John Burnham & Elizabeth Wells, Ipswich, MA, 1700s

Some of the Burnham lines are difficult to sort out record by record because of a lack of birth, marriage and death records in Ipswich in its early years. While records seem to have been kept, it appears that some men never got around to registering events.

An additional problem is that immigrant brothers Thomas and John both settled in Ipswich (brother Robert went to Dover, New Hampshire) and many of the same given names were repeated in the descendants.

John Burnham’s data online is often mixed up because three Johns died in a 17 year period (1694-1711) and facts are attributed to the wrong John.

However, the family of John Burnham and Elizabeth Wells is fairly well documented. To start, John Burnham was the son of Thomas Burnham and Mary Lawrence (stepdaughter of John Tuttle), born c1648, but his birth record is among the missing.

John Burnham was born c1648, probably in Ipswich and died between 1 December 1703, the date he wrote his will, and 24 January 1704, when it was proved in Essex County Court.

Elizabeth Wells was the daughter of Thomas Wells and Abigail Warner, born c1649 with the same missing birth record and died after 12 December 1713, probably in Ipswich, when she appeared to acknowledge a deed to her daughter-in-law, Sarah, widow of her son John, as stated in the document. (Essex County, MA DB 31:99)

The marriage of John and Elizabeth is recorded on 9 June 1669 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, along with the births of their children.

Children (All BMD in Ipswich unless noted):

1. John, born 8 April 1671; died before 17 September 1711, the date his mother signed a deed with his widow, Sarah (DB 31:99); married Sarah Choate, 12 April 1693.
2. Thomas, born 30 September 1673; died 16 December 1748; married Susannah (MNU), c1698.
3. Jacob, born 1 March 1676; died 8 February 1682
4. Joseph, born 20 September 1678; died before 1 May 1704, at sea; unmarried. (Essex County, MA Probate File 4133)
5. Abigail,
born 10 December 1680; unmarried on 21 June 1706 when named in a land deed from her mother to her children; married Benjamin Choate, after 23 May 1707 when intentions were filed. The Choates settled in Kingston, Rockingham, New Hampshire, where Benjamin was a minister. Benjamin reportedly died in 1753 and Abigail in 1776, but I haven’t found documentation for these dates.
6. Jacob, born 1 March 1682; died 26 March 1773, aged 91 years; married Mehitable Perkins, 20 November 1704.
7. Jonathan, born 10 October 1685; died 3 April 1773, in his 87th year; married (1) Mary Perkins, 17 March 1710 (2) Martha Foster, 13 May 1730.
8. David, born 20 October 1688; died 2 February 1770, aged about 80 years; married (1) Elizabeth Perkins, 2 July 1711 (2) Elizabeth Bartlett, 18 August 1740
9. Mary, born 30 June 1691; married Samuel Weymouth, 10d of 10m. (December?) 1709. Samuel Weymouth was a resident of Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire and Mary settled their after her marriage.

Will of John Burnham, 1 December 1703
Proved 24 January 1704
Essex County, MA Probate File #4115

In the Name of God Amen
I John Burnum senior of Ipswich in the County
of Essex in ye Massachusetts Bay in New England Being att
att this present time in perfect memory, & understanding,
thro Gods Goodness, tho very weak in Body, not knowing
how soon my great & Last change may come: Therefore I
make and (Leand?) this as my Last Will & Testament.

Imprimis I comitt my imortal Soul into ye hands of God
that gave itt, and my Body to a Decent Burial, as
my Executor, & super(?) shall soo cause, and for
what Estate Itt hath pleasd Almighty God to bless
me with Relating to ye Things of this Life I doe give
& bequeath, as hereafter followeth.

2 These Being Due to Mr Philip English one hundred
and four pounds & nineteen shillings with the interest
that sume being first paid out of my Estate; The remainder
I Give & Bequeath to my Wife & children.

3 I Give to my Eldest Son John Burnum and Thomas Burnum
my second son their housing & lands that they are now possest
of according to each others deeds of Gift, accounting what
I have already given them; to be sufficient to what I have
to bestow on ye rest of my children:

4 I doe hereby Bequeath to my Wife Elizabeth Burnum
who I doe hereby appoint Executris to this my Last Will &
Testatament, I say I give to her the full injoyment of all
my whole estate that shall be Left after my Debts are paid:
until my youngest child Mary Burnum comes of age; excepting
any or every of my children (that are not yet maried) see cause
to mary before sd mary comes of age then thay shall hand
each their proportion of what is Left as above sd; paid them by
my sd Executrix, at or before six mounths after the mariage
of them or either of them; But if they or either of them soe
cause not to marry before sd mary comes of age yet they are then
to receive of my sd Executris each their proportion at the time
above named; & she is hereby obliged to pay them; to viz Joseph
Burnum, Jacob Burnum (if they be living) and Jonathan Burnum,
David Burnum, & Abigail Burnum & mary Burnum: & if any
of them die before the youngest come of age then their proportion
to be equally divided among ye rest: And they or ye Longest
Livers, or Liver, of them to pay to their mother Elizabeth Burnum
after the youngest of them comes of age, during
the time that their mother remains my widow the full and
just sume of six pounds to be paid annually by them
or the Longest livers or Liver of them each their equal proportion:

5 I Give & Bequeath to my Well Beloved Wife The Beds
Bedstead & furniture that stands in the Parlour: Also the Big
Lest Brass Kittle & ye Lest Ironpott, also the Hand Irons, and Iron
(Train?) a pr of Tongs & slice, & a good cow. (?) things are excepted
(?????) of ye movables to be devided among ye six children Last named.

6 I haveing a three Quarter part of a Brigondoon now
at Sea called by name of ye Swan (?) if she ever Return I
doe hereby give & bequeath, togehter with her lading (effort?)
to my six children Last mentioned their equal proportion; and
while the youngest of them comes of age to be Left in ye
hands of my Executris either to make sale of, either to pay
the Debt to sd English, or to (in?) any other way, for hers
& their advantage.

7 I doe hereby make Elizabeth Burnum my Well
Beloved Wife my Sold Executris to this my Last will
& Testament

8 I Doe hereby make & constitute Sargent Seth Storey
and Nathanael Rust junor supervisor to this my Last
Will & Testament desiring them as God shall inable
them to act according to ye true intent of this my will bot
for the good of my wife & children & they to be paid out
of my Estate for their pains & trouble & charge they may be out

In Witness That this is my Last will, & Testament; I
the sd John Burnum senior have hereunto sett my hand
& seal this thirty first day of December Anno Domini
one thousand seven hundred & three.

John Burnum Senr (seal)

Sighned seald & Delivered
in presence of us
Seth Story
Nathanael Rust junior
John Foster

Coming up – the last Burnham post covering Lt. Thomas Burnham, the immigrant to Ipswich, Massachusetts by 1645.



One thought on “John Burnham & Elizabeth Wells, Ipswich, MA, 1700s”

  1. thx very much for posting this information . . . i was searching for the family of Abigail Burnham m. Benjamin Choate

    the death record for Benjamin is 1753; he left a probate file in NH at familysearch. americanancestors also has the death info.

    have not found a death record for Abigail, but ‘Choates in America’ says 1776. Haven’t found many errors in the book

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