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  • MM before 1754, First Lodge (see I-446; "Wm Burbeck . . . [made] In the first Lodge in Boston")
  • WM 1760-1764, 1766, 1782, 1783, Lodge of St. Andrew
  • Deputy Grand Master 1771, 1782; Junior Grand Warden 1779



From The Magazine of American History, With Notes and Queries, 1883, Vol. 8-9, p. 252:

William Burbeck was of English parentage but born in Boston, in 1715, and died there July 22, 1785. [He] studied gunnery and became a civilian official in the Ordnance Department of the Royal Artillery, and was for many years stationed at Old Castle William, now Fort Independence, Boston Harbor, until the breaking out of hostilities at Lexington and siege of Boston, when he relinquished his appointment under the Crown and made his escape via Noddle's Island and proceeded to Cambridge, where he reported to the Committee of Safety. Soon afterward Mr. William Burbeck, on June 16, 1775, was recommended by the Committee of Safety to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress for appointment as lieutenant-colonel of the Provincial regiment or Train of Artillery, of which Colonel Richard Gridley became the colonel. He was accordingly commissioned on June 21st. Two days later the Provincial Congress appointed Colonel Gridley, in addition to his artillery rank, to be Chief Engineer with the rank of Major-General, and also provided that Lieutenant-Colonel Burbeck should have the additional rank of colonel.

As the duties of Chief Engineer in the siege operations before Boston were incompatible with the exercise of the artillery commission, and as Colonel Gridley was in feeble health, he relinquished his artillery rank. Colonel Burbeck was then exclusively employed on ordnance duty in superintending the Laboratory, and, accordingly, Henry Knox, Esquire, on November 17, 1775, was appointed colonel of the regiment, which meanwhile had been taken on the Continental Establishment. It served throughout the siege of Boston, a detachment having been at " Bunker Hill."

After the evacuation of that town, most of the companies were ordered to the city of New York, and on April 16, 1776, from headquarters, Cambridge, Colonel Burbeck was ordered to proceed and take post at the same place. On the same day he replied to Colonel Knox that, when he had come out of Boston and reported to the Committee of Safety, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress had voted him one hundred and fifty pounds per annum during the war, and four shillings sterling a day during life, and that it would be ungenerous to leave their service. Further, that he was advanced in years and therefore unwilling to part with this provision, besides which he was then finishing the drafts of cannon and mortars for the province, which he considered sufficient to excuse him from compliance with the instructions.

He might also have added that, by the new Continental arrangement of his regiment, he would have lost actual rank and pay by continuing in it, and by leaving the service of Massachusetts for that of the Continental Congress. He was accordingly discharged from Continental service on May 25, 1776, and given, by Massachusetts, command of old Castle William, on Castle Island.

June 24, 1776, Colonel Knox wrote to him from the city of New York, congratulating him on the reputation he had acquired there "in driving away the King's ships from Boston Harbor, and in the taking of the Highland transports." Captain Edward Burbeck, the eldest son of Colonel Burbeck, served as a captain in the Gridley-Knox regiment of artillery from May, 1775, until the close of the year 1776.


From History of Plymouth New Hampshire, Ezra S. Stearns, University Press, 1906:

William Burbeck, son of Edward Burbeck, born 22 July 1716, married first Abigail Tuttle, the mother of their two children, Abigail and Edward; he married second, 7 October 1748, Jerusha Glover, born in Dorchester, Msas., 3 Dec. 1722; died in Boston 27 July 1777, daughter of John and Susannah (Ellison) Glover. William died in Boston 22 July 1785. His and his wife's headstones are at Copp's Hill (1906).

William was a wood-carver many years and specimens are found in Boston (1906).

He accumulated a large number of books of science, and made a study of gunnery and pyrotechnics. He made the fireworks used in the celebration of the repeal of the Stamp Act. In 1769 he was second officer, or gunner, at Castle William, and at the close of 1775 he succeeded Col. Gridley in command of the Massachusetts Artillery, and after the war Col. Burbeck was stationed again, and under another flag, at Castle William.

Of the nine children of Col. William and his second wife Jerusha, was Henry, born 8 June 1754, and died in New London, Conn., 2 Oct. 1848. He was captain of artillery in the Revolution, and a brigadier general in the War of 1812.

Find-A-Grave page for William Burbeck (buried in Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Boston)

See also: History of Plymouth New Hampshire, by Ezra S. Stearns, University Press, 1906.

Distinguished Brothers