Mercer County PAGenWeb

Oliver Henry Burdette 

OLIVER HENRY BURDETT, among the most substantial farmers and honored citizens of Lake township, Mercer county, has a warm place in the hearts of his old-time neighbors as a brave soldier of the Civil war. Born on the 16th of December, 1846, on the old homestead in Lackawannock township, which was also the birthplace of his mother, he is a son of Oliver and Abijah Ann (Sewell) Burdett.  Mrs.  Abijah Burdett died in Jackson, Iowa December 15, 1853, where she had been living but a few months.

For generations, various members of the Sewell family have been noted for their patriotic and military fervor. Clement Sewell, the grandfather of Mrs. Burdett, was a soldier of the Revolutionary war and lost a limb in the service. Her father, Clement Sewell, Jr. was a Virginian, born and reared near Falls Church, who joined the regular army of the United States and served in the war of 1812 as a first lieutenant of Company F, Thirty-sixth Regiment, U.S.A. He was also a nephew of Colonel Carbrie, his colonel, who served with such distinction in America’s second conflict with England. As Clement Sewell, Jr., became a resident of Mercer county in 1819, he may certainly rank with its pioneers, he had ten children, namely: Ellen, Johanna, Mathew, Conden, Abijah Ann, Oliver H., Clement S., Rhoda Jane, Mary Etta, and Noah Amos. The youngest, who served in the One Hundredth Pennsylvania Regiment of Volunteers, known as Roundheads, in the war of the Rebellion, was wounded in 1862 in a charge on James Island, South Carolina, and again on June 2, 1864, in the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, being shot in the right breast, the ball following the marrow of the right arm to the elbow, necessitating an amputation of the arm at the shoulder joint. He lived until 1904, when he died of pneumonia.

Oliver Burdett, the father of Oliver H., was a native of Northampton, England, and at the age of nineteen came to the United States and at once located in Mercer county, but before he settled permanently to farming made two trips, to New Orleans on coal barges and served in the Civil war as a member of the Fifty-fifth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. By his marriage to Miss Abijah A. Sewell he became the father of John Clement, Oliver Henry (of this sketch), William Singrey, Mary Ellen, Sarah Ann, and Amos, who died in infancy. William S. Burdett, mentioned above, was twice married—first, to Martha Shaffer, deceased, who left two sons and two daughters, the second child (a daughter) being also dead. Mr. Burdett married as his second wife Edith Stiner, and seven children were born of this union. Mary Ellen, the oldest daughter of Mr. Burdett's first family, married Alexander Johnston, of Worth township, Mercer county, and they became the parents of five sons and five daughters, of whom one son and four daughters and the father are still living, all residents of Florence, Colorado. Sarah Ann, now Mrs. Arch Marshall, of Worth township, has been twice married, her first husband being Robert Lyons, of Lake township, who died leaving her with three boys and five girls, one of whom is deceased.

Oliver Burdett’s second marriage was to Mrs. Mary (Huson) Key, the widow of Samuel Key, and the four children born to them were as follows : Emma May, who married William North, a merchant of North’s Mills, this county, and they have one daughter; Charles Elmer, a merchant of Stoneboro, who married Elizabeth West; Frank Lesley, a farmer of Worth township, who married Ellen Osborne and is the father of four children; and Lester Herman, a farmer of Jackson township, who by his marriage to Susan Smith became the father of four sons and a daughter. Oliver Burdett, the father of these families, which have, added so much to the good manhood and womanhood of Mercer county, died April 10, 1876, in his fifty-fourth year. Although a stanch Republican. popular and honored, the deceased had no Political or public ambitions. His religious faith was that of Presbyterianism.

Oliver Henry Burdett, of this biography, served faithfully on the home farm until his Patriotic instincts drew him into the ranks of the Union army, as a member of Company M, One Hundredth Pennsylvania Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, known popularly as the "Roundheads;’ With his comrades, he was a participant in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsvlvania Court House, North Anna River, Cold Harbor, Bethesda Church, Weldon Road, Yellow Tavern, Poplar Grove Church, Hatcher’s Run, Steadman, and all the operations before Petersburg (including the famous mine explosion), from the first skirmishes to the final terrible assault. Both in the bloody action of battle as well as in wearing marches and campaign movements, he bore his share of the dangers amid hardships of army life, and has his reward in the enduring respect with which the faithful veterans of the Civil war are everywhere regarded. Mr. Burdett received his honorable discharge on the 24th of July, 1865, at Harrisburg and returned to the Mercer county farm and has since staunchly held to his duties as a man and a citizen of peace. He has never lost faith in his Republican principles, and has participated to some extent in the township government, holding at the present time the position of health officer for Lake township; also served one term as mercantile appraiser.

On January 14, 1869, Mr. Burdett was married to Miss Sarah Elizabeth Day, daughter of Samuel and Parmelia (Simpson) Day, of Worth township, and to this union were horn the following seven children : Minnie May, who is the wife of Ernest E. McKee, of Robinson, Illinois; Mary Amelia, wife of Edward L. Hodge, of Lake township; Sarah Ellen, wife of John Berrisford, of Lake township; Effie L., wife of V. A. Montgomery, of Spokane, Washington; Bessie O., wife of Harry L. Shaner, now of Mill Creek township; William Henry, who died at the age of two years : and Samuel Oliver, who died in infancy. Samuel Day, father of Sarah Elizabeth, was a farmer. Born of Christian parents, he and his wife, following their example, were lifelong members of the Presbyterian church, taking a leading part.

Source: (Twentieth Century History of Mercer County, 1909, pages 861-863)

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