Tristam Burgess

Is your surname Burgess?

Connect to 25,905 Burgess profiles on Geni

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Tristam Burgess

Birthplace: Rochester, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: October 13, 1853 (83)
East Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. John Burges and Abigail Burges (Chase)
Husband of Mary "Polly" Burgess
Father of Welcome Arnold Burgess; Cornelia A. Burgess; Cornelia Arnold Burgess; Abby Elizabeth Burgess; John Chase Burgess and 2 others
Brother of Abraham Burges; Hannah Snow; Benjamin Burgess; Mary Burgess; Deliverence (Delia) Burgess and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Tristam Burgess

Tristam Burges, 1770-1853, was chief justice, leading member of the bar, U.S. Congressman (1825-1835), leader of the Whig Party and professor of oratory at Brown University. After a distinguished career in law, politics, and education, Burges retired to his estate “Watchemoket Farm,” then in Seekonk, Massachusetts, but since 1862 within the bounds of East Providence.

Tristam Burges (February 26, 1770 – October 13, 1853) was a U.S. Representative from Rhode Island, and great-great-uncle of Theodore Francis Green.

Early life and law career

Burges was born in Rochester, Massachusetts February 26, 1770 to John and Abigail Burges. Burges' father was a cooper and farmer, and a Revolutionary War veteran.

Burges attended the common schools. He studied medicine at a school in Wrentham. Upon the death of his father he abandoned the study of medicine. He was graduated from Rhode Island College (now Brown University), Providence, Rhode Island, valedictorian of the class of 1796. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1799 and commenced practice in Providence, Rhode Island.

He married in 1801 to a daughter of Hon. Welcome Arnold, and had several children.

Political career

He served as member of the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1811 and a prominent member of the Federalist Party. He was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island in May 1815, serving for just one year.

In 1815 Burges was named as professor of oratory and belles letters at Brown University; he taught lectures in rhetoric and oratory. He was dismissed from this position in 1830.

Burges was elected to the US Congress in 1825 as a Federalist and served for ten years. He was known for his witty repartee with Anti-New England Virginian John Randolph. He favored a protective trade tariff, and he lost re-electing because he refused to accept a tariff compromise proposed by Henry Clay.

Burges was elected as an Adams candidate to the Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses and elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the Twenty-first through the Twenty-third Congresses (March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1835). He served as chairman of the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions (Nineteenth Congress), Committee on Military Pensions (Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses), Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Twenty-first Congress), Committee on Invalid Pensions (Twenty-second and Twenty-third Congresses). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection.

After an unsuccessful run for Rhode Island Governor as a Whig party candidate in 1836, he resumed the practice of law in East Providence, Rhode Island.

He died on his estate, "Watchemoket Farm" (now a part of East Providence, Rhode Island), October 13, 1853, and was interred in North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island.

view all

Tristam Burgess's Timeline

February 26, 1770
Rochester, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
July 24, 1817
Seekonk, Bristol County, MA, United States
October 13, 1853
Age 83
East Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States