This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Christopher Burlingame

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


CHRISTOPHER BURLINGAME, one of the honored pioneers of Philo Township, after a life of industry, is spending his declining years in the village of Philo. He is a native of Marietta, Ohio, born April 18, 1803. His father, also named Christopher, became a resident of Marietta in the fall of 1790, two years before that portion of the county was opened for settlement. He took shelter for five years following in a blockhouse on account of the depredations of the Indians, who were a constant source of terror and annoyance to the pioneers.

The parents of our subject were married in Massachusetts, of which the mother was a native, but Christopher BURLINGAME, Sr., was born and reared in Rhode Island. He was a descendant of excellent English ancestry, and possessed in a marked degree their reliable and substantial traits of character. Our subject’s parents, after the birth of two children, removed from Rutland, Mass., via Pittsburgh, down the Ohio River on a flatboat, settling at Marietta, when there were only a few blockhouses at the mouth of the Muskingum River. Their next two children were born in the old fort where they, with several other families, gathered together for protection from the Indians.

The mother of our subject before her marriage was Miss Susanna PUTNAM, a daughter of Gen. Rufus PUTNAM, of Revolutionary fame. The General and his family also removed to Marietta in 1790, where the sturdy old soldier acted as a kind of protector for the little colony at the fort. Her was also appointed General Surveyor of the then Northwest Territory, receiving his commission direct from President George Washington. Gen. Putnam died at Marietta in 1824.

The father of our subject was a hatter by trade and made the first article of this description west of the Alleghany Mountains. He was a man of great energy and industry, and the beaver hats of that period were the product of his skill and invention. In addition to the proceeds of his trade, he became owner of 108 acres of land, but pursued his manufacture of hats, in connection with farming, as long as he was able to engage in active labor. His life measured the span of fourscore years and eight, his death occurring in July, 1841. The mother had died the year previously, aged seventy-two. They reared a family of eleven children, five sons and six daughters all of whom, with one exception, lived to maturity. Our subject is the second living; Edwin is a resident of Delavan, Ill., second living and is over ninety years of age; Rufus P. is living in Calliope, Iowa, and is eighty-two years old.

The childhood and youth of Mr. B. of our sketch were passed under the parental roof, alternately as a farm laborer and in assisting his father at his trade. He received his education in the primitive schools of that day, and upon reaching manhood was married at Marion, Ohio, on the 15th of November, 1826, to Miss Elizabeth R. BARTLETT. Mrs. B. was a native of New York City, born Sept. 26, 1802, and removed to Marietta with her parents when a child. Both died in Marietta, the father in 1822, of an epidemic fever, and the mother in about 1840. Mrs. Elizabeth R. Burlingame departed this life in Champaign in 1876, aged seventy-four years. Our subject and his wife became the parents of seven children: Ann M. became the wife of William NEWMAN, a farmer of Zanesville, Ohio; Sarah B. married Jonathan HUTCHINSON, who died April 23, 1887; Mrs. H. is now a resident of Champaign; Edwin married Miss Jennie WHITEHOUSE, and resides at duluth, Minn., where he is a member of the Board of Trade; Charles L., a locomotive engineer, married Miss Eliza BARKER, and resides in Green Bay, Wis.; Eliza J., Mrs. Thomas WIGHT, is a resident of Chicago, her husband being on the Board of Trace there; Luther was married, and died at Marietta, Ohio; William W. met with an accidental death when three years of age by falling backward into a kettle of boiling water.

Mr. Burlingame after his marriage resided four years at Marietta, Ohio, then removed to Zanesville, in the same State, where he remained a resident until 1856. That year he emigrated to Illinois, and locating upon a farm in Champaign Township, operated as an agriculturist for several years. In 1876, after the death of his wife, he returned to Zanesville, Ohio, and lived there two years. In 1878 he came back to this county, and on the 15th of January was married to Mrs. Eliza A. (HEATH) Francisco, who was born in Franklin County, Vt., Aug. 29, 1817. The present wife of our subject is the daughter of Samuel L. and Susan (SPAFFORD) HEATH, natives of Connecticut, and of new England ancestry and parentage. They were married at Middlebury, Vt., where the father operated as a miller for many years, but afterward removed to Whitehall, N. Y., where he died when sixty-six years of age. He was an active local politician and served in the War of 1812. He was a stanch Whig and a man of decided views. His wife, the mother of Mrs. B., died in middle life in New Haven, Vt. She was a lady of excellent Christian character and greatly esteemed by all who knew her. The parental household included eleven children, of whom Mrs. B. was the fourth. She was reared and educated in Vermont, and was married to Mr. Francisco in Augusta, Mich.

Mr. and Mrs. B. are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philo, to the support of which they contribute liberally and cheerfully. Our subject was one of the chief organizers of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Champaign. Politically he is a warm supporter of Republican principles, and as a man and citizen, has contributed his full share toward sustaining the reputation and well-being of his township. Mrs. B is a lady of superior attainments, and is universally respected wherever known.

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