Friday, October 31, 2014

Ben - My 4th Cousin

Remember Alfred and Julia Burnett?  Julia Jane Seaman, the matriarch of our Louisiana Burnett family, is the daughter of William Christopher Seaman.  The Seaman line is fairly well documented and I have input these ancestors into my online family tree.

In conjunction with the Family Search tree, there is a free online utility named Relative Finder.  This utility, developed by Brigham Young University, lets one search their family tree and determine if they are related to famous folks.

I used the Relative Finder tool to generate the below chart which shows how we are supposedly related to Benjamin Franklin!  For those that are counting, Ben would be my 4th cousin 6 times removed.  Apparently, we are also related to President Calvin Coolidge - 10th cousins once removed.   

The further back in time you go the more dubious the Relative Finder tool becomes.  Through my paternal grandmothers family, Relative Finder shows I am a sixth cousin 16 times removed to King Henry VIII.  Who would have thought?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Elizabeth Burnett - Eighth Child of Alfred and Julia Burnett

Elizabeth Burnett is the eighth child of Alfred and Julia Burnett and was their first child born in Louisiana.   She was born January 1856 in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

1n 1871 at age 15 she married Thomas Jefferson Gilley.[1]  Thomas was born 31-Oct-1848 and is the seventh child of George Gilley and Pheriba Davis.

According to the 1910 census[2], Thomas and Elizabeth had 13 children of which 8 were living in 1910. (Reported by Thomas, as he was a widower in 1910)

 The known children are as follows.

1.    Lydia Gilley, 24-Dec-1871 to 05-Apr 1925, wife of Asa C. Koone.

2.    Thomas Jefferson Gilley, 18-May-1874 to 23-Oct-1962, husband of Ila Dobie.

3.    M.F. Gilley, 1877 to Oct-1879, died as a young child.

4.    Elpheus Gilley, Aug 1878 to ?

5.    Virginia Gilley, 1879 to ?

6.    Ida Malora Gilley, 1881 to 11-Apr-1969, wife of Robert A. Hightower.

7.    Wilma Lavonia Gilley, 07-Sep-1882 to 10-Jan-1970, wife of William Charles Fowler.

8.    Elbert Cornelius Gilley, 29-Oct-1884 to 03-Jan-1961, husband of Vera Simpler.

9.    Grover Cleveland Gilley, 10-Nov-1886 to 15-Dec-1978, husband of Catherine Johnson.  Second marriage to Marie Melissa Carley.

10.  Nolia Mae Gilley, Apr-1892 to 01-Jul-1950, wife of Robert Henry Darby.

11.  Charles C. Gilley, 21-Jan-1895 to 28-May-1935, thought to have never married.

After they married, Thomas and Elizabeth made their home in the Barnes Creek area of Calcasieu Parish, LA.  Sometime between 1892 and 1895 the family moved to the El Campo area of Wharton County, Texas.  El Campo is located about 70 miles southwest of Houston, Texas.

In 1898 Thomas purchased land in El Campo, Texas and sold the land in 1912.[3] The current address of this property is 612 E Hillje, El Campo Texas, which is a vacant lot.  It is unknown if the family once resided on this lot.  If anyone is interested, I have a copy of the deeds which I can email.

Elizabeth died between 1900 and 1910.  The date and location of Elizabeth’s death is not known.  Some believe she is buried in El Campo others feel she died in San Antonio.   After Elizabeth’s death, Thomas lived near his children in San Antonio, Texas and then in Los Angles California.  Thomas died 02-Jul-1926 and is buried in San Gabriel Cemetery in Los Angeles County, CA.

The following family photo was provided by Laurie Sutton who is a direct descendant of Thomas and Elizabeth Gilley. Photo circa 1897.
Back row L-R, Ida, Ephesus?, Thomas Jefferson Jr., Wilma
Center Row L-R, Elizabeth, Grover, Thomas Jefferson Sr.
Front Row L-R, Charles (in lap), Nolia, Elbert

[1] Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice Precinct 5, Wharton, Texas; Roll: 1678; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0059; FHL microfilm: 1241678.
[2] Year: 1910; Census Place: San Antonio Ward 1, Bexar, Texas; Roll: T624_1531; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0005; FHL microfilm: 1375544.
[3] Wharton County, TX deed book Volume W, page 149, Volume 32 page 423.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rev. George W. Reeves - Husband of Melinda Burnett

Rev. George W. Reeves was married to Melinda Burnett and is the son-in-law of Alfred and Julia Burnett.  His obituary states his funeral was held at Broad Street Methodist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  This church is now known as the First United Methodist Church.

I contacted the church to see if they had any record of Rev. George W. Reeves.   Melinda Losey, Guest & Membership Care Coordinator, responded and was extremely helpful in my search for information.  There is a church history book compiled by members titled “A History of the First Methodist Church”.[1]  This book contains information about George Reeves; an excerpt can be found below.  The book goes on to state that George Reeves was a charter member of the First Methodist Church and a member of Reeves Chapel.

"A History of the First Methodist Church", page 22
In the church library there is a photo of each of their past ministers.  Below is the photo of Rev. George W. Reeves that is hanging in the church library.

Photo Displayed in First Methodist Church Library

There are discrepancies on where George W. Reeves is buried.  During a 1971 cemetery reading  of the Orange Grove/Graceland Cemetery in Lake Charles a tombstone for George W. Reeves was located.  As well, during a 1994 cemetery reading of Richie Cemetery in Moss Bluff, Louisiana a tombstone for G.W. Reeves was located. Both tombstones have the correct birth and death date.  His death certificate states he was buried in Lake Charles.  There are many Reeves buried in Ritchie Cemetery and it is possible he is buried with family in Moss Bluff. 

George W. Reeves Death Certificate

[1] First United Methodist Church, A History of the First Methodist Church Lake Charles, Louisiana 1875-1965”, author and date unknown.

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Ragley Heritage and Timber Festival

The Annual Ragley Heritage & Timber Festival will be held this coming Saturday at the Historical Society Park in Ragley, Louisiana. 

For those interested in our Burnett Family History – Ragley and the surrounding community is ‘ground zero’ for our Burnett family. 

The Historical Society has printed several books about the Pioneer Families of Ragley and the History of Ragley.  These books will be available for purchase at the Festival.  The Festival flyer can be found below.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Loren Elbert Burnett - Seventh Child of Alfred and Julia Burnett

Loren Elbert Burnett is the seventh child of Alfred and Julia Burnett.  In 1853 Loren was born in Biloxi, Mississippi.  At the age of two he moved with his family to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

Loren Elbert Burnett had a first cousin named Loren Elbert Seaman.  Research is needed to determine if other Loren Elbert’s can be found up the family tree. 

In 1875 Loren married 15 year old Margaret L. Cooper.  Margaret was born 30-Nov-1860 and is the daughter of Daniel Cooper and Nancy Crumpler.

Loren and Margaret had 5 children.

1.    William Lander Burnett, 09-Jan-1878 to 03-Jun-1945.  Husband of Missouri Irene Gray.  Second marriage to Aments Clement.

2.    Ellen Burnett, Jan 1880 to ?  Likely to have died at a young age.

3.    Loren Fred Burnett, 22-Jan-1881 to 19-Feb-1949.  Husband of Margaret Zelma “Nim” Ware.

4.    Laura L. Burnett, Aug-1886 to 1966. Wife of Lewis Smith.

5.    Walter Jefferson Burnett, 28-Dec-1892 to 11-Feb-1983.  Husband of Josie Lee Dill.

Loren was a farmer and from 1880 to at least 1910 can be found residing in the Sugartown/Dry Creek area of Old Imperial Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. In 1912 Beauregard Parish was carved from Calcasieu Parish; after that, Loren can be located in Beauregard Parish Ward 6 residing near his nephew Luther Burnett.   Present day Ward 6 is the Ragley area.

Loren’s actual birth date is unknown.  His death certificate shows a birth of 04-Jul-1846, and tombstone lists birth as 04-Jul-1848.  However, he is not found in 1850 census and the 1860 census lists him as being 7 years old.  Being born in 1853 is likely the most accurate date because this is the year his parents provided when the household was counted in the 1860 census.

Loren died 27 or 28th of August 1923.  Margaret lived until 18-Feb-1937 and is buried next to Loren in the Dry Creek Cemetery in Dry Creek, Louisiana.   Next to Loren and Margaret’s grave, there are two tombstones that cannot be identified.  These could have been children of Loren and Margaret’s that died young.    More information about these tombstones can be found in the blog Dry Creek Cemetery – Una and Ella Burnett.

Interesting note - the 1920 census shows a 3 year old female granddaughter named Ana living with Loren and Margaret.   Ana was the daughter of their son William Lander Burnett.   Ana’s birth year coincides with the death year of her mother Missouri Burnett.  Possibly, her mother died during childbirth.  At age 14 Ana was still living in her grandmother’s household and likely was raised by her grandparents.  

Even though Loren lived until 1920’s, no photographs of Loren or Margaret can be located.  
Loren Elbert Burnett Tombstone, photo by Michael Burnett 2002.
Margaret L Burnett Tombstone, photo by Michael Burnett 2002.
Loren Elbert Burnett Death Certificate.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dry Creek Cemetery - Una and Ella Burnett

There are many Burnett’s buried at Dry Creek Cemetery located in Dry Creek, Louisiana.   Most are descendants of Loren Elbert Burnett and wife Margaret L. Cooper.

In 2002 I visited this cemetery and took photos of several tombstones.  Located next to Loren and Margaret Burnett are two tombstones which I cannot identify.  The photos of these two tombstones can be found below.

Una Burnett Born 1889 - Died in 1889.  Could this have been a child of Loren and Margaret’s who died at a young age?

Ella Burnett March 1867 to March 1884.  If Ella was born in 1867 she is too old to be the daughter of Loren and Margaret.   The earliest graves in this cemetery date from about 1880, so perhaps the tombstone is not correctly dated? 

Does anyone have information about Una and Ella Burnett?

For those interested in Dry Creek Cemetery; the cemetery history and gravesites are documented in a book called “Dry Creek Cemetery”.  This book was compiled by Juanita Miller Brumley and can be found in the Beauregard Parish Library.

Una Burnett, Photo by Michael Burnett 09-Mar-2002

Ella Burnett, Photo by Michael Burnett 09-Mar-2002