Biography of Dr. John L. F. Burdick
Chittenden County, VT Biographies





BURDICK, JOHN L. F., M. D. The surname Burdick is supposed to be a corruption from Burdette, and to have originated in England. The great great grandfather of the subject of this sketch was a captain on an English vessel, and after passing most of his life on the ocean settled in Rhode Island. Thence, during the eighteenth century, Elijah and Lybius Burdick, half brothers, emigrated to the vicinity of Hoosick Falls, N. Y. The latter afterwards settled in Warren county, N. Y., while Elijah became one of the first settlers in Westford, Vt., as stated in the history of Westford, in this volume. In that town on the 30th of January, 1790, was born Nathaniel, father of John L. F. Burdick and the third of the six children of Elijah Burdick and his wife, Rhoda. Rhoda Burdick died in Westford in the early part of this century. Elijah died on the 29th of December, 1815. Nathaniel Burdick married Mary Benjamin, of New York State, immediately after which event he went to Ira, Rutland county, remaining there until about 1841. He then passed about three years in Westford, and removed to De Kalb, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he spent the remainder of his days until March 11, 1863. He was a farmer of more than usual intelligence, and performed the duties that fell to his lot with a cheerful readiness that commanded the esteem of his fellow townsmen and acquaintances. He was a member of the old Democratic party until the time of Fremont, for whom he voted, and after whose defeat he always advocated the principles of the Republican party. Although not an office seeker he was made justice of the peace for some time while residing in Ira, and after his removal to New York was honored by an election to the Legislature of that State, a more difficult position to attain than a corresponding office in Vermont. His wife survived him until January to, 1872, when she died in Rossie, N. Y., at the home of her daughter, Julia R. Wetmore. They had seven children, named as follows in the order of their birth: Thomas Benjamin, Charles W., Julia R., Mary L., John L. F., Emily A., and Horace W., all of whom but the subject of this sketch are deceased. Three of the brothers, Thomas B., Charles W., and John L. F., practiced medicine, the last named continuing still in that vocation.

John Lafayette Burdick was born in the town of Ira, Rutland county, Vermont, on the 16th of December, 1824, where were born also all of his brothers and sisters. He attended the common schools of his native town until about his seventeenth year, after which he pursued his studies for two years in a select school in Westford, one term in Potsdam, N. Y., and four years in Gouverneur, N. Y., Academy, receiving a thorough mathematical training at the latter institution under the tuition of Dr. J. W. Armstrong, of Gouverneur. He was then enabled to enter Union College one year in advance. He remained in this institution one year and a half; being forced to withdraw during his junior year by reason of a severe attack of typhoid fever. In the fall of 1849 he took a tour through the Atlantic and Southern States for the recovery of his health, an object which he accomplished in about a year. When he was again able to engage in some active occupation he was persuaded to open a select school in Westford, Vt., which he taught very successfully for two terms, having a regular attendance of no fewer than eighty pupils. The two school years immediately following the summer of 185o were passed as principal of the graded school at Winooski, with the exception of the fall terms of 1851 and 1852, which he occupied in attendance upon lectures at the Castleton Medical College. By dint of thorough and persistent study he was graduated from that college in the fall of 1852. He at once opened an office in Winooski and has prosecuted a successful and growing practice ever since.

Dr. Burdick's first political affiliation was with the Democratic party of anti bellum times. His sympathies and better judgment were alienated, however, during the agitation of the Free Soil arguments, since which time he has been a straightforward member of the Republican party. As a conseqence of his high social and professional station he has been repeatedly urged to enter the field as a candidate for political office, but he has persistently and firmly declined, believing that he can better perform his mission by confining his activities to his practice, and to a solution of the questions it involves. He is an enthusiastic student and practitioner of medicine. His fellow physicians have appreciated this fact, and have manifested their appreciation by several gratifying elections to high position. For example, he was elected to the presidency of the old Chittenden County Medical Society a number of times, and has twice been president of the Burlington Medical and Surgical Club since its organization. He has also been one of the attending physicians of the Mary Fletcher Hospital every year since its inception except the first. He is gratified by these evidences of confidence in him, because it is his delight to deserve the esteem of his fellows in the medical profession.

On the 16th day of November, 1851, Dr. Burdick was united in marriage with Anna L., daughter of Eli Warren Burdick, of Westford, who received an academical education at Bakersfield, Vt. Their family now consists of themselves and one child, Lucy Florence, who was born on the 17th of September, /875, and who is unusually bright and precocious. Thus far she has pursued her studies at home. It may here be mentioned as one of Dr. Burdick's characteristics that he enjoys above all other pleasures to aid the young in obtaining an education, his predilections in this regard having been fostered by his experience as a teacher. Mrs. Burdick's sister, widow of A. C. Ballard, has for a number of years been a member of Dr. Burdick's family, her husband dying on the 28th of November, 1874.

Although not a member of any church, Dr. and Mrs. Burdick have a strong preference for the Baptist denomination, in accordance with family tradition. As there is no Baptist Church, however, in Winooski, they regularly attend and contribute to the support of the Congregational Church.

From:
History of Chittenden County, Vermont
Edited by: W. S. Rann
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, New York. 1886


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