The Burnett History in the United States

written by: Michael Edward Burnett and partly edited by: Anne Sturm

Thomas Burnett (also shown in other histories as Burnet) (born 1612) was a Presbyterian Puritan and must have left England in the early 1630’s, first immigrating to Massachusetts, living there for a brief time, and finally settling in Southampton, Long Island, New York.  Thomas’ “port-of-entry” is believed to have been at Lynn, MA, which he was one of the first 50 settlers to arrive.  He was married twice; His first wife, Mary Cooper, gave him 11 children. The names of their 11 children are: Aaron Burnett Sr., Lot Burnett, Priscilla Burnett, Joel Burnett, Lois Burnett, John Burnett, Hester Burnett, Miriam Burnett, Dan Burnett, Sr., Mordecai Burnett, and Mattias Burnett. (They are the first generation of children of this line of Dr. Thomas Burnett Jr. of Braintree, Essex, England, to be born in Southampton, Long Island, New York.)                            

According to research from a very noted genealogist, Eugene Bouton, when researching Matthais Burnett (son of Aaron Burnett (Jr), reported in a letter dated 2/1/1932 that the origins of the “Long Island Burnet’s” were descended from a Doctor Thomas Burnett, MA (Sr) of Braintree, Essex, England (that would be Thomas Burnett’s (Jr) father).  According to that research, Thomas Burnett had a son named Thomas in 1612, the oldest son of three children. New Genealogical Updated Research:  According to the updated genealogy researched by noted genealogist, Eileen A. Bailey, who were hired by the current Burnett of Leys Family in 2005, has stated in their official genealogy book of the Burnett of Leys family, is that our ancestor Dr. Thomas Burnett Sr. (the 3rd oldest son of Alexander Burnett, 11th Laird of Leys and his wife Katherine Arbuthnot), has a total of nine children. (6 sons and 3 daughters), according to Heralds’ Visitation of Norfolk in 1613, and of Essex in 1624, in order of seniority as heir to their father. The first being Alexander Burnett, 12th Laird of Leys. (Ex: Prince Charles of Wales, is the next in line in succession to the British throne, after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, then her eldest grandson, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his children.. etc.)                                

The research goes back even further as follows:                                                    

 – Dr Thomas Burnett, born in Braintree, Essex, England, is the son of Alexander Burnett, 11th of Leys and his wife, Katherine Arbuthnot of Fiddes.  This same Arbuthnot family connection provides a direct line of descent from most of the lines of “Kings of Europe and Asia.”

 – More discovered records also state that Thomas Burnett (Senior) of Southampton was also related to Gilbert Burnett, Bishop of Salisbury, and his son, Governor William Burnett, Colonial Governor of New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.  Since Bishop Burnett was a member of the Burnett of Leys family, this also makes our Thomas Burnett (Senior) a descendent of the Burnett’s of Leys.                                

– According to a published book “The Family of Burnett of Leys, With Collateral Branches,” by George Burnett, LL.D., Lyon King of Arms, 1901, there are 15 Thomas Burnet(t)’s listed. All but one can be accounted for…..Thomas Burnett, the son of Doctor Thomas Burnett, MA of Braintree, Essex, England.  Also in the same book the connection is made between Bishop Gilbert Burnett and the same Thomas Burnett, who by all indications, our Thomas Burnet of Southampton, Long Island, New York.  The book shows them to be 1st cousins, once removed.

Then there was a Dr. Ichabod Burnet (1687-1774) who is the grandson of Thomas Burnett (Jr).  Dr Ichabod was a “physician of great importance” in Essex County, NJ.  It was him who removed the second “t” from that side of the Burnett name; Why?  Nobody knows for sure.  His son, William Burnet, was also a surgeon and served  in the  Revolutionary War.  This Dr. Burnet had three son’s; the first, David G. Burnet. Who was the first Interim President of the new Republic of Texas in 1836.  His elder brother, Jacob Burnet, was a Senator from Ohio and also  served as a Chief Justice of that state and is also known as the “Father of the Ohio Constitution.”   Another brother,  Isaac Burnet, was long a mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a cousin of John Francisco Burnett (my cousin Mike Burnett’s 2nd Great Grandfather), of Whitehouse, Ohio.  Still, another brother, Major Ichabod Burnet (1756-1783) was aid-de-camp to General Greene during the Revolutionary War.  Major Burnet was also in charge of the detail of Major John Andrea’s (assistant to Benedict Arnold) execution for treason in 1780.