200 Years Owned and Operated
When William Tillinghast’s Connecticut home was destroyed by fire during the American Revolution, the family became eligible for an Ohio land grant in the “Firelands”. William transferred the Erie County land to his son, O. C. Tillinghast, who settled here with his family.
O. C. was an abolitionist, and his homestead became a stop on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves traveling to Canada. O.C. Jr. acquired the farm next, and it would then pass to his daughter Margaret and her husband, Joseph Burnham II, as a wedding gift.
Margaret and Joseph’s son, Oliver, was next in the family line to own the farm. He was the first in the family to plant a commercial orchard consisting of 14 acres of apples and 6 acres of peaches.
Joseph Burnham III is the 5th generation on the farm. He expanded the farm and modernized the production of fruit and grain. Joseph also remodeled the farm house, which was built by his great-grandfather. A landmark remaining on the farm is a large stepping stone in front of the house used by early family generations for dismounting from buggies and surreys. Joseph Burnham IV is the 6th generation on the farm. He is currently the general manager.
Today the farm consists of more than 1,200 acres – 200 acres of apples, 35 acres of peaches, 1 acre of blackberries, 10 acres of pumpkins, 700 acres of grain crops and the balance in wooded and grass areas. Burnham Orchards remains a family-owned and operated farm. The Burnham family prides itself on high-quality products and being on the cutting edge of new varieties.