Who Was Daniel Burr, an Executor of the Will of Pelham Founder Thomas Pell?
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Daniel Burr served with John Bankes as an Executor of the Last Will and Testament of Pelham Founder Thomas Pell. Moreover, in his will, Thomas Pell left to Daniel Burr the following:
"all my horses & horse colts wch. I have in New England & in ye Territoryes of ye Duke of Yorke / I except my Mares and Mare Colts wch. I doo not give him. I except my saddle gelding, wch. my heire is to have if he come over otherwise Daniel Burr is to have him. Daniell Burr is to take ye Horse Flesh as they Run wth. out any further delivery."
In addition, Pell bequeathed to Abigail Burr, "ye wife of Daniell Burr" the following:
"ye best bed in my house in Fairfield & Boulstis, wth. Two Blancoates & a Rug & Dormink suite of curtains six cushions, Two paire of sheets, six chairs, The Brewing Kettle in use, Two new keelers, a brewing Tub, six silver spoons, wth. ye use of all ye plate in the house, if she desire of my Executors of Trust, till my heire or heires come or send his or their order how or wch. way all things shall be disposed of."
In addition to Daniel Burr's designation as trusted executor of Thomas Pell's will, these substantial bequests to Daniel Burr and his wife, Abigail, suggest that Daniel and Abigail were close to Thomas Pell at the time of his death. But, who were Daniel and Abigail Burr? Research has revealed the answer.
Jehu Burr, Father of Daniel Burr
Many believe Daniel Burr was a son of Jehu Burr (whose wife is unknown). Jehu Burr arrived in New England on the John Winthrop Fleet in early 1630. He settled in Roxbury in Massachusetts Bay Colony and became overseer of bridges in the Boston region of the Colony in about 1635. In 1636, Jehu Burr, six other men, and their families moved to an area then known as Agawam (now Springfield, Massachusetts). They acquired land from local Native Americans and carved a small settlement out of the wilderness there.
In about 1644, Jehu Burr and his family moved from Agawam in Massachusetts Bay Colony to Uncowau (today's Fairfield) in the nearby Colony of Connecticut. He quickly became a prominent citizen in Fairfield and, in 1645, he represented the tiny settlement at the General Court.
Over the next twenty years, Jehu Burr was a prominent citizen active in the affairs of Fairfield. He was appointed as one of two commissioners to solicit funds at the order of the General Court of Connecticut to fund improvements to the educational system. He served as a Grand Juror. He was appointed a Commissioner for Fairfield and was reappointed to that position in 1664 and 1668. It appears, based on a deed in the Fairfield Records dated January 12, 1673 referencing a grant of land to his son, John Burr, made "by will of his father," it appears that Jehu Burr died in late 1672 or early 1673.
To learn more about Jehu Burr, see The Burr Family of Fairfield, CT: Jehu Burr (visited Jun. 19, 2016).
Many believe that at the time of his death, Jehu Burr left four sons: Jehu, Jr., John, Daniel, and Nathaniel. All four sons lived and died in Fairfield in the Colony of Connecticut. Daniel Burr was born about 1639, likely in Agawam (now Springfield) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. References to Daniel Burr in the records of the Colony of Fairfield are rather sparse. According to one genealogist, such records reflecting Daniel Burr show that:
"May 15, 1668, he bought of Andrew Ward one corner lot with all the appurtenances thereto belonging: at the same time he received a grant of 13 acres from the town, and also bought several parcels of land; in 1681 he exchanged with the town 2 parcels of land and bought a large tract; in 1683 he again appears as a large purchaser of land. His long lot was separated from [his brother] Nathaniel's by Burr's highway, and was 24 rods, 23 links in width." See id.
At the time Thomas Pell named Daniel Burr an executor of his will, Burr was about thirty years old and, according to Pell's will, was married to "Abigail." Abigail Brewster Burr was a daughter of Rev. Nathaniel Brewster of Brookhaven, Long Island. Nathaniel Brewster, in turn, was a stepson of Thomas Pell, who married Nathaniel Brewster's mother, Lucy Brewster, widow of Francis Brewster of Fairfield. In short, Abigail was a granddaughter of Lucy Brewster Pell, Thomas Pell's wife. See Jacobus, Donald Lines, History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, Vol. I, p. 123 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976) (available digitally via Ancestry.com; visited Jun. 17, 2016) (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link). Furthermore, there are indications that Daniel Burr and Abigail Brewster Burr were married shortly before Thomas Pell's death, suggesting that the bequests to the two of them at the time of Pell's death were somewhat in the nature of wedding gifts including much needed to begin a home as well as horses for transportation and farming.
One of the apparently more reliable authorities that touches on the life of Daniel Burr seems to be Jacobus, Donald Lines, History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, Vol. I (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976) (available digitally via Ancestry.com; visited Jun. 17, 2016) (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link). That book says about Daniel Burr the following:
"Burr, Daniel, s. of Jehu. Commissary, Fairfield County, May 1690.
Born abt. 1642; testified 1682 ae. [age] 40; d. in 1695. He bought a house and homelot from Andrew Ward, 24 Dec. 1668; deed witnessed by William Ward and John Burr. He bought land from Mr. John Pell [i.e., Thomas Pell's nephew and principal legatee who took over his uncle's real estate including land in Fairfield], 25 July 1672.
Married (1) (rec. Stamford) Feb. 166[9?], Abigail Brewster. She was dau. of Rev. Nathaniel of Brookhaven, L. I., whose will 16 Mar. 1684/5 named his gr. children Daniel and Abigail Burr. The will of Dr. Thomas Pell of Fairfield 1669 gave legacies to Daniel Burr and Abigail his wife. Pell was stepfather of Rev. Nathaniel Brewster.
He m. (2) at New Haven, 11 Dec. 1678, Abigail Glover. She was dau. of Henry and Helena, b. 31 July 1652, d. abt. 1720/1.
Inv. of Est. of Daniel, Sr., 5 Nov. 1695.
Inv. of Est. of Abigail, 25 Jan. 1721. Probate names her heirs as: one son Samuel; children of dec'd dau. Helena wife of John Andrews (viz.: John, Abigail, Helena, Daniel, Ebeneezer); children of dec'd dau. Deborah wife of Joseph Perry (viz.: Sarah, Abigail, Joseph, Daniel, Nathaniel); and Mehitabel's one dau. Mehitabel Strong.
Distribution of land that belonged to Daniel Burr 1st, 2 Aug. 1751, to the heirs of Daniel Burr dec'd, to Samuel Burr, to the heirs of Ellen dec'd, to the heirs of Deborah dec'd, and to Abigail. Another distribution ordered 8 May 1769 to the following: heirs of Daniel Burr, dec'd, eldest son of the dec'd; heirs of Ellen Andrews, dec'd; heirs of Abigail Sherman, dec'd; heirs of Deborah Perry, dec'd; and Seth Samuel Burr.
Children [by Abigail Brewster], recorded at Fairfield:
Daniel, b. 30 July 1670.
Abigail, b. 14 Mar. 1671 [1671/2], d. at Stratford, 2 Mar 1730/1; m. (1) Daniel Lockwood; m. (2) at Fairfield, 26 June 1700, Elnathan Hanford; m. (3) (rec. Stratford) 26 Nov. 1707, Nathaniel Sherman; had issue by all three.
Children [by Abigail Glover], recorded at Fairfield:
Ellen [also called Helena], b. 26 Oct. 1680; m. Ens. John Andrews.
Deborah, d. abt. 1718; m. (1) Joseph Whelpley; m. (2) Joseph Perry; had issue by both.
Mehitabel, d. before 1713; m. Benajah Strong.
Seth Samuel [often called Samuel], b. 20 June 1694, bapt. 19 Aug. 1694."
Source: Jacobus, Donald Lines, History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, Vol. I, pp. 123-124 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976) (available digitally via Ancestry.com; visited Jun. 17, 2016) (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
There are additonal biographical and genealogical entries that shed some light on the lives of Daniel and Abigail Brewster Burr. Care should be taken, however, given a number of apparent mistakes and questionable assertions in the material that follows:
"DANIEL BURR, 2  OF FAIRFIELD, CT.,
made freeman in 1668. General Court of May 8, 1690, appointed him Commissary for Fairfield Co. There is no record of his holding other public office.
May 15, 1668, he bought of Andrew Ward one corner lot with all the appurtenances thereto belonging : at the same time he received a grant of 13 acres from the town, and also bought several parcels of land; in 1681 he exchanged with the town, 2 parcels of land and bought a large tract; in 1683 he again appears as a large purchaser of land.
His long lot was separated from Nathaniel's by Burr's highway, and was 24 rods, 23 links in width.
H m. Abigail, dau. of Henry Glover of New Haven, Dec. 11, 1678. Chil.:
31. DANIEL 3
32. ABIGAIL, 3 m. Daniel Lockwood.
33 SETH SAMUEL. 3
34. SAMUEL. 3
35. ELLEN. 3
36. DEBORAH, 3 m. Ensign John Andrews and had children: 1, John, 2, Abigail, 3. Hellinah, 4, Daniel, and 5, Ebenezer.
38. MEHITABLE, 3 m. a Strong, and had 1 child, 1, Mehitable.
Daniel and Abigail contested the will, and the estate was not distributed, and the estate was not distributed until 1751. Daniel, Ellen and Deborah were then deceased, leaving heirs. No will is found. Inv. presented Nov. 5, 1695. His w. Abigail's estate dis. Jan. 25, 1723."
Source: Todd, Charles Burr, A General History of the Burr Family in America With a Genealogical Record fromm 1570 to 1878, pp. 145-46 (NY, NY: E. Wells Sackett & Bro., 1878). It should be noted that Thomas Pell's will seems to make clear that Daniel Burr and Abigail Glover Burr were married by late September, 1669, well before the December 11, 1678 claimed in the text quoted above.
Great care must be taken when considering the genealogical data referenced above. It appears that among Jehu Burr's sons were both Daniel Burr and Jehu Burr, Jr. That Jehu Burr, Jr., in turn, named one of his sons after his brother Daniel. That Daniel Burr, who died in 1722, typically is confused with his uncle who served as the Executor of Thomas Pell's will. Recently, one genealogist noted:
"THE BURRS OF FAIRFIELD, CONN.
[Communicated by SYLVESTER JUDD, Esq.]. . . .
The ancestors of those Burrs, in this country, were as follows: --
1. Jehu Burr, who was in Massachusetts in 1630, and was admitted freeman in 1631. This christian name in the record can hardly be distinguished from John, and is often copied John. Jehu Burr belonged to the church at Roxbury, and settled at Springfield with William Pynchon and others, in 1636. In a few years he removed to Fairfield, where he died before 1650. He had sons Jehu and John; and probably Nathaniel and Daniel Burr, of Fairfield, were his sons also.
2. Jehu Burr, son of Jehu, died in Fairfield, 1692. He left sons Daniel, Peter, Samuel, and five or six daughters. Peter graduated at Harvard College in 1690, and was a distinguished man in Connecticut.
3. Daniel Burr, son of the second Jehu, died in Fairfield in 1722, leaving ten children, viz. Jehu, Stephen, Peter, David, Moses, Aaron, Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth, Jane. . . ."
Source: Roberts, Gary Boyd, ed., Genealogies of Connecticut Families From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. I - Adams-Gates, p. 261 (Baltimore, MD: Reprinted for Clearfield Company, Inc. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1998, 2006).