There are two main sources of Burnhams in early America. One source is from the 3 Burnham brothers who landed in Pemaquid, Maine in the summer of 1635. These three brothers, Robert, Thomas (b.1623), and John were sons of Robert Burnham and Mary Andrews of Norwich, County Norfolk, England. These brothers settled in Chebecco/ Ipswich area in the colony of Massachusetts and for the next 300 years produced thousands of Burnham descendants.
The other Burnham source came from a man named Thomas Burnham (b.1617), who just by coincidence happened to come to America approximately the same year, 1635. His family was from a different part of England, and probably is related further back but I don't believe the connection has been made yet. He landed further south in Connecticut and ended up settling near Hartford. Many Burnham descendants have come from this original source also.
Here is where the problem arises. I've noticed that much of the information that is being offered on the internet recently is mixing data from these two family sources. The sons and daughters of one John or Thomas are being attributed to the wrong people. The Thomas from Connecticut has several times been confused with the Thomas of Ipswich. Some of the things I've seen are totally and completely mixed up, and I worry that all this misinformation is going to expand and multiply itself in a disastrous way for future genealogists to untangle.
I only say this to remind people not to take all the information that is being offered as gospel. In fact, don't believe the information that I'm offering. Check reliable sources and confirm things before adding anything to your family tree.
In that light, I offer this next bit of information that I borrowed from another Burnham who shares my sentiments and facts.
Some Burnham History
The Robert Burnham Family
The 3 Burnham brothers, John, Thomas, and Robert, sons of Robert and Mary [Andrews] Burnham, arrived in May, 1635 on the ship "Angel Gabriel" in the charge of their maternal uncle, Capt. Andrews, master of the ship. Capt. Robert Andrews, was the brother of Mary [Andrews] Burnham.
The ship "Angel Gabriel" pulled into Pemaquid Bay (Pemaquid, Maine) on August 13, 1635 and laid at anchor. The next day there was a terrible rain storm which ravaged the whole coast from Nova Scotia to New York starting at morning. The Angel was torn to pieces by the savage storm and cast away. Most of the cattle, 1 seaman and 3 or 4 passengers died. The others escaped to shore. Among the few personal belongings saved was a chest belonging to the Burnham boys. The tides had been as high as 20 feet.
Some passengers set up tents along the shore and John Cogswell [Coggswell] went to Boston and sought the help of a Capt. Gallop who commanded a smallbark, or barque as it was called then. He took some passengers to Ipswich and made another trip the end of October. The 3 Burnham brothers went to Chebacco, in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, probably with their uncle, Capt. Andrews, and John Cogswell and his family in Capt. Gallop's barque.
Deacon John Burnham joined the Pequot Expedition in 1637 and in 1639 Ipswich granted him land for his services as a soldier in that expedition. He was appointed deacon of the church at Chebacco. He became the owner of a large tract of land, lying on the east side of what is now known as Haskell's Creek, which is where he died on 5 Nov. 1694.
Lt. Thomas Burnham also joined the Pequot Expedition in 1637 along with his brother, John. He was made Selectman in 1647; Sergeant of the Ipswich Company in 1664; made Ensign in 1665 and was commissioned as Lieutenant in 1683. He was Deputy to the General Court from 1683 to 1685 and on town committees. In 1667 he was granted the privilege of erecting a saw mill on the Chebacco River. He owned much land both in Chebacco and in Ipswich which was divided between his sons, Thomas and James upon his death.
In 1645, Thomas married Mary Lawrence [NOT Mary Tuttle], daughter of Thomas Lawrence and Joan Antrobus. Thomas Lawrence died in 1625 in England and his widow, Joan, married John Tuttle. In June 1635, John and Joan Tuttle came to America in the ship "Planter", along with their children, Joan's mother [Mrs. Joan Antrobus] and 3 of the Lawrence children.
Robert Burnham came to Ipswich at the age of 11 and he removed to Boston in 1644, at the age of 20. He married Frances Hill soon after. While in Boston, he became one of a company who purchased the town of Dover, N.H. Ten years later, in 1654, he removed to Oyster River, N.H. and erected his "garrison house".
THOMAS OF HARTFORD: Care must be taken in distinguishing Burnham family ancestors from Thomas Burnham of Hartford, Conn. who was born about 1617. This Thomas Burnham sailed from Gravesend, England about 1635, for the Barbados and soon after came to Conn. There are no records to connect Thomas of Hartford with the other Burnham brother. As Caroline Burnham, one of our Burnham cousins, so aptly put it, "Our Thomas Burnham and his brothers crashed into America. The other one, Thomas Burnham of Hartford, Conn., landed safely in one piece."
THE BURNHAM NAME
This is one of the early New England names, of English origin, among the foremost in New Hampshire (both in point of time and importance), and distinguished in military annals from the earliest colonial period. Not only in military, but in civil affairs it has been pre-eminent, and has furnished leading agriculturists, merchants, clergymen, educators, jurists and legislators to this commonwealth.
Walter Le Veutre came to England at the Conquest, in 1066, with William of Normandy, in the train of his German Cousin Earl Warren and was made a lord in 1080, and received the Saxon village of Burnham, county of Norfolk, as a part of his estate. After the Conquest, he assumed the name of Walter de Burnham after the manor, and the estate continued to be held by his descendants until after 1700. The ancient seat, "Burnham Beeches," is mentioned in one of Tennyson's poems.
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