married Sarah Benit, (sic) Dec. 5, 170.1. 
and had issue : William, baptized Oct. 13, 1700 ; Daniel, 
(Bridgeport church records) 1708; Sarah, (Stratford town 
records) born July 20, 1712; Peleg, (Jr.,) bom Jan. 8. 1720-1. 
Peleg Burritt, Sr , of Stratford, deeded lands to Lis son 
Peleg Jr., at Ripton Parish, including forty acres on Walnut 
Hill, "excepting only my own new dwelling house," date of 
April 25, 1740. He had sold land on Snake Brook, to Rich- 
ard Nichols, April 27, 1713. Date of his death not ascer- 
tained. Sarah, wife of Peleg, united with the church at Strat- 



field in December, 170':). 

Of the other sons of Ensign Stephen Burritt, Josiah whs 
one of the proprietors of Newtown. 1710, and had numer- 
ous descendants there. He married Mary Peat, March 10. 
1703. and had Elizabeth, baptized (Bridgeport church) July 
23,1701; Stephen, baptized (Bridgeport church) Feb. 10, 
1706 ; Benjamin and Phoebe, (twins) born (Stratford town 
records), Jan. 29, 1708; William, born January, 1709, all of 
whom were of Newtown. Israel, 4th son of Ensign Stephen, 
married Sarah Coe, March 4, 1719. and is said to have settled 
in Durham. Charles, 5th son of Ensign Stephen, had Daniel, 
Israel, Charles and Elilra (1 i, who married and had among 
other children, Elihu (2), who had Elijah, Elizabeth, Emily. 
George and Elihu (3), distinguished as the " Learned Black- 
smith," who Mas born at New Britain, Conn.. Dec. 8, 1811, 
and whose fame is world wide. Charles Burritt took Free- 
man's oath at Stratford September, 1730. He and Mary 
his wife, were members of the Stratfield church, 171S. 
Daniel Burritt, son of Charles and Mary, his wife, died 
prior to his father, who by will dated Jan. 23, 1701, gave to 
the. children of his son Daniel. The distribution of the estate 
of Daniel mentions the widow Comfort, daughters, Boxanna 
married Richard Hubbell 4th, Penninah. married Samuel 
Brinsmade, and Amelia, and sons Stephen, Bollins and Elijah 
Burritt. Elijah, though mentioned last, was probably the 
eldest, and probably not a son of the widow Comfort, but of 
a former wife, as there is good authority for saying — Steph- 
en was his half brother. Elijah was born in 1713, it is the 
family tradition, on the site of his lifelong residence, which 
still stands, and appears good for another one hundred years. 
He was a man of fine form and presence, si"c feet in height, of 
uniformly good health, never sick until the last year of his 
life. He died Sep. 23, 1841, at the advanced age of ninety- 
eight years and six months. His life was one of great activi- 
ty, his business embracing blacksmithiug, buckskin leather 
dressing, and cooperage, as well as farming. He was over- 
seer and agent for the Golden Hill Indians from A. D., 1812 
to 1831, at a period when their numbers comprised quite a 



8 

band. This rendered the distribution of the income of their 
small fund both delicate ami difficult. By them ho was 
looked up to as a father, lb 1 was a man of high character 
and intelligence, of the strictest integrity and religiously a 
strong- Churchman. He retained his faculties unimpaired in 
a remarkable degree until the last, and from his intelligence 
and long life, he occupies in local history a peculiar position. 
In his younger years ho was acquainted with the men and 
events of the earliest period. In his latest years, he reached 
down, and communicated his knowledge to men now living. 

Isaac Sherman, Esq., says : " It was from him, (Mr. Bur- 
ritt) that I derived much of the information I possess relative 
to the early settlers of Strat field," (now Bridgeport), and 
which he has so well transmitted in his published recollec- 
tions. 

Elijah Burritt was thrice married. His first wife was Sarah 
Hall, daughter of John Hall, Stratfield, by whom he had one 
son and five daughters, viz ; 

1. Daniel, merchant. Bridgeport, known as Colonel Burritt, 
unmarried. 

2. Comfort, died young. 

3. Ann, married Ephraim "Wheeler Sherman, and had issue, 
three sons and three daughters. 

4. Hannah, married Silas Shelton, of Huntington, and had 
issue, two sons five daughters.* 

5. Mercy, married Captain James Fayerweather, of Bridge- 
port. 

G. Phoebe, married Captain Samuel Hawley, Xo. 2,335 in 
the Hawley family record. 

* — Of these daughters, Elizabeth was a member of the family of her grandfather 
Burritt until h<-r marriage tu Captain George Lath-Id. Their children are Harriet, mar- 
ried Or. Joseph S. French, Charles Howard, married Susan Lobdell, Mary Bunitt, 
niarTied Edwin J. Xettleton. Another daughter Harriet, married Henry Bassett, and 
had one son, Frank IE, who with his mother now own and occupy tin- old homestead 
of her Grandfather Burritt, Mrs. Lafield, aged Beventy-eight years, and Mrs. Bassett, 
aged seventy-five years, were able to attend the meeting of the Historical Society, 
Feb. 19, 18'J'2, and listened with much interest to the reading of this pap> r. The oldest 
daughter, Mary Shelton, who married Mr. E. Huge, was also represented by her daugh- 
ter, Mary Burritt, who by contributions of her pen and pencil illustrates and perpetu- 
ates the history of the Ancestral Home which was erected in 17.^;i, on the site occupied 
by Mr. Daniel Burritt, t'athrr of Elijah. A crayon picture of this house ma !■• by 
Mary Burritt Huize is hung upon the walls of the Historical Society, as a companion 
piece to the portrait of Mr. Burritt, painted by Edwin White, for Mr. and Mrs. B. T. 
Nichols. Mr. Nichols who was the survivor, at his death directed it given to the His- 
torical Society. K. B. L., Feb. 1892. 



9 

Mr. Burritt married second, Sarah Faircliild, of Redding, 
Conn, Her only child was 

7. Maiy, married Barak T. Nichols. 

His third marriage was to Sarah (Chappell) McLean. She 
had by her first marriage, Dr. John McLean, physician, Nor- 
walk, Conn , and Sarah, who married George Wade, Bridge- 
port. 

Stephen Burritt, son of Daniel, and half brother to Elijah 
Burritt, had his residence on Old Mill Green near the Mill 
Bond. He married Hannah Piatt Avery, daughter of Lev. 
Elisha Avery.of Norwalk, Conn., and cousin of John S. Avery* 
and had Charlotte C, born 1797, died Aug. 8,1837; Mary 
Ann, born 1799, died Dec. 21, 18-20; and Stephen Elisha 
Avery, born Nov. S, 1801, died April 1825. Stephen Bur- 
ritt died 181-5, aged sixty-two years; Hannah, his wife, died 
Oct. 25, 1813, aged eighty years. The children were all un- 
married, and the grave marks of the entire family stand 
together in Pembroke cemetery. 

Stephen Elisha Avery Burritt appears to have been a very 
bright and promising young man. He was graduated at Yale 
College in the class of 1824. when but nineteen years old. A 
class album of his, of remarkable interest, is in the posses- 
sion of the Fairfield Countv Historical Society, donated by J. 
N. Ireland, Esq. The original contributions and selections 
show a high appreciation of young Burritt, and bear the sig- 
natures of such, men as Judge Origen Storrs Seymour, Hon. 
Eliphalet T. Bulkeley, father of Governor Morgan G. Bulke- 
ley, Linus Child. Ebenezer Jessup, Dr. Jeremiah T. Dennison, 
Benjamin D. Stillman, Esq., New York; Hamilton Murray, 
New York ; Dr. Frederick J. Judson and Henry D. Sterl- 
ing, (brother of Hon. D. H. Sterling,") of Bridgeport, and 
others of equal standing. 

Ephraim's children were Eunice, Mvrtho, Mary, Ephraim, 
Jr., Stephen, "William, Abel and Lewis. 

Daniel Burritt, son of Stephen, who was a son of Josiah, 
son of Ensign Stephen, probably married Sarah Collins, at 
New Milford, Feb. 8, 175'), and lived at Arlington. Yt., for 

'Note. — John S. Avery occupied the Stephen iiurritt place about 1810. 



10 

some years prior to (he Revolution, when, being a Loyalist, 
he went to Canada and settled at Augusta, near Preseott, 
where he died aged ninety-three. Of his sons, Adoniram 
lived to be ninety-eight, Stephen, eighty-four, Daniel, Jr , 
eighty-seven, and Major upwards of ninety; a daughter, Lois 
lived to be ninety-three. Whether Toryism had anything to 
do with this extraordinary longevitv is not recorded. Per- 
haps it was to give time for repentance. But there were 
many patriots among the Burritts, some of whom lived to be 
aged. Among those whose names appear on the list of Rev- 
olutionary soldiers in Connecticut are John, Philip. Abijah, 
Anthony, Charles, Elihu, Israel, Nathan, Abel, Eben, Stephen, 
William Burritt and others. Israel Burritt was from New 
Milford, and was commissioned as Lieutenant, Andrew Bur- 
ritt, born 1741, who married Eunice Welhs, Jan. 27, 17G3, and 
was the great-grandfather of Oscar C. Burritt, of Hydeville, 
Vt., is also said to have been engaged in the Revolution. 
Some of the descendants of the daughters of the above Daniel 
Burritt, still reside at Arlington, Vt. 

John Burritt, son of William and Elizabeth, and the young- 
er brother of Ensign Stephen, as appears in the Stratford 
records was a lot owner as early as 1G71. He married Debo- 
rah Barley, or Barlow, May 1, 1084, and had a son Joseph, 
born March 12, 1085, as the records show. Although Savage 
says in his Genealogical notes that John was unmarried, he 
appears to have been twice married, his second marriage 
having been with Hannah Fairchild, date of May 5. 1708. It 
is claimed that he had a son John, but that is doubtful, 
for Joseph is named as Administrator, and as sole heir of his 
father's estate, date of Oct. 3, 1727, the will having been 
filed Eeb. 17, 172G-7. The inventory of the estate amounted 
to Jt:i751.9sld. Joseph Burritt made his will March 10. 1750 ; 
left widow Mary, sons William, John, Nathan, Samuel, daugh- 
ters Deborah, wife of Jonas Thompson, Hannah, wife of Isaae 
Beach ; also had Mary, born Sep. 22, 1721, and Ebenezer, 
bom Dec. 18, 1728. Tins Joseph Burritt, son of John, was 
probably the ancestor of Joseph Burritt, born in StraU'urd in 
1758, who married Sarah Ufford, and was the father of Joseph 



]] 

Burritt, Jr., who died at Ithaca, N. Y., in 1838, aged ninety- 
four. He had married Asenath Curtiss, of Stratford, June 
17, 1816, and left many descendants. 

Peleg Burritt, Jr., born Jan. 7, 1719-20, married first (bLs 
second marriage is elsewhere noted) Elizabeth, daughter of 
Richard Blackleach, Jr., of Ripton Parish, date unknown, but 
evidently prior to Dec. 15, 174*2, for on that date Richard 
Blackleach, Jr., conveyed land " to my son, Peleg Burritt, Jr., 
of said Stratford." He doubtless lived at Ripton Parish. 
There was a daughter born of this marriage named Mehitabel, 
after her grandmother, Mehitabel Laboree Burritt, and a son 
Blackleach Burritt, but the church records of Ripton Parish, 
prior to 1773, having been destroyed, and the family record of 
Peleg Burritt, Jr., having been lost at the time of the Wyo- 
ming Massacre, it has been found impossible to definitely 
ascertain the date of the marriage or the birth of either of 
these children. The birth of Blackleach Burritt has been 
placed by some as early as 1740, but as his father was then 
scarcely twenty years of age, it cannot be taken as even ap- 
propriately correct, especially in view of the fact that his sis- 
ter's name precedes his in order of mention in the will of 
their grandfather Blackleach. Probably she was born about 
17P2, and he about 1741. As will be noticed he was cotempo- 
rary with the late Elijah Burritt, of Stratford, and not dis- 
tantly related to him. 

THE BLACKLEACH FAMILY. 

The Blackleach family was early of Connecticut, John 
Blackleach, Jr., of Hartford, 1659, being perhaps the grand- 
father of Richard, Jr. Richard Si' , was of Stratford as soon 
as 1G7G ; was a merchant, and is called Richard Blackleach, 
gentleman. In 1698, in the prosecution of his business, he 
was plaintiff in a suit against Mr. William Hoadley, merchant. 
of Branford, concerning some Negro Slaves delivered by him 
to the said Hoadley, to be paid for in corn, which was in the 
courts for several years, but in which he was finally successful. 
He was a high Churchman, but instead of carrying the Gospel 
to the Heathen on "Afrie's golden sands," he evidently 
brought the Heathen to the Gospel! This experiment of his 



12 

in the wav of Evangelization, is in striking contrast with an 
earlier fact recorded of John Blackleach, (probably his father) 
who kept the ferry over the Housatonic river between Stratford 
and Milford, who in 1G69, petitioned to be allowed to make 
known to the Indians, as he should have opportunity, "some- 
thing of the knowledge of God." Richard Blackleach, Sr , 
died in 1731, aged seventy-six years. 

Richard Blackleach, Jr., married Mehitabel Laboree, prob- 
ably the widow of Dr. Laboree, Feb. 2, 1715-16, and had two 
children, Elizabeth, who married Peleg Burritt, Jr., and Sarah, 
who married Mr. Edward Jessup Mehitabel Laboree Black- 
leach died Feb. 21, 1735. His will made Feb. 27, 1747, was 
recorded Oct. 2, 1750, and inventory tiled April 28, 1751. 
The following is a transcript of the substance of it: 

"I give unto Mehitabel Burritt, daughter of Peleg Burritt, 
Jr., of Stratford, one Silver Cup, two Silver Spoons, together 
with all my Movable Estate, provided she lives to ye age of 
eighteen years or marriage ; but if she die before, I give said 
Movables unto Blackleach Burritt, ye son of Peleg Burritt, 
Jr." He also gave £5 to his daughter Sarah Jessup, wife of 
Edward Jessup of Fairfield, and £5 to each of her six children. 
He further gave '• unto Blackleach Burritt, son of Peleg, Jr., 
and unto his heirs and assigns forever, all m viand, meadow 
and buildings in said Stratford, being butted and bounded 
as appears of record." Ephraim Judson and Daniel Thomp- 
son were named as executors, and were given authority to 
sell land on Fawn Hill if necessary to pay the debts and be- 
quests, and they did so sell lands to Peleg Burritt, Jr., date 
of March 5, 1753. The total inventory shows £1,051. 3s7d, 
of which £850 was real estate. In the personal property 
was " one Silver Cup, holding near one pint, two Silver Spoons, 
and two dozen Silver Vest Buttons," valued altogether at 
£2 Osod. And these were for Mehitabel, and something of 
personal property besides ; quite a dower. Little is handed 
down in regard to this young lady, and it is not known 
whether or not she married. She is said to have been very 
handsome, and of a somewhat mercurial disposition. 

The probate records of Fairfield show the final settlement 



13 

of the estate of Richard Blaekleach to have taken place in 
1758. The (kbit:? include a charge for going to Green's 
Farms to pay the bequests to Mrs. Edward Jessup and her 
children, and i^iO paid out by the executors for the expenses 
involved in a law suit, the records of which considerable re- 
search failed to disclose. 

And so the lad Blaekleach Burritt was made the heir to 
quite an estate, the disposition of which, however, does not 
fully appear. Nothing notable is known of his boyhood and 
youth except the stories of his acrobatic performances on tin; 
roofs of buildings which he seemed to delight in, to the terror 
of his step-mother, to whom he is said to have been much 
attached. He doos not appear to have been the traditional 
goody, goody boy. who is expected to die young, but he had the 
timber in him that men are made of. Aspiring after an educa- 
tion, he entered Yale College, where he graduated, as his 
still well preserved diploma, an ancient parchment testifies, 
in the class of 17G5. An exciting incident of his college life 
was the celebrated case of the poisoning of a large number 
of the students. In answer to recent inquiry, Professor 
Dexter, of Yale, gives the following version o( the affair : 

"The mysterious sickness at College occurred on April 14, 
17G4. A common rumor at the time, and later, imputed it to 
poison administered by a French woman employed in the 
College commons; but the more reasonable view held by 
President Ciapp was, that some students that were rebel- 
lious against the food furnished in the commons, bribed the 
French woman to put some strong physic into the food, in 
the hope of breaking up the system."' 

In a sketch of Pew Isaac Lewis, D. D., who was a native of 
Stratford and a classmate of Blaekleach Burritt, which ap- 
pears in Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit, the fol- 
lowing account of that affair is given: "At that time the 
whole College was poisoned through the villainy of certain 
French neutrals. These fellows had taken mortal offense at 
the conduct of a few wild students,"' and they meditated 
" the most deadly revenge. To accomplish their purpose, 
they contrived to visit the kitchen where the food of the stu- 



14 

dents was prepared and infused a largo quantity of arsenic 
into one of the dishes that was to be placed before them. A 
deadly sickness came over all -who partook of the food, and a 
few ■were so affected that they died shortly after.'' 

Of Blackleach Burritt it is said that he was at that, time 
engaged in nursing his sick chum, Samuel Mills. Another 
account says that he took a frugal meal of bread and milk on 
that occasion and so escaped being poisoned. Samuel Mills' 
father, Kev. Jedediah Mills, who was then and for many 
years the pastor of the church at Ripton Parish, in Stratford, 
was preaching in the pulpit when a messenger arrived from 
New Haven, and wont first up into the pulpit, and then to 
Captain Burritt. Service was then dismissed, and both im- 
mediately went to Xew Haven. All of which is of interest as 
leading up to the fact that not long after this, "Whitfield vis- 
ited Xew Haven, and delivered a memorable discourse in the 
College chapel, that is said to have led to a great change in 
the current of Mr. Burritt's life, and which resulted in his 
uniting with the church in Yale College, date of Feb. 3, 17C>.">. 
and led to the consecration of himself to the noble work of 
the Christian Ministry. 

On graduating he pursued his theological studies with his 
venerable and able pastor, Kev. Jedediah Mills, of Kipton 
Parish, evidently in company with his classmates and compan- 
ions of his boyhood, Samuel Mills and Isaac Lewis, for at 
a meeting of the Fairfield Fast Association, as appears 
in the old records now in the possession of Rev. Joel S. 
Ives, of Stratford, the Stated Clerk of that Association, held 
at Daubury on the last Tuesday of Feb'y, 17G8, "Isaac Lewis, 
A. B., and Blackleach Burritt, A. B., presented themselves 
as Candidates for Examination to preach the Gospel. Their 
credentials being required, they offered the following, viz.: 
'To the Revd. Asso'n convened at Danbury. Gent'm: Being 
detained by bodily Indisposition, I do hereby signify that 
Mr. Lewis and Mr. Burritt, the bearers, were sometime 
since recommended to us by Mr. Dagget, Pastor of a 
Church in New-Haven, and are in Good Standing with us in 
all things as becometh the Gospel. Mr. Jedediah Mills, Pas- 



15 

tor, Ripton, Feb y 22, 1768.' Adjourned till to-morrow morn- 
ing eleven o'clock. Met according to adjournment and pro- 
ceeded to the examination of the Candidates as to their 
Qualifications for the Work of the Ministry and then ad- 
journed until to-morrow morning eight o'clock. Met Feb. 
24, 1768, according to adjournment, and proceeded to com- 
plete the examination of the aforementioned Candidates, as 
to their Abilities natural & acquired, their Knowledge, Doc- 
trinal and experimental, and finding them hopefully qualified 
for the work of the ministry: do accordingly License them to 
preach the Gospel, and recommend them to the Service of the. 
Churches wheresoever God in his providence shall call them."' 
Rev. Jedediah Mills, born 1697, was a son of Peter Mills, of 
Windsor, Conn., born 166S ; he graduated at Yale, 1722, was 
pastor of Ripton Parish from 1723-P,; a friend of Whitfield, 
who commemorates him in his journal as " a dear man of God." 
He died in 1776, greatly lamented, having retired from active 
service three years previously. His son Samuel, who was a 
classmate of Blackleach Burritt, was for some time pastor of 
the Presbyterian Church in Bedford. Westchester County. 
N. Y. Rev. Isaac Lewis, D. D., the other classmate referred 
to. who was a native of Ripton Parish, Stratford, was located 
many years at Wilton, was a Chaplain in the Continental 
Armv. 1776 ; and after the Revolution, was settled over the 
Church at Old Greenwich, where Rev. Mr. Burritt. as will be 
seen, was fur a time located. He died Aug. 27, 1S10, in his 
ninety-fifth year. 

And so Rev. Blackleach Burritt was regulary licensed to 
preach. He had previously married Martha Wells, daughter 
of Gideon and Eunice Wells, of Ripton Parish, at a date not 
known, but probably soon after graduating from College, as 
his second daughter was born Feb. 26, 176S. And as he 
not only so married a descendant of the distinguished Colonial 
Governor of Connecticut, Thomas Welles, but two of his 
daughters were afterwards also united with kindred of that 
name, it seems fitting to here give a brief lineage of that 
noted family. , 



10 

THE WELLES FAMILY 

Is illustrious in the annals of this country, but as the head of 
one among the many different branches which here appeared 
at an early day, Thomas Welles, the distinguished Colonial 
Governor of Connecticut, stands out pre-eminent. It may be 
difficult to trace his direct connection with heraldic honors. 
or to those whose names were inscribed at Battle Abbey, by 
order of William the Conqueror, (the family tracings go back 
it is said to 791) but he was evidently of good family and so 
bore himself as to be well entitled to the kingly title of a 
man. Late investigations indicate that Thomas Welles was 
from Northamptonshire, where he was born in 159S. In the 
English Calendar of Colonial State Papers, is found, date of 
1G35, '"Thomas Welles and Elizabeth lis wife Recusant, 
(i. e. Non-Conformists) in Ilothwell, Northamptonshire.'' 
Articles of accusation were drawn up against him and he was 
warned to appear in the Court of Star Chamber to answer 
charges. He was admonished to answer " plene " under pain 
of being taken pro confesso. Was then warned to appear 
next court day to receive final judgment. Feb. 12, 1635, he 
had been ordered sentenced. As he then disappeared from 
Roth well, having lost all of his property by confiscation, he 
doubtless at that time entered the service of his kinsman, 
Lord Saye and Sele, who protected all of the Puritans to the 
best of his ability. 

" In the year 1035, John Winthrop arrived at Boston with 
a commission from Lord Saye & Sele, Lord Brooks and other 
noblemen interested in the Connecticut Patent, to erect a fort 
at the mouth of the Connecticut river. They sent men, amu- 
nitions and two thousand pounds sterling, (Winthrop's Jour- 
nal). Early in 1G3G, Lord Saye & Sele, with his Private Sec- 
retary Thomas Welles, came out to Saybrooke, but his Lord- 
ship discouraged by the gloomy aspect of everything about 
him, and not finding his golden dreams realized, returned to 

o o 

England, leaving his Secretary behind to encounter the dan- 
gers and difficulties of the then wilderness. Thomas Welles 
proceeded up the Connecticut river with his company as far 
as Wethersfield and Hartford. 



17 



Thomas Welles on his arrival in Connecticut, disclaimed 
''Arms," in compliance with the general custom, but that did 
not prevent his taking a prominent position at an early day 
in the affairs of the Colony, and from bravely counselling to 
take up arms against the warlike Pequots at that memorable 
Court of the Magistrates of whom lie was one, held on the 
7th day of May, 1637. He held the office of Magistrate for 
twenty-two years, and until bis death. In 1G39 was Treas- 
urer of the Colony : in 1611, Secretary; in 1619, a Commis- 
sioner of the United Colonies ; in 1651, Moderator of the 
General Court, and Deputy Governor; in 1655, Governor; in 
1656-57, Deputy Governor; 1658, Governor, and in 1659 
again Deputy Governor. Was considered one of the best 
writers in the Colony and most of the laws of that period 
were drafted by him. Was a man of affairs, and one of tho 
largest taxpayers. Ho died at Wethersfield, Jan. 14. 1660, 
leaving a widow and seven children, four sons and three 
daughters, besides one son deceased. 

John Welles, the eldest son of Governor Welles, born in 
Northamptonshire, 1621, came to this country with his father 
in 1636 ; was made a Freeman at Hartford, April 1, 1615; 
removed shortly after to Stratford in which he received his 
father's interest; was the Representative, 1G56-7 : Magistrate 
and Judge of Probate, in 1658. He died in 1659, aged thirty- 
eight years, leaving the following children: John, Thomas 
and Kobert, (twins) Temperance, Samuel and Sarah. The 
widow, Elizabeth Welles, who was left by her husband's will 
" all that is due her in England and forty pounds to carry 
her there, if she chooses to go," married second, in 1663, 
John Willeockson, of Stratford. 

John Welles, Jr., called Captain Welles in the Stratford rec- 
ords, was born at Stratford, in 1648, and was married to 
Mary Hollister, daughter of John Hoi lister, of Wethersfield, 
1669. There were eight children, viz. : Mary, Thomas and 
Sarah, (twins) John, Comfort, Joseph, Elizabeth and Kobert, 
all born in Stratford. John Welles, Jr., died Nov. 24, 1714. 

Thomas Welles, eldest son of John Welles, Jr% born Jan. 
2, 1674, was married about 1710, to Sarah, daughter of 



18 

Ephraim Stiles, of Stratford. There were nine children, as 
follows : 

Bathsheba, born April 30,1711; Ephraim, born Nov. 7, 
1712; Comfort, born Sep. 15, 1714; Thomas, born Aug. 20, 
1717; Gideon, born Nov. 12, 1719; Daniel, born May 19, 
1722 ; Gnrdon, born Feb. 3, 1724 ; Hezekiah, born July. 1732. 

Thomas Welles was commonly known as Deacon Welles, 
being the first of that name to hold that office in the old 
Stratford church. 

Gideon Welles, son of Deacon Thomas, married Eunice ( ) 

and lived at Ripton Parish, in Stratford, where she died 
Jan. 8, 1S05. aged eighty-five, and he died Oct. 19, 1805, aged 
eighty-six years. His will, probated Nov. 2, 1805, on file in 
the Bridgeport records, gives to his daughters Eunice Welles, 
who had married Simeon Hamilton, June 4, 1704 ; 

Ruth Welles, who had married Timothy Hatch, Nov. 28, 
1782 ; 

Diantha Welles, who had married John Ayers, Dec 1. 1782; 

Blackleach Bun-it t, Jr., son of my daughter (deceased,) 
Martha Burritt ; 

Each five pounds': while the real estate was divided be- 
tween his sons, Stiles, Gideon, Jr.. and Robert Welles, all of 
Ripton Parish. Robert Welles married Anna Wheeler, Dee. 
9, 1779. The marriages of the other sons do not appear. 

Hezekiah Welles, the youngest son of Deacon Thomas, was 
married at Stratford, about 1753, to Phebe Latin, and had 
five sons : David, Josiah, born about 1750, Gurdon, Abijah 
and Abner. She died at Ripton Parish, Jan. 2. 1812, aged 
ninety years. Hezekiah was a Sergt. in Capt. Edward Barnard's 
company in the French war, 1759. He is believed to have re- 
moved to Xew Milford. His son, Josiah. married Prudence 
Leavenworth, at Ripton Parish, Jan. 13, 1770, and had a son. 
James, born 1780. who married at DeRuyter. Madison Coun- 
ty, N. Y., Oct. 1802, Prudence, daughter of Rev. Blackleach 
Burritt. 

Gurdon Welles, third son of Hezekiah, born Feb. 28. 17o8, 
in Ripton Parish, was there married March 1, 1792, to Sarah, 
daughter of Rev. Blackleach Burritt. 



■] '.< 

The Fairfield East Association, which licensed Mr. B'ur- 
ritt, recommended him to the church at Ridgebury, as a 
worthy and proper person, and the records show him to have 
been there for a short period, from April S, 1768, the prede- 
cessor of Rev. Samuel Camp, who was ordained there in 1769. 
From then until 1772, there is no record of him, bur he is be- 
lieved to have been at New Milford, Conn., where there were 
kindred of his wife's, and where there was a Separatist 
churcb, or at North .Salem, "Westchester, County, X. Y. As 
early as 1772. he appeared at Pound Ridge, in Westchester 
Comity, N Y.. and was the first recorded pastor of the Pres- 
byterian church at that place. The records of the old Dutch- 
ess County Presbytery, of which he became a member, at a 
meeting held May ±, 1774, recommended the Congregation 
at Pound Ridge, to give a call to the Rev. Blackleach Burritt 
to settle among them in the work of the ministry. Whereupon 
a formal call was duly extended to him, and on June 15, 1774, 
an adjourned meeting of the Presbytery was held at that 
place for the purpose of his ordination. On the day follow- 
ing, after account of some preliminary business, and the for- 
mal ordaining of Rev. Mr. Burritt, the following record ap- 
pears : ''But inasmuch as there are certain difficulties sub- 
sisting in this Church and Congregation respecting Mr. Bur- 
ritt's being settled over them, the Presbytery doos not think 
proper to give Mr. Burritt the particular charge of this Con- 
gregation, as their stated Pastor, but do ordain him with ref- 
erence to them, and appoint him to labor here in his Ministe- 
rial office for the space of one year." At the end of that year 
another remonstrance from aggrieved members of that con- 
gregation was presented to the Presbytery, but his friends 
were more powerful, and he was continued there for another 
year. A copy of the original protest is herewith presented, 
not only as a quaint and original document, but as giving 
occasion to show the trend of his religious thought. 
To the Reverend' Presbytery now Conven>.<l hi Pound Ridge: 
Rev. Sirs: We the subscribers beg leave to show before 
you the Reasons why we are not willing the Rev. Mr. Burritt 
should not be introduct into the work of the Gospel Ministry 



20 



in this place, which are as followeth, viz; The first & 
great reason is Because we in our opinions Look upon his 
principals in matters of a Religious Nature not to be Agree- 
able to the Directions. Pailes & Precepts of the Gospel, & 
so consequently contrary to the Dictates of our Consciences, 
& also contrary to the Peace & good order of this place as to 
Ecclesiastical Enjoyments, & notwithstanding the Desirable 
qualities & Endowments which are Discoverable in the gen- 
tleman in other respects. As Sundry of us have signed for 
Mr. Burret's Salery, we stand ready to give the reasons sev- 
erally when required. "We desire to guard against a Party 
spirit, requesting the same of our fellow members of this 
community, humbly' imploring Divine assistance that we may 
all be brought to such conclutionin unity as in this important 
afare shall be most conducive to God's glory & the public 
weal of this Ecclesiastical communite, is the earnest request 
of your most obedient and Humble Servts, the subscribers. 
Pound Ridge, June 14, 1774. 



Eb C. Brown, 
David Fansher, 
Amos Scotield, 
Enos Brown, 
Joseph Seofield, 
Ebenezer Bouton, Jr., 
David Dart, 
Joseph Seymour. 



Ebenezer Seymour, 
Nathaniel Fansher, 
Abraham Slason, 
William Garnsey, 
Timothy Bowton, 
Joseph Fanshaw, 



To understand the causes of this protest it is only necessa- 
ry to recall the fact that Mr. Burritt had imbided the spirit 
of "Whitfield's preaching while in College, and that he had 
studied Theology under Rev. Jedediah Mills, who was a friend 
of "Whitfield, and in favor of revivals, the new light movement, 
and less restrictions of Church and State, as it' then existed 
in the Colony. That was evidently the reason of his early 
migration over the borders and into the larger ecclesiastical 
liberty which then obtained in the State of New York ; 
but Pound Ridge being essentially a New England commun- 
ity, offered some resistance to his theological thesis. The 
opposition also embraced all there was of incipient toryisra 



21 

there, which his stalwart patriotism was sure to antagonize. 

Mr. Burritfs official relations witli the Church at Pound 
Ridge closed April 1, 177G, but his family appears to have re- 
mained a while longer. The well preserved tradition is, as 
stated by Rev. W. J. dimming, in his History of the West- 
chester County Presbytery, that when Rev. Samuel Sackett, 
of Crompond, present Yorktown, X. Y., was so outspoken that 
lie was obliged to seek safety in flight, Blackleach Burnt t 
supplied his place. Miss Mary Lee, of a family long connect- 
ed with the Church at Crompond, has the well remembered 
tradition, and says, '-He was thought very much of as a Min- 
ister of the Gospel by the people of that place." He was 
doubtless there and in that vicinity for some two vears after 
severing his relations with his previous charge. 
MR. BURRITT'S CAPTURE. 

As patriotism was a crowning glory to Rev. Mr. Burritt, so 
his capture was the dramatic event of his life. As alreadv re- 
lated, he bravely held the post of danger when others retired, 
but the Federal lines having been forced back so that it be- 
came desirable to use the Church and Parsonage at Crompond 
(present Yorktown) for military purposes, it became a neces- 
sity and duty to take his family to a place of greater safety. 
This probably occurred sometime in 1778. And then he and 
they seemed to disappear. His subsequent capture and in- 
carceration in the old Sugar House Prison, was indeed a well 
authenticated tradition in every branch of his family, but 
where and when did the capture occur ? As to the time, no 
date was mentioned, and as to the place, there was a wide di- 
vergence, some claiming that it was at White Plains, West- 
chester County, and others that it was on Long Island. 
Long continued research disproved both of these theories , 
but negations prove nothing. And irhen was the capture ? 
Light unexpectedly flashed upon that query from a chance 
perusal of Washington Irving's biography, in which, in a 
quaint certificate to William Irving, testifying to his kindlv 
interest in the welfare of patriot prisoners, and to which 
further reference will be made, he says that he was " prisoner 
in this city, (New York) as early in the war as June, 1779." 



• >■) 



There was a clue and it was carefully followed up. 

Where was ho captured .' That was the perplexing question. 
The search was continued as opportunity offered. The tradi- 
tionary account seemed to place the scene near some navi- 
gable body of water. — the river or the sea. The Sound line 
in Westchester County was devastated and in the possession 
of the unrelenting loyalists — he certainly would not take his 
wife and children into the jaws of such a lion. Fairfield 
County only remained, but a careful scanning of its history 
gave no clue. Nothing in its recorded or unrecorded annals 
gave the first faint glimmer of light. But at last, patient 
waiting, patient looking, had its abundant reward, and tlie 
truth was made as clearly to appear as the sun in the heav- 
ens. 

The following Tory account of Mr. Burritt's capture was 
found in Frank Moore's "Diary of- the Revolution," credited 
to the New Hampshire Gazette of the issue of July 13, 1779, 
and it was the first discovery of the long looked for event. It 
led up to others that follow : 

"June 19. — Yesterdav morning about 4 o'clock 32 Refugees 
commanded by Capt. Bonnell and other officers landed at 
Greenwich, in Connecticut. A thick fog favored their en- 
trance, and they marched through the town undiscovered ; 
but the Rebel guard being at length alarmed, and imagining 
the Refugees to be more numerous than in fact thev were, 
fled with precipitation before them, and so close was the pur- 
suit that some were overtaken and secured. The inhabitants 
of the town refused to open their doors to the Refugees, and 
reduced them to the necessity of entering the windows ; 
notwithstanding which they plundered the houses of nothing 
but arms and ammunition, their principal object being horned 
cattle, of which they brought off 38, also 4 horses and 10 or 
12 prisoners. Among the latter is a most pestiferous Rebel 
Priest and preacher of sedition, who when taken swore that 
there was no firearms in his house, but upon his being cau- 
tioned against equivocation and threatened with the conse- 
quences which would result from persisting in it, his timid 
spouse produced his firelock and acartouchbox with eighteen 



23 

rounds in it. The Refugees proceeded about six miles into 
the country collecting cattle, &c. Chi their return they were 
attacked by a body of Rebels, supposed to consist of about 
150, with two lield pieces, but they kept at such a distance 
that only one loyalist was wounded by their tire. Before the 
Refugees embarked they landed a field piece, which was of 
great service, and after engaging the Rebels two hours, dur- 
ing which time they expended all their ammunition, they got 
safe on board, and arrived at Oyster Bay about noon, with 
their cattle and prisoners. They were obliged to leave a 
number of the former on the .Rebel shore for want of boats 
to bring them off."' 

- Xo doubt this " pestiferous Priest " was Rev. Mr.Burritt, as 
the following account of the same affair taken from the files 
of Rivington's Royal Gazette, date of June 23, 1779, abund- 
antly testifies : 

"Some days ago a party of Rebels came over toTreadwell's 
farm, Long Island, conducted by Major Brush, and carried 
off Justice Hewlett and Capt. Young — since which the Refu- 
gees went over to Greenwich in Connecticut and returned 
with 13 prisoners, among whom is a Presbyterian l > <tr$o)i 
named Burritt, an egregious Held who has frequently taken 
arms, and is of great repute in the Colony ; 48 head of cattle, 
and 4 horses were brought in with the prisoners. - ' 

The following from the Connecticut Gazette of New Lon- 
don, issue of July 8, 1770, gives as will be seen, quite a differ- 
ent version of this Tory mararlding expedition : 

" New Haven, June 23. — Wednesday night last a party of the 
enemy from Long Island, landed at Green's Farms in Fairfield 
and plundered the house of Dr. Jessup of all they could carry 
off. The next night, (Thursday, June 17), a considerable party 
landed at Stamford, who before the inhabitants could collect 
in force, made prisoners of 8 or 10 persons, among whom was 
a Mr. Blackleach Burritt, an unordained preacher, and took 
off 30 or 40 head of cattle, which they got on board under 
cover of the fire of a privateer which landed close in under a 
point. They likewise plundered all they could lay their hands 
on, broke windows, &c, and committed many outrages.'' 



H 

It was easy to make the error of locating the raid at nearby 
Stamford ; and as has already been noted, Mr. Burritt was a 
regulary ordained Minister of the Presbyterian Church. 

Mr. Joel Hutch, Jr., nephew of Faith Wells Hatch, sister of 
Mrs. Rev. Burritt, in his history of Sherburne, X. Y., says: 
" He was a zealous Whig during the Revolutionary War, often 
carrying his patriotism into his pulpit. A party of British 
soldiers, guided by Tories, surrounded his house in the night, 
took him prisoner, and hurried him into their boat, not allow- 
ing time to put on his clothes until they had him safe on 
board. They sailed immediately for New York, where he 
was confined most of the time in what was known as the 
Sugar House Prison." 

The following dramatic account of the capture is by Mrs. 
D. E. Sackett. widow of the late Rev. H. A. Sackett, now of 
Cranford, X. J., an aged lady of rare gifts and culture, and 
a granddaughter of Mr. Burritt, as received from her mother, 
Diantha Burritt Gray, wife of John Gray, Jr., one of the orig- 
inal proprietors of Sherburne : 

She says of Rev. Mr. Burritt that "He used often to take 
his musket into the pulpit for defence, and, if need be, for 
ready joining iii offensive warfare." Again, "At the seizure, 
some privates burst into the room. Grandmother sprang 
between the raised bayonets and her husband, holding them 
at bay, (heroic daughter of the Revolution, Patriot mother, 
wife!) till an officer ordered 'them to desist. As they did 
not then allow him time enough, or had not enough of human 
kindness to let him dress, his poor wife followed, clothes in 
hand, begging a chance for him to put some on, which finally 
they granted with rough oaths. She then followed to the 

water pleading for her two cows. With 'Let the Rebel 

minister's wife have one of them !' she drove it back to her 
desolated home, grief for her lost husband and pity for her 
helpless children dividing her heart." 

It is said that as Rev. Mr. Burritt, and the other prisoners 
were being hurried along toward the beach, the wives and 
children followed in the rear. When they had gone some dis- 



25 

talice an officer rode up to the little bar., 1 , and urged them to 
turn back, saying- that they were being pursued by the Colon- 
ists, and that if they failed to reach their boats before they 
were overtaken by them, the women and children would be 
between two tires : yet they followed on. and did not return, 
but stood in silent protest against the robbery of their homes 
though there were signs of battle near at hand. And so the 
marauders sailed away with their prisoners and pillage, leav- 
ing devastation in their track. And this was the spot, this 
the scene of the capture— Old Greenwich, modern Sea Beach. 
There is still the old burying ground near which the Church 
stood, and there in full view to the passing traveller, is the 
old building, then the parsonage and the home of Mr. Burritt 
and his family, from which he was so rudely taken. The re- 
cords of the old church are missing for the Revolutionary 
period, and the records of theFairfield West Consociation do 
not show Mr. Burritt's appointment there for the reason that 
they were destroyed at the burning of Fairfield by the British 
early in that year, but the town records of Greenwich bear 
evidence to the fact that he was there, by his officiating at a 
marriage there, date of February 10, 177'.*. 

Soon after the capture, the disconsolate family removed to 
Pound Ridge, Westchester County, X. Y., where they had 
friends and were cared for during Mr. Burritt's imprisonment, 
which was for a period of about fourteen months. The refer- 
ence to Mr. Burritt in living's biography may pertinently be 
here introduced. Mr. William Irving, the father of Washing- 
ton Irving, had remained in trade in the city of New York 
during the British occupation, and as tho time for evacuation 
drew near, evidently feeling that his situation was some- 
what precarious, and fearing proscription from the now 
victorious Patriots, he obtained from Rev. Mr. Burritt the 
following quaint certificate as a means of security: 

" These may certify whom it may concern; whether civil 
or military officers, that Deacon William Irving, merchant in 
this city, appeared to be friendly inclined to the liberties of 
the United States & greatly lamented the egregious barbari- 
ties practiced by her enemies on the unhappy sons of Liberty 



2u 



that unhappily fell in their power — contributed largely to my 
relief (who was a prisoner in this city as early in the war as 
June, 1779), and was probably an instrument under God of 
the preservation of my life, and by credible accounts 1 have 
had from other prisoners, has been the means of the preser- 
vation of theirs also." 

This document was signed " Blackleach Burritt, Minister 
of the Gospel in the Presbyterian Church," and bears date 
Nov. 15, 1783, just ten days before Washington and his army 
entered the city in triumph. 

The story of Mr. Burritt's relations with Mr. William Irv- 
ing while in Prison are told by his granddaughter, Mrs. D. 
E. Sackett, as follows : 

'•He discovered Mr. Burritt very low with prison fever, in 
his miserable cell, and by personal influence had him given a 
suitable place and medical care, and when he rallied Mr. 
Irving looked after him each day in his convalescence. Mrs. 
Irving also sent him a good bowl of coffee, in the bottom of 
which was a cheering couplet painted ; and that grandfather 
said did him about as much good as the comforting, strength- 
ening beverage. And at last he rounded up his good deeds 
by securing a release for him through an exchange of pris- 



oners." 



He used often to preach to his fellow prisoners, and was 
known among the British officers and soldiers as the " Pebel 
Priest." It is said that expecting to be released on a certain 
Monday he prepared a specially spicy sermon for the Sunday 
previous, which the officers in charge of the prison, knowing 
his spirit and independence, were determined to prevent his 
delivering, and accordingly released him on the Saturday 
night before, ordering him to leave at once, which to his 
r3gret,he was obliged to do." 

The exact date of Mr. Burritt's release from prison is not 
known, but the records of the Dutchess County Presbytery, 
which at that time included a portion of Westchester County 
as well, show that he was present at a meeting held Oct. 11, 
1780, and officiated as clerk. The next mention made of him 
is that at a meeting of the same body held Oct. 8, 1783, 



27 

<; Presbytery was opened with a sermon l>y Mr. Burritt, 
from Psalm, 122:6. 'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they 
shall prosper that love thee.'' At this meeting the record 
says, " Mr. Burritt being- reduced to low circumstances as to 
the comforts of this life and outward means of subsistence by 
reason of ye late war and otherwise, request ye advice of the 
Presbytery respecting' ye moans of relief, whereupon we agree 
to recommend him to the warmest charity of our Christian 
Brethren, and appoint ye clerk to draw up the commendation 
for the purpose." At the same meeting he and two others 
were appointed to spend one Sabbath each in missionary 
work in the lower parts of "Westchester County. 

Where Mr. Burritt was between 1780 and 1783. does not 
appear, but his family seems to have been a part of the time 
at least, at Ripton Parish, for he had a daughter born there 
in November, 1782. lie is believed, however, to have been 
at Crompond a portion if not most of that period. The next 
reference to him is of the date of Dec. 1, 1783, when " the 
Presbytery met at Mr. Burritt's in the West Congregation in 
Fredricksburg," present town of Cariuel, Putnam County, 
N. Y.j having charge of the Mt. Gilead Churc^ as we 1 ! as the 
one at West Fredricksburg so called, and where he evidently 
resided. The site of the old log Church, (Mt. Gilead), where 
he preached, near Carmel, is still pointed out, and his memo- 
ry is still cherished there. 

On the death, June 5, 1784, of Rev. Samuel Sackett, for a 
long time except a brief period during the Revolution, pastor 
of the Church at Crompond, Rev. Mr. Burritt preached his 
funeral sermon. He was located at West Fredricksburg, 
or Red Mdls— the present Mahopac Falls — for some three 
years, and it was there that a great affliction befel him in the 
death of his wife, in April, 1780. She was yet eomparativeiy 
young, not more than 41 or 42, — the Church records of 
Stratford show her baptism Feb. 23, 1745— but the burdens 
of her life had not been light nor her tasks easy. She had 
come to be the mother of twelve children, and their care and 
the terrible strain of war times had been too great for her 
overtaxed powers. The youngest child and daughter was 



28 

but an infant of a few weeks old when the mother gave it, 
her last loving look, and fell asleep, another martyr to moth- 
erhood and duty, as was lit tiny a loyal daughter of her sire 
who bravely suffered confiscation and expatriation for con- 
science sake. The home was desolated by her death, and the 
children scattered, several of them going to live for a time 
with their kindred at Ripton Parish. On the 10th of May 
following, 1786, Mr. Burritt was present at a meeting of the 
Presbytery, but no further record is made of him until 
May 8, 179-4, when his name was dropped from the rolls 
as being then of Vermont. 

The following mention of him is copied from the Court 
Records of Fairfield County, book of Executions, date of 
Nov. 30, 1789 : 

To the Constables and Sheriff of the County of Fairfield: 

''"Whereas, Elisha Mills, of Huntington, recovered judg- 
ment against Blackleach Burritt, late of New Fairfield, in 
said County, and now an absent and absconding debtor and 
gone to parts unknown, before the County Court holden 
at Danbury within the County aforesaid on the 3d Tuesday 
of November, 1*789, for the sum of £59.19s.Gd, lawful money 
debt, and the sum of £2.10 costs, whereof execution remains 
to be done hereon, therefore by the authority of the State 
of Connecticut, you are commanded to levy on the goods, 
chattels aivl lands of the said Burritt as the law directs." 
&c, and if they were not sufficient to satisfy in full the debt 
and costs, then the said officers were '■ commanded to take 
the body of the said Burritt and him commit unto the keep- 
er of the gaol in Fairfield County aforesaid," and there to 
keep him ''until he pay unto the said Mills the full sum afore- 
mentioned," with fees, &c. And so this Veteran Patriot Pas- 
tor, who had suffered imprisonment for devotion to the cause 
of his countrv, was in danger of beiny thrust into a common 
jail as a debtor ! 

The records show that the officer reported on Dec. 1, that 
Burritt could not be found — he was probably elsewhere too 
actively engaged in his Master's service to pay any attention 
to these proceedings — " or money or other valuable consider- 



20 

ation," but that lie had levied upon a tract of land in Hunting- 
ton, Ripton Society, called the "Mohegan Rocks," (probably 
the rocks are all there yet, though the last of the Mohegans 
disappeared sometime, since) containing nineteen and one- 
half acres, which was appraised at £2 per acre, and that was 
turned over to the said Mills towards the satisfaction of his 
claim. It is interesting iu this connection to state that the 
town records of Stratford show that Blackleach Burritt pur- 
chased that same piece of real estate, then called "the South 
End of .Mohegan Hills, *' of his father, Peleg Burritt, Jr., Jan. 
5, 1765, paving therefor £142. 10s. Evidently he had paid a 
high price for it, or there had been great depreciation, or 
Mills was a grasping monopolist. Perhaps something of each, 
but Mr. Burritt evidently had considered the land as ample 
security for the debt incurred. 

An important fact disclosed by the foregoing, is that after 
leaving "West Fredricksburg, Mr. Burritt was for a time at 
New Fairfield. Perhaps his second marriage, which was 
with Deborah "Wells, of the Long Island, Southold family, she 
being a direct descendant of William Wells, one of the fore- 
most men of that settlement. Recorder, Deputy to the Gen- 
eral Court, and Sheriff of Suffolk County. N. Y.. from 1GG5 to 
1669 — was while at Xew Fairfield, although she had kindred 
at Wells, in Hamilton County, X. Y., not far from which, in 
Greenfield, Saratoga County, he next appears, having been 
the pioneer Pastor of a Church there as early as 1790, the 
records showing that at a meeting held Sept. 12 of that year, 
he was authorized to represent the Greenfield Church at a 
convention " at Bennington, in the State of Vermont, the 
present week." An old letter at hand also shows his residence 
there during the early part of that year. The year following, 
1791, Mr. Burritt is found at Duanesburgh, then of Albany 
County, N. Y., where he is said to have formed a Church com- 
posed mainly of Connecticut families, who tarried there for a 
while, among whom were a brother, Stiles Welles, and a 
sister, Mrs. Ruth Welles Hatch, of his first wife, and that was 
probably what attracted him thither. In a letter dated at 
Duanesburgh, Dec. 28, 1791, he writes: "Stiles Welles has 



30 

lately returned from Huntington." During the same period 
he was also ministering to a Church in the adjoining town of 
Florida, Montgomery County, N. Y. But this pioneer preach- 
er could not long remain in any one place. The true spirit 
of the Pilgrims was in him, and impelled him on. The old 
records of the Church at Winhall, Bennington County, Yt., 
state that on Friday, Jan. G, 1702, only about a week later 
than the date of the above quoted letter, he was there present 
and officiating. Again on the 11th of March following, the 
records show him to have been there, and so on from time to 
time during that year. The records then show that an Eccles- 
iastical Council was "convened at Winhall, on the 1st day of 
January, A. 1)., 1793, for the purposeof the Instalment of the 
Rev'd Blackleach Burritt to the Pastoral care of the Church 
and Congregation there,* 1 Rev. Robert Campbell, formerly 
of New Milford, Conn., officiating as moderator. It cannot 
be said to have been an inviting field for a preacher of his 
ability, but in passing that way he had been strongly urged 
to come ; the offer of a farm to be given him affording a home 
for his large family doubtless may have influenced his decis- 
ion, but he is quoted as saying with his characteristic self 
forgetfulness, " That if he did not go there perhaps nobodv 
else would !" And so a log house was built for him and a 
log Church, and he became the first pastor of the Church in 
"Winhall. The records show considerable additions to that 
Church under his ministrations, but it was a brief pastorate, 
and death soon came in between him and his familv, and his 
people, and the}' were sorely bereft. The last mention of 
him in the records is of the date of " Lord's Day. January ve 
5, 1791,"' when he officiated at a baptism. His health had ev- 
identlv been broken, for in the letter referred to he savs, " I 
have for a length of time been more feebled and disordered 
than usual.'' The privations and sufferings to which he was 
subjected as ii prisoner and otherwise, during the Revolution. 
and subsequently as a pioneer preacher, had been a severe 
strain upon even his strong constitution, and he was stricken 
down by a prevailing malady which devastated New England 
during the summer and autumn of 1791. There wasnocessa- 



31 

tion in those early clays of struggle ; no vao^non for tired 
and overworked pastors : no palace cars to carry them away 
to famous watering places ; no beds of inglorious ease ; but 
like good soldiers these Watchmen of Zion mv.$t die at their 

posts ; and so 

''Tranquil amidst alarms," 
Tlic summons found him " in the lid:. 

" A Veteran slumbering on his arms, 
Beneath his red-cross shit hi." 

The broken family was again scattered, never to be re-unit- 
ed. Some had already married, and others wore elsewhere, 
yet of the fourteen children, twelve by the first marriage and 
two by the second, — a most interesting group— all survived, 
and all but two lived to have families. As evidencing their 
wide divergence, only two, those by the second marriage, 
died in the same place, although six of them and the widow, 
cime soon afterwards to reside for a time in one place — Sher- 
burne, Chenango County, X. Y., where Rev. Mr. Burnt t had 
preached the first sermon to the Pioneers in IT'. 1 '-' ; and hence 
the interest of the writer in tins story of his life. 

In the absence of the family record, irrecoverably lost dur- 
ing some of the many removals, it has been a difficult task to 
gather up the somewhat imperfect data of liis descendants 
here presented. 

THE CHILDREN. 

Eunice, named for her mother, appears io have been the 
eldest child, born at Ripton Parish, in 17GG She married a 
Mr. Hopkins, had children, and lived for a time prior to 1820, 
near Batavia, X. Y. 

Melissa, the second child, was born Feb. 2G, 17G8, probably 
at Huntington, just two davs after Mr. Burritt was licensed 
to preach. She married at Johnstown, X. Y., Oct. \\ 1791, 
James Raymond, a native of Kent, Conn., a descendant of 
Captain Richard Raymond from Essex. England, Freeman at 
Beverly, Mass., 163-1, and afterwards of Norwnlk and Say- 
brook. Conn. James Raymond was one of the original pro- 
prietors of Sherburne, X. Y.. where he settled in 17 ( .)2-.'{, his 
wife, Melissa Burritt Raymond, being one of the members of 



32 



the firs* Congregational Church organized in that place July 
6, 1791 She was a strong, independent character, and her 
son, Philander Raymond, was distinguished as one of the 
founders of the city of Toledo. Ohio, was the promoter, 
builder and superintendent of the celebrated Brady's Bend 
Iron Works, on the Alleghany river, Pennsylvania, and inter- 
ested m other large enterprises. .Melissa Burnt t Raymond 
died at Brady's Bend, Pa , July 3, 1849, in her eighty- second 
year. Mrs. Rev. J. R. Preston, of Creighton, Nebraska, and 
P. F. Ensign, Esq.. of Madison, O., are her grand-children 

Martha, (called Patsy) Burritt, was born Oct. 1770 and 
married about 1790. Elisha Gray, then of Florida, Montgom- 
ery County, X. Y. She removed with her husband, to Sher- 
burne, N. Y, in 1703, and was a charter member of the 
Church there. By various removals they came to make their 
home at Madison, , where she died May 20, 1851, in her 
eighty-first year. She had two daughters, and a son Alanson 
who removed to Kentucky, and there had seven sons and five 
daughters. The eldest son, John Tarvin Gray, born 1821, 
married his accomplished cousin, Cynthia Ravmond. grand- 
daughter of Melissa Burritt Raymond, and became a noted 
civil engineer and bridge builder, and still resides at Coving- 
ton, Ivy. Another- son, Philander Raymond Gray, was a loyal 
Kentuckian in the war for the Union, was afterwards Sheriff 
of Venango County, Pa, Collector of Internal Revenue for 
that district, and for several years Superintendent of the great 
Eclipse and Standard Oil Co. works, near Franklin, Pa.° He 
is the father by one mother, of an interesting family of emht 
sons and three daughters, one of the sons bearing "the name 
of Burritt Gray. His present residence is at Elizabeth, X. J 
Sarah Burritt, the fourth daughter, was born at Pound 
Ridge, Westchester County, Jan. 29, 1772, and married her 
cousin, Gurdon Wells, bom Feb. 28, 1758, son of Hezekiah, 
son of Deacon Thomas, at Huntington, March 1. 1792, and 
removing to Lincklaen, Chenango County. X. Y, their daugh- 
ter Matilda, born Aug. 9, 1800, who still survives,* a Widow 
Smith, at Three Ri vers, Mich, was the first white child born 

*~She died March 17, 1892, in her nmety-BtccmdT^ar. - 



'«* «V» \ 



33 

in that township. G union Wells died there Dec. 27, 1827, 
and she died Oct. 31, 1831, in her sixtieth year. She was a 
very decided character, and eminent in Christian piety. It is 
said that a man who had heard oi her, came thirty miles once 
to see her, hoping that she would be able to expound the way 
of life more perfectly unto him. But then, that was a time 
when people believed something and thought it of some con- 
sequence what they did believe. 

Ely Burritt, the eldest son, born at Pound Ridge, March 
12, 1773, graduated at Williams College in the class of 1800, 
was licensed to practice medicine at Troy, N. Y., March 29, 
1802, and became eminent as a physician. Dr. Wayland, who 
studied medicine with him, says: "Dr. Burritt was a man 
of remarkable logical powers, of enthusiastic love of his pro- 
fession, and of great and deserved confidence in his own 
judgment. He stood at the head of his profession in Troy, 
and in the neighboring region, and was a person of high mor- 
al character." He married Mehitabel Stratton, daughter of 
Deacon Stratton, of Williamstown, Mass., April 12, 1708. 
There were four sons and three daughters born to them, of 
whom only one son and a daughter had descendants. This 
son, Alexander Hamilton Burritt, born in Troy, April 17, 1805, 
commenced the practice of medicine in 1S27, after the Alo- 
path system, which he continued until 183S, when he em- 
braced Homoeopathy, placing himself for a time under the in- 
struction of his distinguished kinsman, the late Dr. John F. 
Gray, of New York, who was a grandson of Rev. Blackleach 
Burritt. He then practiced the new system; first, in Craw- 
ford County, Pa. He afterwards removed to Cleveland, O., 
where he aided in the organization of the Western Homoeo- 
pathic College in 1850, and was Vice President and Professor 
of Obstetrics until 1854, when he resigned on account of his 
health, and removing to New Orleans, was successfully en- 
gaged in practice there until his death, Oct. 187G. His son, 
Auiatus Bobbins Burritt, born in 1833, graduated from the 
Western Homoeopathic College in 1853, engaged in practice 
at Huntsville, Ala. In 18GG he married Miss Mary K. Robin- 
son, by whom he had a son, Dr. William H. Burritt, born 18G9, 



31 

now in practice at Huntsville, where his father died Aug. 22, 
1S7G. Dr. A. R. Burritt was for a time in the Confederate 
service, while his only brother, (there is a surviving sister. 
Mrs. Julia A. Gary, of Evausville, Ind ,) Ely Burritt, now of 
Fall River, Mas*-;., was in the Union Army, and beinr taken 
prisoner. Dr. A. R was instrumental in securing 1 his release. 
This branch of the Burritt family, is remarkable in that it is 
represented by four generations of physicians, all of high 
reputation, being the son, grandson, great-grandson and great- 
great-grandson of Rev. Blackleach Burritt. Dr. Ely Burriii 
died at Troy, Sep. 1, 1823, in his fifty-first year. His widow 
afterwards married Professor John Adams, the noted Principal 
of Exeter Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass. Julia AnnBurritt, 
daughter of Dr. Ely, and said to have been a remarkably 
beautiful girl, married; Dr. Amatus^Robbins,*and died Dec. 
12, 1839, in her-nineteenth year, leaving a'son who is a phy- 
siciau in New Haven. A tradition of Dr. Ely Burritt is, that 
on the capture' of his 'father, being thcn~a boy of six years, 
he threw corn cobs at the British soldiers ps expressive of 
his patriotic indignation ! 

Gideon Burritt. son of Rev. Blackleach, born in Pound 
Ridge, Sep. 15, 1774, married Sarah Bowne, lived at Winhall 
and Manchester, Yt., where he died in 1S5S. Had ten chil- 
dren, of whom three still survive at Manchester, viz. : Dea- 
con Edwin Burritt, who married Mary Chellis, and has de- 
scendants, Jarcd Burritt. and Hon. Johnson Burritt. A son, 
Ely, married Esther Strait, whose mother was Rachel Purdy, 
and removed to Columbia, Bradford County Pennsylvania. 
Mrs. Sarah Burritt Moshcr, of Albany N. Y., widow of the 
late Dr. C. D. Mosher, of Albany, is a daughter of Ely. 

Diantha Burritt, daughter of Rev. Blackleach, born at Pound 
Ridge, Jan. 9, 1776, married John Gray, Jr., at Winhall, Yt., 
May 2G, 1793. Judge John Gray was an early and prominent 
citizen of Sherburne, X. Y., and afterwards removed to Sheri- 
dan, Chautauqua County, where she died Oct. 14, 1846. 
There were six sons and two daughters bom to her. Three 
of the sons became physicians, one of them, the late Dr. John 
F. Gray, pre-eminent as the first to embrace the doctrines of 



3 



> 



1568162 



Hahnemann, in the city of New York, and distinguished for 
his large and successful practice. Another of the sons. Rev. 
Blackleach Burnt t Gray, was a Presbyterian Minister, and 
one of his sons, General John Burritt Gray, now of New York, 
won distinction by Ins services as Adjutant General of the 
State of Missouri, during the "War of the Rebellion. A 
daughter, Diantha, became eminent as a teacher, and with her 
late husband, the Rev. II. A. Sackett, was influential in the 
founding of Elmira Female College, at Elmira, N. Y. This 
lady of rare gifts and high Christian character, whose home 
is at Cranford, N. J., is one of the surviving grand-children 
of Rev. Blackleach Burritt. whose memory she has done much 
to perpetuate. 

Rufus Burritt, supposed to have been born in 1777, studied 
medicine with his brother, Dr. Ely, at Troy, and was admitted 
to practice in 180G. It is said that going away for a time to 
look about the country, he returned to lind his intended mar- 
ried to some one else ; hence he never married, and leel a 
roving life, teaching some — and he is said to have been an 
excellent teacher — as he had opportunity both in Pennsylva- 
nia and Kentucky, in which latter State he died, in Campbell 
County, about 1850. A gifted but very eccentric man. 

Blackleach Burritt. Jr., born at Pound Ridge, N. Y., Oct. 
27, 1779, while his father was in the old Sugar House Prison, 
after the death of his mother went to Huntington, Conn., to 
live with his kindred, and on Nov. 1, 1802, married Sally 
Hubbell, daughter of John Hubbell, Jr. They removed to 
Pennsylvania in 1810, and he died at Wilksbarre, Oct. 1, 1S30. 
The}' had two daughters and six sons, as follows : 

Hepsa, born 1804 ; married Ziba Burns ; residence. Union- 
dale, Susquehanna County, Pa. 

Grandison, born 1806 ; lived in "Wisconsin. 

Samuel, born 1808 : lived at Uniondale, Pa. 

Rufus, born 1814; lived at Uniondale, Pa. 

Ely, born 1817 ; lived at Carbondale, Pa. 

Sarah Caroline, born Aug. 18, 1819 ; married Otis AT. 
Dimmick, Uniondale, Pa. 

Charles, born 1823; died 1825. 



30 



Samuel Burritt, third child of Blackleach, Jr., born at 
Huntington, Conn., March 31, 180S; married Amanda Nich- 
ois. Sep. 19, 1S3G : lived at Union dale, where he died Juno 20, 
1803. His children were : 

Loren, (Col.), bom June 20, 1837 ; died Nov. 11, 1889 ; 
married Delphine D. Raynsford. 

Ira Nichols, born Pec. 28, 183S ; Washington, I). C. 

Philo, born April 11, 18-10; lives at Uniondale. 

Payson, born July 10, 1S17 ; Kansas. 

Newell born Dec. 19, 1851. 

Anna B., born July 25, 1853. 

Lilian, born Feb. 10, 1858. 

Colonel Loren Burritt, son of Samuel, and great grandson 
of Rev. Blackleach, enlisted in the Union Army as a private 
in Company K, Fifty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volun- 
teers, Jan. 1S02. Was promoted successively to Orderly Ser- 
geant, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, and on the 2nd 
of July, 1803, at the Battle of Gettysburg, was assigned to 
duty on the Staff of General Cutler. In Nov. 1803 was com- 
missioned Major of the Eighth Regiment, U. S. Colored 
Troops ; was severely wounded at Olustee, Fla., Feb. 20, 1804 ; 
was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel while in the Hospital at 
Beaufort, S. C. ; succeeded to the command of his Regiment, 
in front of Petersburg; was afterward detailed at Newport 
News and Norfolk, Va. ; was President of a Board of Inquiry 
to" investigate the commandant of the Eastern Department of 
Virginia. In the Summer and Fall of 1805, was in Texas, and 
received his discharge in December of that year. Engaged 
in practice of the law for a time at Philadelphia, but suffer- 
ing from his wounds broke his health, and after being an in- 
valid for several years lie died at Athens, Bradford County 
Pa., Nov. 11, 1S89. A man of high character and attain- 
ments and a worthy descendant of his patriotic sire. He 
was greatly interested in his ancestry, and the genealogical 
statistics which he collected has added much of interest to 
this sketch. His widow resides at Owego, N. Y. 

Mrs. S. C. Dimmick, of Uniondale, Pa., is a daughter of Black- 
leach, Jr., and a granddaughter of Rev. Blackleach Burritt. 



Prudence Burritt. next, to (he youngest daughter of Rev. 
Blackleach Burritt, born at Huntington, Nov. 2, 1782. mar- 
ried in Oct. 1802, James Welles, son of Josiah, son of Jlezo- 
kiali ; lived at Edmeston, Otsego County, X. Y, then at 
Portage, Livingston County, X. Y., where he died Aug. 2G, 
1848, and she died March 13, 1852. A son, Delos C. Welles, 
of Monticello, Minn., and two daughters, Mrs. Semantha Wil- 
cox, and Mrs. L. C. Britain, of Sodus, N. Y., still survive. 

Samuel Burritt. the youngest son. born about 1781, was a 
protege of Miss Susannah DeLancey, who seems to have cared 
for him after the death of his mother, in 1786. Ho studied 
law, for a time acted as agent for a part of the DeLancey 
estate, and died in the city oi' Xew York in 1820, leaving two 
children who died unmarried. 

Susannah Burritt, was born at Bed Mills, modern Mahopac 
Falls, Putnan County, X. Y., March 5, 178(5, just six weeks 
before her mother's death. Believing her illness to be fatal, 
it is said that Mrs. Burritt sent for Miss Susannah DeLaneev, 
the unmarried daughter of Lieutenant-Governor DeLaneev, 
who lived at nearby Crompond, who despite powerful family 
influence remained true to the cause of the Colonies, and was 
a warm friend of the Burritt family. On her dying bed she 
gave her infant daughter to Miss DeLancey's keeping, and 
she was faithful to the trust. Bringing her up carefully as 
her own child, she willed her a considerable estate, — a farm 
of 129 acres in Yorktown, Westchester County, X. Y.. and all 
her personal estate, including a Negro Slave," Hannah.*' Sus- 
annah Burritt, named after her beuefactress, married Elijah 
Fowler, in 1894, who died in 1812, leaving two sons, one of 
whom, Samuel Burritt Fowler, now resides at Putnam Valley, 
Putnam County, X. Y. She married second, Charles Adams, 
Dec. 1821, and had a daughter Charlotte, bora in 1S23, who 
married George W. Seeley, and resides at Lansin^. Mich. 
Mrs. Susannah Burritt Adams, died at Bristol, Ind., Sept. 19, 
1881. in her ninety-sixth year, the oldest as well as the voum>-- 
est of her mother's twelve children. 

Deborah Burritt, the fust child by the second marriage 



38 

inust Lave been born as early as 1701, as her father makes 
mention of her in that year. She was taken to Sherburne 
soon after her father's death, there married Milo Hatch, 
ami died Oct. 11, 1S54. Had four sons, of whom throe sur- 
vive : Wells Burritt Hatch, of Syracuse, X. Y., Watson A., of 
Loyd, Wis., and Albert R. Hatch, of Greeley, Col. 

Jn regard to the youngest child and son of Rev. Black- 
leach Burritt, the following is copied from the old Church 
records, of Winhall, Vt. : " .March the 3d, A. !>., 1793, was bap- 
tized Selah Wells, the son of the Rev. Mr. Blackleach, and 
Deborah Burritt." The following inscription from the me- 
morial stone at his grave in Sherburne, X. Y., shows how he 
■was cut down while vet in the bloom of vouth : 

"Selah Wells B limit, youngest son of Rev. Blackleach 
Burritt, and only son of Deborah Burritt, died Xov. 19th, 
in the 18th year of his age." 

" Insatiate Archer, could'st thou not spare to riper age the virtuous 

youth, 
The widow's only hope, tin; stall of her declining years V" 

In view of his widowed mothar's helplessness, in her old 
age this seems an almost prophetic as well as sad lament. 

This interesting group of Bev. Blackleach Burritt" s descend- 
ants of fourteen children and sixty grand-children, fourteen 
of the latter of whom still survive, might well form the theme 
of an interesting paper, but must be passed by without fur- 
ther notice here. He certainly had prolific posterity as well 
as a virile ancestry. 

But to return to his father, Peleg Burritt, Jr. : It is said 
that within a reasonable time after the death of Peleg's 
first wife, his mother made a quilting party, to which she in- 
vited all the eligible young people of the neighborhood, and 
among them, Deborah Beardslce. She recommended Deborah 
as the most sensible of the girls ; and Peleg took her for his 
second wife. The marriage took place at Ripton Parish, •• on 
the evening of Thanksgiving Day." as the record says, in 1746*. 
She was born at Stratford, Feb. 1, 172(3. and was the great- 
granddaughter of Richard Booth and Elizaheth Hawley his 
wife, of Stratford as early as 1GKJ. 



Peleg Burritt, Jr., took the Freeman's oath April 13, 1741 ; 
is mentioned as Peleg Burritt, Junior, several times from 
175- to 1761, in the Society records of llipton. At a meet- 
ing held at his house Dec. 6, 1752, he was chosen Cleric, 
and sworn fur the year ensuing. Was also Clerk in 1753-4. 
In 1773-4, he is said to have joined the Connecticut Colony 
in the Wyoming Valley, taking up his residence in the town- 
ship of Hanover, now in Luzerne County, Pa. 

"Hanover Green'' was laid out in old New England style 
containing an open court or green, Hanked on two sides by 
the homes of two of the children of Captain Peleg Burritt, 
Stephen and Sarah, each with its symmetrical front yard, 
garden, orchard, &c, while the green was open to the street 
at the front, and occupied at the rear by a Church, hack of 
which was a Cemetery. The whole establishment was laid 
out by the Burritt family ; whether bv Captain Pelej? 
Burritt or his son Stephen, is not known. But all this hap- 
py scene was broken in upon by the terrible tragedy of the 
Wyoming Massacre, which occurred the 3d day of July, 
1778, and in which Cyprian Hibbard, a son-in-law of Peleg 
Burritt, husband of his daughter Sarah, was killed. Although 
Mr. Burritt was not in the Wyoming Valley at the date of the 
battle, his wife Deborah, was there, and rendered efficient 
aid during the escape of the fugitives. It is related that 
all the books and papers belonging to the Burritt's were 
hastily thrown into a bag, as the result of the battle became 
known, and that inasmuch as the first thought was to escape 
by way of the river to Shamokin, the bag was hastily thrown 
into a boat in which some of the refugees did so make their 
escape, and thus went down the river without anyone to 
care for it; since the Burritt's changed their plan, and es- 
caped, with many others, to the east, over the mountains, 
to the Delaware river. The important consignment was after- 
wards traced as far as Shamokin or Northumberland, but after 
that was lost sight of. And thus were lost the only records 
and papers of this branch of the Burritt family, brought 
from their early home in Connecticut. 

It is related that Mrs. Burritt, on the hasty retreat, had 



•Ill 

the forethought to throw upon her horse a bag of flour; and 
that was the sole sustenance of a considi rable party, 071 their 
flight to the Delaware. On camping at night, or halting t'oi 
refreshment, she would form the meal into a cup shape in the 
mouth of the bag, and pouring in water, would mix up the 
meal into dough, and bake it upon the coals. It is impossible 
now to find out who formed t'.iv Burritt contingent in this 
retreat. Mrs. B.'s husband is supposed to have been at the 
time absent, probably in Connecticut, It is fair to presume 
that all of their children may have been present in the valley 
at the time, yet one or more of them may have been with their 
father in Connecticut, 

The following is a partial list of the descendants of Pele^- 
Burritt, Jr.. bv his second marriage : 

Gideon, unmarried, died in Hanover township, Luzerne 
County. Pa. 

Sarah, born Nov. 19, 1750 ; married first Cyprian Hibbard, 
Jan., 1775; second, Matthias Holleuback, who was an officer 
in the Battle of Wyoming, and escaped from the massacre by 
swimming the river. He was entitled Colonel Hollenback. 
Sarah Burritt, hid by her first husband, Hannah 1) , born 
June IS, 178S; being thus fifteen days old at the time of the 
battle and massacre of Wyoming, in which her father, 
(Cyprian Hibbard), was killed. She married John Alexander 
and had three children. 

Thomas, died in infancy. 

Sarah, died in infancy. 

William II. Alexander, married Caroline Ulp ; Miss E. I. 
Alexander of Wilksbarre, is of one their six children. 

Sarah Burritt had by her second husband. Judge Matthias 
Hollenback : 

1. Mary Ann, married Bailing : three sons and three daimh- 
ters. One of her grand-children was Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel, 
of Philadelphia. 

2. Ellen J., born Jan. 21, 1788; married Charles F.Welles, 
bom at Glastonbury, Conn., 17S9, son of John Welles, of 
Glastonbury, born 1756; son of John, born 1729; son of 
Thomas, born 1G93 ; son of Captain Samuel, born at Wethers- 



41 

field, 1GG0 : son of Samuel, born in England, 1630; son of 
Governor Thomas Welles. There were nine children by this 
marriage, of whom Rev. H. H. Welles, graduate of Princeton, 
'44, of Kingston, Pa, and Edward Welles, Esq., of Wilkes- 
Barre, are two of the six surviving. 

3. Sarah Holleuback, married first Jacob Cist ; second, 
Chester Butler ; seven children. 

4. George SI. Holleuback, Wilkes-Baire, born Aug. 11, 1791, 
married twice, and died Nov., 186G ; no children. 

Mr. Charles F. Welles was a man of large property in coal 
lands. 

Stephen Burritt, son of Peleg, Jr., married a Miss Keeler, 
and had Joel, who married Pitith. and had numerous descend- 
ants, including a grand-son Joel, now of White Haven, Pa. 
Also Stephen, had a son Stephen, Jr., who may have had de- 
scendants, and a daughter Pollv, who married a Mr. Dillev, 
and was the mother of Rev. Alex. B. Dillev, of Florida. 

Mary, the youngest daughter of Peleg Burritt, Jr., was 
twice married but left no children. Captain Peleg Burritt, as 
he was sometimes called, died tit Hanover Green, Pa., April 
10, 1789, and his widow, Deborah, at the same place, Aug. 7, 
1S02. 

Characterization of Rev. Blackleach Burritt is not wanting. 
He is said to have been a little visionary and unpractical, but 
very pious and devoted. He was strong and earnest in de- 
bate,, and as evidence of his controversial powers, it is related 
of him, that meeting a brother minister one evening on the 
highway, and getting into a discussion with him on some 
theological, doctrinal point, they continued there, sitting on 
horseback, until the dawn of the next morning ! He pos- 
sessed wonderful physical strength and agility, and at Col- 
lege was noted for such feats. As a preacher, he was dis- 
tinguished for readiness and a love of argument. He 
preached a great deal extemporaneously, and would some- 
times take a text handed to him, as he went into the pulpit, 
and preach from it without any previous preparation. He 
-was a very thoughtful man, a student ; but so occupied with 
his reflections, and the study of life and immortality, as to be 



42 

almost indifferent to ordinary mundane matters. 11 is 
said that with his other gifts he had a glorious voice for sing- 
ing, and that it almost carried one away to hear him in some 
of the grand old anthems. 

The following extracts from a letter of Ilex. Blacldeach 
Burritt to his sister. Mrs. Sarah Hollenback, wife of Colonel 
Matthias Hollenback, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., now in the posses- 
sion of MissE. I. Alexander, of that place, and the only letter 
of his known to be in existence, is a striking self character 
ization : 

Duanes Borough, N. Y., December 2S. A. I). 1701. 

Dear Sistkii : Your Editions in this Place are generally in good 
Health, except myself who for a length of Time have been more ire 
hie & Disordered than usual. . . Stile- Wells has lately Returned 
from Huntington (alias Ripton), & informs (me) that our Friend(s) are 
in good Health there. . . Brother Hubbell & Sister were well last 
Spring, Since which Time I have not heard from them. . . 1 know- 
not but you are ready to Imagine I am forgetful of you & my Mother 
& Brethren in Wyoming, as I have not Wrote to any of them, since I 
Received your Kind Letter Informing me of the Death of Father, 
which was the' First Certain Intelligence I obtained of his Death. 
"Our Fathers, where are they V and the Prophets, do they live for- 
ever?" We are hastening to follow them; a few more Revolving 
Suns brings us to the concluding Scene of all Earthly Joys & Sorrows; 
we momentarily hasten to the House appointed for all the Living. 

I am not unmindful of you, &, my Relations so remarkably Scattered 
from Each other, as I am almost Daily praying for them, in my Fam- 
ily, & many Times conversing of you & them; hut it is Rare that we 
have any opportunity of Conveying Letters from this Quarter of the 
Country to where you Dwell. I desire to embrace every opportunity 
of Writing to you iu my Power, oc wish you & my Friends near you 
would Do the Same in letting us hear from them. I greatly wish to 
hear of the State of Religion in Wyomen in General, where Discord 
hath so greatly abounded in years past, & whether they obtain Regular 
Presbyterian or congregational Settled Ministers in the towns in gen- 
eral, what Success there is of the Preaching of the Gospel in your Part 
of the Country, as there is but little visible good Effect of the Preach 
ing of the Gospel in general in the Northern Part of this State. — 
Real Godliness is the All Important Concern, without which nothing 
will Serve our Turn in the Hour of Death, or in the future Judgment, 
to which we are swiftly Hasteniug. Temporal Prosperity. <k External 
Privileges, while Zion languishes, and the Interest of that glorious 
Kingdom that will finally brake in peaces all the Kingdoms that have 



43 

opposed it, & stand forever, is visibly Pi' ' { >< .-J 1 .: 

of the laud, but link- Satisfies. — I atti . •■ it I v . • i m\ 

Frieuds at Turus. least Prosperity, or i ... i,,v« of it, .\| ;>. 

thrm in Destruction & perdition. Prosperity i< ., ., |> f , : nx.ro 
Dangerous than Adversity to Christians in Even A ' :t wli- •dioulii 
I fear? Since Zion's Glorious King Reitrns in vum!u:i:. l; :,/. oumx ss 
&. Goodness, ev is ever Accomplishing the i oblol Endi I * the w iscM 
& Best of ALL possible Means. We una l\:ir fur ilum, hi n partial 
View; tho' in the most large A: Extensive View, their h the utmost 
Reason of Rejoicing in the Absolute perfe< lion of the Ph ine ( lovetn 
nieut, or Disposal of Events in Providence. — 

Perhaps you may have an opportunity of Writing to me bv Mr. 
John Gray, the young Man who i- the Bearer hereof, a Neighbor of 
mine, on his Return to Duancsborough.- Prn\ give mv Dutiful He- 
gurds to Mother, & let her know I often think ■<{ her in het huielv con- 
dition; my youngest Child is of her Name.— Give mv love (if von. 
Please,) to All My Breathren «.*■; yrs. and my unknown Brother will 
have a share among the Rest. The Bearer is waiting, 1 must Subscribe 
myself, Your Effectioi ate Brother. 




i/ccuA' (y^icm//:\ 



It has been stated that his grave at Winhall was unmarked. 
It should be added in explanation that several years since a 
sum was contributed to furnish a stone for that purpose, but 
by some misdirection it was placed at [Manchester, eight miles 
away over the Green Mountains, on the plot of one of his de- 
scendants there. The following is the inscription upon it: 

REV. BLACKLEACH BURRITT, 

Bora at Stratford. Ct., 17—, 

Died at Winhall Vt , 1794. 

"An earnest Minister of the Gospel, a learned and upright man, 
His spotless memory is piously cherished by his descendants." 

A son of Fairfield County and of your own Stratford, he 
well deserves a place in your annals, and is worthy to be held 
in honored remembrance by his kindred and descendants 



Note. — Acknowledgement is ruade for kindly ai.l in the preparation of this paT«r. 
to Rev. Sarauel Orcutt, the Historian of Stratford; to Ii. B. Lacey, Esq., President of 
the Fairfield County Historical Society; Ktv. W. J. Curuining, of Yurktown, N. ^ : 
Edward WeUes, Esq., of Wilkes- Barre, Pa., Mrs. t'ul. Loreu Burritt, of Owego, Jf. Y.; 
Mrs. 1>. E. Sackett, Crauford, N. J.; Mrs. C. D. Mosher, Albany, N. Y., ami many 
others. M. D. B. 



44 



MILLS MEMORANDA. 

Rev. Samuel Mills, sou of Rev. Jedediah Mills, ami class- 
mate of Rev. Mr. Burritt, referred to in the foregoing" pages, 
as of Bedford. Westchester County, from lTili), having been 
ordained a? pastor of the Church there, Dec. 13, of that year, 
remained there until by the stress of the Revolution he was 
obliged in 1770, to remove to Fredricksburg, North Society, 
now Patterson, Putnam County, and did not return to Bed- 
ford a'ter the close of the war, though strongly urged to do 
so. Iu 17S9 he became an Ana-Baptist, and so severed his 
relations with the Dutchess County Presbytery. He soon 
after removed to the Geneseo country, locating at Williams- 
burg, between Geneseo and Mt. Morris. He was a pioneer 
preacher in that region, ami his memory was long cherished 
in that locality, for his worth and devoted piety. He died in 
1813, and was buried in the Geneseo cemetery. His widow, 
second wife, was a sister of Colonel Daniel Humphrey, an 
aides-decamp of Washington. He left four sons, viz: Alex- 
ander, Lewis F., Philo and "William Augustus Mills, the latter 
of whom born in Bedford, May 27, 1777, located at Mt. 
Morris, Livingston County, N. Y. Was Mnjor-General in the 
War of 1812-15, Supervisor twenty years, a man of great en- 
terprise, a large lauded proprietor and active member of the 
Presbyterian Church, died April G, 1844. He had ten chil- 
dren, of whom Myron Holly Mills, born Dec. 8, 1820, re- 
sides at Mt. Morris, N. Y. He graduated at the Geneva 
Medical College in 1844, was Assistant Surgeon U. S. Army 
in the Mexican war ; was in practice at Rochester from 1850 
to 1870, was one of the founders of the Livingston County 
Historical Society, President of the Board of Education and 
of the Mills Water Works, author of a series of articles on 
Indian History, has delivered many addresses, lectures, &c, 
and held various positions of honor and trust. Another 
son, Rev. Samuel J. Mills, of Nevada, Iowa, graduated at 
Yale in 1837, was for a time engaged in practice of the law, 
and has been engaged in the ministry since 1850. 



192 



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