Might Susannah (MNU) Burnham (c1675-1752) Be a Low, Davis or a Symonds?

I have to admit, right from the start, that having so many early colonial New England families means that I have only a handful of brick walls in those lines and the few that exist are primarily women’s maiden names.

In the past, I wrote a series about my quest to uncover the maiden name of Susannah, born c1675 and who died before 27 March 1752 in Essex County, Massachusetts.

However, the result of all that work simply removed all the Susannahs born in Massachusetts around the 1670s as possibilities to be the lady who married Thomas Burnham.

Either those Susannahs died young, the family left the Essex County, Massachusetts area or they could be accounted for in marriage to other men in the same time period.

Susannah (MNU) married Thomas Burnham (1673-1748) about 1697.

They were the parents of six children, five sons – Thomas, Jeremiah, Caleb, Stephen and Nathan, and one daughter, Hannah, who is my ancestress.

Recently, I decided it was time to take another look at this family, hoping to uncover new clues.

Since Caleb is a very unusual name in the Burnham family, I decided to begin with a search for records concerning him.

An interesting deed filed in York County, Maine in 1733 popped up in AmericanAncestors.

Symonds Low, with consent of wife Elizabeth of Gloucester, Thomas Low, with consent of wife Abigail of Ipswich, and Benjamin Davis with consent of wife Elizabeth, of Gloucester sold to Epes Sargent of Gloucester a tract of land in York County bordering the town of Wells and Cape Porpus. The acreage is not mentioned in the deed, but the sale happened on 18 April 1733.

What caught my eye about this transaction is that there are not two or three witnesses, but EIGHT.

We have witnesses: Thomas Sargent, Benjamin Tarbox, Thomas Burnam, Caleb Burnam, George Minot, Benjamin Colman and B & El Davis.

Why there are eight witnesses and why Benjamin and Elizabeth Davis are also counted among them I have no idea.

Thomas Sargent was likely a witness in support of Epes Sargent.

As for Benjamin Tarbox, George Minot and Benjamin Colman, I can’t find likely men to be these people, except there is a Benjamin Colman (1709-1788) of York, Maine who married Abigail Emery. It’s very possible that George Minot and Benjamin Colman also lived in York County.

The attention getter to this deed is the fact that both Thomas and Caleb Burnham were also witnesses to this land sale. Which Thomas Burnham – Caleb’s father or his brother – is unsure, but my guess would be that his brother was with him in Maine, not his father, who was getting up in years by the 1730s.

It also appears that this property was inherited by probably three of these people since the land is in Maine, but the grantors live in Ipswich and Gloucester, Massachusetts.

So, who are these people? Thankfully, Massachusetts records helped me connect the first set of dots rather quickly.

Symonds Low (1687-1737) married (1) Sarah Davis and (2) Deborah Low

Symonds’ sister, Elizabeth Low (born 1695), married Benjamin Davis (1693-1788)

Thomas Low Jr. (born 1692) married Abigail Fellows, intentions 30 September 1721.

Symonds, Elizabeth and Thomas were siblings and children of Deacon Thomas Low (1661-1697)  who married Sarah Symonds (1668-1709).

Among the inventory papers of Deacon Thomas Low, dated 1698 is one page referring to legacies left to him by Harlakenden Symonds and Elizabeth, his wife, dated 1 March 1690/91, parents of his wife, Sarah Symonds.

Online information about Harlakenden and Elizabeth Symonds is spotty, probably for two reasons. First, he lived in the frontier land of York County, Maine in the second half of the 1600s and, second, no one has bother to look in the published land deeds of York County.

There also seems to be incomplete information about the family of Deacon Thomas Low and his wife, Martha Boreman, who married in 1660. However, it is certain that the Low family lived in Chebacco Parish, which today is part of Ipswich, and is the same neighborhood where Thomas and Susannah (MNU) Burnham lived with their family.

Lastly, John and Ann (Harrenden) Davis were the parents of Elizabeth and Benjamin Davis, who married Low siblings. I’ve run into the Low family in the past in regard to the Burnham family. Perhaps this time, I will be able to make more of a connection.

Next, I need to build out and document the Low, Symonds and Davis families as best I can to determine whether Susannah might possibly be related to one of these couples.


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.