Tuesday, September 30, 2014

William Burnett - Sixth Child of Alfred and Julia Burnett

William is the sixth child of Alfred and Julia Burnett.  He was born in Biloxi, Mississippi about December 1849. In about 1855 he moved with his family to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

Nine month old William can be found in the 1850 US Census[1] residing in the Alfred Burnett household.  Since this family was counted on September 12, 1850, we can determine his birth to be about January 1850.

The 1860 US Census[2] finds William in the Alfred Burnett household at 10 years of age. The census date was August 24-25 1860, so we further establish he was likely born in December 1849.

In the 1870 US Census[3], there is a William listed in Julia Burnett’s household.  However, this “William” is 17 years of age.    My thought is he was no longer in this household and this “William” is actually his younger brother Loren, who would have been 17 years old in 1870.

In “The History of the Gilley Family” book there is mention that William is buried in Bilbo Cemetery, in Lake Charles, LA.  However, no tombstone or record can be located supporting he is buried there.  William would have been 15 years of age at the close of the Civil War, so he was probably too young to have fought and died in the conflict.  Perhaps he died as a youth?  Maybe he moved away and today has many descendants in another part of the country?
1850 US Census

1860 US Census

1870 US Census

[1] Year: 1850; Census Place:  , Harrison, Mississippi; Roll: M432_372; Page: 106A; Image: 217.
[2] Year: 1860; Census Place:  , Calcasieu, Louisiana; Roll: M653_409; Page: 201; Image: 203; Family History Library Film: 803409.
[3] Year: 1870; Census Place: Ward 9, Calcasieu, Louisiana; Roll: M593_509; Page: 65B; Image: 134; Family History Library Film: 552008.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Ethnic Ingredients

So, awhile back I took the Family Finder DNA test.  This test is marketed by Family Tree DNA and is an autosomal DNA test.  Autosomal DNA tests can be used for genetic matching with relatives– up to about 5 generations in the past.   

Along with the genetic matching feature, the test has a report called “myOrigins”.  The myOrigins report is an estimate of your ethnic makeup and a map of where your ancestors could have come from.  I am not sure how helpful this will be in searching for my roots; nevertheless it is an interesting report.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sidnah Virgina Burnett - Fifth Child of Alfred and Julia Burnett

Sidnah Virginia Burnett was born in Biloxi, Mississippi and is the fifth child of Alfred and Julia Burnett.  Sidnah’s tombstone lists her birth as 17-Aug-1847 and death certificate lists her birth as 17-Oct-1847. 

Sidnah could have been named after her aunt, Sidnah Sheffield.
Sidnah married Isaac Gilley.  Isaac, 04-Feb-1847 to 30-Dec-1882, is the fifth child of George and Pheriba Gilley. 

They had six children. 

1.    John Alfred “Albert” Gilley (Burnett), 06-Mar-1869 to 1837.  Husband of Rhoda Belle Striplin.

2.    Julia Isabel ”Bel” Gilley, 27-Dec-1870 to 21-Jun-1935.  Wife of John Isaac Hill.

3.    Rosalee “Rosy” Gilley, 02-Mar-1872 to 25-Nov-1958.  Wife of Eugene Graham Hewitt.

4.    Lieudella “Della” Gilley, 27-Feb-1874 to 03-Mar-1968. Wife of Dempsey Perkins.

5.    Ella V. Gilley, 08-May-1875 to 28-Jun-1889. Died at age 14.

6.    Sidnah Eudora “Dora” Gilley, 08-Nov-1877 to 13-May-1963.  Wife of Webb W. Miller. 

Isaac Gilley was born in Alabama and by the time of the Civil War he was residing in Angelina County, Texas.  Isaac was a Civil War Veteran and held the rank of Private in Company B of the 25th regiment of the Texas Cavalry, Confederate Army. 

After the Civil War, Isaac had several run-ins with the law.  In 1865 he wounded a Jim Windham with a double barreled shotgun to which he was indicted for assault with intent to kill.  In 1866, Isaac along with his father George, brother Allen and brother in law Andrew Burris were involved in a shootout at the Angelina County Courthouse in Homer, TX. During this shootout the sheriff and several others were killed.  Isaac’s father, George Gilley was charged with murdering the sheriff.  In 1885 George was tried before a jury and found not guilty. The 1865 indictment for assaulting Jim Windham was finally dropped after Isaac’s death. 

Sidnah and Isaac were married on 02-Jul-1868 and resided in the Reeves area Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.  The 1870 and 1880 US census lists Isaac’s occupation as a farmer.  It is believed that Isaac was also a Calcasieu Parish tax collector. In December 1882, while on rounds collecting taxes, Isaac was shot and killed by a man named Brewer near Bagdad, Louisiana.  Historical Bagdad is located a few miles north of Westlake along the Calcasieu River. 

After Isaac’s death Sidnah never remarried and raised her family near Reeves, Louisiana.  Once her children married and left home, she lived among her children.  In 1910 she can be found in the home of her daughter “Dora” and son in law Webb Miller near Dry Creek, Louisiana.  

From 1915 to 1921 Sidnah tried multiple times to qualify for a widow’s pension based on Isaac’s Civil War service. The requests were denied on account that Isaac service record showed he was absent without leave and possibly in prison for insubordination. Sidnah tried repeatedly to prove he was in a hospital instead of the reported prison, but her case could not be proven to the pension board. 

By 1920 she was living with her widowed daughter “Bel” Hill in Beaumont, Texas. Sidnah died 18-Jan-1928 in Beaumont, TX.  Sidnah and Isaac are buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Ragley, LA. 

Isaac and Sidnah’s oldest child, John Alfred Gilley, sometimes known as Albert, left Louisiana at about 18 years of age.  He lived in Arkansas and Oklahoma where he changed his last name from Gilley to Burnett.  The descendants of John Alfred Gilley have the last name of Burnett. 

Much of the above information can be found in a book titled “The History of the Gilley Family”.  The book was written by Valma D. Fischer, who is a G Granddaughter of Isaac and Sidnah Gilley.   This book was self-published in 1981 and there were a limited number of copies printed. This book includes charts showing the descendants of George and Pheriba Gilley.  The book also contains many court records from the Angelina County, TX shootout and Sidnah’s application for pension.  For those interested in the Burnett –Gilley connection this is a great reference.  There is a copy of this book at the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library in Lake Charles, LA. 

The following photos of Sidnah and several of her children were furnished by Dan Fischer and Katrina Brown, both descendants of Isaac and Sidnah. The  tombstone photos were taken by Michael Burnett at Magnolia Cemetery, Ragley, Louisiana 29-Mar-2013
Sidnah Virginia Burnett, photo from Dan Fischer.

John Alfred "Albert" Gilley Burnett in middle, photo from Katrina Brown.

Della and Dempsey Perkins, photo from Dan Fischer.

Dora and Webb Miller, photo from Dan Fischer.

Sidnah Virginia Burnett
Isaac Gilley


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 Burnett Family Reunion

The annual Burnett Family Reunion will be held next month in DeQuincy, Louisiana.  The details can be found below.

DATE: Saturday, October 11, 2014

TIME: Begins at 10:30 AM, Dinner at Noon

PLACE: Oak Street Recreation Building, 507 Oak Street,  DeQuincy, LA 70633

Bring a covered dish and dessert.  Also, bring serving utensils for your dishes.

Please contact Molly Fontenot for further information.  If you need Molly’s contact information, let me know and I will pass it along.

Molly is requesting that Burnett family members send her photos to be displayed at the reunion.  Photos should include names, dates and other background information.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dorinda Burnett – Fourth Child of Alfred and Julia Burnett

Dorinda Burnett is the fourth child of Alfred and Julia Burnett.  She was born 17-Dec-1845 in Biloxi, Mississippi and lived there until about ten years of age.  About 1855, she moved with her family to Calcasieu, Parish Louisiana.

In 1873 Dorinda married John Archibald Morrogh.  John, 05-Dec-1846 to 17-Sep-1921, was born in Calcasieu Parish and is the son of John Francis Morrogh and Leonise Corbello.  John and Dorinda had three children.

  1. John Francis Morrogh, 14-Oct-1874 to 26-Sep-1950, husband of Lodora Fannett.
  2. Alfred Alexander Morrogh, 20-Mar-1882 to 20-Jul-1939, husband of Nora M. McMain.
  3. William Henry Morrogh, 28-Oct-1883 to 11 Nov-1913, husband of Mabel G. Nelson.

John was a Civil War veteran.  In 1863, at age 16, John left home and joined the Confederate Army.  John served in Company “A” in Waller's Battalion of the Texas Mounted Volunteers.   John served until the end of the war and surrendered at the Little Brazos River in Robertson County, Texas.

John was a carpenter by trade. From census and city directory records we find that his sons followed in his footsteps and were also carpenters.

John and Dorinda lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana from the time they were married until some point before 1900.  During their time in Lake Charles, Dorinda’s mother Julia Jane Burnett died in their home; though we do not know if Julia was living with Dorinda at the time of her death.   The 1900  Federal census finds John and Dorinda now living in St. Landry Parish.   

By 1907, the family was back in Lake Charles.  During 1907 John applied for a military pension stating he could not work due to chronic soreness in his leg.  This pain was caused by his leg being crushed in a mill accident.  It is unknown if the pension was granted.  The pension application can be found below and contains a gold mine of family information.  Thank you, Debbie Morrogh for sharing.

By 1913 John and Dorinda were living in Houston, Texas where Dorinda died on 17-May-1913. Dorinda is buried in Glenwood Cemetery near downtown Houston.  Her unmarked grave is located in the New Strangers Rest section in lot 277.  In the Glenwood Cemetery hand written records Dorinda's name was misspelled as Mrs. Mirinda Marragh. Her son William Henry Morrogh   is also buried in Glenwood in the same section – New Strangers Rest plot 318. William's name was also misspelled in the records as William H. Marraugh.   I have contacted the cemetery and their records have now been updated with the correct spelling.  Also, I have also emailed them copies of Dorinda and William's death certificates.  The cemetery office has now opened files for these two interments.  Glenwood Cemetery is a large cemetery with many notable people buried there, among them are Howard Hughes, Denton Cooley and Roy Hofheinz.

The address listed on Dorinda’s Death Certificate is 3310 Center Street Chaneyville.  Chaneyville is another name for the sixth Ward in Houston, Texas.   In 1913 the sixth Ward was located to the west of downtown bordered on the north side by White Oak Bayou and on the south by Buffalo Bayou.   Today, Harper Alternate School is located at 3310 Center Street.

After Dorinda’s death, John A. Morrogh can be found living near his sons.  In the 1920 census John is listed living with his son Alfred in New Orleans, Louisiana.  By 1921 he is in Beaumont, Texas near his son John F. Morrogh.   John A. Morrogh died 17-Sep-1921 in Beaumont TX.  He is buried in an unmarked plot at Magnolia Cemetery in Beaumont, TX.[1]

Six months after Dorinda’s death, son William H. Morrogh was murdered in Houston, TX.  There is a newspaper account that tells of a Mrs. May Belle Cox shooting William, reportedly in self defense. [2]  The article goes on to say that William was divorced and they were engaged to marry.  This conflicts with Williams’s death certificate which shows he was married at the time of his death.

An interesting note about William – he is listed on his mother’s Death Certificate at the informant of her death.  Dorinda’s death certificate shows his address as 1616 Franklin Avenue in Houston.  Today, this address is a parking lot across the street from Minute Maid stadium.  Minute Maid stadium is where Houston Astros professional baseball team plays. 

John A. Morrogh Pension Application p.1

John A. Morrogh Pension Application p.2

John A. Morrogh Pension Application p.3

John A. Morrogh Pension Application p.4

[1] Jimmy Sparks. Magnolia Cemetery , www.magnoliacemetery.org, personal communication, 14-May-14.

[2] “Houston Women On Trial for Killing Fiancee: Jury Named”, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 24-Mar-1914. Citation taken from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=95704729, accessed 13-Sep-14.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's In A Name?

Recently, a newspaper article was located that referenced the estate of my GG Grandfather, Alfred Burnett.1 This newspaper article was a legal notice in which his eldest son Sherrod V. Burnett petitioned to be appointed administrator of Alfred Burnett’s estate. The newspaper article shows his name to be Alfret A. Burnett. To my knowledge, this is the only known reference to Alfred Burnett’s middle initial. I am confident the Alfret is a misspelling of Alfred; however the “A” as middle name makes sense when you look at his grandchildren’s names.

Alfred Burnett’s eldest son, Sherrod named his first born son Alfred Alexander Burnett.

Alfred Burnett’s daughter, Dorinda and her husband John Morrogh named their second born son Alfred Alexander Morrogh.

Naming the firstborn son after his paternal grandfather and second born son after the maternal grandfather was a common American naming convention in the 1800’s. The naming pattern is often referred to as the “Old Jones Naming Pattern”. 2 An example of this is John and Dorinda Morrogh named their first born son after John’s father, John Francis Morrogh, and the second son after Dorinda’s father, Alfred Alexander Burnett.

Although we have not uncovered any conclusive evidence that my GG Grandfather, Alfred A. Burnett’s middle name was indeed Alexander; I am of the opinion it was Alexander and the name Alexander could have significance in our search for Alfred’s parents.

Lake Charles Echo, 19-Aug-1869

1 “Estate of Alfret A. Burnett”, Lake Charles Echo Newspaper, 19-Aug-1869, Page 2., from microfilm at Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library.

2 “Naming Traditions in the United States”, http://wiki.name.com/en/Naming_Traditions_In_The_United_States accessed 09-Sep-14.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Nancy Burnett - Third Child of Alfred and Julia Burnett

Nancy Burnett is the third child of Alfred and Julia Burnett.  She was born in Biloxi, Mississippi about 1842.  In about 1855 she moved with her family to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

Nancy could have been named after one of her aunts, Nancy Seaman.
Sometime around 1860 Nancy married James Smith.  James was born in Louisiana about 1836 and is the third child of George Smith and Elizabeth Iles.  Nancy and James had one child.

1.            Sophronia Madora Smith, 11-Jul-1861 to 01-Jun-1928, wife of George Dolphus Gilley.[1]
James and Nancy appear in the 1860 US Census residing in Imperial Calcasieu Parish where  James lists his occupation as a teamster.  James disappeared sometime between 1861 and 1870. There are several James Smith's that died during the Civil War and are buried in Louisiana Civil War Cemeteries.  More research is needed to determine if one of these soldiers was the husband of Nancy.

After James died, Nancy married William C. Reeves. William was born in Calcasieu Parish and is the third child of Isham Reeves and Nancy Bilbo.  Nancy and William had five children.
1.            Joseph Allen, 19-Mar-1871 to 08-Oct-1935, husband of Clara Morgan.

2.            William Walter, 1874 to 1932, husband of Eliza Shuff.

3.            George Augustus, 1877 to 1932, husband of Mary Stack.

4.            Lillie, 01-Jul-1879 to 02-Sep-1935, wife of Joseph Myers.

5.            Fred, 18-Nov-1887 to 22-Dec-1962, husband of Susan A. Parker.
The 1870 census records show that Nancy and William were married and resided in the 9th Ward of Calcasieu Parish.  By 1880 the family had moved to the 8th Ward of Calcasieu Parish. During the 1880’s they lived near Nancy's brother Sherrod Burnett and William’s brother George Reeves. The family was most likely farming in the Barnes Creek area between Ragley and Reeves, Louisiana.  

At the time of William's death the family was residing about 4.5 miles N.E. of Moss Bluff, Louisiana.  This is near the east end of John Koonce Road where they owned 20 acres of property.  William died 22-Feb-1888 and Nancy died six years later in 1894.  It is not known were William or Nancy are buried.
After their death there was a succession filed in Calcasieu Parish - number 2956, opened 22-Sep-1922.[2] An excerpt of the succession can be found below.  This particular page was rich with family information and some of the subject matter was used to write this blog.

Calcasieu Parish Succession # 2956

[1]Fischer, Valma D. History of the Gilley Family, self-published, 1981. Print.
[2]Calcasieu Parish Succession # 2956,  S.W. Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Library. Microfilm.