Burnham and Smith genealogy


Welcome to my genealogy pages.

Then information that follows is mainly on the Burnham and Smith family. I have many other surnames also. Please feel free to copy any of the information that I have. If you find a mistake or question, please contact me at burnham1078@charter.net. This site will continually update as new information becomes available. Thanks for visiting and drop me an email.


dedicated to Walter Barnett Burnham dedicated to George W. Smith
Family Genealogy  Family Genealogy
My Burnham Story Smith Story
Thomas of Hartford  
Angel Gabriel  
Vital Records


Public Records of the Colony of CT  


My Burnham Story

Throughout the generations, one story has been passed down. The story has many unanswered questions and has caused a lot of disagreements. Below is briefly what has been told to my family.

Three Burnham brothers sailed from England to the United States. The ship was the Angel Gabriel. One of these Burnham's was Thomas Burnham. He left his brothers and went his own way. This is the Burnham that my family comes from.

There has been a lot of confusion over which Thomas this was and how he was really related to the the other two Burnhams. My Burnham line goes from Connecticut down to Mississippi and finally to Georgia. I have included all the Burnham families that I have been able to find.



Thomas of Hartford

According to Walter J. Burnham (1966). Thomas Burnhams was from Hatfield Court in Herefordshire, England. At age 18 he sailed from Gravesend, England Nov. 20, 1635 and settled in Hartford, Ct. He was a Freeman in 1671 and a Representative in 1681.


Angel Gabriel

The Angel Gabriel was a typical boat of the time of Elizabeth and James, a slow sailor, but staunch and seaworthy. It was built by Sir Charles Snell for Sir Walter Raleigh and in it he made his second and last trip to Guiana, South America in 1617-18 prior to his final arrest and execution for treason on the 29th of October 1618, a victim of the caprices of Queen Elizabeth.

The Gabriel would make a grotesque figure today in comparison with the modern vessels of the 19th century, but that it was fully up to the average of its day is evidenced by the fact that it was chosen by Raleigh for his South American voyages. It was a boat of but 240 tons burden, and carried twelve guns, of what caliber is not stated. On the 23d of May, 1635, the Angel Gabriel, the James, and several other vessels left Bristol with colonists for America, including 100 passengers, 23 seamen, 23 cows, 3 suckling calves. The former vessel was commanded by Captain Andrews. The early records mention his name, and also the names of his three nephews, John., Robert and Thomas Burnham who accompanied their uncle on the trip, and also the name of Mr Cogswell a merchant of distinction, but as the passenger and crew list were destroyed when the vessel was wrecked, no other names are obtainable, Captain Andrews was a brother of Mary Andrews Burnham, but whether his nephews accompanied him to America on a pleasure trip: or whether they were bent on seeking their fortunes in the New World, we do not know, but whatever their motive, the disastrous ending of the voyage left them in America, and they became the ancestors of the Burnham family of America. Neither Captain Andrews or his nephews ever saw England again; living and dying at Essex, 25 miles north east of Boston. John was 17 years of age at the time they sailed from England, Thomas Was 12, and Robert 11.

The Gabriel and the James touched at Milford Haven, Pembroke, South Wales. After sailing from this port they kept company for two weeks, when they became separated, but arrived off the coast of New England about the same time. The James lay at anchor off the Isle of Shoals, coast of Maine, and the Angel Gabriel off Pemaquid, Maine, when the great storm of August 15, 1635 struck them. The James was torn from its anchor, was obliged to put about to sea, and after a two day's struggle, reached Boston. The storm was frightful at Pemaquid, the wind blowing North East, and the tide rising to an unusual height, in some places more than twenty feet, and this was succeeded by another tidal wave still higher, finally resulting in the destruction of the Angel Gabriel. The Reverend Richard Mather was one of the distinguished passengers on the James, fleeing to America to escape religious intolerance. He became minister of Dorchester, and was the father of Increase Mather, president of Harvard College, and grandfather of Reverend Cotton Mather, minister of Boston. Mather kept a journal of his voyage, which has been preserved, from which is taken the following quotation.

"May 27, 1635. While at anchor, Captain Taylor, Mr. Maud, Nathaniel Wale, Barnabas Fower, Thomas Armitage and myself, (Richard Mather) went aboard the Angel Gabriel. When we came there we found diverse passenger, and among them some loving and godly Christians that were glad to see us. The next day the visit was returned.

June 4, 1635. Five ships, three bound for Newfoundland viz: the Diligence 150 tons, the Mary 80 tons, and the Bess (Elizabeth,) and two bound for New England viz: the Angel Gabriel 240 tons, the James of 200 tons. At Lundy they were detained by adverse winds and tide from June 5 to 9.

Pembroke County, South Wales, Sunday June 14,1635. Still lying at Milford Haven. Mr Maud, Mathews Michael of the James and many of the passengers of the Angel Gabriel went to church on shore at a place called Nangle, where they heard two comfortable sermons made by an ancient grave minister living at Pembroke, whose name is Mr. Jessop. Ps. XCI-11 'For He shall give his angles charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways'. On Thursday, June 18, Reverend Jessop, who was a non-conformist, visited the Angel Gabriel.

Monday June 22, 1635. After having been delayed for 12 days, we sailed, and the next evening lost sight of the three vessels for Newfoundland. The Angel Gabriel is a strong ship and well furnished with 14 or 16 pieces ordnance, and therefore our seamen rather desired her company, but yet she is slow of sailing, and we went sometimes with three sails less than we might have, so that we might not overgo her.

Wednesday June 24, 1635 We saw abundance of porpoises leaping and playing about the ship, and we spent some time that day, in pursuing with the Angel Gabriel, what we supposed was a Turkish pirate, but we could not overtake her.

June 29, 1635. Captain Taylor went aboard the Angel Gabriel and found there had been much seasickness, and two cases of small pox, all recovered. We were entreated to stay to supper and had good cheer, mutton boiled and roasted, good sack etc.

July 4, 1635 Thursday we lost sight of the Angel Gabriel sailing slowly behind us and we never saw her again any more.

August 14. 1635, ye Lord sent forth a most terrible storm of rain., and ye Angel Gabriel lying yon at anchor at Pemaquid,was burst in pieces, and cast away in ye storme and most of ye cattle and other goodes with one seaman and three or four passengers did also perish therein, besides two of ye passengers died by ye way, ye rest having lives given ym.' The Angel Gabriel was the only vessel which miscarried with passengers from Old England to New, so singally did the Lord in his Providence watch over the Plantation of New England."

The rest of the story is told by survivors of the Gabriel. The gallant ship went down in the storm of August 15, and John Cogswell, and other passengers, including Capt. Andrews and his three nephews escaped to the shore by means of rafts and boats, losing practically all their belongings, but among the valuables saved, was a chest belonging to the Burnham boys. A portion of the passengers erected tents., and the rest of them were taken to Boston in a bark commanded by Captain Gallop. He returned to Pemaquid Bay, and took off Mr. Cogswell and his family, and the others, and landed them at Ipswich the latter part of August from whence they went to Essex in October.

The Connecticut Burnhams

Two branches of the family settled in America, first, Thomas Burnham, Sr., who in 1635 sailed from Gravesend, England, for the Barbadoes, soon coming to Connecticut, for the purpose of improving his fortunes. He was a shrewd criminal lawyer, and for defending Abigal Betts, who was accused of blasphemy, he was prohibited from further practice in the courts. He settled on his land at Podunk and finally settled at Hartford, Connecticut. He was born in 1617, died June 24, 1688, aged 71 years. His wife's name was Ann. His children were Thomas, John, Samuel, Mary, Anna, William, Richard and Rebecca. He was the first American ancestor of a large number of Burnhams

The Massachusetts Burnhams

The other branch of the Burnham family in America sprang from three brothers., John, of Ipswich, Massachusetts, Thomas, of Ipswich Massachusetts, and Robert, of Dover, New Hampshire. From this branch we are descended. They came to Chebacco in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, as previously related in "The Last Cruise of the Angel Gabriel" their Uncle Captain Andrews, settling there and remaining with them.


Smith Family

Stephen Smith was born in New York. He lived in Bellmore where he was married to Mary Mott. The Smiths lived in Nassau County New York area for several generations. Three generations of Smiths lived in Smithville South. The direct lineage that I have was that George W. Smith and Jean Dodge left New York for Florida. They operated a hotel there but when George died, Jean moved to Tennessee.


Sue M. and Jack W. Pearson

Please forgive me if I have used some of your information without credit. I am trying to keep a list.