Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Hannah (Choate) Burnham, died 1805, Dunbarton, New Hampshire

It's Tombstone Tuesday!  This tombstone was photographed at the Center Cemetery in Dunbarton, New Hampshire.

Mrs. Hannah Burnham
died March 1805
AEtat. 81
Relict of Lieut. Nathan Burnham
of Ipswich (Massachusetts)
who fell at the defeat of the British Army
at Ticonderoga, A.D. 1758

The name BURNHAM caught my eye as I wandered through this cemetery recently, and then I saw that this family was from Ipswich.  I have eight BURNHAM lineages from the original Burnham brothers who settled in Ipswich during the great migration!  I knew that this was a cousin connection!

From The History of Dunbarton, by Caleb Stark, page 234 to page 237, "From an examination of several papers now in the possession of John Burnham, Esq., of this town, we infer that his great-grandfather, Nathan Burnham, was an independent husbandman, a man of intelligence and capacity, who possessed the confidence of his fellow-citizens, as also that of the provincial government.  By the former he was intrusted with the management of important transactions, and by the latter appointed to a military office, upon equal rank with officers of the same grade in the line of the English army.  His wife was Hannah Choate of Ipswich.
     On the thirteenth day of March 1758 he was commissioned by Governor Pownell first lieutenant of a company of foot, commanded by Captain Stephen Whipple, in the regiment of Col. Stephen Bagley, which constituted a portion of the force furnished by Massachusetts for the expedition against Canada.  Lieutenants Burnham and Low, of the same company, fell in the fatal attack upon Ticonderoga, July 8, 1758, where an army of sixteen thousand British and Provincial troops were shamefully repulsed by one fourth of their number of French and Indians, through the incapacity of their general. Sixteen hundred and eight regulars and three hundred and thirty four provincials, killed and wounded, was a cruel penalty for General Abercrombie's rash attempt to carry by assault a strong position, without bringing up his artillery, of which he had a good supply. 
      Among the papers in Mr. John Burnham's possession are Governor Pownell's proclamation calling for volunteers from the provincial regiments, Lieut. Burnham's commission, beating orders, forms of enlistment, orders to muster, words of command for the musket drill, order for the march, power-of-attorney to Lieut. B.'s wife to manage affairs during his absence on duty, a kind letter to her while on the march, and lastly, the letter of a friendly comrade from the battle-field, narrating the melancholy fate of her dearest friend - a fate which it has been the sad fortune of widows to hear since the time when man became the murderer of his brother man."


Hadley, June 7, 1758
To My Dearly Beloved Wife:
I hope through Divine goodness, you are in health, as I am at this time, and I pray God be with you, and preserve you and our dear children from all evil.  My duty to mother Choate.  My love to all my friends. We came into town last Sabbath day, about two o'clock, and billeted the company at private houses, and we are very kindly entertained at the widow Porter's.  Her husband was a member of the General Court about thirty years.  Yesterday the Captain, I, and Lieut. Low, went over Connecticut river to Northampton, to see about the affair, and returned at night. We expect to go over to Northampton to-morrow, to make seven days' provisions, to march near to Albany.
I remain your loving husband,
Nathan Burnham
PS - I should be glad to hear from you.  I have had blisters on one foot, but they are better. Col. Bagley came to town yesterday. Col. Dooty's regiment is coming in, and it supposed both regiments are to march together.  We have twelve of our own guns, and had twenty-two at Worcester, and other companies are much so.  It is supposed there is no great danger. The arms are at Albany.

.... Mrs. Burnham:  I send you these lines to let you know the heavy news that you have to hear from the camp, and I pray God give you grace and strength to hold up under such heavy tidings.  The truth is, your husband, our lieutenant, Nathan Burnham, Being in the fight at the narrows of Ticonderoga, July the 8th, 1758, received a ball in the bowels, which proved mortal. He came to me and told me that he was wounded, and that he should soon be in eternity.  I desired him to retreat down the hill.  I followed him,and found some help to carry him off the ground, namely, James Andrews, John Foster, and Jeremiah Burnham.  We carried him that night four miles to our boats.  The doctor did what he could, but vain was the help of man.  Next Day, being the ninth day upon our passage upon the lake, about eleven o'clock, after many heavenly expressions and prayers, he departed this life, and I believe, made a good exchange.  Please tell Mrs. Low the same heavy news.  Stephen Low, being in the same fight, was, without doubt, shot dead on the spot.  We had not the opportunity to bring off our dead.
Nehemiah Burnham" 


Genealogy information:

Lieutenant Nathan Burnham, who died at Fort Ticonderoga, is my 7th great uncle.  I descend from his brother Stephen Burnham, born about 1715 in Ipswich and died 1790 in Milford, New Hampshire.      Nathan Burnham, Jr. was with his father's unit as a waterboy, and was about 11 years old.  He was with his father when he was killed. According to the published Burnham Genealogy book by Roderick H. Burnham, 1879 "Tradition has it that before leaving for the war he took his sword on his hand to try the metal and it broke.  Turning to his wife he said "I shall never come back".  He went on but returned to pray with is family before taking final leave.

Hannah was the daughter of Samuel Choate and Mary Brown.  She was born in Ipswich about 1727 and died 1 March 1805 in Dunbarton, where she is buried. Hannah Choate is my first cousin 10 generations removed.  Her great grandfather, John Choate (born about 1624 and died 4 December 1695 in Ipswich) is my 9th great grandfather.  

For the truly curious:

A blog post about Fort Ticonderoga:

My Surname Saturday blog post about the Burnham family:

My Surname Saturday blog post about the Choate family:


Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Hannah (Choate) Burnham, died 1805, Dunbarton, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 7, 2020, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2020/07/hannah-choate-burnham-died-1805.html: accessed [access date]).

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