Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The History of the Leo Burnett Homeplace

I have been told my paternal grandparent’s homeplace has been occupied by my Burnett family for a long time.  The homeplace is located on 20 acres of land in Ragley, Louisiana and is known for its large live oak trees, several which could be 100 years old. 

Leo Burnett Homeplace, photo by Michael Burnett, 09-Aug-14.

Being inquisitive of the properties history, I have now located the conveyance records documenting this property ownership since the US Government acquired it from France as part of Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

The legal description of the home site is the east half of the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 6S, Range 9W of Louisiana meridian. The land is surveyed in the Public Land Survey System which you can read more about here.  After the land was purchased from France, the first US Government survey of the area was conducted in 1833. A digital image of the 1833 survey can be found online by clicking here

In 1890 William G. Mitchell acquired this land in a purchase of 162 acres from the US Government.    He paid $16.77 or about 10 cents per acre![1]   The US land patent for the 162 acres can be found here.
Tract Book showing purchase of land from US Government. See note 1.
William Mitchell and wife Mary E. Flurry, Find A Grave Memorial# 6667382, photo provided by Cheryl Mitchell Murray.

In 1905 William sold 20 of these 162 acres to his son Henry H. Mitchell for $30.00.[2]
Henry Mitchell and wife "Bash" Cooley, from Cheryl Mitchell Murray's Ancestry "Murray/Mitchell Family Tree".

In 1913, Henry H. Mitchell sold the same 20 acres to Frank A. Hodges for $150.00.[3]  There is a connection between Frank Hodges and Henry Mitchell –Frank Hodges sister Annie Isabel was married to Henry Mitchell’s brother, Samuel F. Mitchell. The conveyance records show the land sale included “all buildings and improvements” – it is unknown if there was a house on this land at the time of the sale.  Frank and his wife Beulah Burnett Hodges raised a family at this location.  Lydia Mae Hodges Anderson, their youngest daughter, recalls that of she and all of her siblings were born in this house.

Frank Hodges and wife Beulah V. Burnett.

In 1932, Leo E. Burnett, my grandfather, purchased the 20 acres from Frank Hodges.  This purchase also included an additional 10 acres, known as the "big field".  The cost for these 30 acres was $550.00.[4] There is also a connection between Frank Hodges and Leo Burnett – they were brother-in-laws.   This homeplace is where Leo and Ruby Hollingsworth Burnett raised a family and three of their four children were born in this home. The original house has been improved upon, but it is still lived in today by Jo Ann and Linda Burnett – daughters of Leo Burnett and Ruby Hollingsworth. 

Leo Burnett and wife Ruby V. Hollingsworth.
Leo Burnett in front of homeplace, circa 1960.
Leo Burnett Homeplace, photo by Michael Burnett, circa 1976.
Leo Burnett Homeplace, photo by Michael Burnett, 09-Aug-14.

[1] State of Louisiana, Division of Administration, Office of State Lands, U.S. Tract Book, Volume 20, Page 080, Opelousas District, Online Record, Accessed 29-Nov-14. 

[2] Beauregard Parish, LA Courthouse, Land Records, Book 5, Page 263.

[3] Beauregard Parish, LA Courthouse, Land Records, Book 6A, Page 424-425.

[4] Beauregard Parish, LA Courthouse, Land Records, Book 44, Page 574.

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