(Last updated Oct. 27, 2016)
Walter Burris (Burrus)
was born 1761-1770 place unknown. His father may have been William Burris
[originally Burrows]. Walter Burris can be connected to
David Burris (and therefore to Thomas Burris) and also to Isaiah Burris (born 1776 SC). The evidence shows
that this Burris family was in Laurens County, South Carolina as far back as 1769.
Walter, David, Thomas, and Isaiah Burris are
all documented living at one point in the area where Madison, Estill and Clark
counties, Kentucky meet during the very 1800s and all
eventually moved to Missouri.
Census and tax records:|
(See detailed timeline and
notes at bottom of page)
The overlapping of 10 years of
tax roll data in Kentucky and other records supports
a related group of consisting Walter, William, David, Thomas, and Isaiah
Burris. Descendants of Walter, David, and Thomas can
be documented living near each other in various counties in north Texas. Click here
for more information.
Our Walter Burris is not the same Walter Burris that lived in Albemarle co., Virginia. They were two different men with two different families living far apart. It's possible they were cousins though. Unfortunately the majority of Ancestry trees have them merged as one person.
Walter Burris can be documented in Laurens co., South Carolina in 1790, in Madison co., Kentucky in 1800, and in Clark co., Kentucky from 1804 to 1808. Walter Burris and David Burris migrated from Kentucky to Boonville, Cooper co., Missouri by late 1811. Between 1818 and 1829 Walter Burris moved to Cole co., Missouri and between 1831 and 1834 Walter Burris moved to Jackson co., Missouri.
Walter Burris was probably a farmer which was the most common occupation at the time. Many of the Burris/Burrus familes in central Missouri were also involved with grain milling.
Walter died in late 1839 in Jackson co., Missouri where his estate was administered by his son Henry Burris. Walter's exact death date is unknown and his exact burial place is unknown.
1790 SC, Laurens co., p. 431|
1800 KY, Madison co. (bond)
1803 KY, Madison co., tax roll
1804 KY, Clark co., tax roll
1805 KY, Clark co., tax roll
1806 KY, Clark co., tax roll
1807 (book missing)
1808 KY, Clark co., tax roll
1817 MO, Howard co., tax roll
1830 MO, Cole co., p. 194
Wife 1 &
Walter Burris' first wife is currently unknown and would not be Mary Lively for
reasons stated. Walter and his first wife had at least two sons by 1790,
one probably being Henry Burris. The 1790 census lists only one
female in the household but it's uncertain if this is his wife or a
Walter and his first wife were married in South Carolina at least a few years prior to 1790.
|Census and tax records:|
● Unknown son was born in the late 1780s in
South Carolina. It's possible Walter had other children Henry's
age that were left out of his will. (Henry's inclusion in
Walter's will may only have been because he was able to properly
administer the estate being a county judge.)
Update: Is this John Burris?
1790 SC, Laurens co., p. 431|
(male under 16 years)
● Henry Burris was born about 1790 South
Carolina and was "reared" in Kentucky. Henry moved to
Jackson co., Missouri in 1825; then to Cass co., Missouri in 1831; and
then to Johnson co., Missouri in 1842. Henry is mentioned as "a cousin of Mastin
Burris" and was a Cass County judge. Henry was the executor of his
father's estate. His wife's name is currently unknown. In the
biography of Henry's son David Burris it states that David's parent both
died when he was about 20 years which would be about 1844. Henry
must have died at least after July 12, 1845 when
Thomas Burris made him the executor of
his estate. There is no
record found yet that gives an exact date or even year of their deaths.
It is assumed he died a resident of Cass county but may not have been.
The daughters listed below are connected only based on proximity in the 1850 census. Only William, David, and Benjamin can be proven as children.
1790 SC, Laurens co., p. 431|
(male under 16 years?)
1830 MO, Jackson co., p.306
1840 MO, Van Buren co., p.146
(Van Buren = Cass)
Wife 2 &
Lydia Barnes was born about 1790 in South
Carolina. Her parents were probably from the Barnes family of Estill
county, Kentucky that came from North Carolina. In Estill county
there is a Barnes Mountain and a Barnes cemetery. Isaiah Burris lived
close to members of the Barnes family in Estill county, Kentucky and
Walter Burris evidently lived with or near Isaiah Burris.
Walter Burris (Burrus) and Lydia Barnes were married on May 28, 1807 in Clark co., Kentucky. Lydia Barnes was 17 or 18 years old. The surety for the marriage license was William Barnes who was likely her uncle or brother.
Lydia lived with her grandson Walter Green (assumed) and her son William B Burris after Walter's death. Lydia died after 1860 in Kansas or possibly Colorado.
Census and tax records:|
1830 MO, Cole co., p. 194
1840 MO, Jackson co., [with ?]
1850 MO, DeKalb co., p. 431
1860 KS, Jefferson co., p.41
● Rebecca Burris was born 1808 (or 1810) in
Kentucky. She married Elijah Green on March 18, 1831 in Cole co., Missouri.
Rebecca (and Elijah) apparently died before 1850.
1830 MO, Lafayette co., p.253|
1850 MO, DeKalb co., p. 431
1860 KS, Jefferson co., p 413-A
1870 MO, DeKalb co., page 43
● Nancy Burris was born about 1809 in Kentucky probably in Estill county (formerly southern Clark county). She married Ebenezer Vernon before 1826 in Missouri.
No marriage record has been found. Nancy died after
1880 presumably in Franklin co., Missouri where she is last documented.
1830 MO, Cole co., p. 194|
1840 MO, Miller co., p. 117
(Miller taken from Cole)
1850 MO, Miller co., p. 412
1860 MO, Miller co., p. 474
1870 MO, Franklin co., p 76
1880 MO, Franklin co., ED 67,
Page 15. (Boeuf Twp.)
● William B. Burris was born about 1811 in
Missouri. He married Besheba Masters, Jan. 30, 1834 Jackson co., Missouri.
This family lived in Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. William died after 1870
1840 MO, Jackson co., p.76|
1850 MO, DeKalb co., p. 431
1860 KS, Jefferson co., p. 417
1870 CO, Douglass co., p. 4
● Alice Burris was born 1813-15 Missouri. She married Abraham Crabtree, Aug. 6, 1929 in Cole
Abraham was believed to have been killed sometime around 1860 by
1830 MO, Cole co., p.196|
1840 MO, Jackson co., p.63
1850 MO, McDonald co., p.108
1860 MO, McDonald co., p.92
● Mary "Polly" Burris was born September 17, 1814
(or Sept. 16, 1813) in Howard?
co., Missouri. She married Isaac Crabtree early 1830s (no record). Isaac
is assumed to have died between 1843 and 1847. Mary remarried to John Williams
on Jan. 25, 1847 in Jasper
co., Missouri. They migrated to Collin co.,
Texas in 1851. John died Dec. 13, 1888 and Mary died June 15, 1892. They were
both buried in Stiff Chapel cemetery, Collin co., Texas about 8 miles
northeast of McKinney.
1840 MO, Jackson co., p.
1850 MO, Jasper co., p.
1860 TX, Collin co., p.49
1870 TX, Collin co., p.322
1880 TX, Collin co., ED 17, p.28
● Thomas W Burris was born about 1816 Missouri. He married
Barker, April 4, 1839, Lafayette co., Missouri. The Barker family traces
back to Estill co., Kentucky and she is likely related to Mary Barker who
married Zachariah Burris below. |
Thomas and Sidonia Burris lived in: Dallas co., Texas; Tulare co., California; San Diego co., California; and Phoenix, Arizona. Thomas died in or near Phoenix, Maricopa co., Arizona Jan. 11, 1897.
1850 TX, Dallas co., p.75|
1860 CA, Tulare co., p.11
1870 CA, San Diego co., p.477
1882 AZ, Yavapai co.,
● Zachariah Burris was born about 1818 in Missouri. He married Mary
Barker, Feb. 20, 1842 in Platte co., Missouri. The Barker family
traces back to Estill co., Kentucky and she is likely related to Sidonia
Barker who married Thomas Burris above. |
Zachariah and Mary were in Dallas co., Texas in 1850 and Wise co., Texas in 1860. Zachariah died after 1862 and nothing more is known about them.
1850 TX, Dallas co., p.75
1860 TX, Wise co., p.340
1858-62 TX, Wise county
● Rachel Burris was born about 1820 in Missouri. She married Reece Crabtree, Jan. 10, 1839 in Jackson
co., Missouri. Rachel died
between 1850 and Aug 1851. Reece remarried to Mary J. Mills on Aug. 15,
1851 Jasper co., Missouri.
1840 MO, Newton co., p.250|
1850 MO, McDonald co., p.109
1860 TX, Hunt co., p.324
1870 TX, Grayson co., p.115
1880 TX, Erath co., ED 149, p.23
● Prudence Burris was born 1822-24 in Missouri. She married John J. Flannery, Dec. 24, 1839 in Jackson
co., Missouri. They moved to Collin co.,
Texas in the 1850s. Prudence died in the 1870s in Wise co., Texas.
1840 MO, Jackson co., p.76|
1850 MO, DeKalb co., p.433
1860 TX, Collin co., p.36
1870 TX, Collin co., p.452
● Walter Burris was born about 1825 in Missouri. He married Martha
Ann Dalton (1827-1893), May 3, 1846 in Dekalb co., Missouri.
This family lived in Dekalb co., Missouri in 1850 and Jefferson co., Kansas in 1860 next
to William B. Burris. Walter died Dec. 11, 1864 at the Jefferson
Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri. Martha remarried to George Long .
1850 MO, DeKalb co., p. 432|
1860 KS, Jefferson co., p.417
1870 KS, Greenwood co.,
Lane Twp., p. 4 (widow)
1880 KS, Greenwood co.,
Lane Twp. (widow)
Timeline, notes, and documents:
|Walter Burris was born between 1761 and 1770. Walter died 11 years before the 1850 census so no census record contains a statement from him of his exact age or where he was born. The only evidence of his birthplace or location before Kentucky is by looking at the other Burrises he can be linked to such as David Burris Sr. and Isaiah Burris who both originate in South Carolina 1770s. Three of Walter's children were alive during the 1880 census where the question of father's birthplace was asked. Nancy Vernon and Thomas Burris both said Kentucky and Mary Williams' entry is blank so they had no information about their father prior to Kentucky.|
|1769||In 1769 in Laurens county, South Carolina a William Burris [Burrows] received a land grant in 1769 along Williams Creek [later named Burris Creek] which is a smaller creek that joins Rabun / Rabon Creek. At the time Laurens county was part of a larger area called Craven county which then became "Ninety-Six District".|
In 1780 William Burris, William Burris Jr, appear on South Carolina Loyalist rolls. In 1782 William Burris
and Walter Burris appear on South Carolina Loyalist rolls. They were part of the Little
River Regiment of the Ninety-Six Brigade which covered part of the upland
area in South Carolina where Laurens County [then Ninety-Six District] is
today. The service date of 1782 also helps indicate that Walter would have been at least old enough (16?) for
militia service but still not born before 1761 per the 1830 census. |
1780 (14 June - 13 Dec) payroll: William Burres Sen., William Burres Jun.
1780 (14 June - 30 Dec) payroll: William Burris Sen., William Burris Jun.
1781 (3 Nov - 2 Jan) payroll: William Burrows
1782 (9 March - 5 May) payroll: William Burrows, Walter Burrows
1782 (6 May - 5 Aug) payroll: Walter Burns, William Burns [common mis-transcription of "Burris"]
1782 (6 Aug - 6 Oct) payroll: Walter Burris, William Burris
1782 (6 Aug - 31 Dec) payroll: Walter Burrows, William Burrows
Scans from the book "Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War" listing Walter Burris: [page 310], [page 316], [page 318], and [index]
|mid 1780s||Walter Burris was probably first married in Laurens county, South Carolina around 1785. His first wife's name is still unknown. There are no marriage records.|
Walter Burris' son Henry Burris born about 1790 in [Laurens
county] South Carolina. That date is based on the 1830 Census
indicating he was born 1791-1800 and the 1840 Census indicating he was born
1781-1790. So if the age ranges are both relatively correct then he was
likely born near the middle of those ranges thus 1789-1791. Henry Burris'
son William B Burris was recorded on the 1880 Census (California, Sonoma
county) and he reported his father was born in South Carolina and mother
(unknown) in Kentucky. Given that Henry Burris was born about 1790 it's
uncertain if would be one of the young males listed on the 1790 Census
(below) or if he was born right after the 1790 census. The birth state
converges with the information that David Burris and Isaiah Burris
were born in South Carolina. |
A 1889 biography of Luther W Burris (son of William Burris, grandson of Henry Burris, great-grandson of Walter Burris) says "William Burris was a Missourian by birth, a son of Judge [Henry] Burris, one of the settlers there before the country was taken over from the French. His father [Henry Burris] was a member of one of the colonial families of the east, a son of a Revolutionary soldier of the name of Burroughs." Luther W Burris biography [page 1] and [page 2]
In the 1790 Federal Census, South Carolina, Laurens county, there was a
Walter Burress next to a William Burress [mis-transcribed on Ancestry as
William Burick]. In the William Burress household the grouping of males
above and older 16 years plus 7 females is consistent with a household where
the oldest male is at least age 20 (2 year birth spacing). This would
mean the head of the household William Burress (likely the father) would
probably be in his middle 40s to 50s in age. Next door Walter Burris
was likely in his mid 20s with two young sons. |
1790 Federal census, South Carolina, Laurens co., page 431, line 30
William Burress, head of house,
4 males aged 16 and up,
2 males aged under 16 years,
1790 Federal census, South Carolina, Laurens co., page 431, line 31
Walter Burress, head of house,
1 male aged 16 and up [Walter],
2 males aged under 16 years [Henry and ??],
1 female [unknown wife]
In the 1790s Walter and family migrate to Kentucky. William Burris (and wife Rachel) sold their 200 acres in
Laurens county, SC in 1795. |
In the 1800 and 1801 tax rolls for Clark county, Kentucky a William Burris and Isaiah Burris are listed consecutively (indicating proximity) but it's unclear is this is the same older William Burris or the "junior" William Burris on the Loyalist roll. It's also unknown if Rachel was William's first wife or a later second wife. Walter Burris first appears on record in Kentucky in 1800 in a marriage bond.
July 7, 1800 - Walter Burris was a bondsman (with Thos Burgin and Wm Lackey) for the marriage
of Thomas Burgin to Nancy Owens. The bond was filed in Madison county but
it's possible Walter may have been living just across the border in Clark
county. The permission slip signed by Nancy's mother Prudence "Owings" was
witnessed by Isaiah Burris. This is the earliest record of Walter in
Kentucky and also connects Walter Burris to Isaiah Burris. [link]
May 15, 1800 - The Clark County, KY tax roll records William Burris and Isaiah Burris with same date (May 15) which may indicate proximity. [tax rolls]
|1801||Isaiah Burris married Rachel Barker on Oct. 22, 1801 and 3 weeks later Thomas Burris married Peggy Tincher on Nov. 12, 1801. Both marriages had the marrriage bonds filed in Madison county, Kentucky but the marriage record recorded in Clark county, Kentucky and performed by James Quisenberry. This may indicate they were close to the border between those counties. John Snethen married Prudence Bowles (1/2 sister of Muke Box mention below) on Oct. 6, 1801 in Clark county, Kentucky and that was also performed by James Quisenberry.|
Walter Burris was taxed resident of Madison county, Kentucky in 1803 and Clark co.,
Kentucky from 1804 to 1808. [More tax rolls]|
1803 - Kentucky, Madison county, tax roll - Walter Burris taxed on 200 acres. [image] Walter Burris is listed consecutively (same day) with William Burris and Thomas Burris.
1804 - Kentucky, Clark county, tax roll - personal property only (horses) [image]
1805 - Kentucky, Clark county, tax roll - personal property only (horses) [image]
1806 - Kentucky, Clark county, tax roll - personal property only (horses) [image]
1807 - Kentucky, Clark county (tax roll book 2 missing).
1808 - Kentucky, Clark county, tax roll - personal property only (horses) [image]
Walter evidently had no land in Clark county at that time and was taxed only on personal property a horse. Kentucky law required that all males 21 years old and up be taxed annually. Thomas Burris appears to have been a longer resident of Estill county. There was a Thomas Burrus Sr & Thomas Burrus Jr that also lived in Clark county but that Burrus family originated in Orange county, Virginia. They were NOT the same Thomas Burris that lived in Estill county (formerly southern Clark county before 1808).
On May 28, 1807 Walter Burris married his
second wife Lydia Barnes
in Clark county, Kentucky. The surety for the marriage
was William Barnes. The original marriage license is in the
Kentucky State Archives in the Chenault family papers. David Chenault was
the M.E. minister that performed the marriage. (The Zachariah Barnes family
lived close to Isaiah Burris in Clark/Estill county, Kentucky.) |
Marriage index to first marriage register Clark co., Kentucky, 1793-1831
"Walter Burrus to Lydia Barnes, Page 74". Page 74: "Walter Burns to Lidia Barnes, May 28, 1807" This book is transcribed from "Clark co., Kentucky, Marriage Register 1W"
Clark co., Kentucky, Marriage Register 1W [index] [Page 74] FHLC film
Marriage bonds of Clark co., Kentucky from the formation of the county in 1793 to 1850 by George F Doyle, 1933
"Walter Barnes and Lidia Barnes, surety William Barnes, April 27, 1807" Many other Burruses listed. [Image]
|1808||Daughter Rebecca Burris born about 1808 (or 1810) probably in Estill county, Kentucky. Rebecca Burris was married to Elijah Green in 1831 and if you subtract the average marriage age of 20 you get she a birth year of about 1811± 3 years. Rebecca was born in Kentucky according to her (assumed) son's answer on the 1880 census. She would have been born at least 9 months after the marriage of her parents and by before 1811 when Walter Burris had arrived in Missouri. Therefore she was born about mid 1808 to late 1811 and before or after Nancy was born 1809. The date can be further constricted to 1808-1810 because the 1830 Census indicates she would have been at least age 20 years old (between 20 and 29 years old). The 1808 date is preferred in this genealogy because of the list of children of Walter Burris made by Henry Burris in 1839 which appears to be in chronological birth order. There is no evidence she was as old as other genealogies have.|
|1809||Daughter Nancy Burris born in 1809 probably in Estill county, Kentucky. This date is consistent through 4 consecutive census records.|
|1809-1811||Walter Burris and David Burris migrate from Kentucky to Missouri. It is not known if they came together or if they went straight to the Fayette/Boonville area from Kentucky. The John and Prudence Snethen family had already came in 1808 and settled near Loutre Island, Montgomery county, Missouri about 85 miles east of Boonville.|
By late 1811 Walter Burris and David Burris become early
residents of Boonville, Cooper co., Missouri with the Cole, Savage,
Box families; and many others. See "A History of Cooper County" 1919 [page
66] and "History of Cooper County" 1876 [page
for more information. At this point it's assumed this is the very same
David Burris (1770s SC) that eventually moved to Cass county. |
The obituary of Walter's grandson Zachariah Burris says his grandfather [Walter Burris] is credited with building the first house in Boonville, Missouri.
|In 1813 and 1814 northern tribes of Indians believed to be the Sac and Fox tribes caused depredations (property damage, theft) against the recent settlers in the Boonville area.|
Dec. 25, 1814 Christmas day: |
"... Samuel McMahan, who had been staying in McLain's Fort since Indians had burned McMahan's Fort, was on his way to Cole's Fort to drive up some cattle which he had corralled there. He chanced upon a group of pioneers, including Muke Box, Walter Burriss and Gilead Rupe who were cutting a bee tree beside the trail, less than three miles from Cole's Fort. It was supposed afterwards that savages were sneaking up on these settlers, when McMahan came riding along. Instead of attacking the bee hunters, they fired on McMahan. He was shot through the body and his horse was killed. McMahan jumped up and ran towards the river, but redskins overtook him and killed him with three spear thrusts in his back. Then, they scalped him, cut off his head and disemboweled the body.
Hearing gunfire, Rupe and Burriss ran to Fort Cole and gave the alarm. Box climbed a tree and shot one of the murderers as they were returning— in great glee — with McMahan's scalp. Greatly confused, the savages caught up their companion's body and bore it away, limp and lifeless. It was found later in a ravine, a mile away.
The next day, men of Cole's Fort, reinforced by some militia, went out and retrieved McMahan's mangled remains. James Cole, then a boy of 14, carried the body on the pommel of his saddle, and David McGee brought the head, wrapped in a sheepskin..." [Quoted from "Tales of Black Hawk the Red Head and Missouri Rangers" by Perkin 1974.]
In 1815 depositions from the damaged settlers were taken before J. P.
In March 1826 these claims were presented to Congress (19th Congress, 1st Session) as "Senate Document 55" titled "Memorial of the state of Missouri and documents in relation to Indian depredations upon citizens of that state." The Henry Burris and Walter Burris claims are on page 59. The David Burris "senior" and David Burris "junior" claims are on page 33. [Senate Document 55] and [Senate Document 55 summary]
In early 1830s these claims are found in a Congressional Report (22nd Congress, 1st Session) for relief of these damages and can be found in a report called "House Document 38".
The David Burris and younger David Burris claims are on page 44 and page 45. The Henry Burris and Walter Burris claims are on page 63. [House Document 38]
|1816||In July 1816 Walter Burris was on a jury in Howard County, Missouri. [image]|
|1817||In 1817 Walter Burris was a taxpayer in Howard County, Missouri. [image]|
|It's unclear if Walter Burris actually moved east to what is now Cole county or if the county borders changed around him changing his jurisdiction from Howard/Cooper county to Cole county.|
|1820||1820 Cole county, Missouri - " Double Springs Church was organized July 15, 1820, with eleven charter members, viz., Joseph Boyer, Sally Boyer, Walter Burris, Nancy Burris, Belinda Graham, Jacob Sowder, Silba Sowder, Isaiah Stephens, John Stephens, Elizabeth Stephens, and Anna Stephens. The presbytery was composed of Elders Peter Wood, Lewis Shelton, and Jacob Chism. " The Nancy Burris must be Walter's daughter Nancy who was 11 years old.|
1830 Federal Census, Missouri, Cole county, p. 194, Walter Burris head of
1 male aged 5 thru 9 [Walter 5]
2 males aged 10 thru 14 [Zachariah 10, Thomas 14]
1 male aged 60 thru 69 [Walter 60+]
1 female aged 5 thru 9 [Prudence 6]
1 female aged 10 thru 14 [Rachel 12]
1 female aged 15 thru 19 [Mary 16-17]
1 female aged 20 thru 29 [Rebecca 19-22]
1 female aged 40 thru 49 [Lydia 40]
|Between 1831 and 1833 Walter Burris moved to Jackson county, Missouri. This date range is calculated from when his daughter Rebecca married in Cole county in 1831 to when his son William married in Jackson county in 1834.|
|1836||In 1836 Walter Burris writes his will and leaves his estate to only his widow Lydia and his children who were still dependent. His older married children received no part of the estate. It's possible Walter had other children that were Henry's age still alive that were left out of his will. Henry's inclusion in Walter's will may only have been because he was able to properly administer the estate being a county judge. [Walter Burris will]|
In late 1839 Walter Burris dies in Jackson county, Missouri. His
exact death date is not known despite what is repeated on Ancestry.
Walter's will is presented to the Jackson County court by Joseph Bradin & John R Swearingin on Oct. 12, 1839. Henry Burris presents administrator bond for the estate of Walter Burris with securities being Daniel Monroe and Job Crabtree dated Oct. 17, 1839. Henry states that Walter Burris " died testate & that he left a widow & twelve children to wit: his widow Lydia Buriss, John Burriss, Henry Burris, Rebecca Green, Nancy Vernon, William Burriss, Alice Crabtree, Polly Crabtree, Thomas Burriss, Zachariah Burriss, Rachel Crabtree, Prudence Burriss & Walter Burriss. " Henry Burris administrator bond [page 89] and [page 90]
Note that John Burriss is not listed in Walter's will and also that the children appear to be in birth order.
Walter Burris' genealogy on Ancestry as repeated in over 200+ trees contains errors regarding Walter's parents, Walter's origins before Missouri, Walter's first wife's name, Walter's second wife's maiden name and parentage,
Walter's siblings, and the identification and birth order of some of Walter's children. This old information was based on preliminary research that dates back 25+ years and was repeated on LDS submissions and by early Ancestry users.
information was not
verified with other evidence or cross-examined. The better alternate leads like the South Carolina were not followed up on by any researchers I know
or even this writer until 2015.
The Walter Burris timeline covers multiple states over a long period of time. His true genealogy is not one that can be assembled using only the partial data on Ancestry because the records that reveal his true connections are not on Ancestry and/or have not been indexed. Because of the record gaps attempts to build a genealogy without addressing the record gaps has produced errors and mis-associations. A true Walter Burris genealogy can only be assembled through the overlapping of smaller pieces of evidence like tax rolls, deeds, and other historical records in Missouri, Kentucky and South Carolina.
Research in 2015-2016 in Kentucky and South Carolina has led to many new important records and produced a radically different and vastly more documented timeline. Many new connections and associations between the various older Burris men in Kentucky and Missouri and others have been worked out and many record gaps have finally been filled.
This section presents a much needed and long overdue cross-examination of the old information and hopefully this will explain why the old information was dismissed by this writer (Lance L Hall)
Walter Burris' will and interpretation: [Walter
It is assumed by some that Walter's will creates a division (two paragraphs) between children by his first wife (incorrectly assumed to be Mary Lively) and children by his second wife Lydia. This has been taken as proving the children of the first wife are: Henry, Rebecca, Nancy, Alice, William, Mary "Polly" and that the children of his second wife Lydia are: Thomas, Rachel, Zachariah, Prudence, Walter Jr. The supposed demarcation between Mary (first paragraph) and Thomas (second paragraph) then led people to assume that the second marriage to Lydia had to have been 1813-1816 in Missouri based on their birth years. No record has been presented supporting this, it's just inferred from this interpretation.
The problem with this interpretation is that OUR Walter Burris wasn't first married to Mary Lively but was first married in the 1780s in South Carolina to an unknown woman. The other problem is that Walter Burris and Lydia (Barnes) were actually married on May 28, 1807 in Clark county, Kentucky. This 1807 marriage record (found in 2015) deflates the supposed marriage date of 1813-1816 and the false division. This date also establishes that all the children (except much older Henry) are by Lydia.
Walter Burris himself explains the division by saying that he is wanting to "make a disposition of my property in some respects different from the provision of the general Law". The reason is that he didn't want the older children who "married and left me" to have any part of the estate because they were older and independent (ie. married and living on their own). The younger children were still dependent when he wrote the will in 1836. He wanted his estate to divided among the second group ONLY plus his widow Lydia which is probably WHY she is named. This is why the children are divided into two paragraphs. It has nothing to do with who the mother was which is irrelevant anyways in this context. Walter's named heirs are his legal heirs regardless of the mother anyways. It also makes no sense for Walter to essentially punish with exclusion half of his family based on the mother. The division is not a declaration of which children are by what wife. Wills are written to make the people actually named the legal heirs otherwise by Law everything is divided equally among ALL the children (minus the widow's share).
With the arbitrary demarcation people on Ancestry had to greatly backdate the birth years of the oldest girls Rebecca Green (w/o Elijah) and Nancy Vernon (w/o Ebenezer) into the 1790s or very early 1800s to make them fit the earlier marriage. What is the evidence they were that much older? None, and in fact the greatly older birth years are contrary to actual census evidence and typical marriage ages. Nancy Burris Vernon's birth year of 1809 KY is consistent through four census records so that is a solid date. Ancestry users have her linked to an unrelated Nancy Burris in Virginia and other places. Rebecca Burris Green was married in 1831 and if you subtract the average marriage age of 20 you get she was born about 1811± 3 years. I suspect she was born either before or after Nancy so her birth year would be 1808 or 1810. Many Ancestry users have her listed with a birth year of 1795 and birthplace of Virginia when no records would suggest either. It is doubtful she would have married Elijah Green at age 35. If Rebecca was married in 1831 Cole county, Missouri it's more likely she was the female listed in the Walter Burris household on 1830 census (Cole county, Missouri) who was aged 20-29.
Walter and Lydia's actual marriage date and place was May 28, 1807 in Clark county, Kentucky. With this real marriage date and place finally established in 2015 the arbitrary backdating and false division of the children crumbles. The information repeated on Ancestry is a house of cards supported by no actual records. The real evidence tells us that all the children (except much older Henry) are by Lydia Barnes. All their children's birth years (except much older Henry) fall neatly after their May 28, 1807 marriage date and the new timeline supports this.
It's possible that Walter's will actually does leave out still unknown older children by the first wife about the same age as Henry (1790 SC). Henry's inclusion in the will may be because he was able to handle the execution of the estate being a county judge. So there may be an intended division but it's not meant to separate Lydia's older children into a group consisting of children of the first wife just into the group of unnamed older married children some of which just happen to be by the first wife and some by the second wife. Clearly the 1807 marriage date supports that most of the mentioned children are by Lydia based on their birth years. Oct 2016 update: Henry Burris's admin bond lists an additional son John Burris.
Lydia Cole who?
The original source is evidently a March 1973 and March 1974 issue of "Vernon Vignettes". The 1973 volume says "EBENEZER married NANCY OR SUSIE COLE, granddaughter of Col. ROBERT COLE, who was one-half Choctaw Indian." The 1974 volume says " Ebenezer "Nazer" Vernon (1808; Will in Miller Co., Mo. Oct. 13, 1851) md. NANCY SUSIE COLE, granddaughter of Col. ROBT. COLE, "One half Cherokee Indian," after whom Cole Co., Mo., was named." (Notice that in 1973 it was "Nancy OR Susie Cole" and in 1974 it was "Nancy Susie Cole")
This has been misinterpreted as saying Nancy's mother Lydia WAS a Cole and that Nancy or Lydia's nickname was "Susie". The part printed as "Nancy or Susie Cole" SHOULD have been printed instead as "Nancy ------- OR Susie Cole." Actually there was no such person as Nancy Cole or Lydia Cole. We know that Ebenezer Vernon married Nancy Burris (multiple sources) by 1826 but no actual marriage record has been found yet. There is no connection anyways to Col. Robert Cole who was a prominent person in the Choctaw Nation in Mississippi. Lydia was born in South Carolina and therefore could not have been Choctaw Indian anyways just based on birthplace. Walter Burris and Robert Cole could have never met in the first place given where they lived. I'm not ruling out any Indian heritage on Lydia's side because her parents are still a mystery but it's certainly not via the Cole family.
It also appears the writer of that Vernon genealogy somehow got the name Col. Robert Cole mixed up with Capt. Stephen Cole (and Hannah Cole) who actually WERE part of the original group of 10 families that settled Boonville, MO around 1811 including the families of Walter Burris and David Burris. See the "History of Cooper County, Missouri" for the information. I had originally listed "Cole?" on my page until 2015 but had no evidence.
We now know Lydia's last name was Barnes because of the marriage record of May 28, 1807 Clark co., KY that is mis-transcribed on Ancestry. On Ancestry they have "Burrus" listed as "Burns" and "Lidia" listed as "Lulia". I have verified the actual spellings as "Walter Burrus" and "Lidia Barnes" with an older more accurate transcription (published book) and the original marriage register (LDS film). Walter Burrus (Burrus) has been verified living in Clark county from at least 1804 to 1808 via the tax rolls (LDS film). The surety for the marriage bond was William Barnes, relation unknown. There was a large Barnes family in Estill county, Kentucky (formerly southern Clark county) and Isaiah Burris lived nearby so that's a far more likely location where Walter Burris would have met Lydia Barnes by 1807. The original marriage license is in the Kentucky State Archives in the Chenault family papers. David Chenault M.E. performed the marriage. We still need a photocopy of the actual marriage record not a later typed transcription. Nobody had found the marriage record before because they were looking in the wrong place and wrong time.
The Virginia Walter Burris:
There were TWO different Walter Burris that lived around the same time but far apart. The Virginia Walter Burris can be found on the 1810 and 1820 census in Albemarle county, Virginia and he gave consent for a daughter's marriage in Albemarle county in this period. He was clearly an established resident there. Almost all Ancestry users (200+ trees) with our Walter Burris line repeats the idea that these two different Walter Burris were the exact same person and merge their families into one huge family producing an untenable genealogy.
Here is the census data for the Virginia Walter Burris who is NOT our Walter. Note that the oldest female (assuming they are daughters) would push this Walter's age closer to the 44 years end of the range and make him consistent age-wise with a marriage to Mary Lively on May 1, 1787. Also when Walter Burrus married Mary Lively the record indicates Walter was the son of John Burrus who gave his *consent*. This means the VA Walter Burris was under 18 years old in 1787 and most likely age 17 setting his birth year around 1770.
1800 Tax List of Albemarle Co., VA. Walter Burrass, 2 white males, 4 horses.(Only Walter Burrass in Albemarle Co.)
1805 (Feb 2) Virginia, Albemarle county, Deed Book 15, Page 87, Robert and Judith Burrus and Walter Burrus and wife Mary sold to Charles Lany 63 acres for $200.Located on Buck Island Creek, part of a larger tract where Walter Burrus now lives.
1810 Virginia census, Albemarle county:
Walter Burrus, 1 male under 10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 26-44 [born 1766-1784], 3 females under 10, 1 female 10-15, 2 females 16-25. 9 total
1820 Virginia census, Albemarle county:
Walter Burruss, 1 male under 10, 1 male over 45 [before 1775], 2 females 10-15, 1 female 16-25, 1 female 26-44, 1 person engaged in agriculture. Note that this record is mis-transcribed online as "Walter Burrie Jr" because the transcriber thought the old symbol for a double SS was a capitol J.
Meanwhile OUR Walter Burris is documented living in Laurens county, South Carolina in 1790 (census); Madison county, Kentucky in 1800 (bond) and 1803 (tax roll); in Clark county, Kentucky 1804-1808 (tax rolls); got married in Clark county in 1807 (to Lydia Barnes); migrated to Boonville, Missouri by late 1811 with David Burris (history book); in Howard [Cole] county, Missouri 1812-1830s (various records); and died in Jackson county, Missouri 1839. The birth years and places of his children also support this timeline.
In the early 1800s no one was moving back and forth between places so far apart. The radically different timelines and residences prove beyond doubt these were two DIFFERENT men. Our Walter Burris was NOT the same Walter Burris of Albemarle county, Virginia and was NOT married to Mary Lively.
Possible Native American heritage in the Burris lines:
There ARE stories of Choctaw (or some other tribe) blood in the Burris line but such stories are attached to EVERY family. Lydia (Walter's 2nd wife) was born in South Carolina (2 census) and therefore could not have been Choctaw Indian just based on birthplace. I'm not ruling out any Indian heritage on Lydia's side because her parents are still a mystery but it's certainly not via the Cole family of Mississippi. Walter's great-grandson Isaac Howard (and 3 siblings) " applied in 1906 for the Eastern Cherokee payout (No. 5638). In the hand written letter with the application file he says ". ..our Cherokee blood came through the Howards on my mother's side - is Choctaws and Chickasaws which came through the Burriss..." The problem with this is that our Burris family came from South Carolina which was nowhere near the historic Choctaw or Chicksaw Nations in Mississippi and Alabama. [Albemarle county, Virginia makes it even more impossible.]
If one wanted to force an Indian heritage (which I am not advocating) the best case scenario would be through Walter's unknown mother (if William Burris first married in SC) or Lydia's family in South Carolina where it actually borders the Cherokee and Creek Nations. It seems the Burris family was always on the edge of Indian country wherever they lived. If the Ancestry information was correct (it's not) and Walter's origin was Virginia then obviously there's not Choctaw (or Cherokee) through that route and I doubt there was an Indian population in that area anyways. Actually my alternate South Carolina route for the Burris family actually gives it more a possibility. I don't think it could ever be proven though.
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