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Benjamin Burt

Nov. 17,1680 - May 20,1759

Born  in Northampton, MA, he was the 12th child of David and Mary Holton Burt.  Having added blacksmith to his skills as a farmer he moved to Deerfield in 1701.  On Oct. 19, 1702, he married Sarah Belding (Belden) who had survived the 1696 attack on her family's farm that ended tragically.   Living in Deerfield, which at the time was on the remote frontier, meant constant threat of French and Indian attacks.  On February 29, 1704 Deerfield was attacked and 40% of its buildings burned.  The surviving 109 townsfolk were forced marched to Canada, Benjamin and the 8-month pregnant Sarah among them.  Twenty-five days later they reached their destination and the surviving captives were distributed among the French and their Indian allies.  The Burt's were given to the Jesuit's for the purpose of service and conversion to Catholicism.  Sarah gave birth to a son, Christopher, on April 25, 1704.  On May 30, 1706, they were ransomed and sailed to Boston.  Sarah gave birth to her second child, Seaborn, during that voyage.  They arrived in Boston on Aug. 2, 1706.

The couple returned to Deerfield.  With 18 relatives slain, the memories were too vivid.  Seeking a safer location, they joined relatives in Stamford, CT and then moved on to Norwalk.  A skilled blacksmith, he decided to join the Proprietors of Ridgefield.  In 1713 he become its first blacksmith. The 27 Original Proprietors of Ridgefield were so thrilled to have a blacksmith move to their remote village that they gave Burt 1/28th of all the land in town. His home was on the corner of Catoonah and Main Street, where the Carnall Building now stands.

The blacksmith was an essential tradesman in any colonial town. Among his jobs were forging nails and bolts for building houses, making and repairing iron farm tools, horseshoes and branding irons. There was a State-assigned ear brand required on all the horses in town. It was in the shape of an upside-down heart.

With the profits from his business, Benjamin Burt built a sawmill. It was located along Danbury Road at the base of Copp’s Mountain, which is just north of the present day Copp’s Hill Shopping Plaza. In 1742 he bought the town gristmill at Lake Mamanasco, which at the time was called Burt’s Pond.

Sarah and Benjamin Burt had 11 children. He died at the age of 80, and is buried in Titicus Cemetery.  After his death, his sons carried on the family businesses. When the Revolutionary War broke out, some of them remained loyal British subjects. Unfortunately, this decision resulted in the confiscation of their land and property by the American government. In fear of their lives, they fled to New Brunswick, Canada. Some family members returned after the war. But by then the businesses created by Benjamin Burt were forever lost to their family.

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  • More 'Ghosts' in October
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  • 'CT Trail Day' Hike in June