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JOHN BURNS 1712-1776




The webmaster of this site is Norma Burns Farmilo now at

I hope that the BURNS FAMILY DNA PROJECT will help solve some of your genealogy questions. It will definitely tell you if you're "barking up the wrong tree".

The 12 marker test is simple - just swab the inside of your cheek. The cost is $99. This test will tell you within 14 generations whether you are related to someone. There are more definitive tests but for our initial purposes the 12 marker test is all we need. If you want to upgrade later you can.

We need males with the BURNS last name for this study. Please ask your male BURNS relatives to join our study. Click on the BURNS DNA link above to join our study or

JOHN BURNS(JOHN, JOHN 1681) b. 1712 Cumberland Co PA d. 1776 Cumberland Co PA (now Franklin Co.) m. RACHEL(in will of 1776).


1) JAMES BURNS, ESQ. 1740 - 1814 (see link)



3) SAMUEL BURNS b. 9/17/1754 York Co PA d. 12/1/1837 m. 7/26/1781 to MARY SEASLEY.

The Hamilton Township property was owned first by JOHN BURNS (d. 1760) who got the warrant, then, this JOHN BURNS (d. 1776), then SAMUEL BURNS, JOHN BURNS and JAMES BURNS, sons of this JOHN BURNS (d. 1776).

There is a reference to the warrant on P.124 of North Mountain Shadows, to wit, "The JOHN BURNS Warrant FOR 100 A. bears the date 6/24/1746. A valuable notation concerning BURNS is found on an old draught to JOSIAH ALLEN who was having a re-survey in 1786. These old draughts may be seen in the early Survey Docket Books in the office of the Clerk of Courts".

It was reported (by a grandson of JAMES BURNS, ESQ.) in a family history that JAMES BURNS, ESQ. was a "full cousin" of COLONEL CHAMBERS of Chambersburg. Chambersburg is the county seat of Cumberland County in which Hamilton Twp was located.

JOHN BOURNS of Waynesboro, Washington Twp, Franklin Co PA who made the first cannon for the Revolutionary War d. 1802. He, therefore, probably was not our ancestor and therefore we are probably not related to ROBERT BURNS, the great Scottish Poet.

*JOHN BURNS, the brother of JAMES BURNS, ESQ. is most probably the JOHN BURNS b. 1742 PA d. 7/7/1791 Franklin Co PA m. 12/26/1771 Franklin Co PA to JEAN DENNY(JOHN) b. 9/14/1745 Lancaster PA d. 4/12/1827 Clear Creek Twp, Ashland, Ohio.

JEAN DENNY'S father, JOHN DENNY b. 1720 Chester Co PA d. 10/15/1782 Cumberland Co PA m. 1744 Lancaster, Chester Co, PA to MARGERY BEAR b. 1727 Chester Co PA d. aft 1786 PA.

This JOHN BURNS & wife, JEAN DENNY, had a son, WALTER BURNS b. abt 1780 Cumberland, Franklin Co d. 1849 Short Creek, Ohio Co, WVA m. abt 1802 Washington Co PA to NANCY GARRET b. 1786 Cumberland PA d. bef 1860. WALTER & NANCY'S son is MATHEW THEODORE BURNS b. 11/7/1840 Ohio Co, VA d. 3/17/1914 Auburn, Placer Co, CA m. 1744 Jackson Co WVA to DELILAH CUMMINS.

The following researcher linked this JOHN BURNS to ARCHIBALD BURNS instead of JOHN "B" BURNS' family. Decide for yourself.

Please respond to
. If you figure this out please email me at

Hi--In response to the researcher looking for info on John "B" BURNS, I have a copy of an article, or sketch published in an OGS "Report" taken from the Denny Genealogy by M. Dixon & E. Vann. This article seems to have quite a few chronological errors, but also some interesting facts that bear checking out. Its called "The Burns Family" and its about John BURNS, who was the son of the immigrant Archibald Burns who came "from Scotland to America and in 1752 settled in that part of York County, Pa., which is now Adams Co.

John was probably born there.....John Burns married about 1771 Jean Denny,b. in Lancaster Co., Pa., 1745 dau. of John and Margery Denny...Jean Denny, the wife of John Burns was also known as "Jane" and "Jennett"....John & Jean moved to Franklin Co., Pa. where at least 7 of their children were born.....John & Jean had:

Sarah, B. ca 1772;
John Burns, b. ca 1774;
Samuel Burns, b. 1776 Franklin Co., Pa., d. in Jeromesville, OH 1865

(descendants shown) Walter Burns, 1776, Franklin Co., Pa, d. Illinois.
Margery Burns, 1780
Agnes (Nancy) Burns, 1781, d. Ashland Co., OH 1846.
David Burns, b. 1784 Franklin or Washington Co.PA

(descendants shown) James Burns, b. 1787, Washington Co., Pa, d. Seneca Co., OH 1859

(descendants shown) Denny Burns, b. 1790, d. Guernsey Co, OH 1814.

From: Katherine Vaughan Date: Wednesday, 18 May 2011 09:25:46 -0700

Dear Norma -- I wrote you a while back to ask about sources for some of the material on your website concerning the John "B" Burns descendants, and you indicated you weren't doing (original) research anymore. I have been doing a ton of research myself, and have acquired documents -- deeds, surveys, wills, estate inventories, and the like -- that are beginning to clarify the picture for me a little bit. So I have just a few very brief questions to ask just to see if they ring any bells from your earlier research.

On the website there is a John Burns "Senior" (1712-1776) said to have sons Samuel, John, James, and maybe Robert. A 1776 will is also mentioned that contains a reference to wife Rachel.

1. I have copies of the indentures by which John Burns, Senior divided his land and sold half to John Junior and half to James (for 300 pounds each), having already set aside land for "my son" Samuel. John Junior and James would seem to be John Senior's sons too, but if so, do you have any idea why he sold the land to them rather than just giving it to them? Any idea where the Robert comes in? (I don't know if this is the Robert you're referring to but Your Family Tree mentions in vol. 15 p. 7 that Capt Robert Burns had a Letter of Administration in the estate of James Burns (Esq.) of Mifflin Co PA Oct 1796. Surities: Col. James Young of Franklin Co).

2. I also have a copy of John Senior's estate inventory. Do you have any idea where I could find the will that mentions Rachel? I am working with Franklin County on this, but no luck yet. (North Mountain Shadows says that the Administration of the estate of John Burns 1712-1776 is in Cumberland Co and mentions John's wife as Rachel). (Apparently, Franklin Co broke off from Cumberland Co. However, I do not have the date of this).

3. One of the Franklin County deeds I am requesting refers to a John Burns from Fayette County as being tied into this family group -- any idea who this is?(Paul Burns wrote in a letter to Norma that the John Burns son of John Burns 1712 might have died in Fayette Co PA as he was there when he sold the old farm in 1786 to Josiah Allen according to deed Bk 1 Pg 389-390 Cumberland Co Court House).

Anyhow, if there's anything you recall about this, I would be most grateful for your insights, but I also will totally understand if it's just too far in the past to dredge up again! Thanks for the website that got me started! I would love to share my findings when they are finalized!
Katherine Burns Vaughan

Subject: John Burns /Burnes and John Songhurst
From: Dennis DeBrandt
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2011 10:25:14 -0400
To: ""

Both Johns were claimants to land in what is known today as East Oak Lane, Phila. Those claims show on a map by Thomas Holme in 1687. They adjoined one another. Songhurst's land extended from Cheltenham Ave to Oak Lane Ave, east of Old York Road. It's triangular in shape. Burnes land went from Oak Lane Ave to about Godfrey also east of Old York Road. You can see these streets on any map of Phila. A Burns family held that land into the 19th century and a Mary Burns lived in an old house just north of those lands in the late 19th century and the house is still there. I have no information that Songhurst ever settled there but he aided Holme in the map making and also put in regulations about cutting the forest. The Burnes however are not listed as landowners in 1734. Regards Dennis DeBrandt, Rockville, MD
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The webmaster of this site is Norma Burns Farmilo now at