Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Burns, William (fl. 1747) [William Burns's declaration regarding the Muscongus settlement]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.10410 Author/Creator: Burns, William (fl. 1747) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 26 February 1747 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Burns discusses his settlement on Samuel Waldo's Muscongus Patent (also known as the Waldo or Linconshire Patent, land in present-day Maine). Discusses improvements Burns made to a stone house, and mentions his black cattle. Burns was given command of a company of soldiers by Governor [William] Shirley, after which he and his family moved to a settlement of 40 or 50 "Protestant Familys from Germany" on the Madomock [Medomak] River. Notes that several German settlers, at Colonel Samuel Waldo's urging, joined the expedition against Cape Breton in [1745]. Asserts "That about the Middle of July 1745 The Indians who might easily Perceive the Settlement greatly weakened, began Hostilitys at St Georges, and about the first of Augt following they killed & scalped one of the Germans at Madomack River which and the frequent appearance of numbers of the Indians occasioned all the Inhabitants of that River... to betake themselves to Garrisons..." Subsequently, all neighboring settlements in the area were abandoned due to Native American attacks. Discusses effects of the of the war between Britain and France on colonists, as well as the Siege of Louisbourg, Canada. Signed 26 February 1746/7 by Jacob Wendell, Justice of the Peace. Wendell attests to the veracity of Burns's declaration.

People: Burns, William, fl. 1747.
Wendell, Jacob, fl. 1747.
Shirley, William, 1694-1771.

Historical Era: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Keywords/Subjects: Muscongus Patent, Waldo Patent, Immigration and Migration, Building Construction, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Military History, Militia, Religion, Canada, French and Indian War, Global History and Civics, Foreign Affairs, France, American Indian History, Death, Atrocity, Fortification Refugees, Wartime Pillaging and Destruction

Sub Era: