Rebecca (Follett?), Wife of Loyalist Benjamin Burt

For many years, I did not know the maiden name of Benjamin Burt’s wife, Rebecca. Even now, the evidence is tenuous because the Follett family has many holes in its early history. It is a relatively unique name in 1600’s colonial American records. Several men with the name settled in New Hampshire/Maine, but they have not been linked to Robert Follett and wife Persis Black of Salem, Massachusetts in the 1650’s.

Robert and Persis Follett were the parents of nine children, whose births are recorded in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. However, the deaths of Robert and Persis are not found there and at least two of their children, Abraham and John, removed to Attleborough, Bristol, Massachusetts by 17 April 1706, when John’s wife, Martha Callum, was noted to be the first burial in that town. However, there is a gap between the birth of Martha’s last child, Samuel, on 5 April 1706 and their next youngest child, Ruth, born on 9 December 1696, in Salem.

Children of John and Martha (Callum) Follett:

1. John, born 29 July 1695, Salem, MA
2. Ruth, born 9 December 1696, Salem, MA
3. Joseph, baptized 21 May 1699, Salem, MA
4. Samuel, born 5 April 1706, Attleborough, MA

There were likely children born in between while the family was on the move between Salem and Attleborough.

When did John and Martha Follett leave Salem and when did they settle in Attleborough? The second question is easier to answer. With mortality rates relatively high back then, if Martha was the first burial in Attleborough, then they probably hadn’t lived there for more than a year. However, no records have been found to indicate when they left Salem or if Robert and Persis Follett left with them.

Abraham Follett married Sarah Callum on 30 March 1697 in Salem. They are reportedly (e.g. unproven) the parents of a Joseph Follett who died in Attleborough on 24 April 1724. No age is recorded for this Joseph, although he likely was of legal age as his parents’ names are not given either.

How does all this fit in with my Rebecca? Rebecca’s husband, Benjamin Burt, was the son of Seaborn Burt. Seaborn was so named as he was born at sea somewhere between Quebec and Boston upon his parents’ release from captivity after an Indian raid in Deerfield, Massachusetts.His given name is somewhat unique, for obvious reasons.

Proof has not been found for Rebecca’s maiden name, but there is a Seaborn Folliott of Norwalk who married widow Sarah Forbes on 5 Jan 1797. This appears to be the link for suggesting that Rebecca was a Follett/Folliott.

In trying to connect Robert Follett’s children with Rebecca, the CT Barbour Collection shows a marriage for Joseph Follett of Marblehead, Massachusetts and Annah Tongue of New London, CT on 6 March 1730/31 in New London, Connecticut. (Did the Folletts removed to Marblehead, Massachusetts on the way to Attleborough? The few Folletts found in Marblehead vital records all lived in the early 1800’s. Answer: I don’t know.)

It is certainly possible that the Folletts indeed left Salem for nearby Marblehead before moving on to Attleboro and then went on to the area around New London, Connecticut. Joseph then made his last home in Ridgefield, CT.

Ridgefield vital records found in the Barbour collection include:

Joseph Follett, died 30 July 1794, aged 86 years.
Anne, wife of Joseph Follett, died 8 May 1788

1. George, son of Joseph & Annah, born 30 April 1732
2. Bartlett, son of Joseph & Annah, born 12 Jan 1735/6
3. Hannah, daughter of Joseph & Anna, born 13 Sept 1738
4. Rebeckah, dau of Joseph & Anna, born 9 Jan 1740/1
5. Sarah, daughter of Joseph & Anna, born 6 July 1749
6. John, son of Joseph & Anna, born 20 August 1754

Another clue that my Rebecca was a Follett is that her (assumed) brother, George, married Thankful Burt, sister of Benjamin Burt. There is a family connection between the Burts and the Folletts.

I am quite convinced that this Joseph and Annah/Anna Follett are the parents of Rebecca who married Benjamin Burt. There are no conflicting records to indicate this Rebecca married someone else or died young.

I also believe, based on preponderance of evidence, that Joseph Follett of Ridgefield is the son of John Follett, baptized on 21 May 1699 in Salem, MA. The one thing that bothers me a bit is that Joseph would have been about 31 when he married Annah Tongue, which is late by New England standards of that era. Young men typically married after age 21 and often around age 25. However, since no records have been located for Joseph between his baptism in Salem and marriage in New London, it is very possible that he had a first wife who died and the marriage record was either lost or the event was not recorded.

What became of Benjamin and Rebecca Burt? The Burts were Loyalists and when the Revolutionary War ended, they sailed from New York to New Brunswick, Canada. Benjamin died soon after, on 10 August 1785 in Burton, Sunbury, New Brunswick, Canada. No death date has been found for Rebecca, but all of their children were born in Connecticut and all made their new homes in New Brunswick.

The Folletts have been added to my “to do” list for the next trip to Salt Lake. I would like to fill in the gaps and obtain some documentary proof of my hypothesis.

One thought on “Rebecca (Follett?), Wife of Loyalist Benjamin Burt”

  1. Have Ann Burt 1760 – 1835 married to Morris Haycock Sgt. Major Queens Rangers. Daughter Ann Haycock 1789 – 1830 married Capt Charles Bayly 1786 – 1826 Westport NS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.