"...shuffle and break-down."

In my last post, I wrote about the unavoidable nuisance of brick walls in genealogy, and how two of my highest walls block my two closest surnames: Brown and Burnett. Previously, I focused on the former; this time, I will tackle the latter. Part of my enjoyment of family research (and this blog) has come from meeting others, collaborating and sharing information or theories. One of my third-great grandfathers, Nathaniel S Burnett (12 Mar 1826 - 10 Oct 1885), son of today's subject, had at least eight children of his own, and at least thirty-six grandchildren; he was one of nine himself. With those odds, perhaps someone will discover this virtual message in a bottle and come to my aid!

Isaac Burnett (1780 - May 1860), one of my paternal fourth great-grandfathers, is my oldest verifiable Burnett ancestor. Beyond that, things get confused. Many researchers show him as the son of Daniel Burnett and a woman named Mariah, or Maria, with her last name often given as Burnham. This may be traced to two perhaps unrelated (no pun intended) facts.

First, in the venerable New England Historic Genealogical Society's publication, Massachusetts Town Birth Records 1620 -1850, there is a record from the town of Ashfield of an Isaac born to Daniel Burnett and Mariah.

Second, the 1850 U S Federal Census gives Massachusetts as Isaac Burnett's birthplace.

Voila! Isaac's parents are Daniel and Maria(h) Burnett. But as a wise National Park Ranger told me on a genealogically-inspired trip a few years back: it takes three legs to make a stool. One bit of information is interesting, two makes it more likely, but three confirms it as a fact.

And in this case, not only are we missing that crucial third leg, but there is this damning piece of evidence, which others seem to excuse or ignore:  Daniel Burnett's birth is well-documented as being in 1776, just four years before his supposed son's in 1780. Anyway....

We do know that Isaac was born in Massachusetts in 1780, and moved to Maine by at least 23 December 1802, when he married Deborah Grindle (25 Feb 1784 - aft 1860), daughter of a long-established and prolific New England family, whose name is also found as Grindal, Grindall, and Grindell.

The Burnetts are next found in the 1810 U S Federal Census living in Sedgwick, Hancock County, Maine, with their first four children, all girls: Peggy (17 May 1804 - ?), Lydia (8 Nov 1806 - ?), Sarah (20 Oct 1808 - ?), and another, possibly named Abigail.

In 1814, the family moved about fifty miles to the northwest, to the just-incorporated town of Newport, Maine; they are considered among the town founders. At one of the earliest town meetings, on 3 April 1815, Isaac Burnett is named as an agent of the newly-formed school district.

Newport, Hancock, Maine about 1875.

By 1820, there are two more daughters and--at last--a son (as of now all nameless, alas), then another: Reuben Burnett (abt 1818 - aft 1880), named after Deborah's father. On 12 March 1826, the last child--and at last my direct ancestor--Nathaniel S Burnett was born.

Isaac Burnett was primarily a farmer; an 1850 census reports he had seventy improved acres and thirty unimproved acres. He possessed one horse, two milk cows, two oxen, four other cattle, eleven sheep, and one swine, and was producing wheat, oats, rye, wool, butter, and cheese. 

Isaac Burnett is found on Line 10, after three lines of those prolific Grindalls.
 On Line 12 can be found Samuel Squire, whose daughter Rachel will marry Isaac's son Nathaniel four months after this Census was taken. [Detail]

By the time of Isaac's sudden death (of "old age", which is nice to read after a page otherwise full of dropsy, consumption, and typhoid fever) at age eighty in May 1860, he had also been working for some time as a blacksmith, perhaps a reflection of Newport's growing prominence as a carriage-making town.

It is remarkable how much we can learn about this ordinary man who died over one hundred and fifty years ago.

But who are Isaac Burnett's parents?
1. Isaac Burnett (1780 - May 1860) was born in Massachusetts, and married Deborah Grindle (25 Feb 1784 - aft 1860), daughter of Reuben Grindle (20 Mar 1757 - 15 Jul 1835) and Hannah Lowell (23 Jan 1759 - Sep 1802), on 23 Dec 1802 in Hancock County, Maine.
2. Nathaniel S Burnett (12 Mar 1826 - 10 Oct 1885) married Rachel Elizabeth Squire (28 Jan 1829 - 21 Apr 1902), daughter of Samuel Squire (13 Apr 1797 - 26 Jul 1871) and Lovina Coleman (27 Oct 1806 - 2 Jul 1901), on 26 Dec 1850, in Hancock County, Maine.
3. Charles A Burnett (Feb 1856 - 17 Jan 1930) married Ella Swarts (1 Sep 1861 - Apr 1899), daughter of Charles Swarts (12 Feb 1835 - 8 Jan 1909) and Henrietta Davenport (Jan 1836 - May 1904), on 1 Sep 1879 (her eighteenth birthday!), at Spring Lake, Minnesota.
4. Alfred Nathaniel Burnett (19 Aug 1883 - 31 Jul 1959) married Jennie Arleta Eaton (14 Mar 1891- 15 Apr 1979), daughter of Dor Henry Eaton (May 1869 - 31 Dec 1945) and Anna B A Miller (Jan 1867 - aft 1920), in 1909 in Minnesota.
5. Leroy Stanley Burnett (31 Aug 1910 - 11 May 1980) married Hazel Lucille Erickson (6 Sep 1910 - 6 May 2002), daughter of Erick Albert Erickson (28 Aug 1864 - 27 Nov 1948) and Johanna Maria "Marie" Svard (5 Feb 1875 - 28 Apr 1914), on 21 Jun 1933 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
6. [Living] Burnett married Beverly Alane Brown (8 Aug 1934 - 7 Mar 2010), daughter of Dana Earl Brown (26 Jan 1910 - 10 Sep 1984) and Myrna Margaret Severin (6 Nov 1907 - 12 Jun 1997), on 4 Mar 1961 in Long Beach, California.
7. Your humble blogger.

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