Third Battalion Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot
"The Augusta Regiment," Burd's Company
1756-1764

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Major James Burd



 

James Burd, son of Edward Burd, was born March 10, 1726, in Ormiston, Scotland and came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1747 or 1748 as a merchant. He and his wife Sarah, daughter of Philadelphia's former mayor Edward Shippen, had eleven children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. They moved to the Shippensburg area in 1752 so Burd could handle land holdings belonging to his father-in-law.

Burd joined the Pennsylvania provincial military in 1756 at the outset of the French & Indian War, the same year he moved to a farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned a Major in The Augusta Regiment and on December 8, 1756, he took command after the resignation of Lieutenant Colonel William Clapham.

Under his command the construction of Fort Augusta was completed as well as the Provincial Road between the fort and Tulpehocken, the location of Conrad Weiser's homestead. Burd also participated in the construction of Fort Ligonier in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

In 1758, Major Burd was elevated to Colonel. Burd went with Forbes on the Duquesne Expedition under Bouquet. 360 of the 400-man garrison participated in the Expedition, leaving 40 men at Fort Augusta. After the fall of Duquesne, Colonel Burd was sent to the Erie area where he supervised the construction of roads and fortifications including, with brother-in-law Captain Joseph Shippen of the Pennsylvania Provincial Regiment under Colonel William Clapham, the construction of Fort Burd. He returned to Fort Augusta in 1760 and remained there until the dissolution of the Pennsylvania Regiment in 1764.

He served as Justice of Lancaster County from 1764 till 1770.

He did not serve in the American Revolution, but he was active in convincing the people of Lancaster County to support the Revolution. He was elected Colonel of a militia battalion briefly but because of a dispute concerning rank and insubordination in his command and some criticism from the Committee of Safety of which he was a member, he resigned and retired to civilian life.

Burd died at "Tinian," his farm near Highspire in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on October 5, 1793. James and Sarah Burd are buried near the entrance of the Old Presbyterian Cemetery at the corner of Union and High Streets, Middletown, Pennsylvania. At the time of his death on October 5, 1793, James Burd was a county judge.

Burd's detailed journals during the time of the construction and his command at Fort Augusta have been preserved and are readily available for research in the Pennsylvania State Archives, 350 North Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and through their website.