Merchant and entrepreneur, William Fotherby Burditt (1849-1931) was born on 30 May 1849, at Saffron-Walden, Essex, England, to the Rev. Thomas Burditt (1811-1881) and Anne Maria Fotherby Burditt (1817-1859), later of Tenby, South Wales. He had 6 siblings, namely, Thomas Henry (b. 1842), Anna Mary (1844-1939), George Deane (b. 1847), John Frederick (1851-1894), Eleanor (1855-1901), and Francis Noel (Frank, 1858-1940). William Burditt left Britain in June 1868 and settled in Saint John, New Brunswick. On 5 July 1870 he married Eliza Lury Duval, the daughter of school inspector Edmund Hillyer Duval. Seven of their children, William F. Burditt, Jr. (1873-1950), Mary Louise Burditt (Flewwelling, 1874-1948), Nellie Burditt (b. 1878), Arthur F. Burditt (1880-1970), Eleanor F. Burditt (1878-1947), and Edith Constance Burditt (1885-1975), reached adulthood.
From November 1870 to April 1874, William F. Burditt and his family lived in Nova Scotia, probably near Lawrencetown. They were living at Sackville, N.B., in July 1874, when Mary Louise (May) was born, but left there in November of the same year for Saint John. He was employed out of province for a couple of years and then returned to Saint John. He worked in partnership with Arthur P. Tippet under the firm name Arthur P. Tippet & Co. in the late 1870s and early 1880s. The business functioned as manufacturers' agents for the sale of fine salt, vinegars, soap, lard, oil, macaroni, and other foodstuffs. With Arthur P. Tippet, he co-founded the Saint John firm of Tippet, Burditt and Co. Ltd., in 1883, that sold agricultural implements and machinery, and he formed W. F. Burditt & Co. that sold similar merchandise (1890s). By the early 1920s, he was manager of the lumbering firm Frost and Wood Co. Ltd.
William F. Burditt's major contribution to Saint John was his guidance of the redesign of the city centre, and his creation of the new town plan. His models for civic systemization were widely copied throughout Canada. William F. Burditt served as vice-president of the Saint John Board of Trade and was active in the Saint John Exhibition Association. On invitation of the Canadian government, he attended the Centenary Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. W. F. Burditt was a member of the Good Roads Association, the Natural History Society, the Saint John Art Club, the Fortnightly Club, the Free Kindergarten Association, and Germain Street Baptist Church. He also served as chairman of school trustees in East Saint John. William F. Burditt died at Saint John on 6 November 1931. His wife, Lury, predeceased him, passing away on 15 May 1928.
William F. Burditt's father was a Baptist preacher, who lived for many years at Tenby, Wales. His sister Anna Mary Burditt never married. She lived in Luton where she taught school, attended Park Street Baptist Church, and ran a book shop for many years in partnership with her brother, Frank Burditt. William F. Burditt's brother, John F. Burditt came to New Brunswick in 1869. He studied at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, graduating in 1877. He furthered his education at Newton Theological Seminary, Newton, Massachusetts. For a number of years, under the auspices of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, he served in India and elsewhere. He died on 4 August 1894, in India, leaving a wife and 5 children, who probably made their home at Newtown, Massachusetts, following his death.
William F. Burditt's son, William F. Burditt, Jr., studied electrical engineering at the Pratt Institute, in New York, and mechanical engineering at Cornell University, graduating in 1898. He was employed by Prentiss Co., of New York; was proprietor of W. F. Burditt Machinery Company, New York City, in 1907; and became president of Loy & Nawart Co., of Newark, in 1912. In 1919, he co-founded Service Machine Co., of Elizabeth, New Jersey, retiring from the company in 1949. He married Katherine Adina Smith in 1902, and they had no fewer than 4 children, Katherine (Donaldson), Ruth B. (Thomas), Arthur K., and Allen G. and raised a foster son, Francis Mills. William F. Burditt, Jr. died 24 January 1950.
William F. Burditt's younger son, Arthur F. Burditt, married Lila Agnes White in 1918, and they had no fewer than 6 children: Alice Geraldine (b. 1919, m. MacLean), Albert William (b. 1921), George Dwight (1922-2012), Doris Duval (b. 1925, m. Hoar), Dr. Anna Mary (1929-2007), and Charlotte Evelyn (b. 1939, m. Sutherland). Daughters, Mary Louise (May) Burditt, Eleanor F. Burditt, and Edith C. Burditt remained in Saint John. Mary Louise married John Witcombe Flewwelling, a printer, on 20 June 1907. Eleanor F. Burditt, a nurse, died unmarried on 11 May 1947. Edith Burditt, a graduate of Acadia Ladies Seminary of Music, served as organist of the Edith Avenue Baptist Church (Saint John) for a number of years. She died unmarried at her residence on Bayside Drive on 11 July 1975, age 90.