From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall


November ’94

By Dr. Bill Randall

Searching For James Eugene Burgess

Researching genealogical history is fascinating. One never knows when a phone call, a letter, or a chance visitor might suddenly throw light on a subject which has been a puzzle. One such puzzle has been baffling me for more than thirty years, how did a Roman Catholic family, by the name of Burgess acquire Lot #10 first and second tier – in the midst of the Scotch Presbyterian families. Lot #10 is the lot on the east side of the Charlie Little Road.

Last year a lady and her friend from Medford, Mass., U.S.A. stopped by to see if I could assist her in finding the place of burial for many of these Burgess family members, e.g. Thomas Burgess was drowned in the Upper York Mills millpond, but we don’t know where he was buried. James and his wife Marjory, daughter Ann are family members, place of burial is unknown! Other family members were buried in Milltown, N.B., Calais, Maine, and Salem, New Hampshire.

I was unable to offer the lady from Medford, Joan Casey (a descendant of the Burgess’) much help, but she persisted and this summer came back again with some more information. Although places of burial have not yet been determined I quote from her report:

The answer to the question of how James “Eugene” Burgess chose Harvey for settlement at a time when the area was virtually unsettled may be as a result of his wife’s having been a Smith. According to the death certificate of James’ wife, Mary Smith Burgess born circa 1810, her mother’s name was Margaret. On the 1851 census a Margaret Smith born circa 1791, age 60 years, is listed as a lodger in the household of Owen Smith who arrived in New Brunswick in 1832 and settled in Kingsclear.” (The parish of Kingsclear included Cork.)

Owen Smith’s place of settlement was in Cork and in the statistical returns of 1843 he was one of the more successful settlers.

This summer when Joan Casey returned to this area and perused her research at the Fredericton Archives with the help of Helen Craig, she discovered the land petition of James Burgess made in 1835 for the Lot #10, first and second tier. This was two years before the Scotch Settlers came here, but it does not appear that James would have settled here for he describes his efforts to clear the land, and that, upon the opening of the spring in 1838 he had struggled for nearly three years to obtain the cash to pay laborers, buy costly provisions, and support a very large family and an aged mother. Title to the land was issued to James Burgess 6th of January, 1840. This research led us back to Cork and Owen Smith and in the Archives there was found another petition.


To His Excellency, Lieutenant Colonel Sir William MacLaren George Collicooke, Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick.

The Petition of the undersigned humbly sheweth,

That Your Petitioners are all British subjects and native of Ireland – are desirous of obtaining land for actual settlement – Your Petitioners are thrown out of their ordinary employment by the deprefsed state of the times and the consequent scarcity of labor and will be compelled to leave the country unless some encouragement is held out to them for settlement by Your Excellency. That, with the exception of two or three – all Your Petitioners are well acquainted with the mode of clearing land and with some afsistance from Your Excellency – Your Petitioners would immediately go upon such lands as may be alloted to them and cut down through the winter preparatory to cropping in the ensuing spring.

Your Petitioners are informed that there is vacant land on a road lately explored by B.R. Jouett Esq – on the Eastern side of the Saint Andrews Road and Your Petitioners pray that this land may be laid out in lots and granted to them under the most favorable conditions which can be imposed by Your Excellency.

Your Petitioners are informed that a part of this said explored road remains to be cut out  and having had great experience in such work they are willing to open the work on the said road immediately by taking out the trees by the roots at two shillings per rod – one half to be paid when the work is stopped and the remainder upon an inspection and approval of the work in the spring – This road Your Petitioners respectfully submits is wanted to be opened immediately and the frost will offer no obstruction for several weeks to come.

Your Petitioners having been encouraged to hope that some afsistance will be afforded them by the Government during the winter – they pray your Excellency that thirty three lots may be laid off at the Southern extremity of the said explored Road – that Your Petitioners may be allowed to purchase the same on such terms and conditions as will afford them the greatest amount of encouragement.

And Your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Miles O’Leary Andrew Monahy

Jerry O’Leary Mikel Mahoy

Reardon Daniel Sullivan

Daniel O’Connor Patrick Ryan

James Driscol David Scanlin

Daniel O’Brian John Malony

Michael O’Brian Timothy Daley

James Killay Jeremiah Crowley

John Sullivan John Barry

Michael Sullivan James Barrett

James Bucanan John Driscoll

Jeremiah Coughlan Patrick Carey

John Kingston Timothy Daley

Jeremiah Donovan John McGillicuddy

Edmund Conners James Crowley

Cornelius McDonald Simon O’Leary

The last 21 named signed for the petitioners by their authority by L.A. Wilmot

The undersigned has consulted the above Petitioners and has much pleasure in recommending the prayers of their Petition to His Excellency’s favorable consideration. The Petitioners have agreed to call this location the “tee-total settlement” and are one and all resolved to act upon the principals of total abstinence.

N.B.: As this is copied from the original document, the “fs” was used in place of “ss” and have been left as in the original

I appreciate the many people who helped me try to decipher the ancient handwriting, and Pm sure we did not get all the names properly spelled. Perhaps you can correct some of these names. Just phone me at 366-2021.


Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

Recommended Reading

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