Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My male Mayflower ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

John Burgess ca 1629-1701 and his wife Mary Worden of Sandwich and Yarmouth, Mass.

John Burgess was born probably in England circa 1629, the second son of Thomas and Dorothy (Waynes) Burgess, early settlers of Sandwich on Cape Cod, arriving there by 1637. Before settling at Sandwich, the family may have been at Salem and Lynn. His father Thomas was a prominent man in the Colony and a large landholder. His last name is often seen as Burge/Burg, but I use Burgess for the sake of consistency.

On 8 Dec 1657 John married Mary Worden at Sandwich. [Sandwich VR p. 17] Mary was born circa 1639 at Yarmouth (in an area that later became Dennis), daughter of Peter Worden and his wife Mary whose maiden name is unknown. John and Mary are my 9th great-grandparents through both my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins and grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis.

John and Mary had ten children:

 i.possibly Mary born 25 Dec 1658; married Manoah Ellis

ii.John born abt. 1659; married Sarah Nickerson 

iii.Patience born about 1662; married Jonathan Nye of Sandwich

ivThomas born about 1666; married Sarah Storrs

v.Joseph born about 1670; married Tamsin/Thomasine Bangs

vi.iMartha born bout 1671; married Samuel Storrs of Connecticut

vii. Samuel born about 1678; married Elizabeth ——

viii.Jacob born about 1680; married Sarah ——

ix.possibly Sarah born about 1684; she may be the Sarah who married Jeremiah O’Killey but there is a lack of proof

x.Mercy born about 1685; married Samuel Winslow 

There is no primary source record for daughters Sarah and Mercy, but John does state in his will that he had five daughters. 

I descend from their son John as well as their daughter Patience.

John was admitted a freeman at Sandwich in 1657 and served as a grand juror in 1661. John and Mary removed to Yarmouth where in 1676 he had taxable property of 4 shillings and 1 pence. That same year John Burgess was taxed 12 shillings and 16 pence towards King Philips War. He was Deputy to the Court at Plymouth in 1680, so clearly he was a prominent man in the Colony.

John Burgess was chosen by Yarmouth in 1679 to look out for, cut up, and secure for the town such whales and whale bones as by God's providence were cast up on land from Sawtucket to Sawsuit Harbor mouth. He was paid five pounds "blubber or oyle" per whale. He was chosen for this job again in 1680.

Mary is mentioned as the wife of John Burgess in her father Peter Worden’s 9 January 1679-80 will. She is mentioned as being of Yarmouth with husband John Burgess again in her mother's 1687 estate settlement.  It was sworn to by John Burge, administrator, on 31 March 1687. 

A map published in the Cape Cod Genealogical Society Bulletin shows locations of the homesteads of "Dennis First Comers.” John lived in East Dennis on the south side of what is now Route 6A near what in 2001 was Sesuit Harbor Motel. His neighbors were Joseph Severance, T. Boardman and Z. Paddock. [CCGS Bulletin, Spring 2001, page 8-10]

Location of John's homestead near top of map/Source: CCGS Bulletin Spring 2001

John “Burg” wrote his will on 14 Aug 1700 and a codicil dated 19 Feb 1700/01, both proven 3 July 1701. He mentions wife Mary, all his sons by name: John, Thomas, Joseph, Samuel, and Jacob, and his five daughters all unnamed except for Martha who is noted as unmarried.  Codicil mentions land belonging to Aunt Martha Severance (she was the sister of his wife Mary Worden).  The codicil in particular spells out how he want his sons to care for their mother Mary as long as she remains his widow, something I find endearing. [Mayflower Descendant, Vol 53, no. 2, citing Barnstable Probate Records 2:127; inventory 2:129; also available on Familysearch.org]

A record of John’s death is not found but he died at Yarmouth between 19 February 1700/01 when he wrote the Codicil and 3 July 1701 when his will was proven.

An inventory of his estate was taken 12 July 1701. It lists land, farm animals, spinning wheel, clapboards, household items, books, a canoe, guns and swords, and a servant boy. To me the books indicate he was literate, the canoe that he lived near water, guns and swords that he at one point served in the militia. I believe the servant boy was an indentured servant rather than a slave.

The widow Mary Burgess died intestate before 11 May 1724 when administration of her estate was granted to her son Jacob. An inventory was taken 16 May 1724, final disposition granted 10 July 1727. In the final disposition, Jacob noted that all legacies had been distributed except to his sisters, Patience Nye and her heirs, and Mary Ellis.  Mary’s inventory included a cow, calf and heifer and the luxury items of a silk scarf and hood. 

Sources Not Mentioned Above

Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth Comprising the Present Towns of Yarmouth and Dennis, 1894

Katherine Hiam, Burgess Genealogy: Descendants of the Four Sons of Thomas Burgess and Dorothy (Waynes) Burgess, 1997

Martin E. Hollick, The American Genealogist, “Enigmas #20, One Identification and One Conundrum: Notes on the Venney, O’Kiliea/O’Killey, and Burgess Families of Yarmouth and Sandwich, Massachusetts,” 80:304 (2005)

John Burg’s will: Barnstable County Probate 2:127-30

Peter Worden’s will: "Massachusetts, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991", ancestry.com

Mary (——) Worden’s will: “Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967,” familysearch.org

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