John Burrows, Sr.

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John Burrows (Burrowes), Sr.

Also Known As: "John Burris", "Burras", "Burrus", "Burroughs"
Birthdate: (33)
Birthplace: Wyndonham, Norfolk, England
Death: January 1, 1628 (33)
Jamestown, James, Virginia, USA (Murdered, stabbed by a servant)
Place of Burial: Find A Grave Memorial# 147593430, Virginia, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Mr. Burruss
Husband of Bridget Burruss and Bridget Bucke
Father of John Burruss, Jr. and John Burruss, Jr.

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Burrows, Sr.

Information from: The Families of LOU DRAPER & CHARLIE MARTIN of Johnson and Henry Counties, Missouri" by James M McMillen, Arlington, Texas. Published in .pdf format 13 January 2010


The Burrus is spelled in a number of different ways in early Virginia; as was usual for the times, it depended on whoever wrote the record. Later, in Kentucky, the spelling by this branch of the family was usually Burrus, but it often found as Burris and in the records it can be Burruss, Burriss, Burrows, Burrowes, Burroughs, Burrace, Burys, etc.

At least the first three volumes of Cavaliers and Pioneers list early Virginia Burruses. The (86) earliest Burrus of that spelling found in Virginia was there by 1643. Thomas Burrus bought land in King William County in 1703 and sold land to Jacob Burrus that same year; he and John Burrus were on the county rentroll in 1704 with 60 acres of land each. By the following year King William County landholders included Edmund, Charles, John, William, Edward, and Thomas Burrus. John Burrus and Samuel Burrus were in Caroline County in 1783, owning two horses and two cows apiece. Thomas Burrus, “and Sarah, his wife,” were in Fredericksville Parish, Louisa County, by 26 June 1758 when he bought 350 acres from Joseph Martin “on the north side of the Little Mountains” for £40; Thomas Burrus, son of Jacob, married Sarah, the daughter of Joseph Martin of Louisa, no date given; this is surely the same Thomas and Sarah of Fredericksville Parish. None of these are known to be ancestors of the Thomas Burrus who married Frances Tandy.


John Burrowes, the first known person in Virginia with a name similar to Burrus, was a passenger on the Survivor, which arrived at Jamestown in 1608, just in time to rescue those (87) who had lived through that first terrible year in the new land. He is seen in the records until his death by murder in 1628. The murderer was a 14-year-old indentured servant who stabbed John in the stomach.

John built and lived on a plantation south of the James River for many years, but moved back north of the river in order to provide care for a mentally retarded sister-in-law, Mara Buck, for whom he had been appointed guardian.(88)

It is interesting to note that his plantation was called Burrowes Hill or Burrowes Mount, in that other Burrus researchers (below) report having traced the line back to a John Burrows “of Burrow's Mount, England,” who was in Virginia by 1638. It has not been proven that this John Burrows, who had married in February 1624 Bridget Langley (widow of Rev Richard Buck, who had come to Virginia in 1610 and died in 1623) had a son. It seems reasonable, however, to assume that the later John could very well have been the son of the first, especially since no other Burrows family was in Virginia at the time. One researcher does include a John Burrows, son of John and Bridget, no date of birth but it was (89) either after the muster of January 1625(90) or he was not present in the Colony at that time. His not appearing in other records prior to 1638 could be explained if he had been sent back to England for an education. It is possible, of course, that both men were from Burrows Mount in England, that the plantation was named for the English site, and that they were not related as father and son, if at all, though the latter seems unlikely.


Thomas Burrus (1722-1788) is the probable great-grandson of John Burrowes. Brockman (91) and some others(92) say that the three generations of this Burrus family preceding Thomas Burrus are as follows, but the evidence for this has not, as yet, been seen. The later generations, starting with Thomas Burrus and Frances Tandy are covered in publications of both Kentucky and Virginia, and in a Massie family publication(93, 94, 95). The information on those living before Thomas Burrus is to be considered speculative.

JOHN BURROWES (or BURRUS), said to have been of Burrows Mount, England, came to James City County, Virginia, and died there. Dates for his arrival vary from 1608 to 1726. Died in 1628. Married Bridget Langley, widow of Rev. Richard Bucke. Issue:

  • John Burrus, Jr (below)

JOHN BURRUS, Jr, lived in St John's Parish, King William County, Virginia, and died there before 1705. He had at least three children:

  • Thomas Burrus
  • Edmund Burrus (below)
  • Jacob Burrus (died about 1755, Caroline County, Virginia), married Mary Burrus - Tharp says this was Mary Tandy.(96) Issue:
  • * William Burrus
  • * Jacob Burrus
  • * Henry Burrus (born before 1721)
  • * Thomas Burrus (died before 5 November 1772), married Sarah Martin
  • * Charles Burrus
  • * Elizabeth Burrus
  • * Ann Burrus
  • * Justinia Burrus
  • * Mary Burrus.

EDMUND BURRUS had the following children and possibly others. His wife may have been named Elizabeth but this is not proven. Some sources claim she was Elizabeth Woolfolk, but direct descendants dispute this claim.

  • Thomas Burrus, (1722-1788) married Frances Tandy, daughter of Roger Tandy and Sarah Quarles. Issue:
    • Fanny Burrus, married John Embree
    • Mildred Burrus, married Joseph Embree.
    • Sarah Ann Burrus, married Rev. Andrew Tribble.
    • Thomas Burrus, married Elizabeth Stevens
    • Mary Burrus, married Lewis Perry
    • Jane Burrus, married Rev. James Quisenberry
    • Frances Tandy Burrus, married Capt. William Bush
    • Elizabeth Burrus, married John Brockman
    • Roger Tandy Burrus, married Cynthia Mills
    • Mourning Burrus, married Thomas Graves, Jr.
    • William Tandy Burrus, married Martha Slaughter
  • Edmund Burrus, married (1) about 1745, Mary Woolfolk, married (2) about 1754, Mary Wisdom Perry. Issue:
  • * John Burrus (1) (born ca 1745)
  • * Mary Burrus (1) (born ca 1747)
  • * Nathaniel Burrus (2) (1762, Orange County, Virginia–26 Jan 1855), married Mary Threlkeld (died 6 October 1853). They had moved to Mercer County, Kentucky.
  • * Edmund Burrus (born 9 September 1764)
  • * William Burrus (born 1765)
  • * Samuel Burrus (born ca 1766), married –?– Rucker
  • * Roseanna Burrus (born 1767), married Wisdom Rucker
  • * Nancy “Ann” Burrus, married John Atkins
  • * Fanny Burrus (born 1773), married John Griffin
  • * Susan “Sukey” Burrus (born 1775), married –?– Mothershead
  • * Elizabeth Burrus (born 1779).


Footnotes to text above:

  • 86. Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vols I, II, & III
  • 87. Jester, Annie Lash, Adventurers of Purse and Person, 3 Edition, Order of the First Families of Virginia, 1987. rd
  • 88. Adventurers of Purse and Person.
  • 89. Tharp, J, Ancestors of Roger Tandy Burrus, Box 3165, Auburn, CA. Computer printed.
  • 90. This is often called the Muster of January 1624 or 1624/25. Using the Gregorian Calendar that starts the year with January, it was in 1625, but the English and the Colonies did not officially recognize the new calendar until 1752
  • 91. Brockman, William E, The Brockman Scrapbook, Minneapolis, 1952.
  • 92. For example, Tharp is in error about John Burrows of the Jamestown muster of 1624 coming that year.
  • 93. Genealogies of Kentucky Families, Vol A-M
  • 94. Genealogies of Virginia Families,Tylers Quarterly, Vol I
  • 95. Kelsey, Mavis Parrott, MD, and Mary Wilson Kelsey, compilers, The Family of John Massie, 1734-c.1830, M P & M W Kelsey, #2 Longbow Lane, Houston, TX 77024 (1989)

Links to additional reading:

HIGHLY SPECULATIVE that this John, who married Bridget Langley in 1624 was the father of the John Burris who settled in Virginia. NO CONCLUSIVE PROOF either way.

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John Burrows, Sr.'s Timeline

December 22, 1594
Wyndonham, Norfolk, England
Age 29
Jamestown, Virginia Colony
January 1, 1628
Age 33
Jamestown, James, Virginia, USA
Age 33
Virginia, USA
Age 33
James City County, Virginia, United States