Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BURTT, John, poet, born in Riccarton, Ayrshire, Scotland, 26 May, 1789; died in Salem, New Jersey, 24 March, 1866. He lost his mother when a child, and went to live with his grandmother. After attending school and becoming a good classical scholar, he was sent to learn the weaver's trade, but soon returned to his books. When sixteen years old he fell into the hands of a press-gang, and served five years in the Royal navy as a common sailor. He then escaped, opened a school at Kil-marnock, and in 1816 went to Glasgow, where he attended medical lectures at the university. He came to the United States in 1817, and in 1822 entered Princeton theological seminary, where he remained nearly a year. He then acted as a domestic missionary at Trenton and Philadelphia, was ordained by the presbytery of the latter place on 8 June, 1824, and became pastor of a church at Salem, New Jersey, where he remained till 1830. He became editor of the Philadelphia "Presbyterian" in 1831, and of the Cincinnati " Standard" in 1833, and from 1835 till 1849 was pastor of the 5th church in the latter city. He supplied the pulpit of a church in Blackwoodtown, New Jersey, from 1842 till 1859, and in the latter year retired to Salem, New Jersey, where he remained until his death. Mr. Burtt began to write poetry while he was a sailor, and continued to do so throughout his life. A collection of his verses was published before he came to this country (Glasgow, 1817), and was republished, with additions, under the title "Hor,e Poeticae" (Bridgeton, New Jersey, 1819). See Wilson's "Poets and Poetry of Scotland "(New York, 1876).
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