Friday, August 8, 2014

We came from Mississippi. Before that – who knows?

I am related to Alfred Burnett though his youngest son James Jefferson Burnett.  The chart below illustrates my paternal line.

This chart was generated by my family tree.

What follows is information about my G-G grandfather Alfred Burnett.  There are few known details about his personal life. We do know from the census and recently located court records, he was a wood cutter, farm laborer, ferry boat operator and a Master Mason.[1]  Much of the information presented below will be expounded upon in future bloggings.

From the age listed in the 1850 and 1860 US census we can deduce Alfred’s birth to be about 1812, however there is much confusion to where he was born. The 1850 census shows Kentucky as the birth place and the 1860 census lists Mississippi.  Alfred’s daughter Sidnah’s death certificate lists the birthplace of her father to be Virginia.  His children Dorinda and Loren’s death certificates list their father’s birthplace to be Mississippi.   Oral family history states he was born near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.  Perhaps a blog reader has some documentation proving which state he was born?

The earliest mention I can find about Alfred Burnett is in the 1838 Jackson County Mississippi Tax Rolls.[2]  Interesting note, his taxes were 37½ ¢.

 The 26 years between his birth and the 1838 tax record is a gap of concern.  Little to nothing is known of Alfred during this time period.

Important dates
1812 - Birth (tombstone says 1825)

1839 - Son Sherrod born in Mississippi

1840 - US Federal Census, Jackson County, MS (spelled Alfred Burnet)

1850 - US Federal Census, Harrison County, MS (spelled Alford Burnett)

1855 - Sell of land holdings in Mississippi

1856 - Daughter Elizabeth born in Louisiana

1860 - US Federal Census, Calcasieu Parish, LA

1868 - Death, date from tombstone

The last known mention of Alfred, that I have found, is at the Sam Todd Masonic Lodge in Sugartown, Louisiana where he affiliated with in 1867.[3]

Alfred is believed to be buried in Lindsey Cemetery where there is a tombstone with his name engraved on it. Lindsey Cemetery is located in Dry Creek which is a small village in eastern Beauregard Parish, Louisiana. The engraved birth in 1825 is believed to be a mistake, but the death date is realistic. The tombstone appears to be too new to be period and one could speculate it was placed there at a later time.
Photo by Michael Burnett, 2002.

There is a book titled “Reflections: The Lindsey Cemetery” that documents the history of and who is interned in this old cemetery. In this book, there is an interesting excerpt about Alfred Burnett; “When Alfred died, heavy rains had swollen the creeks, making it impossible to take him to Dry Creek Cem., so negroes carried his body on logs across the creek to Lindsey Cem.”[4] 

To be honest, the Burnett’s of the 1800’s were not good record keepers. I do not know of any family Bibles, letters, wills or other non- court family records that exist today.  The lack of recorded history could be attributed to the era in which they lived, migration, and the Civil War.   Possibly, not being able to read or write could have contributed to the absence of family records.

Next – The Alfred Burnett family.

[1] Larry Baily Sr., Secretary of the Sam Todd Lodge #182, personal communication, 02-Nov-2013
[2], Series 1202: County Tax Rolls, 1818-1902, Jackson 1838 Combined, Mississippi State Digital Archives
[3] Larry Baily Sr., Secretary of the Sam Todd Lodge #182, personal communication, 02-Nov-2013,
[4] Juanita Miller Brumley, Reflections: The Lindsey Cemetery, DeRidder, LA, self-published, date unknown,  p. 11-12

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Keep up the hard work