The History of John Burbank

(From the Ancestors & Descendants of Lt. Daniel & Mary (Marks) Burbank)

Massachusetts Bay Colony

The name Joseph Burbank has been a stumbling block to all those descendants who have traced their ancestry back to John, the Immigrant, because none of the Immigrant lists had a John Burbank. Here is the key to the problem. New England Historical Genealogical Register, Vol 94; pp 393-4 by William B. Dibble:

John (Immigrant) and Ann Burbank -- a suggested identity: In 1635 the ship Abigail, Robert Hackwell, master, sailed from London, England to Boston, Mass. Among the passengers as given in Hotten's list of Immigrants to America were George Hadborne, 43 years, his wife Anne, and two children (Rebecca Ann), and Joseph Borebancke, 24 years and Joane Jorden, 16 years, servants of Geo. Hadborne. Drake's Founders of New England gives these names as Joseph Borebanck and Jorden -- the same as Hotten, but Bank's Planters of the Commonwealth, published about seventy years later than Hotten and Drake, presents the names as Joseph Borebank and Joan Jordan. Among others listed for the same trip of the Abigail were (Hotten's List) Jo. West, Jo. Fox, Jo. Freeman, John Rookeman, 45 years, Jo. Rookerman, 9 years. (All these appearing in the index as JOHN. Drake has them listed as Jo. with one exception, John Freeman, Savage and Banks called them JOHN.

Another family listed by Hotten for the same voyage of the Abigail was that of Christopher Foster, 32 years; Frances, 25 years, and children Rebecca, 5 years; Nathaniel, 2 years, and Jo. 1 year. Hotten indexes Jo. as John but Banks calls him Joseph. This Foster family settled at Lynn, Mass., and in a few years moved to Southampton, Long Island, where the young Jo. was known as John: a name which was carried down for several generations (History of Southampton) and agrees with the Foster Family Bible, now owned by a descendant in Michigan.

Other boats sailing from London the same year show the same discrepancies in the names of several passengers listed as Jo., a fact which shows that the listing clerk at London was not particular how he wrote the name John, usually spelling it Jo. The contributor has not found any but who were later called John.

Considering the discrepancies in the printed lists and indexes of Hotten, Drake and Banks, it is suggested that the Joseph Borabancke and Joan Jorden, servants to George Hepburn, were John Burbank and wife Ann (Joan shortened to Ann) Jordan, who were at Rowley in 1638 or 1639. Their surnames had various spellings but finally settled down to Burbank and Jordan. Coming as servants to Geo. Hepburn, who settled in Charelstown, they worked out their passage as was the custom. This usually took about four years, which accounts for the time between their passage and their settling at Rowley, Mass. - having been married in the meantime.

John Burbank and wife Ann had a son John Burbank, Jr., who married Susannah Merrill, daughter of Nathaniel and Susannah (Wilterton) Merrill. Nathaniel Merrill died and his widow married Stephen Jordan of Newbury - which adjoins Rowley, Mass. It has been suggested that Stephen Jordan was a relation of Ann (Jordan) Burbank and that John Burbank, Jr., when visiting Stephen Jordan, met his stepdaughter, Susannah Merrill, and married her.

We do not know why John Burbank and Ann Jordan wanted to come to the New World. Was he working as an apprentice to George Hepburn? What about Joan Jordan? Was she related to George Hepburn some way through the marriage of one of his sisters to a Jordan? Maybe John and Ann were in love and did not want to be separated when one of them decided to come to the New World.

JOHN BURBANK, Immigrant on the ship Abigail from London, England to Boston, Bay Colony, in 1635. (15 years after the Mayflower.) His age was given in 1635 as 24 years which would place his birth about 1611 give or take a year on either side. It is presumed he was born in London, England, as this is a stronghold for the Burbank name. It is also presumed that he married (Joan) Ann Jordan about 1639, probably around the time he joined the Rogers Company that settled Rowley, Mass. From 1635 to 1638 John Burbank and Joan Jordan probably lived with George Hepburn at Charlestown to work out their passage as servants. Gage's History of Rowley says: On the arrival of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, with about twenty families in December 1638, the towns of Salem, Charlestown, Boston, Medford, Watertown, Roxbury, Lynn, Dorchester, together with Cambridge, lpswich, Newbury, Weymouth, Hingham, Concord, Dedham, and Braintree were all taken up. . . They (Rogers Company) spent the winter in Salem and improved the time in looking for a place for a plantation. . . Mr. Rogers was a man of great note in England for his piety, zeal and ability. He and his people had concluded to take a place between lpswich and Newbury; and these towns having granted some farms on this tract - Mr. Rogers' Company purchased them at a price of 800 pounds. This place was at first called Mr. Rogers Plantation -- afterwards, Rowley; so called from Rowley, Yorkshire, England, where he and some of his people had lived.

During his wanderings among the Colonies, Mr. Rogers added forty more families to his Company; so that with the 18 families who came from England with him, the Company numbered 58 families when they settled at Rowley in the spring or summer of 1639. (In the list of 40 families joining Mr. Rogers is Goodman Burbank, so called because the title of Mr. was a title of quite high rank in Colonial days, and John Burbank had not received his Freeman papers until after he arrived at Rowley, 16 May 1640; having worked out his passage to America with George Hepburn.)

On the night of Mr. Rogers' third marriage, 16 July 1651, his dwelling house with all his goods, library, and Church records were consumed by fire. The Church records, no doubt, contained much valuable historical and genealogical matter -- probably all records of John Burbank were destroyed.

The families worked together in common for about five years. The land was surveyed in 1643 and each freeman or family was granted one and a half acres. The ones who contributed towards the 800 pound fund were allotted more land but John Burbank did not contribute to that fund. He was given one half acre in Rowley, the seventh lot on Branford Street; part of it lying on the west side and part of it on the east side of the street -- bounded on the south side by Thomas Sumner's house lot. All lots on this street went to the brook so the owners could get water without going off their own land. His one acre of land was some fresh meadow on Plum Island and this made up his allotment of one and a half acres. He built his home on Bradford Street and probably kept some stock on his Plum Island land. Father Jewett bought up much of this land on Plum Island and John Burbank's acre was sold to him.

In some of the Court Records, it is impossible to distinguish between John Burbank, Sr. and his son, John Burbank, Jr., but most of the Court records belong to John Jr. (John Jr., could write his name while his father, John, Sr., signed his name with an X.)

John and Ann (Jordan) Burbank's first child, John, Jr., was born soon after they arrived in Rowley, later part of 1639 or early part of 1640; as their second son Timothy was born 18 May 1641 at Rowley. About 1642-3, John Burbank's first wife, Ann died and was buried at Rowley; soon after this he married a woman by the name of Jemina (maiden name unknown) and they had Lydia, Caleb and Mary between the years 1644 and 1655. Jemina died 24 March 1692-3 and was buried at Rowley. John Burbank, Sr., died 3 April 1683 and was buried at Rowley, Essex, Massachusetts. The Immigrant, John Burbank Sr., left an estate of 180 pounds after he had given 60 pounds to his son, John Jr., and land to his daughter, Lydia.


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