Cornelius Burright (1774 – 1873)

Cornelius Burright was born in 1774 on the eve of the American Revolution. Little is known about his father John but his son was the next in line of what was to prove a pioneering American family. It is thought that Cornelius was born in the Mohawk Valley area of New York State at a time when families were taking different sides in the looming war.

Schenectady before Cornelius Burright was born near here (1750)

Being a major migratory route from the port of New York to the interior, established families with both loyalist and revolutionary sympathies had made a home there. It was to prove a potent mix once the hostilities began as family set against family and a virtual civil war raged until the new nation was established. Even before the revolution the area had been one of turmoil with tensions between the French and British over this strategic location next to the Great Lakes.

Marriage to Olive Messenger

So far I have found no record of how the Burright family fared during the war but thirty years later Cornelius marries Olive Messenger in De Ruyter Township, New York in 1806. Within three years their first son Orrin is born. Settlement in De Ruyter Township began in 1793. A Joseph Messenger settled there in 1795. Although I have not connected Joseph directly with Olive Messenger, it lends some credence to the idea that Cornelius and Olive set up home here, close to her relatives.

By 1815, the Burrights appear to have moved back to the Mohawk Valley. On Christmas Day 1815, their second son Milton Burright was born in Schenectedy, New York. After Milton’s birth Cornelius takes his family to Cuyhuga County, Ohio and then on to Licking County in the same State.

In 1827 Olive dies at the age of 45. During this time in Ohio the two sons go their separate ways. Orrin gets married to Eliza Cavett, in Johnstown, Licking County, Ohio around 1830 and Milton makes the first of a series of travels through the US.

Cornelius Burright later life and death

In his later years Cornelius moves in with his son Milton. We know this because he is listed in the census as a household member. After a long life he dies in 1873.