Submitted by James W. Burcham of Round Lake, Ill.

July 21, 1842
Read and Laid upon the table

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress Assembled.

The memorial are a Petition of the Subscriber in behalf of himself, humbly therewith, That in the Year Seventeen Hundred and Ninety he was a citizen of that part of Virginia now Kentucky, and resident of McGee’s Station near Boonsboro, and for one year was employed in guarding that Station and the adjacent settlement against the incursion of the Indians – until Ninety-three, after the taking of Morgan’s Station, I entered the Company of Lieut. William Sudduth and with him as a private soldier, pursued the Indians and recaptured two persons the year after this event in ’94 – I entered the army of Gen’l. Anthony Wayne under the same Lieut. Sudduth in the Company of Capt. Joshua Baker (being spies) of the detachment of Maj’r. Price of Todd’s brigade and continued in the service until discharged at Fort Washington (now Cincinnati) in October of the same year since which time I married and settled in the State of Ohio, and raised fifteen children who left me and settled in divers parts of the West and I am left at the age of seventy seven, poor and decrepit in my person a sad remnant of an almost extinct generation and in my circumstances a living Record of the injustice of that Government which has for fifty years been deaf to the calls of justice in behalf of the survivors of the army of Wayne – my hopes revived when my companion in arms, the lamented Harrison was called to the Presidency – his death has left me the only hope, a personal appeal to your august body for myself and the new survivors of that army for that measure of justice and kind regard which has been meeted to others. Confident that our Honorable body will redeem the pledges of the lamented Harrison and put upon the records of the Nation evidence both of the justice and generosity of this favored generation. I pray to be put upon the pension list or two such other substantial token of a nation’s regard as to your venue of justice shall award and as in duty bound will ever pray.
April 20, 1842.

* * * * * * * The above John “Scott” Sylvester Burcham was born June 19, 1764 in Frederick County, Virginia, the son of John Burcham, Jr. and Susannah _______. He was married on July 6, 1795 in Clark County, Kentucky to Nancy Ann Dowden, daughter of Nathaniel Dowden and Susannah ___________. He died November 18, 1848 in Scottown (named after him) and was buried in the Burcham Cemetery situated in Windsor Township, Lawrence County, Ohio. His wife, Nancy Burcham was born February 4, 1774 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and died September 23, 1849 and is buried beside John “Scott” Sylvest Burcham. He had ten children of his own and raised five grandchildren during his lifetime, which was spent for the most part in Fayette and Windsor Townships, Lawrence County, Ohio.

References to John “Scott” S. Burcham’s military record can be verified as follows:

Kentucky Militia, Major General Charles Scott’s Command, Major Notley Conn’s
Battalion, Captain Joshua Baker’s Company.
Muster Roll of a Company of Mounted spies and Guides under the Command of Captain Joshua Baker, Major Notely Conn’s Battalion in the service of the United States, Commanded by Major General Charles Scott, from July 10 to October 21, 1794: Listed as Number 12, as a Private is John Burchin (Burcham).

There were 107 officers and men of this company who joined on July 10 and served until October 21, 1794.

Above can be found on pages 43 through 45 of the publication referenced above.

The Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (ca. 1768-1813) and his brother the Prophet (ca 1771-ca 1834) had villages in Darke County, Ohio (1805-1808).

Major General Anthony Wayne- Commander in Chief of the American Army that defeated the confederated Indian tribes at Fallen Timbers in 1794. He negotiated for and concluded the signing of the peace treaty of Greene Ville on August 3, 1795.

Miami Chief, Little Turtle gave his farewell address to General “Mad” Anthony Wayne on August 12, 1795 at Fort Greene Ville.

Early Lawrence County, Ohio County Tax Lists and 1820 Federal Census:
Individuals John Burcham and Nathan’s Burcham were listed in TL-1818, Census 1820 and TL 1821.





Submitted by James W. Burcham of Round Lake, Ill.
Written by Wanda L. Burcham of St. Petersburg, Fla.
October 4, 1996


“Where would you be
if your grandfather had died
at the age of three?”

Well, obviously one wouldn’t exist, as unimaginable as that is. Our own being is a fact, yet without even one of those men or women on the ancestral tree, we wouldn’t be who we are and where we are today.

Our kith and kind; even those who have exactly the same genetic potential in ancestors, such as brothers and sisters or double cousins, show a great variety of individual looks, personality and abilities. Yet, on others there is the undoubted ‘family’ stamp which is carried in looks, voice and mannerisms.

Remarks and stores heard in childhood fueled curiosity to unravel the past of our forebears. Learning the names, dates and places (the bone structure of genealogy) of nearly four centuries of BURCHAMs and their BOUNDARIES in America can place each of us in the larger history and purpose of the human race.

“God who made the world and everything in it
has made from one blood every nation of men
to dwell on all the face of the earth,
and has determined their reappointed TIMES
and the BOUNDARIES of their dwellings.
So that they should see the Lord…..” Acts


John “Scott” Sylvester Burcham (1764-1848) – our Ohio Patriarch – is the son of John Burcham (ca. 1730-1769) and Susannah _______; grandson of John Burcham (1687-1757) and Elizabeth West and great grandson of Roger Burkum (1648-1702) and Lucia Jones.

John “Scott” S. Burcham (1) and his brother, Samuel (2) were under six years old when their father died in 1769 in Frederick County, Virginia. Their widowed mother, Susannah remarried to a Mr. James Fleming. They had a son, William Fleming. There appears to be real affection in the family as John Burcham later named his youngest child for this half-brother.(3)

Although their home in western Virginia was remote from the tidewater Virginia, it was not lawless, nor without church and concern for fatherless children. In 1772 the Berkeley County Court ordered the church parish to appoint guardians, to protect the interests of Samuel Burcham, six years of age and JOHN BURCHAM, who would be eight years of age on June 9. The boys were to be given a basic education and taught the trade of a weaver. (4)

When JOHN and Samuel came of age they received title for their inheritance. This land was on the border of present day Berkeley and Morgan Counties in the eastern pan handle of West Virginia. They sold their property in 1789 and joined their Fleming connections in Kentucky. (5) (6) (7)

In Montgomery County they purchased land from John Fleming and his wife, Lucy.
Samuel bought 196 acres on Flatt Creek and JOHN BURCHAM, 50 acres on Hinkston
Waters. John Fleming died around 1791-1792. His widow, Lucy married James Hazelrigg on October 22, 1793. (8)

This move formed the basis of an Oral Tradition of “TWO BURCHAM BROTHERS WHO CAME TO AMERICA”. As often happens the truth was mixed with error. These two brothers who came into the Ohio Valley from Virginia were already fourth generation Americans. (Note by James W. Burcham – I can recall vividly, my grandmother Burcham telling me about her trip to Illinois from Ohio in the late 1880s via covered wagon. She said they left Lawrence County, Ohio from Millersport on a river boat from home and went as far as Cincinnati and then traveled in a covered wagon to Illinois – she said “when we came to this COUNTRY”. If a person today would read that quote, that person would think she came to America rather than from one state to another.)

Kentucky was the first important English settlement west of the Appalachians. During the year 1780 -1790 over 20,000 new settlers entered through the Cumberland Gap.

>From their villages north of the Ohio Rivers, Shawnee tribal warriors hunted in Kentucky, plundered the small settlements, stole horses and cattle, burnt crops and homes, scalping and taken captives. An estimated 1,500 Kentuckians lost their lives. JOHN BURCHAM lived at McGee’s Station near Bonnesboro, and served as a guard against the ‘incursions of the Indians’. (9) (10)

The Peace Treaty which ended the Revolutionary War, permitted the British to keep their forts north of the Ohio River until the United States settled its differences with the Native Tribes. In violation of that agreement, General Simcoe had built a new fort; Fort Miami at the Maumee River rapids, near present day Toledo.

The Americans, the British and the powerful Algonquin Confederacy were maneuvering for control of the territory between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes. The British hoped to make the area a semi-independent buffer state of Indian tribes. Governor Dorchester of Canada had given the Indians guns, ammunition and help of British soldiers.

President George Washington sent the Army under General St. Clair. Although St. Clair was a capable General of the Revolution, he was unskilled in Indian warfare. The War Department failed to send the needed supplies. Officers and men disobeyed orders. On November 4, 1791 the Indian tribes attacked and overpowered the American army near the Wabash River with a great slaughter. (11)

Emboldened by this easy victory the Shawnees stepped up their forays into Kentucky. Early in April of 1793, a raiding party of warriors attacked Morgan’s Station, a little six cabin settlement JOHN BURCHAM joined the rescue party recruited by Lieutenant William Sudduth, who was a guardian for Widow Luch Fleming and her children. (12)

President Washington’s next choice was the Revolutionary her, Anthony Wayne. Early in 1794, Wayne asked Brigadier General Robert Todd of Kentucky for a Brigade of Mounted Volunteers. These men provided their own horses and guns. The experience of the Kentuckians in protecting their homes made them well suited for warfare with the Indians.

JOHN BURCHAM again enlisted with Lieutenant Sudduth. They served as scouts under Major Price in his special detachment of 150 Guides or Spies, also called, Dragoons. (13) In July the Kentucky Volunteers crossed the Ohio River and joined Wayne’s Legion at Fort Washington (today’s Cincinnati). Price’s scouts were to advance five to ten miles ahead of the army and, ‘Immediately upon the return of one party of scouts, another is to be set out’. (14)

When the Army reached the place of St. Clair’s defeat, the bones of the hundreds who perished there were still scattered over the battlefield. Wayne built a fort on the site and named it, Fort Recovery.

An unknown diarist tells us that on Sunday, August 3, it was “excessive hot. Major Price reported two kennels a sleep on posts. Major Price was sent to look for a new encampment”.

Two opposing forces were moving to a moment which would determine the fate of their nation.

Chief Blue Jacket led 2,000 warriors from the tribes of the northwest. Tecumseh was one of his scouts. He also had about 450 British Militia. (15)
Wayne sent an emissary with a message from President Washington offering for a peaceful settlement or as one soldier wrote “To bury the hatchet”. Blue Jacket was hoping for other warriors to join him and give an evasive reply. Blue Jacket had chosen for his battlefield a prairie, above a bluff on the Maumee River. It was covered by logs of trees felled from a past tornado. As Sudduth’s men advanced into a thicket they “met a tremendous roar of musketry, then a fierce ambush and bloody fighting with the Indians using their tomahawks in very close fighting. We could see the muzzles of their guns”

Bullets grazed trees and sent the bark flying into their faces. Sudduth, whose horse was wounded, collected 30 to 35 of his men to try to stop the Indians from outflanking the Army. As they passed between the Army and Indian lines, they felt the gunfire from both sides. (16)

After a half-hour of fierce fighting, a “Schrill hallow” went down the Indian lines. At this signal the Indians retreated towards Fort Miami. Tecumseh was the last to leave the field. The British refused to let the warriors take refuge inside as they feared that Wayne would attack it and thus start another war between Great Britain and the United States.

This battle on August 20, 1794, became known as “The Battle of Fallen Timbers”. The decisive victory by the Americans broke the power of the Native Tribes in the Northwest, and opened up northern Ohio to settlement. (17)

During the return march south to the Ohio River, Price’s detachment guarded the rear against possible Indian attacks. In October the Kentucky volunteers were discharged and JOHN “SCOTT” BURCHAM returned to Clark County, Kentucky.

JOHN BURCHAM married Nancy Ann Dowden on July 6, 1795. Nancy was the daughter of early Kentucky settlers, Nathaniel and Susannah Dowden, who had come from Western Maryland.

John’s bondsman was Abijah Arnett who had married Susannah Flemmons (Fleming) in 1795. This Susannah may have been a half-sister of JOHN and Samuel Burcham or even their mother, Susannah Fleming in a third marriage. (19)

In 1796, Samuel Burcham was commissioned as a Regiment Captain in Kentucky. Sometime around 1789 he had married Mary Harper. Nine children are known. Samuel and his family later moved to Jackson County, Indiana. (20)

JOHN and Nancy’s first child, NATHANIEL SPENCER BURCHAM, was born April 7, 1796. After Nathaniel’s birth came five known daughters: SUSANNAH, born in 1797 was named for her Dowden and Burcham grandmothers. Then MARY, 1799; RACHEL, 1800; KATHERINE, 1804; and SARAH, 1806. February 22, 1807, on the birthday of the Father of our Country, a second son arrived, appropriately name GEORGE (H. OR W.) Burcham.

In 1807, JOHN and Nancy Burcham left Kentucky with 11-year old Nat, five little girls and infant George. Family tradition says that they were planning to return to Virginia. They traveled as far as the mouth of the Guyan on the Ohio River, present day Huntington, West Virginia. JOHN SYLVESTER BURCHAM, JR. was born at Fort Guyandotte on February 16, 1808. The 1820 Tax list for Cabell County recorded JOHN BURCHAM with six horses.(21)

JOHN and Nancy next moved into Ohio as had other Kentucky neighbors; the Dowdens, Simon Kenton and William Sudduth. By 1814, they had crossed over the Ohio River into Lawrence County. Records of John’s various transactions are in the Lawrence County Court House in Ironton as well as at Chillicothe, Ohio.
(22) (23)

While building their log cabin, the family of ten lived in a cave under the overhang of a creek bed. The foundation of the log cabin existed into the 20th century. It is said that JOHN’s Nickname was “Scott”, and that the Village of Scottown near his home place is named for him. In Ohio they had two more children, NANCY ANN, born 1814, and the last known child, WILLIAM FLEMING BURCHAM in 1820.

When JOHN and Nancy moved into Ohio, Indian villages were still located in the northern part of the state. Nathaniel’s granddaughter, Eppy Burcham, related the story told to her in which some of the sisters had been captured by Indians. The brothers tracked them by torn pieces of clothing and rescued the girls near Crown City on the Ohio River.

April 20, 1842, JOHN BURCHAM, sent a petition to the 27th Congress of the United States, requesting a pension for his service with Wayne’s army in 1794. The Petition, which shows a good command of English, was probably composed and written by his son, Nathaniel, a Justice of the Peace. From this Petition, we learn of his life in Kentucky. The Committee on Revolutionary Pensions rejected his application as “such cases have not found place upon the pension roll”.

JOHN BURCHAM died November 18, 1848, 84 years of age. Following his death on April 27, 1849, his sons and daughters in an Article of Agreement, gave to Nancy Burcham, widow, that she might in her natural life, occupy and enjoy an interest in a portion of their father’s land. Nancy died a year later, September 28, 1849, age 75 years. John and Nancy are buried in the Burcham Cemetery near their home site and the cave in which they first lived.

When JOHN BURCHAM and Nancy Dowden were born as English subjects under King George III in his colonies in America, there were less than four million people living between the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains. In their lifetime, this pioneer couple survived perils, hardships, challenges and great changes. By the time of their deaths, a new nation of twenty million people had spread beyond the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.


1. In Berkeley County Order Bk. 1, p. 330. On March 19, it is stated that John Burcham would be 8 years of age on June 19. If the year of his Order is 1772, John’s birth is 1764.

On April 20, 1842, John Burcham stated that he is 77 years of age. If he would become 78 on June 19, 1842, his birth years is 1764.

2. Danielson, Clinton letter dated March 20, 1986.
3, He is thought to be James Fleming who was added in 1782 to Berkely County Tithable. That same year Susannah received her dower, i.e., one third of
estate as ‘relict’ of John Burcham, deceased.
4. Berkely County Order bk. 1, p. 330; Order bk 2, p. 3; Orphan’s Book 1, p. 38,date 19 Mar. 1772. Order bk 4, pp. 528, 539, 540, 15 Oct. 1782.
6, Berkeley County Deed Bk 9, pp 163-165 – 20 Oct. 1789 – 442 acres to Samuel Burcham
7. Richmond State Library Northern Neck Grants S 1780=1788, Reel 298, m. p. 354, 31 Mar. 1788. Virginia Land Office: 31 March 1784. 275 acres to John Burcham; 26 August 1789 442 acres to Samuel Burcham; 255 acres on Tilhanzy Creek and 275 acres on Cherry Branch.
8. Land of our fathers, Clark County, Kentucky. Clark County was formed in 1792 out of Fayette and Bourbon Counties.
a) Clark County Deed Book 1, 1795, Sept. 28,. April 25, 1796, Lucy Hazelrigg relinquished her right of dower as widow of John Fleming.
b) Kentucky Historical Society; Clark County Marriages by Burns.
9. Stille, C. J. MAJOR GENERAL ANTHONY WAYNE PUB. 1893. p. 315, Chapt. X
10. Burcham, John Petition to Congress No. 914, April 20, 1842
11. Preston, J. A. “A GENTLEMAN REBEL” PUB 1928, PP 286-322
12. a) Burcham, Jno. Petition #914
b) Filson Club Historical Quarterly Vol. 2, pp 60, 61 “Early Adventures of William Sudduth in Kentucky”.
13. a) Burcham, Jno. Petition to Congress No. 914.
b) Clark, Murtie J. “America Militia in Frontier Wars 1790-1796” p. 43 pub. 1990
14. Details about the movements of the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer are found in:
a) Draper Manuscripts 16 u on Kentucky Militia pp. 69, 99, 102, 107.
b) The military orders of Generals Wayne and Tood to Major Price.
c) Smith, Dwight L. “From Greenville to Fallen Timbers” 1952
d) Indian Historical Society included excerpts taken from an unknown
e) Filson Club Historical Quarterly, Vol. 2 pp 60-70 “Early Adventures of William Sudduth in Kentucky.
15, Eckert, Allan W. “The Frontiersman” pub. 1967. Marmaduke Van Swearingen born 1760 in western Virginia had been captured and adopted by Shawnees at age of 17. They gave him the name Blue Jacket. Tecumseh was born March 9, 1768 to a Shawnee chief near Chillicothe in Ohio. He became a great Indian leader. Tecumseh sought to unite the tribes to resist the white settlers. His plan was frustrated by his brother who impatiently attacked and lost the element of surprise. In one last attempt, Tecumseh joined the British in the War of 1812 against the United States. He was killed in battle near Detroit.
16. Sudduth’s Memoirs.
17. Tucker, Glenn “Mad Anthony Way and the New Nation”, pub. 1973 pp 236-243.
18. More information on the Dowden family in Kentucky – Other daughters of Nathaniel Dowden were: Rebecca who married John Cushenberry, Feb. 4, 1791 in Bourbon County and Allesansah who married Conray Bowyer Feb. 24, 1795 – Sons Nathaniel Dowden and Michael Dowden are in the 1789 Tax Lists for Fayette County. 1800 Tax Lists for Montgomery County, Kentucky show: John Burcham, Samuel Burcham and Nathaniel Dowden and Jack Dowden was with John Burcham in Sudduth’s detachment. Jack and Archibald Dowden were brothers of Martha Dowden who married the frontiersman, Simon Kenton. Thse Dowdens were probably cousins of either Nancy or Nathaniel Dowden. – Kenton, Edna “Simon Kenton” pub 1930 p. 244.
19. Marriage Bonds of Clark County, Ky. No. 25139.
20, Ky. State History Reg. Vol. 25 p. 2498 – Danielson letter – children of Samuel and Mary (Harper) Burcham: Susannah, b. 1790, m. Robert Erwin; John/Jack b. 1791 m. Elizabeth Gord.