Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fred H. Burr

Residents of  Southwest Montana are likely quite familiar with Fred Burr as a place name. Googling "Fred Burr" and "Montana" gives over ten thousand hits for the numerous locales in Granite, Powell, and Ravalli counties named for Burr - indeed, there are three "Fred Burr" creeks, one in each county. Our object in this post is to tell the story of the man who is honored whenever we drink tap water in Philipsburg from Fred Burr Lake, cross the pass from Red Lion to Racetrack Lake over Fred Burr Pass, or take a dip in the swimming hole in Fred Burr Creek.  

The map below generally locates many of the geographic features named after Fred Burr, as well as the "Bitterroot Direct" route used by Fred and many other early mountain men and cattlemen to travel between the Bitterroot and Flint Creek Valleys. This route appears to have followed an old Indian trail between the valleys. 


Fred Burr's years in Montana - 1853 to 1868 - encompass the time when Montana made a transition from an unsettled and largely unknown land inhabited solely by Indian tribes and a few dozen trappers, traders, and missionaries, to a site of several of the West's wildest gold and silver "rushes", inhabited by thousands of miners, freighters, stock men, and traders from every corner of the United States, Europe, and China. Fred Burr was a key player in every stage of that transition, at first as a "mountain man", explorer, and guide; then as one of the first miners in Montana's first gold mining district, appropriately named Pioneer (along the equally appropriately named Gold Creek); as a lawman, elected the first sheriff of Deer Lodge County, which then encompassed a huge area of southwest Montana including most of present day Granite county; as a cattleman associated with the great pioneering stock men like Johnny Grant and Conrad Kohrs; and finally, as a politician/statesman, representing Deer Lodge County in Montana's first Legislative Assembly and Constitutional Convention. 

Family and Early Life

Frederick H. Burr was born in New York in 1827 to a distinguished segment of the large Burr clan of which Aaron Burr is the most well known/infamous member. His father David H. Burr was a famed map-maker, engineer, and surveyor, who met his wife, (Frederick's mother), while mapping in New York State. Frederick had two sisters and 5 half-sisters and brothers from his father's second marriage. Our best source on Burr's early life is the journal of fellow pioneer E.R. Purple ("Perilous Passage", 1995). Purple met Fred Burr and another Montana Pioneer, J. Mendenhall, at Fort Lemhi (then in Washington Territory) on July 20, 1862. While Purple was traveling with Fred Burr, he learned the following about the Burr family: Fred Burr's father, David H. Burr (1803-1875) was appointed Surveyor General of Utah Territory and was sent to survey the Territory. He arrived with his family in September 1855 and sent out surveyors, including his son Fred, to lay out the townships such as T1S, R1W, adjoining Salt Lake City. He almost immediately alarmed the Latter Day Saints by reporting to his superiors that the Church had illegally appropriated public domain. Burr became "a stormy petral in Utah, using his authority to harass the Mormon leadership and calling for direct federal intervention to coerce the Saints."(Furnis, N.F., "The Mormon Conflict, 1850-1859," 1960). Fred's surveying for his father in Utah extended into 1856. David Burr left Salt Lake in 1857 when Brigham Young drove those who were not members of the Church out of the Territory. A few individuals (including Mendenhall) remained, under close surveillance, and the conflict was eventually smoothed over to the point that even David H. Burr was back in Utah for the 1860 census.  

Fred Burr as a Montana Pioneer

 Originally Burr had accompanied Isaac I. Stevens, the Governor of Washington Territory (which included Montana) during the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey in 1853 and then remained with Captain John Mullan for the survey of the Military Road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton in 1854. Numerous documents (Butte Miner July 27, 1876, etc) identify him as an engineer, very likely with the status of his father.
Stevens' map (part of which is shown above) shows a large prairie at the position of the Philipsburg Valley. According to the journals of the Stevens Survey for September 26, 1853, the main survey party arrived at the mouth of Flint Creek and saw a note Lander left posted on a tree along the trail stating that he was ascending Flint Creek in order to get to Fort Owen. They assumed Lander was lost and sent Fred Burr with an Indian guide to look for him. In fact Lander's guide - the famed mountain man Hugh Monroe aka "Rising Wolf" - was taking him on the "short cut" to Fort Owen - the Bitterroot Direct. After hard travel Burr and his guide ascended a mountain (from the context, likely Sunrise Mountain) and to the north they saw a fine valley... apparently the Lower Valley of Flint Creek. The Indian guide refused to go further because the horses were too tired. This was the first view Fred Burr had of the Flint Creek Valley.

According to "The Major John Owen Journals", Thomas Adams was appointed Indian Agent with Fred Burr as his assistant in 1854 and they both remained in the Bitterroot Valley after the surveys were completed. Fred Burr took a Snake Indian named Mary as his wife sometime in 1854. Owen noted that "December 25 Mr. Burr's Snake wife left." Apparently her family had come to visit and she chose to go home with them.  On January 2, 1855, Owen documented "Fred Burr had gone above", probably indicating he had went south to bring Mary back. In the winter of 1855 Fred built a cabin on what is now known as Fred Burr Creek, in the Bitterroot on the west side of the Bitterroot River, south of Fort Owen. Fred and his wife and family lived there until they moved to Gold Creek in 1862.

The history of the next few years is chronicled in detail in the diaries of Major John Owen, Burr, James and Granville Stuart, and E.R. Purple. Burr and his friends were driving herds of cattle both into and out of Montana. Burr frequented the Rock Creek area and the Flint Creek valley when he traveled from the Bitterroot to the Deer Lodge Valley, using the Burnt Fork trail called the Bitterroot Direct or Alder trail (the dashed red line on the map in Section 1). This trail dropped over the Sapphire Mountains (originally onto Alder Ridge and then into the Rock Creek Valley about where the Bitterroot Flats campground is now located. Some time later the trail was detoured north of Stony Creek into Wyman Gulch where there is a cable crossing on Rock Creek. The travelers then came south on lower Rock Creek to Willow Creek and over the John Long Mountains via Spring Creek (currently known as the Marshall Creek hill) into the Flint Creek Valley.


Pages from the Burr Diary (Lee Library, BYU Archives) in May and June 1857 speak daily about his movements, associates, and about such prosaic concerns as the weather. He had moved his camp nine miles from Barnard's and was with Jim Mensinger (Minesinger). On the first of June, Jim started for Powell's camp and one of Burr's horses was "very sick." On June 2nd Burr went to the settlement and bought some butter. On June 5th he was busy all day fixing packs and on the 6th "Powell left, moved and camped across the Divide between Malade and S.......Creek. (The spelling is not decipherable) Later in 1857 Burr embarked on a prospecting trip to Gold Creek as detailed by George Weisel in a historical essay


In April of 1858, Burr and Tom Adams led a group of men, including James and Granville Stuart, into the upper Flint Creek Valley, to a point three miles south of where the town of Philipsburg is now located. They built a corral strong enough to "bid defiance to the Blackfoot Indians." The creek entering the valley from the east was later named Fred Burr Creek by Granville Stuart. (Granville Stuart, Prospecting for Gold, 1925, p. 134, and the Anaconda Standard (3-13-1921).

According to Mullan (1994) Fred Burr was one of 48 men at Cantonment Jordon who signed a petition asking the Washington Territory Legislature to create a county east of the Bitterroot Mountains. They requested the county be called Bitterroot but the Legislature chose Missoula. (pp. 34a-35a).


The Granville/James Stuart and E.R. Purple diaries provide the following information: June 4, 1861 James Stuart and Fred Burr, wife and infant daughter started for Fort Benton. "Burr has a good elk skin lodge and the necessary poles with which to set it up, so they will be well sheltered." Granville Stuart, Forty Years on the Frontier, 1925, p 170).
September 5, 1861 Frank Goodwin contracted to build a log house for Fred Burr for 2 horses and 50# of flour. ( G.S. p. 186).
November 11, 1861 J. Grant and Fred Burr arrived from Hell Gate-brought a letter from Reece Anderson now visiting in Iowa. (G.S. p. 189).
In April 1862, Granville Stuart, James Stuart, P.W. McAdow, Sternie Blake, John Powell and Fred Burr began digging for gold on Pioneer Creek. They were using sluice boxes to wash out the gold.  (G.S. p.136)
Living at American Fork in April 1862 (G.S., p. 205) and on the 30th Burr went down to Lt. Mullan's camp to deliver his 2 American Horses (Old John and his bay stallion) that he sold to Mullan for $300 when he was last down there.
May 13, 1862- "Burr, Powell and Adams dug a hole looking for the 'pay streak'-not found" (G.S., p.209)
May 14, 1862- "Burr and I went up to the diggings now called Dixie (possibly named by Burr as Burr also calls his son born several months later "Dixie".) Rather liked their appearance and took up 3 claims just below Blake and McAdow's on Pioneer Gulch." (G.S. p. 209)
May 20, 1862- "Working at ditches and sluices. Burr, Powell and I went to Dixie and found everyone hard at work."
May 27, 1862- "Fred Burr started for Fort Benton with Mullan's party." (G.S.,p. 210)
July 10, 1862- "Adams, Burr and Major Graham arrived from Fort Benton today" (G.S. p.212)
July 17, 1862- "Fred Burr and J. Mendenhall started for the old Mormon Fort on Salmon River to get the things hid there by Jack and his party."(G.S., p. 214) This is the trip that Purple met up with Burr and Mendenhall. (This must have occurred right after the second election in this area as Burr is listed as a voter by Granville in the footnotes on page 214, Volume I)
August 30, 1862- Purple was with Pitt, Woods, Mandeville, and Colburn, with Burr as a guide, traveling to a new gold discovery. On September 1st Burr observed a Grizzly Bear digging 'camus' root. The entire party ended up shooting at the bear while he stood on his hind legs. The only injury was a broken foreleg and the group choose wisely not to pursue him. This was at the headwaters of the Big Hole north of Fort Lemhi.(Purple, p. 105)
September 2, 1862- While with Purple, Burr passed a Nez Perce Indian Corral covering 8 to 10 acres of meadow. Though built of poles, Burr told the story that it was not enough to keep a party of Snake and Bannack Indians from stealing their herd and safely escaping 80 to 90 miles into the Snake River country with the entire band of horses. (This corral was located in the Beaverhead National Forest north of Wisdom) (Purple, pp. 108-09)
September 5, 1862- At a raffle the group threw dice at $1 a throw. Clark won the gun, Burr the clothing and Worden the gum boots (J.S. p. 231)
September 6, 1862- Purple wrote that he was with Burr, his wife "Fink" (Burr's nickname for Mary), Virginia called Jinny about 4 years old (actually about 2) and a boy Dick (Dixie) born a few days before Purple's arrival at Gold Creek (Late August 1862).
September 12- Game of poker- F. Burr won some little (J.S., p. 122)
November 6, 1862- Reece, Burr, Purple, Fairweather and I (Granville Stuart) went after the Indians that took Gunn's Ox. Overtook them in Hells Gate canon 20 miles below here.
November 7, 1962- Burr had the Indian locked up in his house but he concluded he did not want to help us hunt up the white man that he traded with for the ox. So in the night he let himself out.--Left his pishamore, buffalo skin rug, horse leggins and knife. The Indian horse was taken by Captain Simms.
In January, February and March of 1863 "The Mendenhall Papers" at Montana State University contain orders and receipts of cattle and horses delivered by Fred Burr and P.W. McAdow to Mendenhall and Mullan. Burr was obviously living in the Big Hole most of this time. 
In April of 1863 Purple ran into Fred Burr and J. Minesinger getting timber out to build a toll bridge across the Big Hole. Purple left his favorite pony with Burr at the Big Hole because the horse was lame. That is the last he saw of the pony because a week later he was stolen by a "thieving party of Crow." (p. 165)
July 20, 1863- Sixteen Flathead and Pend d' Orielles passed returning from a horse stealing expedition with the Crow...."They had 2 horses belonging to Fred Burr that the Crow's had stolen at the Crossing of the Big Hole river. Te-losh-ten-aw, a good Flathead, had these horses and returned them to Burr, he paying the Indian all that they were worth, for his trouble. (G.S., p 252)
Fred Burr, Purple, J.S. Worden and Reece were all alone in October 1863 on Gold Creek. (p. 165)

The Montana Historical Society Contributions 1876 Volume I  has a list of persons living in the area now known as Montana during the winter of 1862-63. At Big Hole Bridge (Dakotah Territory) were: Fred H. Burr, James Coulan, Louis D. Ervin and James M. Minesinger.

During the election of 1865 Fred Burr ran against Hugh O'Neil for Sheriff of Deer Lodge County and won with 835 votes to O'Neil's 788. (Leeson, History of Montana, 1885). He was also chosen to represent Deer Lodge County in the 1866 Constitutional Convention (Anaconda Standard, December 10, 1911, "Interesting Chapter of Forgotten Montana History Now Told.") 

Move to Canada


In the fall of 1867, Johnny Grant, the pioneering rancher of Deer Lodge, and a large group of family and friends, left Montana for a new life in Manitoba. Grant stated he was afraid of raising his children in "such a rough country as Montana had become". Indeed it appears from newspaper accounts at the time that murders and vigilante lynchings were very common. Grant also states in his memoirs that the advent of civilization in the form of government and tax assessments also made him want to seek greener pastures. Some insight into this latter reason is provided in a newspaper account at the time, which relates that a run of bad luck including a barn fire and a run-in with federal revenue agents, who confiscated 700 gallons of his liquor, discouraged Grant from continuing to live in Montana. The "Mountain Man era" of Montana history came to an abrupt end with the exodus of Grant, his family, and friends. 

For reasons that remain obscure,  Fred Burr joined this exodus the following year. He assigned his property to James Stuart to be sold and left the Deer Lodge valley to join Grant in Fort Gary, Canada, in the spring of 1868. With him were his Shoshone Indian wife Mary, daughter Jennie and son Dixie (Dick). Mary was the sister of Granville Stuart's wife Awbonny. 


Burr's surviving correspondence indicates that he was able to make a good living despite adverse conditions in Manitoba. A letter saved in the Lee Library at the Brigham Young University Archives from Fred Burr to James Stuart dated July 17, 1868 states: "My family are well but very homesick. I have done tolerably well since I have been here, and may remain for some time." According to the letter many of the group were cursing J. Grant. Some did not have a cent to their name and Achinson, Baptiste, Quesnell and Tom Pambrin had all left "on their way back to the land of 'sun and flowers'. Burr continued on in his letter asking James if he had realized any money for the Burr property. "I may come back one of these days, but it is doubtful." Johnny Grant had a new wife "a Red River 'halfbreed' girl about 16 years old and I suppose is enjoying all the felicity and happiness of the 'honeymoon'. Burr described Manitoba as "one devil of a country", where "mosquitoes, flies, bedbugs, lice, and all kind of vermin abound", and the only money to be made was trading in furs. He expressed sadness that none of his friends had written and asked James to pick up any mail at the Deer Lodge Post Office from Burr's family and forward it to Fort Gary, Red River, Canada. Interest was expressed in the past election results and pleaded for a letter from James. "My wife sends her love to Awbonny, her children and all the folks. Dixie and Jennie are growing fast, going to school and doing well generally."

The next correspondence known to exist is a letter from Burr at Portage La Praire (60 miles from Fort Gary) dated October 12, 1868. (U of M archives, microfilm of original at Yale) Fred acknowledges the receipt of James Stuart's letter of September 2 "Right welcome it was to hear from you." Then notes that he has not heard from any of the party "that came through with me for some time." He goes into detail where some of them had moved to; questions Stuart as to why he had not received any mail from Deer Lodge; discussed doing fairly well but "cash is rare."; states that he had refused to run for public office twice, because he was "holding out for something that would pay. I am considered an authority in law matters and (tooting my own horn) am considered the best scribe and business men among them. Have already acted several times as Clerk of Court and assisted at several of these meetings with 'glory' ad libitum. You know the saying about ruling among beggars (confound it...have forgotten the quotation so you have to guess it)." He says Madame Burr, Dixie and Jennie were 'fat and saucy' and talk 'Orkney' beautifully [the Scottish/Creole dialect of Manitoba] ... "Madame though cannot forget Montana and is always talking about it and Awbonny, Ellen, Marciline, Mary and all of you as well as the children."  Burr stated he had quit drinking as well as gambling; that there was a cry of famine and game and fish were scarce. "Madame sends all sorts of messages to her sister and the little ones also as well as to your family and the rest of womankind of her ilk. She is going to have her beautiful 'phiz' taken and will send her photo au plus vite." 

A final letter from Burr to James Stuart from 1870 details the Metis rebellion and his position in it. This letter, also from the Lee collection at BYU, is the last known letter to James from Canada. It contains a wealth of information about the origins of the dispute. Fred's sympathies clearly are with the Metis and Indians whose rights to the land in Manitoba on which they lived were not recognized when that province was added to Canada in 1870. The situation is contrasted with the creation of many states and territories in the United States, where the claims of early settlers were "grandfathered", and rights of Indians were commonly dealt with through treaties and purchases, though on a most unequal basis. Fred reports that in Manitoba, the only pre-existing rights that were purchased were those of the Hudson Bay Company. It is noteworthy that the failure to "grandfather" Mormon claims in Utah led to the Mormon war, in which Fred and his father were interested parties, and, similarly, the failure to recognize pre-existing rights in Manitoba led to the Metis war. 

Burr's style and penmanship in these letters is a delight. He refers to Montana as "The Land of Sun and Flowers", possibly a coinage of Burr or of John Owen, who also uses the same striking phrase. 


Move back to Montana, then to Virginia and DC

In 1871 Burr was back in Montana, helping with the Northern Pacific Railway survey. He was apparently sent to Deer Lodge to fetch a doctor after several of the crew were accidentally or purposefully poisoned by strychnine while camped at the mouth of Flint Creek (see Flint Chip No. 50).  By I874, Burr was back east, in New York. The 1880 census finds Burr living on a farm in Virginia. By this time Fred and Mary have split up (she is back living in Montana), and he has married a woman from Maryland, Annie Keech. Neither of his children are with either parent. By 1882 Fred Burr had been appointed Postmaster at Westmoreland. In the Washington D.C. Directories from 1885 to 1894 he is listed with various careers such as civil engineer, clerk and inspector. Interstate Commerce Commission records show he worked there for a number of years. 

Refer to the Blog post "Pioneer Letters" for communications written by Fred to Stearney Blake in the early 1880's.

Burr rekindled his relationship with Granville Stuart late in life, when Granville had been appointed Ambassador to Uruguay.  Granville and his wife apparently visited with the Burrs while in D.C. accepting the position. In a letter dated May 16, 1895, Burr says he had waited "anxiously" for a letter from Granville after arriving "at his post."  He hoped Granville and Mrs. S___ were enjoying the delightful climate and the difference in climate and surroundings agreeable. "Although you may not find them like Home Sweet Home in Montana." (Granville was serving as U.S. Consulate to Uruguay) Burr states that if he were so situated he would go back to Montana and spend the remainder of his life there. "Mrs. Burr desires to be kindly remembered to Mrs. Stuart (to whom she took a great liking) as well as yourself." Continuing on, Burr details that Blake is well and running the boat with the prospect of a good season. Tom Adams had lost his position as Secretary and Treasurer and was now broke. He thought "Grover" might be nominated for a third term and "would not be surprised at his election." He goes on to discuss the weather and the high price of beef, then the lack of feasibility to bring Montana beef to D.C.  Burr closes, "Remember me with an expression of my kindest regards to Mrs. Stuart and do not forget that you both have my best wishes for your welfare and that I still cherish the old friendship that existed between us which I can never forget." (U of M Archives, microfilm)


The last correspondence known is a response back from Granville to Fred. "We both have had the best of health ever since leaving Montana. I have gained 18# and Mrs S. 2 pounds more." (Milner-O'Conner, As big as the west, p.297, taken from Lee Library, BYU Archives)

Burr's Children

Burr told Purple on September 5, 1862 "I like my children as well as if their mother had been the finest lady in the land. I am in the boat though and must do the best that I can- I will send Jenny to St. Louis and have her brought up in some good family. It would never do to take her and Dick (Dixie) to Washington. The old woman would raise the devil to be separated from 'em but she'll have to stand it somehow." (Perilous Passage, p.111) 

Dixie apparently returned to Montana before 1881, as a Congressional Report says Dixie Burr was a mail carrier from Olden to Martinsdale in that year. On December 6, 1883, Dixie wrote a letter to his uncle, Granville Stuart, to request a job on the DHS Ranch. Granville replied on December 17, 1883 "Folks all well. I cannot give you work in the spring. Have all the help I need."(Milner-O'Conner, p.223, from Archives, Beinecke Library at Yale University). 

On July 20, 1884, Dixie was at the camp of an old man named James on the Musselshell River. 


from Zogbaum, Horse, Foot and Dragoons, 1888
The"Stuart's Stranglers" formed by the Montana Stock Grower's Association under Granville Stuart (third from left) had been informed that a band of horse thieves were camped on the Musselshell and attacked the camp. A reporter for Harper's Weekly, Rufus Zogbaum, happened by on a steamboat, and he sketched and chronicled several key events. His report only hints at the identity of the vigilantes, but his notes reveal that the leader, discreetly depicted facing away in his sketch, was Granville Stuart himself.  Milner and O'Conner show that Stuart took measures to ensure that the actual identities of the "stranglers" were kept out of the press, out of concern that the friends and relatives of their victims would retaliate, several of whom, according to Stuart's memoirs, came from wealthy and influential families.   


In the gun battle at the camp, Dixie was shot in the arm but escaped by hiding in a dry well. The next day he and several fellow fugitives constructed a raft and made their escape. 
 

Zogbaum, 1888. Dixie Burr third from left
However, the group were found by the military and taken to the Poplar Creek Agency. U.S. Deputy Marshall Samuel Fischel deputized Reece Anderson and they went to pick up the men and return them to Fort Benton for trial. The group on August 28 was surrounded by masked men and Reece and Fischel were reportedly told to leave and not look back. The prisoners were taken to a cabin close by and after placing a log between two structures the four men were hung and then the cabin was burned cremating the remains. (Stuart, Forty years on the frontier, p. 208).  Stuart's diaries and memoirs are mute about whether he told either his wife or Fred Burr about Dixie's death. It seems most likely, given the friendly tone of Burr's attitude toward Stuart in the 1895 correspondence, that Fred Burr was completely in the dark about the events that transpired along the Missouri and Musselshell rivers in 1884.


Fred and Mary's daughter Virginia (Jennie) seems to disappear from history after 1868. As noted, she is not living with her mother and the Stuarts in Montana in 1880. In the 1880 census, however, an "Estelle Burr", born in Montana Territory about 1860, is living with the family of Robert Morford, the NP raiload agent, in Bismarck N.D., his wife Frances (Fred Burr's older sister) and two daughters, Mary and Ada.  This census information provides an exact match to Jennie Burr. On the census form, Estelle's father is stated to have been born in New York (as was Fred Burr) and her mother is stated to have been born in Montana (as was Mary Burr). Frances Burr's family history gives a strong clue as to why Jennie became known as Estelle. Fred and Frances had a half-sister named Estelle who died young, shortly before Jennie's birth. It could be that Estelle was Jennie's nickname or middle name. 

The 1875 Minnesota census lists the Morfords as living in the Duluth area, and lists Estelle as mixed race - white and Indian. At that time the household included Fred Burr's nephew Cuyler Adams, who is Frances' son from an earlier marriage. Like his uncle Fred and grandfather David, Cuyler was a surveyor... part of his career was indeed working on the Northern Pacific Railroad as a surveyor's helper at the same time as his uncle Fred. While surveying land in Minnesota in 1895 he noticed his compass needle deviating, which led to his discovery of the big, rich iron mines of the Cuyuna Range (named for Cuyler and his prospecting dog Una). He made a fortune from their development. 

Death and Burial

On June 15, 1897, Washington, D.C.'s newspaper the Morning Times  carried a death notice for Fred H. Burr. He had died at the home of his brother-in-law,  Dentist E.P. Keech in Baltimore, Maryland on June 3, 1897. Internment was at Christ Church Cemetery in Hanford County, Maryland. His headstone has his date of death inscribed, and simply states he was the "husband of Anna E. Burr."  


Fred Burr's final resting place has one final twist. Roger Baker shared a story in 2002 told him by his mother. In the Baker family oral history, Great Grandfather John "Rock Derrick" Hickey had become good friends with Fred while they were at Pioneer. John promised Fred that when he died he would see that his body was returned to "The land of Sun and Flowers."  Since we now know he has a tombstone in Maryland, for this promise to be fulfilled would require an astonishing degree of determination and secretiveness by the old pioneers, but the Hickey/Hunt/Baker family believed that such was indeed the case and that Fred was secretly interred along the banks of Fred Burr Creek. Oral history certainly can be more colorful and intriguing than documented fact and we leave the final word on Fred Burr's resting place to the imagination of the reader.   

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wish Blogspot would allow one to edit comments. I'm adding to the one I deleted...

    Are you certain that the Frederick H Burr supposedly buried here: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=55721786&ref=acom is the Fred Burr in this blog? David Hugh Burr's son Frederick was undoubtably born in 1831. He is listed as "Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9" in the 1840 census (there are none listed for ages 10-19, as would be if he were born in 1827) and is listed as 19 years old in the 1850 census. Also, it appears that David H. Burr's son Frederick, was in Utah from 1856 to 1857. On page 119 of "A History of the Rectangular Survey System" it talks of Frederick H. Burr surveying the Utah baseline as the Deputy Surveyor General of Utah.

    So, if the Frederick H. Burr in the above link is the same man, at some point he started lying about his age, because in the 1880 census it was stated he was 53 years old, which also put his birth date in 1827. However, since there are no census records of any Fred or Frederick H. Burr between 1850 and 1880, it's likely that that is the case. Also, no record can be found of his marriage to Anna E. Keech.. She shows up on all the census's in Maryland through 1870-apparently having never married. She was six years older than Fred H.,(which could explain why he added four years to his age) and in her late 40's when she "married" him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fred was also surveying in Utah in 1855.

      Delete
  3. We needed to do a bit of research on the Utah surveys you refer to, and indeed a number of 1856 surveys are by Fred Burr. We know he was taking trips that way to pick up worn out cattle on the Emigrant trail and bring them back to Montana to fatten them up and it's a good addition to the timeline to realize he also was putting his professional training to work as a surveyor at the same time. Thanks for the tip!
    We feel confident in placing Burr in Virginia and Washington DC in the 1880s and 1890s. We know he was there based on his correspondence with Stuart and other Montanans. The 1880 census info is an excellent match both for Fred (for example, in his birthplace and that of his mother and father) as well as his wife Anna. The Washington DC city directories place Fred and Anna Burr in that city with a good match for his occupations (engineer, clerk) which included working at the Interstate Commerce Commission. Appropriately enough, given Fred's background, the ICC dealt mainly with railroad regulation. So yes we feel sure that it is "our" Fred Burr referred to in the 1897 death notice and burial in Maryland.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Since Fred grew up in DC, it's logical that he returned there, although there is a four year discrepancy between the son living in David H. Burr's household in D.C. in 1840 and 1850. I believe that when David H. Burr moved to Utah in 1855 he left most of his family behind in D.C., bringing only two of his younger sons (Fred's half brothers) with him.

    ReplyDelete