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Ancient Planters: John Burras/Burris/Burroughs

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  • Edmond Burrus (c.1628 - d.)
  • Anthony Burruss (1626 - 1700)
  • John B. Burruss, Jr. (aft.1624 - bef.1705)
    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 2010JOHN BURRUS, Jr., i...
  • Mara Bucke, [parentage in doubt-do not merge] (1611 - aft.1637)
    Bucke may have returned to England at least once. It is possible that his wife died and that he remarried, perhaps to a woman named Bridget. Bucke had three sons and one daughter born in Virginia betwe...
  • Rev. Richard Bucke (c.1580 - c.1624)
    Richard Bucke was an Anglican minister who came to Jamestown in 1610, performed the marriage ceremony for Pocahontas and John Rolfe in 1614, and in 1619 opened with prayer the first legislative assembl...

A project for following this Ancient Planter and his descendants.


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 NAME 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, which will be used herein, 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 shown to my satisfaction that the earlier 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 or he was not present in the Colony at that time. His 90 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.