Category Archives: Hartford

Richard Burnham – “Blown up at school house”

I guess everyone has “Burnhams” on their mind lately. Just now the Historic Hartford Facebook Page just randomly posted a photo of this headstone (click photo to enlarge) for the Richard Burnham, son of Elijah and Sarah Olmstead Burnham.

richard burnham headstone

Epitaph reads ” In memory of Mr. Richard Bernham, killed By ye Bloing up of ye schoolhouse; Jun 1766 aged 18 years & 3 months. Son to Mr. Elisha and Mrs. Sarah Burnham”. This accident happened during a celebration of the repeal of the Stamp Act.

Young Richard was born 5 Mar 1748 in Hartford, CT. He is buried in the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford.

A Surprise Connection to Frederick Law Olmsted

The grounds at The Biltmore Estate, April 2015
The grounds at The Biltmore Estate, April 2015

Bill and I are season pass holders for the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. We love seeing

Frederick Law Olmsted
Painting that hangs at Biltmore House
the estate in different seasons and have always appreciated the wonderful grounds that were laid out by landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.

Bill had a special interest in Olmsted since he had read a book about the “Columbian Exposition” better known as the “Chicago World’s Fair” which was predominately designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Daniel Burnham (of the “Ipswich, MA Burnhams” not the “Hartford, CT Burnhams” whom Bill is also descended from.). We were fascinated with the portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted hanging prominent in Biltmore House.

Recently I’ve been going over old Pitkin research I had done years ago. I’ve been double checking info and sources as well as filling in blank spots. You can understand my surprise that while working this week I found Frederick Law Olmsted’s membership application for the Sons of the American Revolution. On the application, I saw that Frederick Law Olmsted’s grandmother was Content Pitkin! I had the info on Content’s marriage to Benjamin Olmsted, however I had not carried the line out past their children. I couldn’t wait to tell Bill that he is related to Frederick Law Olmsted!

Ninety nine percent of the Pitkins in the US are all descended from William Pitkin who came to Hartford, CT from England and married Hannah Goodwin. Most people know of the line descended from William and Hannah’s son William J. Pitkin and his wife Elizabeth Stanley. Their son, William J. Pitkin was Governor of Connecticut. My husband and Olmsted are descendents of William and Hannah Goodwin’s son, Capt. Ozias Pitkin. Frederick’s grandmother, Constant Pitkin’s father was Ozias Pitkin Jr. Ozias Jr. was the son of Capt. Ozias Pitkin and his first wife, Elizabeth Green. Bill’s 4xGreat Grandfather was Daniel Pitkin, the half-brother of Ozias Jr. Daniel was the son of Capt. Ozias Pitkin and his second wife, Esther Burnham Cadwell.

And of course.. after learning about the connection.. look what Bill purchased this week!

Below is a little on the family of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Generation One

1. Benjamin1 Olmstead, b. 12 Mar 1751 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT, , (son of Jonathan Olmstead [1706 – 1770] and Hannah Meakins [1717 – 1806]), d. 25 Dec 1832 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT,1,2 buried in Center Cem, East Hartford, Hartford, CT.1 Benjamin served in the Revolutionary War. Enlisted May, 1775, under Capt. George Pitkin, of Co J. Spencer’s regiment. The company marched to Roxbury, Mass., and was at the siege of Boston, until Dec 1775. He came home on furlough to be married.

He was married to Content Pitkin, on 2 Nov 1775 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT,1,2 b. 10 Aug 1752 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT, (daughter of Ozias Pitkin Jr. [1710 – 1761] and Theodosia “Dosia” Bull [ – 1788]), baptized 16 Aug 1752 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT, d. 12 Jul 1839 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT,2 buried in Center Cem, East Hartford, Hartford, CT.1

i. Elizabeth “Betsey”2 Olmstead, b. 11 Aug 1776 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT.3
ii. Frederick Olmstead, b. 7 Feb 1779 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT.3
iii. Theodosia Olmstead, b. 16 Apr 1782 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT.3
iv. Ezekial Olmstead, b. 20 Nov 1785 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT.3
2. v. John Olmstead b. 27 Sep 1791.
vi. Owen Pitkin Olmstead, b. 13 Apr 1794 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT,3 d. 1873 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT.1
vii. Maria “Marcia?” Olmstead, b. 20 mar 1798 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT.3

Generation Two

2. John2 Olmstead (Benjamin1), b. 27 Sep 1791 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT,1 d. 25 Jan 1873 in East Hartford, Hartford, CT,1 buried in Old North Cemetery , Hartford, Hartford, CT.1

He was married to Charlotte Law Hull, on 5 Jun 1821, , , b. 9 Sep 1800,1 d. 28 Feb 1826,1 buried in Old North Cemetery , Hartford, Hartford, CT.1 Charlotte: Daughter of Samuel and Abigail (Doolittle) Hull, of Cheshire , CT.; she was the adopted daughter of John Law, of Hartford, CT.

3. i. Frederick Law (Olmsted)3 Olmstead Sr. b. 26 Apr 1822.
4. ii. John Hull (Olmsted) Olmstead b. 2 Sep 1825.
iii. Mary (Olmsted) Olmstead b. 1832,1 d. 1875.1
iv. Owen (Olmsted) Olmstead b. 1836,1 d. 1838.1
v. Ada Theodosia (Olmsted) Olmstead b. 1839,1 d. 1846.1
vi. Albert Harry (Olmsted) Olmstead b. 1842,1 d. 1929.1

Generation Three

3. Frederick Law (Olmsted)3 Olmstead Sr. (John2, Benjamin1), b. 26 Apr 1822 in Hartford, Hartford, CT,5,6,7 d. 28 Aug 1903 in Brookline, Norfolk, MA,5,7 buried in Old North Cem, Hartford, Hartford, CT,1 occupation Landscape Architect.6 Mary Cleveland Perkins was married first to Frederick’s brother, John Hull Olmsted who died in 1857
I can’t find Frederick in many census years, but because of his occupation he traveled around a lot.
In 1859, Jun. 13 Married in Bogardus House, Central Park (by Mayor Tiemann) Mary Cleveland (Perkins) Olmsted, widow of his brother John Hull Olmsted, thus becoming step-father to her children: John Charles, Charlotte, and Owen. Moved later in the summer to the old convent building at Mt. St. Vincent in the Park.
In 1880 the family lived on 46th street in New York.
In 1900, Frederick was a patient in McLean Insane Hospital in Belmont, Middlesex, MA.

“Architect, Medical Pioneer. He is considered the foremost American landscape artist of the 19th Century, and was largely responsible for the creation and present formation of New York City, New York’s Central Park, of which he was Superintendent and chief architect. His landscape architectural work included Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Riverside Park in Manhattan, Chicago’s South Side Park, and the grounds of the United States Capitol building. In 1892 he took over the project of laying out the grounds of the 1893 World Fair in Chicago when its first architect died. Olmstead completed the grounds in time for the Fair, which is now known as Jackson Park. During the Civil War, he resigned his post of Central Park superintendent to accept the post of Secretary General of the United States Sanitary Commission. In that capacity, he helped facilitate the Commission’s work, which involved the distribution of tons of food and medical supplies to wounded soldiers and war refugees, evacuating wounded from battle areas, inspecting and maintaining standards in military hospitals, stocking and supplying hospital kitchens, and recruiting and maintaining thousands of nurses. The work he and the many workers under him saved thousands of soldiers’ lives. He headed the Commission until 1863, when the exertions of his service caused him ill health, and he was forced to resign. Despite all his architectural accomplishments, Frederick Law Olmstead considered his Sanitary Commission position work the most important work of his life.” (bio by: Russ Dodge on

He was married to Mary Cleveland Perkins, on 13 Jun 1859 in Bogardus House, Central Park, NY,1 b. 1830 in Erie, New York,1, ,6, d. 23 Apr 1921.1, Mary: Prior to marrying Frederick Law Olmsted, Mary was married to his brother, John Hull Olmsted on 16 Oct 1851 in Staten Island.
Marriage record states “Md. at residence of late Doct. Perkins, South side, in presence of many friends”

In 1855, John, Mary and children were living in Southfield, Richmond, NY.

In 1910 Mary and son, Frederick, lived in Brookline, MA.

i. John Theodore (Olmsted)4 Olmstead b. 1860,1 d. 1860.1
ii. Marion (Olmsted) Olmstead b. 1861 in New York,1,6 d. 1948.1
5. iii. Frederick Law (Olmsted) Olmstead Jr. b. 24 Jul 1870.

4. John Hull (Olmsted)3 Olmstead (John2, Benjamin1), b. 2 Sep 1825 in Hartford, Hartford, CT,1, ,8, d. 24 Nov 1857 in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur, France,1 occupation Farmer.8 He entered Yale in 1842, but after the opening of the Sophomore year, having trouble with both his eyes and lungs, he went to the West Indies for the winter, and on his return joined the next Class.

He spent the year after graduation in a water-cure establishment in New York, and on a farm on Staten Island, and then began the study of medicine in New York. After various interruptions on account of his health, his medical studies were nearly completed in 1851, and he was married, in the same summer, to Mary Perkins, of Staten Island.

He received the degree of M.D. in 1852 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons. He did not, however, engage in practice, but spent most of his time in literary pursuits. While in Europe for his health, he died in Nice, France, on November 24, 1857, in his 33d year. He left two sons and a daughter. His widow next married his elder brother, Frederick Law Olmsted, LL.D. (Yale 1893), the distinguished landscape-architect.

In 1855, John, Mary and children were living in Southfield, Richmond, NY.

He was married to Mary Cleveland Perkins, on 16 Oct 1851 in Staten Island, NY,1 b. 1830 in Erie, New York,1,8,6,9 d. 23 Apr 1921.1,10 Mary: Prior to marrying Frederick Law Olmsted, Mary was married to his brother, John Hull Olmsted on 16 Oct 1851 in Staten Island.
Marriage record states “Md. at residence of late Doct. Perkins, South side, in presence of many friends”

In 1855, John, Mary and children were living in Southfield, Richmond, NY.

In 1910 Mary and son, Frederick, lived in Brookline, MA.

6. i. John Charles “Charles” (Olmsted)4 Olmstead b. 14 Sep 1851.
ii. Charlotte (Olmsted) Olmstead b. c. 1854 in Richmond, NY.8
iii. Owen (Olmsted) Olmstead.

Generation Four

5. Frederick Law (Olmsted)4 Olmstead Jr. (Frederick3, John2, Benjamin1), b. 24 Jul 1870 in Staten Island, NY,6,9, , , ,11, d. 25 Dec 1957 in Los Angeles, CA,16 resided in Brookline, MA.13 Graduated Harvard in 1894. Studied landscape architecture under his father. Began practice as landscape architect 1895. Worked with his father on design of Metropolitan Park System of Boston, Biltmore Estate.

In 1910 Frederick lived in Brookline, MA with his widowed Mother.
In 1920, Frederick and Sarah lived in Brookline.
In 1930 they lived in Lomita, Los Angeles, CA. I assume that they had a second home or were visiting, since they were listed in Brookline, MA City Directories in 1929 and in 1931.
In 1940 Frederick and Sarah were “lodging” with Kingsbury and Sophie Brown, in Brookline, MA.

He was married to Sarah Hall Sharples, b. c. 1873 in Massachusetts.13,14,15 Sarah: In 1930, Sarah’s brother, William, lived with Sarah and Frederick in Los Angeles, CA.

i. Charlotte (Olmsted)5 Olmstead b. c. 1913 in Massachusetts.13,14

6. John Charles “Charles” (Olmsted)4 Olmstead (John3, John2, Benjamin1), b. 14 Sep 1851 in Geneva, Switzerland,6,8, d. 24 Feb 1920 in Brookline, MA,17 occupation Landscape Architect.6,17 John C. Olmsted was educated at home and also attended the Eagleswood Military Academy in New Jersey and the Cherbeliez schools in New York City and New Rochelle, N. Y. Before entering Yale in 1872, he spent a year on work in connection with the Fortieth Parallel Survey in the Rocky Mountains. He took the select course in the Scientific School.

Immediately after his graduation from Yale he began practice in association with his stepfather, being admitted to partial partnership in 1878 and to full partnership in 1884. In the winter of 1877-78, and again in 1894, he spent several months in Europe, where he engaged in research work and accumulated much material in connection with his profession. During the first twenty years of his professional life, he worked in the closest association with his stepfather, and during ten years of that period elaborated most of the details of design and in other cases carried out the full plans of construction.

His death, which was due to pneumonia, occurred February
24, 1920, at his home in Brookline.

He was married to Sophia Buckland, on 18 Jan 1899 in Brookline, MA. Sophia: daughter of Francis Adams and Caroline (Barrett) White.

i. Carolyn (Olmsted)5 Olmstead.
ii. Margaret (Olmsted) Olmstead.

1 Collection of Headstone Inscriptions and Photos.
2 Connecticut Deaths and Burials 1650-1934.
2 The Pitkin Family in America; by A. P. Pitkin; 1887
4 Connecticut Church Record Abstracts 1630-1920.
5 George Kemp Ward, Genealogy of the Olmsted Family in America, A.T. De La Mare Print. and Publishing Company, 1912.
6 1880 US Census for New York, New York.
7 Massachusetts Death Records 1841-1915.
8 1855 NY State Census.
9 1910 US Census for Various Locations.
10 Frederick Law Olmsted, Landscape Architect, 1822-1903.
11 US Passport Applications 1795-1925.
12 Biographical Notices of Graduates of Yale College : Including Those Graduated in Classes Later Than 1815, Who Are Not Co.
13 1920 US Census for Various Locations.
14 1930 US Census for Various Locations.
15 1940 US Census for Various Locations.
16 California Death Index: 1940-1997.
17 Obituary Record of Yale Graduates, 1915-1920.