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Silas Burlingame (b. 20 May 1741, d. 05 Mar 1829)Silas Burlingame874, 875, 876 was born 20 May 1741 in Cranston, Rhode Island, U.S.A, and died 05 Mar 1829 in New Berlin, Chenango, New York, U.S.A.He married Mehitable Fisk on 11 Nov 1764.
Notes for Silas Burlingame:
Our basic knowledge of Silas Burlingame comes from a manuscript "History of the Burlingames" written by his great-granddaughter Susan Burlingame Holton Phillips. She was born before Silas died, but almost certainly never saw him, since her family had already moved West. As a result, what she knew of her great-grandfather can only have been what her father told her, and he indeed did live with his grandfather for about 20 years. What we have, therefore, are the stories of an old man, remembered by his grandson, and retold by him to his daughter, and later consigned to writing by her. The chances for error are great, and that error has crept in must always be considered.
This history of the family begins as follows:
Our fathers came from Birmingham, England, and settled in Rhode Island as early as the latter part of 1600 or the first part of 1700. I do not know how many or how large families there was. I know of only three or, rather, those three are all that has been handed down in our branch of the Burlingames. They were Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Moses. Ezekiel never married. I have no correct history of the descendants of Jeremiah. Moses B. lived in Cranston, R.I., where our great-grandfather Silas was born May 20, 1739.
Investigation of this document, of course, was to turn to the genealogical accounts of Rhode Island, where the most basic source is Austin's Genealogical Dictionary. It was found that there were indeed Burlingames in RI, but that the founder of the family had come rather earlier than this account leads one to suppose. Austin set forth three generations of the emigrant's descendants, and in the third
generation there was a single Moses Burlingame, born about 1690. No Ezekiels or Jeremiahs, however, were found at all. Furthermore, there was no birth record for Silas in the existing records of Providence, of which Cranston was still a part until 1754, and he was not mentioned in the extant will of Moses
Burlingame. That will did, however, show that the third generation Moses had a son Moses, and the marriage records of Providence record his marriage to Lydia Baker 4 May 1740. Deeds show that when he bought land in Coventry, Kent Co., RI, in 1759, he was called "of Cranston."
Is this second Moses the father of Silas? On the face of it, the answer would seem to be yes. Here is a Moses, in Providence, of the right age. His wife's name is Lydia, and she has a brother Silas who married Moses' sister Temperance. Silas would be named for his double uncle, and he in turn will name his only daughter Lydia. Moses has a brother Josiah, and Silas will name his eldest son, born shortly after the death of that brother, Josiah. The only problem, of course, is the conflict between the
given birth date of Silas, 1739, and the certain marriage date of Moses and Lydia, 1740.
The birth date of Silas Burlingame is given as 20 May 1739 not only by Mrs. Holton but also in the Reuben Burlingame Bible, a copy of which is in the Guernsey Memorial Library in Norwich,
NY, and in what appears to be a copy of an obituary of Silas, stating that he died Nov. 5th, 1829, aged 90 years, 5 months and 15 days, and specifically that he was born in Cranston, RI, 20 May 1739. There is no doubt, therefore, that Silas himself gave that as his birth date, and that his family naturally accepted
it. There is equally no doubt that the Providence town records show the marriage of Moses Burlingame and Lydia Baker to have taken place a year later. The simplest solution, of course, is to assume that Silas was mistaken, and that he was born 20 May 1741, and this is what Nelson Burlingame does in his monumental "Burlingame Family," a manuscript now in the library of the Rhode Island Historical Society. He gives the birth date as 1741, with no explanation, says that Moses and Lydia are the parents, and ignores the conflict completely. He is probably right, but in genealogy assumptions can not take the place of evidence, and at the moment there is no proof whatsoever as to the birth date or
the parentage of Silas Burlingame.
Nor is there any proof of the next part of Susan Holton's story, the swashbuckling adventures of the young Silas.
[Silas] remained with his father until he was 15 years old then hired himself as cabin boy on a privateer. For 15 years the ocean was his home most of the time. In those years he suffered many hardships. Three times shipwrecked. If Silas was born in 1739, then he was 15 in 1754, the year generally given as the beginning of the French and Indian War in North America; if, on the other hand, he was born in 1741, then his fifteenth birthday was in 1756, the year of the official outbreak of that war between Great Britain and France, called in Europe the Seven Years War, since it lasted until 1763. It looks, therefore, as
though Silas was engaged in privateering during this conflict, but no evidence to substantiate this assumption has been found. Mrs. Holton recounts at length the story of his last shipwreck, during which he was cast up on a desert island, rescued by a buccaneer and taken to the Spanish Main. After a narrow escape from death he set sail on another privateer, was captured by the French but escaped, landed once again in America where he barely escaped a British pressgang, returning to his ship "resolved that
he would stay there until the war was over."
Mrs. Holton says that he returned home in 1769, and that "soon after his return he married a Miss Fisk and settled at Situate in Rhode Island, now called Foster, where he remained until 1782." But as we have seen the war ended in 1763, so it is far more likely that Silas returned then. We find proof, in
fact, that he did so, in the vital records of Cranston, RI, where, on 11 Nov 1764 Silas Burllinggame and Mehetable Fisk were married by Elisha Greene, Elder (of the Baptist Church). There are no further traces of Silas in the records of Cranston.
After his marriage, Silas Burlingame may have continued his sea-faring life, since there is no trace of him in Rhode Island deeds until on 8 Aug 1769 Silas Burllingame of Coventry, Kent, cooper, bought 100 acres in Scituate, Providence Co., RI. We notice that he is called of Coventry, where his presumed father, Moses, was living, and that just as Mrs. Holton said, in 1769 he settled at Scituate. On 6 Mar 1773 Silas Burllinggame of Scituate, yeoman, and Mehetabell the lawful wife of said Silas,
sold 20 acres in Scituate, while on 5 Oct 1774 Silas bought another 20 acres. On 25 Feb 1778 Silas Burlinggame of Scituate, yeoman, with Mehetabel his wife sold his holdings in Scituate, and on 13 Mar 1778 he bought 100 acres in Coventry. This land he sold with his wife Mehitabel 23 Dec 1778, and apparently soon after they left the state of Rhode Island.
This information of the deeds is confirmed by other RI documents. A statewide census was taken in 1774 and Silas Burlingame is found at Scituate with a family of 2 males over 16, 1 under, 2 females over 16 and 1 under. This accounts for Silas and Mehitable, his son Josiah born 1769, and his daughter Lydia
whose birthdate is not known. The other couple over 16 may well be Moses and his wife, since they are otherwise not found in this census. In 1776 the American Revolution began, and on 28 Sep 1776 Silas Burlingame was one of the signers of the oath of fidelity at Coventry, and the following year, in Apr 1777, Serg Silas Burlingame is listed in Capt. Samuel Well's Co. in Col. Casen's Rgt (a Coventry company). Despite these Coventry mentions, it was still in Scituate that Silas Burlingame was enumerated in the RI military census of 1777. He is noted as aged 16-50 and able to bear arms. In June 1777 Silas Burlingham is listed as one of the justices of the peace at Scituate.
It was in Mar 1778 that Silas Burlingame bought 100 acres of land in Coventry, and on Wednesday 15 Apr 1778 he was admitted a freeman of that town. A record in the Shepley collection at the RI State Archives shows that he was paid for 7 days as a member of Capt. Sam Wall's company in Col. Archibald Kasson's regiment in the town of Coventry for his services in the alarm from 24-30 Jul 1778. Then, as we say, in Dec 1778 he sold his holdings in Coventry, and he disappears from RI records.
"History of the Burlingames" tells us that he removed to Stillwater, Saratoga Co., in 1782, but Saratoga Co. was created from Albany county only in 1791, so until that date Stillwater was in Albany Co. The exact date that Silas and his family moved to Stillwater may well be 1782, but that he was in Albany county, NY, before that date is proved by James Roberts' New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, where, on p. 122, he lists Silas Burllinggame as enlisted in Col. John McCrea's company, Col.
Cornelius Van Veghten's 13th regiment, of the Albany Co. militia. There is no date given, but service was presumably before the end of active fighting in 1781. It seems reasonable to suppose that the Burlingames went more or less directly to NY from RI, and arrived there, therefore, probably in 1779.
Two members, at least, of the DAR have joined through the services of Silas Burlingame, member 46179 being descended from Josiah Burlingame, while member 137038 was a descendant of Daniel
Burlingame's son James.
The deeds of Albany County reveal no transactions by Silas Burlingame, but in the 1790 census of Stillwater Town, Albany Co., Silas Burlingham is found with a family of 1 male over 16, 2 under and 2 females. Next to him is Josiah Burlingham with a family of 1 male over 16, 1 under, and 3 females. This accounts for all the members of Silas's family, his son Daniel having been born in 1778 and the last son, Caleb, at an unknown date. The daughter Lydia is presumably still unmarried.
Shortly after this census, apparently, Silas led his family further west. The Gazeteer and Business Directory of Chenango County, N.Y., for 1869-70 by Hamilton Child tells us that the first settler of what is now New Berlin, Chenango Co., but was then still part of the town of Norwich, was Daniel Scribner from
Ballston, Saratoga Co., who came in 1790. Listed among the other early settlers is Silas Burlingame, who settled on what was the site of the future New Berlin. The first deed found for him is dated 12 Jun 1795 when Silas Burlingame of Norwich, Tioga Co., farmer, bought 320 acres for L160, being lot #77 of township 16, on the Unadilla River. The following year, on 16 Feb 1796, Silas Burlingame of Norwich, Tioga Co., farmer, sold 122 1/4 acres of this land to Andrew Knight of Cranston, RI. More of this land
was sold by Silas Burllinggame, yeoman, 19 Aug 1800, and in the census of 1800 he is enumerated at Norwich, Chenango Co. His family consists of 1 male aged 45+, 1 aged 26-45, and 1 aged 10-16; 1 female aged 45+, and 1 aged 10-16. Josiah and Daniel Burlingame are listed separately and Lydia is certainly married by this time, so the male 10-16 must be Caleb. The other two persons are presumably servants.
Mehitibal Burlingame signs a deed with her husband on 6 Apr 1801 and again on 22 Apr 1806. On 23 Aug 1806 she is mentioned in another deed but does not sign. In 1807 the town of New Berlin was formed from Norwich, and in a deed of 1809 Silas Burlingame of New Berlin is called "Gent." A deed of 24 Jan 1810 still refers to Silas Burlingame of New Berlin, but on 26 Nov 1810 Daniel Burlingame of New Berlin sells land to Silas Burlingame of Norwich. The census of 1810 found Silas Burlingame at Norwich, Chenango Co., with a family consisting of 1 male aged 45+ and two females, 1 aged 26-45 and 1 aged 10-16. The age of the oldest female is probably in error, since on 1 Jan 1814 the heirs of Nicholas Evertson dec'd sold 20 acres to Mehitable Burlingame of New Berlin, the witness being Josiah Burlingame, and in the 1820 census of Norwich the family of Silas Burlingame consisted of 1 male aged 45+, and 1 aged 16-18; 1 female aged 45+ and 1 aged 0-10.
The last deed mentioning Silas Burlingame of Norwich is dated 15 Sep 1823 when he sells to Daniel Burlingame land in the 15th township and also the land which Daniel had deeded to him on 16
Nov 1810. There is no record of the death of Silas Burlingame nor of his burial, and his gravestone has not been found. There exists, however, an old family document entitled "Short Memoir of Silas Burlingame", mentioned above, which gives his death date as Nov. 5th, 1829, in New Berlin, Chenango Co. Nelson Burlingame, however, gives the date as 5 Mar 1829, again without any proof or explanation.
More About Silas Burlingame:
Alt. Birth:: 20 May 1739, Providence, Providence Co. Rhode Island.
Burial: Nov 1829, Norwich, Chenango Co., New York.876
Event: Political leaning Participated In The Boston Tea Party.
Military service: French & Indian War.
More About Silas Burlingame and Mehitable Fisk:
Marriage: 11 Nov 1764
Children of Silas Burlingame and Mehitable Fisk are:
- +Daniel Burlingame, b. 11 May 1778, Scituate Twp, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A, d. 10 May 1824, New Berlin, Chenango, New York, U.S.A.