Phillip Burgin

Progenitor of Our Burgin Lineage

On January 15, 1677 John Bull claimed headrights for transporting Phil Burgin and nineteen others. The headright system was a very important mechanism for settling the southern colonies. Under it, a person who transported immigrants (paid for their trans-Atlantic passage) was rewarded with a grant of land, usually 50 acres per head. John Bull received 1,000 acreas for transporting 20 people. Then on June 8, 1678, William Pierce of Cecil County, Maryland claimed 300 acres for transporting six people including Phillip Burgen. There are several possible explanations, but only ONE Phillip on subsequent records.

Phillip Burgin was brought to America ca. 1677

These dates were long before England adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. In the seventeenth-century colonies the new year began in March, therefore, some have construed this to mean that the date we call January 1677 would actually be January 1678.

Transported immigrants were usually (but not always) obligated to a period of servitude as indentured servants. For a fixed number of years, specified by contract, they became voluntary, temporary slaves to the person who transported them. During their indentured period, their services could be leased out, or even sold outright to third parties. At the end of their indenture period, the master was contractually obligated to provide the former servant with the wherewithal to become independent. We do not know if Phillip Burgin served in this manner, no indenture contract for him has been found.

Phillip settled in Cecil County, in the section that later became Kent County. By 1686, he was living in the place he would later purchase - "Ivingo" on Turner's Creek, a deep inlet on the south side of the Sassafras River.

On July 11th of that same year, four friends gathered at Phillip's house; Giles Porter, Francis Child, Ralph Chiffen and Peter Dermott. In light of what followed, Dermott's friendship is questionable. He was laid up with a "sore leg" and "could not get upon his feet". He lay on a bed in the kitchen while the others gathered "round a table drinking punch" and talking. (In those days, punch was usually a type of ale or beer). The conversation turned to politics and became rather heated. According to a deposition later made by Peter Dermott, they spoke libelous and scandalous words against our soverign King James II.

The four were arrested and brought before the commissioners of Cecil County August 10, to hear Dermott's deposition, but Dermott did not show up. The sheriff later found him asleep under a bush near the courthouse. Dermott was taken into court to give testimony against the four young men.

Dermott's deposition entitled in the court records "A Memorandum of High Treason Spoke Against the Late King James", stating that when he was in Phillip's kitchen, July 11, 1686, the four began talking about the Duke of Monmouth, being sure he was still alive (the Duke had been beheaded in London a year earlier). Dermott testified that Giles Porter said he would drink to the Duke of Monmouth's health for he hath poisoned his brother (the late King Charles) and began the first invention of the burning of London.

Giles Porter was said to have proposed a toast to the Duke of Monmouth.

The four were indicted for high treason and brought before the provincial council in the City of St. Mary's on September 16, 1686. There, Dermott revised and expanded his former testimony, saying now that when Porter drank his toast, Phillip Burgin had cried, "Hold your tongue, for you speak treason!" The court after hearing this additional testimony decided that only Giles Porter should be tried for treason. When asked if he heard the treasonous toast drunk, Phillip said, I cannot say, but what it might be drank, but I know nothing of it, nor did I hear it drank." The court, after hearing this additional testimony, decided that only Porter should be tried for treason.

The case was postponed several times and a letter was sent to Lord Baltimore in London, on March 5, 1687, detailing the case and the fact that Dermott's story had changed, yet again, from the original deposition. A reply, written by Lord Baltimore on November 2, 1687 and received on April 3, 1688, referred to this case as "Treason on the Sassafras" and told the court to keep all the accused out on bayle, until the lawyers could decide what to do with the case.

A few months later, William III, Prince of Orange arrived in England and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 began. William and Mary became king and queen of England and James II was exiled to France . . . and the case of "Treason on the Sassafras" passed into obscurity.

Phillip married Rosamond Queeny, a Quaker, but he is well-documented in the Episcople Church in Kent County, Maryland. He was, for many years a member of the Episcople Church, Shrewsbury Parish and is listed in the church records as a vestryman until his death.

That frame church was extensively repaired in 1701 when the vestry asked the court to tax Shrewsbury Parish "according to law for ye Reparations of ye Church." The fact that major repairs were required suggests that the first Shrewsbury church was twenty to thirty years old by this time.

By 1703, the congregation had grown sufficiently to require a 20-foot addition to the original structure. The enlarged frame church adequately served the parishioners until the second was built in 1721.

The second Shrewsbury church, a fine brick structure, measured 40 feet by 60 feet, and was as large as any in the colony. In 1750, John Burgin, Jr. and Benjamin Burgin were among those who subscribed to the new church. The third structure, which still stands today and is within a few hundred feet of the original church, is more modest than its predecessor, measuring only 30 by 45 feet.

Phillip's wife Rosamond (Rose) was the daughter of Sutton Queeney, Sr. and Ann Gilbert. Phillip and Rose must have gotten married ca. 1688, because their first child Sutton, was born in October of 1689.

  • Sutton Burgin, b. October 23, 1689
  • Ann Burgin, b. July 15, 1694
  • Phillip Burgin, b. August 30, 1698
  • Rosamond Burgin, b. March 24, 1701/2
  • John Burgin, b. September 14, 1704
  • Benjamin Burgin, b. February 24, 1706/7

    Phillip must have died ca.1709, because his will was probated June 7, 1709. While many of the graves at the Shrewsbury Parish Episcople Church are unmarked, there is strong reason to believe that he was buried there.

    A History of Shrewsbury Parish (
    Peggy Silvers, Echoes In The Mist (The Burgin Family 1677 - 1989)
    A PRESS Printing Company 1989

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