Early Life of Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston
Lurania Powers Burgess, daughter of Mary (Polly) Titus and Harvey Burgess was born August 15, 1808 in Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York. Her father Harvey’s family can be traced back to Thomas Burges, an early resident of Plymouth, Massachusetts and the Hopkins family of the Mayflower. Her Mother Mary’s parents came from Long Island where their ancestors were early colonial residents.
The Burgess and Titus familles migrated from Stillwater, Saratoga, County New York to Sempronius, Cayuga County about the same time and quite possibly together. A History of Cayuga county mentions the Burgess family coming in 1796, and being one of the first families to settle Sempronius. Mary’s father Jonas Titus died in 1795 in Stillwater, and his widow and children probably came shortly after that. Both of these families were members of the Baptist church in Stillwater and are listed as original members of the First Baptist Church of Sempronius. The two families were neighbors in Sempronius and probably were very close as Harvey and Mary grew up together in both Stillwater and Sempronius. Harvey Burgess and Mary (Polly) Titus were married in Sempronius around 1802. Lurania was the third of their eleven children.
Sempronius, Cayuga County is in the finger lakes area of northern New York. It consists of hilly country nestled in between Oswaco and Skaneateles Lakes. The area was largely settled after the Revolutionary War. It was part of what was known as the Military Tract, which consisted of land given by the government to Veterans of the Revolutionary War, though the majority of Veterans given land never lived there. The Burgess and Titus families came as pioneers to this new settlement.
Lurania grew up in this small new frontier town where her extended family made up a large portion of the initial population. Her grandfather Seth Burgess had the first tavern in the area, which probably served as a community as well as family gathering place during Lurania’s early childhood. The first school was in a log building on the Titus farm, belonging to one of Lurania’s uncles. Later a school was built on her cousin Byron Burgess’ land. Lurania may have attended this school in her early years, but most likely attended a newer school built in 1815 at Sayles Corners near her home. The first Town Officers of Sempronius included Lurania’s grandfather and uncle.