Stephen Burdick

Male 1736 - 1808  (~ 72 years)

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  • Name Stephen Burdick 
    Born ca 1736  Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died ca 1808 
    • From the Burdick Family newsletter March/April 2004

      Stephen Burdick of Rockville, Town of Hopkington, RI ---by David Kendall Martin, M.A. (
      For many years I accepted without question the lineage for Stephen Burdick of Hopkington, Washington Co., RI, who married Mary Church, given in The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island by Nellie Johnson (1937), p. 91, #185. As I grew more sensitive genealogically, I noticed that if Stephen Burdick were born 16 March 1748 as Mrs. Johnson wrote, he would have been but 15 years old, perhaps barely 16, when his first child, Joel, was born in 1762/3, and seven years younger than his wife who is buried in the Burdick Cemetery, Clifford Township, Susquehanna Co. PA, where her gravestone is inscribed: died January 4, 1832, aged 90 years, (so born c.1741). While possible, the spectacle of a 15 year old boy marrying a 22 year old woman disturbed my sense of proportion.

      I spent a long time investigating the births of the children of Stephen and Mary (Church) Burdick: Joel 1762/3, Billings 1765, Caleb c.1767, Joshua c.1769, Thomas c.1771, Zebediah c.1774, Stephen c.1776, Kendal 4 April 1778, Elias 20 August 1780 and Mary 1783/4, but could not shake the birth of Joel whose gravestone in the Rockville Cemetery reads died May 23, 1828 aged 65 years and who married in Hopkington 27 March 1784 Sarah Crandall (VR). In addition, even if Joel's age at death was a bit off, the 1774 census includes six males under 16 in the family of Stephen, too many births to change his marriage date significantly. Equally certain was the birth date of Stephen, son of Simeon and Isabel (Saunders) Burdick, clearly noted in the Westerly Vital Records as 16 March 1748.

      As I dug into the Hopkington records, I found that several young men of that period matured at an early age, leaving home and buying land in their middle teens. That seemed to be the answer, Stephen had followed a local pattern of early male independence. Also, those with more knowledge of the time and place whom I consulted, including David W> Dumas, were comforting in their assurance that such a situation was not at all unlikely. Several also pointed out that Stephen was not the first young man to find himself obligated to marry an older woman.

      Still disturbing, though, was the wording of the will of Simeon Burdick of Westerly, which adjoins Hopkington, who on 3 March 1801 wrote "I give and bequeath to my beloved son Stephen Burdick if he should Ever Return to Live here Fifty Dollars to be paid out of my Estate when he shall Return - But in Case he should not Return to be Equally Divided Between my other two sons Simeon & Jonathan". This seems odd phrasing when referring to a son living just a few miles away in the next town. Perhaps Mrs. Johnson had confused "my" Stephen with another. Stephen is not a common name in the Burdick family. The bulk of my search has been combing the records of New England and New York for references to it. None are found born in the 17th century, and I have found only these born in the 18th century:

      Stephen 1748-1801+ (Simeon(4), Thomas(3), Thomas(2), Robert(1)) of Westerly

      Stephen Rose c.1754-1820+ (Joseph(3), Robert(2), Robert(1)) m. Westerly 1777 Sarah West; Rensselaer and Madison Cos. NY (see Mayflower Families Through Five Generations 3:98 300).

      Stephen 1758-c.1812 (Samuel Hubbard(4), Samuel Hubbard(3), Thomas(2), Robert(1)) m. ? Lodema (----); Stonington, CT and Brookfield Co. NY.

      Stephen 1789-1823 (Jonathan(5), Simeon(4), Thomas(3), Thomas(2), Robert(1)) m. Merabeth (Elizabeth) Hull, Newport.

      Stephen Rose 1795-? (Joseph(4), Joseph(3), Robert(2), Robert(1)) m. Elizabeth E. Wells.

      What is significant about this list is that if Stephen who married Mary Church had been confused with another Stephen, it would have been a younger Stephen, making the situation even worse. Mrs. Johnson's placement seemed the most reasonable one after all.

      At this point I was able to visit the Rhode Island Archives in Providence, where the very helpful Mrs. Phyllis Silva showed me the volume of early petitions. At once my entire Burdick discomfort relaxed and righted itself as I read through a petition (9-2:185):

      "To the Honble General Assembly to sit at South Kingstown in and for the Colony of Rhode Island &c the Last Wednesday in October A.D. 1759 from in habitants of the North part of the Town of Hopkington and others of sd Town requesting that the northern part of the Second Company or Trained Band of Hopkington be set off as a separate company to save the hardship of travel seven or eight miles to trainings."

      Among the signers was Stephen Burdick!

      At the very least, as an interested party in militia training, he would be 16 years old or born by 1741; at the same time, Stephen of Westerly would only be 11 years old. Here was proof that there was an even older Stephen Burdick so far unrecognized by anyone. What was more, this Stephen apparently lived in the north part of Hopkington where the indefatigable and kind researcher, the late Miss Gladys E. Palmer of Hopeville, had placed the land of "my" Stephen Burdick and probably his grave at Rockville.

      Singing with him were other Burdicks: Thomas, Edward, Thomas Jr. and Zebedia (both immediately next to Stephen on either side), Elias, Zacheus, Cary, Jesse, and William.

      Another check of the Burdick genealogy showed (pp. 21-2, #29) that Thomas Burdick had married c.1724 Dorothy Maxson born 30 October 1703, a daughter of Rev. John and Judith (Clarke) Maxson, and had: Thomas 24 March 1725, Susannah, Zebediah, Elias, Cary, and Zaccheus 28 February 1738. Mrs. Johnson's account of the family of Thomas and Dorothy (Maxson) Burdick indicates the identities of their children were imperfectly known. As Thomas, Elias, and particularly Zebediah are found among the children of Stephen and Mary (Church) Burdick, Stephen is likely another son of Thomas born c.1736.

      The names are right, the place is right, and the chronology is right. It is unfortunate that the ancestries of Mary Church and Hannah Gray (wife of Stephen's son Kendal) are not known, so it may or may not be significant that Kendal Burdick names his first child Dorothy and a son Kendal Mason; the latter went by the name of Mason Burdick, and I have often wondered if the name should be Maxson. To our list above we can add:

      Stephen c.1736-c.1808 (Thomas(3), Samuel(2), Robert(1)) m. Mary Church, Hopkington, RI.
    Person ID I31024  OurNorthernRoots
    Last Modified 29 Aug 2011 

    Father Thomas Burdick,   b. Abt 1703, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1761  (Age ~ 59 years) 
    Mother Dorothy Maxon,   b. 20 Oct 1703, Westerly, Washington Co., Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 24 Jul 1724 
    Family ID F11426  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Church,   b. 1741/1742,   d. 04 Jan 1842, Clifford, Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 100 years) 
    Married 1762 
    +1. Billings Burdick,   b. 1765, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Sep 1819, Rhode Island, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)
    Family ID F11447  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

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