The Descendants of John Heywood

Biography of Charles H. Burroughs


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From Boxborough : a New England town and its people
by Lucie Caroline Hager, J.W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia, 1891

Page 100


Some thirty-five years ago, Charles H. Burroughs, born in Alstead, N.H., Mar. 9, 1832, settled upon the farm which he now occupies in the southeast part of the town. He received the estate from his father, Zabine Curtis Burroughs (1800-1885), who had occupied it before him. Samuel Burroughs, born Mar. 25, 1843, a brother of Charles H., served in the late Civil War four years, but though in several battles, that of Winchester among them, he was never wounded. He is now living at West Acton. An uncle of these brothers, Samuel Burroughs, has three sons, Samuel, Edward and Walter, who are noted physicians in the state of Illinois. The second son, Edward, is a very skilful (sic) surgeon.

May 21, 1857, Charles H. Burroughs married Miss Mary E. Brown, daughter of Hermon and Sophronia Brown, of New Ipswich, N.H. May 22, 1882, they celebrated their silver wedding. The marriage anniversary was also the anniversary of their daughter Lizzie's death. Mrs. Brown has made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Burroughs, for the past sixteen years, since her husband's death, and although ninety years of age, seems to be in excellent health, for one so advanced in years, at the present time. We quote from the "Vermont Phoenix," -- of which paper Mr. Addison Brown was editor for a great many years, -- an article published in 1867 regarding a reunion of the Brown family, at New Ipswich. "Just before the Revolutionary war broke out, two brothers, John and Josiah Brown, then young men, removed with their families from Concord, Mass., to New Ipswich, N.H., and settled near each other on new land situated on a high elevation called, 'Flat Mountain.' They carried with them, strength, energy, patriotism, and a strong religious faith. Here in this new country they felled the trees, cleared up the forests, and in due time made for themselves and families, comfortable homes. They both reared large families of children, who in their turn married and had large families, whose numerous descendants are now scattered far and wide throughout the land. Johna nd Josiah traced their lineage back to John Brown, who came over to this country a few years after his brother, Peter, of the May Flower, and settled in Duxbury, Mass. Old John Brown, the martyr, 'whose soul is passing on', was probably a descendant of Peter, of the May Flower. Josiah Brown married Sarah Wright, and they raised a family of twelve children, who lived to adult age, married and reared large families, several of whom settled in Whitingham in this county. it is somewhat singular that the birth of these twelve children followed each other in the following order, -- three sons and a daughter, three sons and a daughter, three sons and a daughter. Two of each of the families of John and Josiah intermarried. Reuben, son of John, married his cousin Sarah, daughter of Josiah; and Aaron, son of Josiah, married his cousin Hannah, daughter of John. The last couple lived with the parents of Hannah, took care of them during their declining years, and resided on the same farm during their own life-time. They had six children, one, a daughter, was killed by the kick of a horse, when about eight years of ahe; the next, a son, died in infancy; the fifth, a daughter, was married to W.C. Billings, of Northfield, Mass., and died in 1836. Three sons are still living, Addison, of Brattleboro, Hermon, of Boxborough, Mass., and John S., of Lawrence, Kansas. Last week, these three borthers with their wives, Mrs. Eliza J. Page, wife of Wm. M. Page, St. Louis Mo., an adopted daughter of Aaron and Hannah Brown, and Charles Burroughs and wife, daughter of Hermon, with two young children, met at New Ipswich, visited the graves of their ancestors and relatives that had gone to the better land, and went to take a view of the old farm on Flat Mountain, where the three sons were born and passed their early years. There they had a picnic on a high rocky ridge, and called to mind days and events gone by. They were accompanied on this excursion by an old friend, Benjamin Davis, aged 86 years, who entered into the spirit of the occaison with the enthusiasm of a young man, walking up steep places and over rough rocks, with a firm, quick step. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Davis received and entertained the party at their house, where everything was done for the comfort and enjoyment of the guests. The entertainment was planned and directed by Mrs. Page, to whom much credit is due for the very pleasant gathering of friends and relatives. One evening there was a large tea-party of neighbors and friends who came in to greet and welcome those who had come from a distance to this family gathering. Here were the extremes of age met together. The oldest was Joseph Davis, brother of Benjamin, who lacks but about four months of 90 years of age, and is yet bright and active, showing still, evidences of former vigor and energy. The youngest was George W. Burroughs. Josiah Brown, mentioned above, was a man of great strength and power of endurance. He took part in the Revolutionary struggle, fought at the battle of Bunker Hill, where he was Lieutenant under Capt. Towne, of a volunteer company from New Ipswich, and when more than four-score years of age, at the mention of Bunker Hill, he would brighten up with new life, and describe incidents of the battle as vividly as though it had just taken place. It was a great pleasure and gratification to be present at this family gathering, to see friends who had been long separated, to talk over the past, and to thank God together for his innumerable blessings." Mrs. Burroughs has in her posession an old family Bible containing the ancestral records as far back as 1743. Dr. Samuel Prescott, who was associated with Paul Revere in his famous "midnight ride," was a great-uncle of Mrs. Burroughs' mother. He was born Aug. 19, 1751. Wm. Prescott, M.D., says of him in his "Prescott Memorial," "On his return from Lexington, in the night preceding the 19th of April, 1775, --where he had spent the evening in paying his addresses to the daughter of a Mr. Mulliken, he soon overtook Paul Revere and Mr. Dawes on their way to Concord. When the three had arrived near Hartwell's tavern in the lower bounds of Lincoln, they were attacked by four British soldeirs of a scouting party sent out the preceding evening. Revere and Dawes were taken prisoners. Prescott was also attacked, and had the reins of his horse's bridle cut, but he succeeded in making his escape by jumping his horse over the wall; and taking a circuitous way through Lincoln, he pushed on with the utmost speed to Concord, and gave the alarm of the approach of the British. He was subsequently taken prisoner on board of a privateer, and carried into Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he died in prison." William H. Prescott, the historian, is also connected with this family. The name Prescott is taken from two words maning priest and cottage. John Prescott, the first one of the family who came to this country, settled in what is now Lancaster, and the town was named in hsi honor from Lancastershire Co., England, from which he came. He was a powerful, athletic man, brave and energetic, and followed the occupation of a blacksmith. He brought with him to this country, a coat of mail, armor and habiliments all complete, and is therefore supposed that some of his people might have been warriors. This armor was of great service to him in his dealings with the Indians, whose superstitious fears were easily excited by means of its wonderful impenetrability. On one occasion, having many times, in astonishment and terror, seen their bullets glance from his armor without any apparent injury to himself, they drew near and asked him with regard to it. Mr. Prescott showed the armor to the chief, and at his desire, placed the helmet upon the Indian's head. It did not seem to fit the Indian cranium as well as it did the Saxon, for it is recorded that it slipped down nearly to the chief's ears, and in one place scraped off the skin. An interesting anecdote is related of Jonas, the son of John Prescott. He had sought and obtained the affections of a beautiful girl whose name was Mary Loker. But the lady's parents, who were in high social position, looked down on the blacksmith's son, and decided that their daughter must marry a certain lawyer who had shown her some attention, but whose suit she in no wise favored. The son of the blacksmith was forbidden the house, but, encouraged by the fair Mary, he came against her parents' wishes. Then her window was grated, and whenever her forbidden suitor called, she was locked into her room. Young Prescott continued his suit, but paid his addresses to his fair one under her window. Learning of this state of affairs, the parents sent the girl secretly to Chocksett, --now Sterling, -- for a prolonged stay with friends. The young man sought unsuccessfully for his affianced for a time, but finally he happened upon the town where she was visiting. Falling in with some young men with whom he was acquainted, he asked them if there were any pretty girls in town. Without immediately satisfying his curiosity, they told him that there was to be a quilting party that evening in the village, and gave him an invitation to be present and decide for himself. He went, found his lady among the fair ones gathered there, managed to become her partner ina dance at the close of the evening, arranged a plan for future meetings, and continued his attentions as before. Her parents were soon apprised of the new state of affairs, and recalling her home, told her peremptorily that she must marry the lawyer, or, if she still persisted in the way she had chosen, they would cut her off without a penny. This did not shake the resolves of the lovers, but hastened their marriage. they had no property, and when Mary began house-keeping, she had only a two quart kettle, and half the shell of a pumpkin for a wash tub, as utensils. yet she lived and prospered, reared a family of twelve children, and died, leaving 175 descendants, at the age of 82 years. Of this beginning sprang all the warriors, doctors, jurors, lawyers, historians and civilians of the Prescott family. Benjamin, the youngest son, was sent Representative to the General Court from Groton, at the age of 27 years, and held this position for seven or eight years in succession.

Humphrey Prescott, of Carlisle, is a brother of Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Burroughs' mother, they two being th eonly surviving members of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs have four children living, Minnie L., George W., Charles H., and Marian E. The great sorrow of their lives was the death from scarlet fever, May 21, 1880, in Fitchburg, where she was attending school, of their second daughter, Lizzie, when only sixteen years of age. Minnie L. is a graduate of the Worcester Normal School, and has been engaged in teaching for several years, most of the time in South Braintree. At present she is teaching in her own home district, No. 4. George W. and Charles H. are at home with their father, and Marian E. is attending school at Ashburnham. Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs are highly esteemed by all who know them. Mrs. Burroughs was a teacher in one of our scholls before her marriage, and is quite literary in her tastes.

Apr. 26, 1891, Rev. John S. Brown, a Unitarian minister, a son of Josiah Brown, and an uncle of Mrs. Burroughs, who has reached the advanced age of 85 years, walked one mile to church, preached an interesting sermon of forty minutes duration, and then walked back to his home. He is a resident of Lawrence, Kansas.

The house where Mr. Burroughs lives, bears evidence of being one of the oldest in town, and there is quite an interesting history connected with it. We have already referred to the Taylor family who resided here in former days. In Ephraim Taylor's time, it was used as a hotel, and theancient sign-board was, until very recently, in existence. one portion of the second story of the building, --now divided into chambers, -- was, in the days of the hotel, used as a dance hall. The old muster-field was formerly situated near this old homestead, where Mr. A.A. Richardson now cultivates a large corn-field, and Mr. Burroughs, a field of asparagus.

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