Members of Thomas & Susannah (MNU) Burnham’s FAN Club: Digging for Clues

Many roads leading to lots of open ended questions pretty much sums up possible clues to uncovering the maiden name of Susannah, wife of Thomas Burnham (1673-1749) of Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.

I previously identified three Susannahs, born in Essex County, Massachusetts in the right time frame and for whom I can’t account in terms of marriages or deaths. We’ll return to those ladies in a later summary.

Today, it’s time to examine the very few clues to be found in the Thomas and Susannah Burnham FAN club. There is but one land deed that I can say with certainty pertains to this couple. When Thomas’s sons were past legal age (1738), he and Susannah signed off on their real estate and gave portions of it to sons Thomas, Caleb and Jeremiah found in Deed Book 84:106 of Essex County, Massachusetts records.  Unfortunately, the witnesses to the transactions, one for each son, were the other two siblings. (:

Thomas died in 1749, but died intestate. Thomas owed some money to son-in-law Isaac Parsons, Caleb Burnham (his son), Joseph Lee (possibly the brother of Susannah Lee, who apparently married Thomas Knowlton, but not proven) and Benjamin Jewett. So far, I’ve found no familial ties between the Burnhams and the Jewett family.

However, on 11 July 1749, Thomas’s heirs signed off on his estate and the document was witnesses by William Giddings and Thomas Low.

There was a marriage tie between the Burnhams and the Giddings, but it was through the Lawrence family and all of these people were early settlers in Ipswich. George Giddings, born 1607) married Jane Lawrence and Thomas Burnham (born 1619) married Mary Lawrence. This is a distant tie and there is no apparent close connection between William Giddings and Thomas and Susannah.

On the other hand, Thomas Low might be a more promising lead because not only did one Thomas Low witness this document, but when Susannah (MNU) Burnham wrote her will, it was witnessed by Thomas Low, Solomon Andrews and Isaac Andrews, followed by a codicil witnessed by Joseph Marshall, Daniel Low and Jeremiah Andrews.

The first Thomas Low, immigrant, was born c1600 and died on 8 September 1677. He married (1) Margaret Todd and (2) Susannah Stone Cutting Kimball, both in England. Margaret was the mother of his four children.


1. Thomas, born 1632; died 12 April 1712; married (1) Martha Borman, 4 July 1660 (2) Mary [Brown?], after 1676
2. John, born c1634; married Sarah Thorndike, 10 December 1661
3. Margaret, born c1636; married Daniel Davison, 8 April 1657
4. Sarah, born c1637; married John Safford, c1661

Just one of these children has continued close associations with the Burnham family. Thomas Low, born in 1632, was appointed deacon of the Second Church in Ipswich in 1679. Also named deacon with him was John Burnham, father of Thomas (1673-1749). The minister was the Rev. John Wise, who happens to also be one of my direct line ancestors.

Before looking at Thomas Low Jr.’s family, we need to take a look at Thomas Sr.’s wives. The Todd name doesn’t turn up in any Burnham records that pertain to the mysterious Susannah (MNU).

What about Susannah Stone? She was a native of Essex County, England, like Thomas Low Sr. She married (1) Mr. Cutting, said to be Richard and had one son, Richard Cutting. Richard was born c1621 and died in 1696, having apparently spent his adult life living in Watertown, Massachusetts. He married Sarah (MNU) by 1648 and left a will naming children Zachariah, James, Susan (married Peter Newcomb, 1672) and Lydia (married Henry Spring). Richard Cutting also named grandchild Elizabeth Barnard. Watertown records show two other daughters born to Richard and Sarah Cutting – Sarah in 1661 and Lydia in 1666. One of these likely died in childhood and the other married a Barnard and died soon or else both died young and there is another daughter whose birth is not recorded. In any case, the Cutting clan doesn’t seem to have had many ties to Ipswich other than Richard’s mother marrying Thomas Low after 1648.

Susannah Stone Cutting, a young widow, married Henry Kemball, also in England and three more children.

Children (Kemball):

1. Elizabeth, born c1630; died 1719, Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts; married Thomas Straight by 1657
2. Susan, born c1632; died 1673; married John Randall, by 1651, probably in Watertown. The Randalls had a daughter Susan, but born c1659 and married to Enoch Sawtelle. She is too old to be Susannah who married Thomas Burnham.
3. John, born c1637; married Hannah Bartlett, 1667, Watertown, Massachusetts

None of the Kemball children seem to have had many ties to anyone in Ipswich, either, and definitely not to the Burnhams.

I was really hopeful that Susan Kemball Randall might have been the mother of Susannah (MNU), but was definitely not.

Now, we’ll take a closer look at the family of Deacon Thomas Low, who definitely shared a social circle with John Burnham’s family and might have been fairly close friends, given that they were both named church deacons at the same time.

Thomas Low Jr. married (1) Martha Borman, 4 July 1660, in Ipswich (2) Mary [Brown?], c1676. Thomas had a large family by his two wives.

Children (Low):

1. Thomas, born 14 April 1661; died 8 February 1697; married Sarah Symonds, 2 December 1687. Thomas and Sarah had a son, also Thomas, who married Abigail Fellows and died in 1761. Witnesses to the 1761 will of Thomas were Jonathan Low, James Andrews and one Nathan Burnham (Thomas’s son died in 1758 at Ticonderoga.) This is a further association between these three families.
2. Jonathan, born 7 July 1665; died February 1750; married Mary Thomson, 8 March 1692/93
3. David, born 14 August 1667; married Mary Lamb, 28 December 1699
4. Martha, born 10 March 1669; married Richard Dodge, 16 November 1694
5. Nathaniel, born 7 June 1672; died 1695, unmarried
6. Joanna, born c1677; married (1) Antipas Dodge, 24 January 1699 (2) Joseph Hale, intentions 19 September 1708
7. Abigail, born c1686; married Joseph Goodhue, intentions 31 January 1707/08
8. Sarah, born c1688; married Nathan Webster, intentions 6 November 1708

In spite of all these children, there is nothing found that points to further possibilities about the maiden name of my mysterious Susannah (MNU) Burnham.

I feel like not much progress has been made, at least positive progress, in finding Susannah’s maiden name.

Next, I will post my findings about the Susannahs born in the right time frame, but in Suffolk and Middlesex Counties, Massachusetts. That post will be coming soon.


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