John Burruss
Pioneer of  Virginia
abt 1640-1703
John Burruss may have been born in the Colony of Virgina.  There was a John Burrus/Burras/Burrows in Jamestown in 1608.  Whether  Pioneer John Burruss is the grandson of John Burrowes of Jamestown,  isn't proven.  Records showing  lineago are no longer extant.  Almost nothing is known of John's  birth, parents,  and childhood, and a birth year was based on the few records that have survived. 

In March 1667/68, JOHN BORRAS and William Woodward received a Virginia Land  patent for 179 acres, lyiing on the North side of the York River, adjacent to Mr. Woodward (1)  

On October 30, 1668 Joseph Haile received a Land patent of one thousand acres, in New Kent County, Virginia, located on the freshes of the Mattapony River, adjacent to Indian Town, and the lands of William Ricketts, Captain William Smith, JOHN BARROW, formerly John Pigg's, Major Payton, and James Taylor (2)       

On October 20, 1688, James Taylor  (
mentioned in the previous 1688 patent) received an additional Land patent of 350 acres in the St. Stephen's Parish of New Kent County, Virginia.  The land was described as being located adjacent to BARROW'S old house, BARROW's line, and the line of Giles Moddle  (3)          

In 1691, King and Queen County Virginia was formed from New Kent, and these properties were incorporated into the new county of King and Queen.         

On April 25, 1701, JOHN BURROWS received a Land patent for 439 acres, in St. John's Parish, in King and Queen County, on the Pamunkey Neck, located on the west side of John's Creek, adjacent to the property of William Woodward, and Mrs. Gouge. (4)           

Again in 1701/1702. King William County, Virginia was formed from parts of King and Queen County.    From the above patents, it can be ascertained that John Burruss owned the same property originally located in New Kent County, and later the county of King and Queen, which ultimately became King William County, Virginia., owning the same property for about thrity years.  A report was issued by a  committee formed to examine the claims for land located in the Pamunkey Neck, including the claims made by a treaty with the Pamunkey Indians.  According to the records, JOHN BURROSS, claimed to have been seated in June 1699 for at least thirteen years on 590 acres, located on the south side of the Blackwater Swamp  (5)

It has been assumed that John Burruss was at least 21 years old, when he received his first known patent, making his birth year approximately 1640.  He died shortly after the 1700 Poll Tax, as evidenced by Tax Rolls and Deed records.

In 1704, Thomas Burruss deeded 60 acres in King William County, Virginia to John Burruss. (6)

In 1705, John and Thomas Burrus each owned at least 60 acres in King William County.  These two were the only Burruss entries in the Quit Rent Rolls in either King William or King and Queen County, which is another indicator that John Burruss, Sr was deceased.  Thomas and John Burruss are the eldest sons of John Burruss the Pioneer.

On February 23, 1705/1706, Thomas Burruss deeded 130 acres, located in the St. John's Parish of King William County, to Jacob and Edmund Burruss. (7)  This property was lying adjacent to johns' Creek and the lands of Captain Nathaniel West, in right of his wife, Martha Burras, and William Burras  (7)    Jacob and Edmund Burruss sold this property of 130 acres, to orland Jones in 1706  (8) 

On January 1, 1706/07  William Burruss of King William County, deeded 61 acres to Thomas Burruss on the upper side of John's Creek bounded by the lands of William, Jacob, and Edmund Burrus, and William Woodward  (9)

In 1708, Thomas Burruss deeded another parcel of land in King William County to Jacob Burrus.  From these deed transactions, the known children of John Burruss are;  Thomas Burruss;  John Burruss;  Edmund Burruss;  Charles Burruss;  William Burruss;  Martha Burruss (West);  Jacob Burruss. 

At the end of the 1600's, and the turn of the century, into the 1700's, Virginia was largely unpopulated.  There were few roads, no commerical conveniences.   The Pamunkey Neck was occupied by indians.  John Burrus had seven known children and yet, his wife's name remains uncertain.  She may have been Martha Beckingham, whose brother, Robert Beckingham died in 1689.  Robert gave 'into my brother-in-law, John Burroughs, twenty shillings to buy him a ring and to his dear sister, Martha Burroughs, three thousand pounds of merchantable tobacco to be paid within two years."   It is possible this refers to the wife of another John Burruss, but the question remains, because the approximate age of Martha Beckingham Burroughs makes her a candidate for  the subject's wife.  As was sometimes customary, one of John's daughters was named Martha, possibly for her mother.. 

John Burrus and his sons cut trees to make homes, dug wells for water, cleared land to raise food and tobacco,  and graze the few domesticated animals they may had owned.  It was a time for self sufficiency.  Hides were tanned for clothing and shoes.  Wood was turned for what little furniture they had.  Tobacco was their primary source of income.  Accidents, childbirth, and illness were indured without medical help, often with negative outcomes.  Better than survive, they prospered in this new colony, sometimes only with hope and tenacity to guide and encourage them. 

My ancestors were pioneers, blazing the trails for others to follow.








1 - Patent Book 6, page 115
2 - Patent Book 7, page 520
3 - Patent Book 7 page 683
4 - Patent Book  9 page 358
5 - English Duplicated of Lost Virginia Records, page 60
6 - Deed Book 1, page 256 (King William County)
7 - Deed Book 1, page 337 KWC
8 - Deed Book 1, page 358 KWC
9 - Deed Book 1, page 383 KWC




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