Robert Turner Burch Genealogy
The Mysterious Case of Robert Turner Burch
Robert Turner Burch (born 1887-Nov. 24, 1923) was the second-oldest child of
Jefferson Davis Burch (1863-1918) and Alice Leon Medora Blake (1866-1933). His
siblings were Raymond O'Dell Burch (born April 1,
1886), Morton Sewell Burch (born Feb. 24, 1889), Mary Tom Burch (born c. 1893),
Edward Burch (born Sep. 1894), Laura Burch (born Oct. 15, 1897), Martha Lucille
Burch (born Aug. 24, 1901), my grandfather Paul Ray Burch Sr. (born Nov. 24,
1903), Bessie Louis Burch (born March 31, 1906), and Jefferson Burch (born May
Robert Turner Burch, a railroad worker, was shot to death at age 38, in a "soft
drink saloon" in the vicinity of St. Louis on Nov. 24, 1923. According to family
members, the shooting was over a woman. But there are some puzzling questions.
The police weren't called until two hours after the shooting, which seems odd.
Robert died in a Granite City hospital called St. Elizabeth's. Before he died,
Robert had asked to speak to his brother Raymond O'Dell Burch of Iron City, TN,
saying there was something important that he needed to tell him. But according
to a newspaper article he died without making a statement. Also, there was a
question about an insurance policy on his life, with his wife possibly being the
beneficiary. The police were looking for a man named Stanley Dickinson, also a
railroad worker, according to the article. Robert had arrived in Granite City
five days prior to the shooting, coming from Dubois, IL.
compiled by his grand-nephew Michael R. Burch
In the picture below, Robert Turner Burch is on the left and my grandfather Paul
Ray Burch Sr. is on the right.
Paul Ray Burch Sr.
The picture above, left to right, is my grandfather Paul R. Burch Sr., William
Edward Wilson and Lucille Burch Wilson, my grandfather's sister. The picture was
provided by Bettie Joyce Wilson Childers, the daughter of Lucile Burch. William
was the oldest child in the Wilson family, followed by Bettie, then their sister
Marie. The picture below is of my grandfather riding in a buggy with his father,
the lawyer/judge Jefferson Davis Burch.
My grandfather Paul Ray Burch Sr. (1904-1992), was born on November 24, 1904 in
Ethridge, Lawrence County, Tennessee. His parents were Jefferson Davis Burch
(1863-1918) and Alice Leon Medora Blake (1866-1933). The children of Jefferson
Davis Burch and Alice Blake Burch were: Raymond O'Dell Burch (born April 1,
1886), Robert Turner Burch (born 1887-Nov. 24, 1923), Morton Sewell Burch (born
Feb. 24, 1889), Mary Tom Burch (born c. 1893), Edward Burch (born Sep. 1894),
Laura Burch (born Oct. 15, 1897), Martha Lucille Burch (born Aug. 24, 1901),
Paul Ray Burch Sr. (born Nov. 24, 1903), Bessie Louis Burch (born March 31,
1906), Jefferson Burch (born May 4, 1909).
Per Jackie Burch: Morton Sewell Burch may have been married to two women at the
same time. He first married Helen while using the name McFarland; she lived in
Los Angeles, CA. He then married Jean Martin in Little Rock, AR but didn't get
a divorce from Helen. Morton was buried in Ethridge Cemetery and Helen
called from California asking for his body to be
exhumed and re-buried when she arrived there (this per Doris Pennington who
lives in Columbia, Tn.). Morton worked in Montgomery, AL with the title Mineral
Expert (even though he knew nothing about minerals). His name is supposed to be
on a wall in the Alabama State Capitol. He had an office in the State Capitol
and ran for Mayor of Montgomery but lacked a few votes from being elected (per
James's Aunt Jackie). Morton got in trouble for pardoning someone while he was
filling in for the Governor. He freed some prisoners and wasn't supposed to do
that. He received time but was pardoned. During the Great Depression, Morton and
Paul traveled around the country selling land they didn't own. They also sold
silk stockings to get gas money.
According to Bettie
Childers, the granddaughter of J. D. and Alice Burch, she saw a
record of my grandfather's birth in one of those old handwritten books used to
officially record births,
and she recognized her Uncle Paul by his parents and birthdate although for some reason his
name was listed as "unknown." According to the records Bettie saw, he
was born in Ethridge and his mother Alice Blake was born in Blake's Mill.
Ethridge is just a few miles north of Lawrenceburg, which is home to the site of
the Davy Crockett Museum, built where Davy Crockett once lived in a log cabin.
He had a mill very close to Blake's Mill, although I'm not sure if they operated
concurrently. I have seen Crockett in the names of some possible ancestors, but
I'm not sure if there is any direct connection, as of yet. Paul Ray Burch Sr.
was married three times: (1) Lillian Christine McAdams, (2) Darkis Mary "Dottie"
Stepp, (3) Marian Ruth Wheeler (Hester). His first marriage produced my father,
Paul Ray Burch Jr. His second marriage produced my aunt Sandra Jane Burch, who
died in a flash flood at age ten. His third wife, whom everyone called "Ruth"
had a daughter named Pauline Hester, but I believe she was "grown and flown"
before they married, and was already living elsewhere. I found a 1940 census
record that shows Ruth and Pauline Hester living with Otha Hester in
Shelbyville, Bedford Co., TN. His full name may have been Samuel Otha Hester. I
found a record of their marriage in Shelbyville in 1930, and it seems that her
maiden name was Wheeler, and her father's name was W. O. Wheeler. When Ruth
married my grandfather on July 31, 1971, she was living at 216 Chilton Avenue in
Nashville (a house I remember well, and fondly). He was 68 and she was 62, so
they weren't exactly spring chickens. She must have told
the clerk that her name was "Mrs. Ruth Hester" and then remembered the
"Marian" because her first name appears above the rest of her name with an
insertion mark. I remember Ruth well. She was a small woman, nice but on the
quiet side, with a "permanent tan" because of some sort of medical/chemical
reaction that left her skin with a grayish-silver tinge.
My grandmother Lillian Christine McAdams Burch Lee was married twice, first to Paul Ray Burch Sr.,
then to Eric Carlton Lee [1904-1984]. She was born on March 9, 1915 and died on
October 31, 1991.
This is according to her official Certificate of Death issued by the state of
Tennessee, which lists her birthplace as Shelbyville, Tennessee. She lies buried
at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville, next to her second husband Eric Lee and son Paul Ray Burch Jr. Her parents were Jim McAdams (1874-1968) and Carrie
Owen McGowan (1885-1939). I have also seen her mother's last name spelled McCowan. According to the
1920 US Census, both her parents were born in Tennessee, and the family lived in
Shelbyville, Bedford Co., Tennessee. Jim McAdams was 46 at the time, meaning that he was born
around 1874, and Carrie McAdams was 35, meaning that she was born around 1885.
Jim McAdams had stepdaughters named Ruby Thompson, Bessie Thompson, Johnnie
Thompson and Annie Thompson. So it seems likely that Carrie McAdams had been Carrie
Thompson by a previous marriage. There is a Marshall County, Tennessee marriage
license dated August 21, 1901 for a Miss Carrie McGowan and a J. N. Thompson, so
she may have been married at the tender age of sixteen, or thereabouts.
According to a Tennessee marriage license issued in Williamson County, Mr. Paul
Burch and Miss Lillian Lee were married on July 11, 1931. His address was
registered as Lawrenceburg and hers as Nashville. According to the license, she
was 18 and he was in his 20s, although his age is hard to decipher on the
certificate. I believe he was around 26 or 27 at the time. The document was
signed by Mrs. Carrie McAdams, relationship mother.
The 1947 Nashville City directory shows Paul R. Burch, a truck driver, living at
318 Stratford Ave. with his second wife, Darkis M. Burch. A 1956 Nashville City
directory shows him as a truck driver for C. B. Ragland and living on Meridian
Street with his wife "Dottie."
Another Williamson County
marriage license dated June 30, 1926 shows Eric C. Lee marrying Mary Wilkinson.
I believe her full name was Mary Alice Wilkinson Lee. Another marriage license
dated December 4, 1948, announces the marriage of Eric Carlton Lee to Lillian
Christine Burch, both of Nashville, Tennessee. That marriage license was issued
by the City of Rossville, Walker County, Georgia. Since they both lived in
Nashville, and educated guess is that one of them had close relatives who lived
in the Rossville area. Rossville lies just south of Chattanooga, on the
According to a Memorial Contract by Eric Lee for a monument to be erected at
Nashville's Mount Olivet Cemetery, his father was James H. Lee (1879-1968) and
his mother was Carrie Lee (1881-1951). The contract was dated February 6, 1968,
so it seems that his father died on or before that
date, since both death dates were known. According to a Tennessee delayed birth
certificate for Eric Lee, his father's full name was James Henry Lee and his
mother's maiden name was Carrie Edwards. His date of birth was given as October
According to the 1940 US Census, Paul Burch and Lillian Burch were living in
Nashville on Fifth Avenue South with their son Paul Burch Jr. My father's birth
certificate, dated July 27, 1933, shows their address as being 935 Fifth Ave.
South. My grandfather's trade at the time of my father's birth was listed as a
"caddy [something] at Shelby Park" where he had worked for one year and was
presently employed. Later in life, he worked as a truck driver for C. B.
Ragland. When I was a boy, and
all the time I knew her until the end of her life approached, Lillian Lee lived at 1200
Sixth Avenue South, where she and her second husband Eric Lee owned and operated
a small grocery store. I think it was called Lee's Grocery. I believe Eric Lee had four children by a prior marriage:
James Henry "Jimmy" Lee,
William "Billy" Lee, Erith Marie Lee, and Juanita Carolyn Lee.
Family Tree and History
Various roots of my family tree appear in the genealogy below (some of the dates
are approximations or educated guesses; the more distant in time the more
questionable some of the dates become).
In most cases there seems to be no way to "prove" a connection except to do DNA
testing. But, while it may seem unlikely to claim blood connections to William
the Conqueror and Charlemagne, from what I have read it really isn't that
unusual. It seems royals of the past were often remarkably fecund, and they had
lots of opportunities to pass on their genes to both legitimate and illegitimate
The early activity in Virginia centers around the original Jamestown colony,
generally moving in a southwest direction. (Surry County adjoins Jamestown City
County to the south and Isle of Wight County adjoins Surry County. All three
counties lie on the James River. Wythe County and Southampton County lie nearby
to the southwest, while Wake County is a bit further off in the same direction.)
The settlement at Jamestown became permanent around 1610, and people in my
family tree began arriving there as early as 1632, so they were among the first
generation of permanent English settlers in North America, although they were
not the very first to arrive, but came in the "second wave." Some of the early
Jamestown settlers related to the Burches include Edward Champion, Alice
Champion, William Blake, Thomas Blake and Samuel Blake. Associated family names
include Phillippi/Phillippe, Schupp/Schoop/Shupe/Shutte, Sessums, Stuart,
Tolbert, Krieger/Crigger/Creager, Mercer, Burgess, and of course Burch/Bursch.
According to some Burch family members, Martha Johnson (1810-1875) was a first cousin of
President Andrew Johnson. Her
father, Richard Johnson, said to have been the future president's uncle, may
have helped finance the family's move to Tennessee through a series of
documented land sales, although the purpose remains a matter of speculation. But
in any case, Andrew Johnson did end up in Columbia, not far away from his cousins, if
they were indeed his cousins.
Rev. John MacGowan (1726-1780) was a famous Methodist preacher and author in his
day. A friend and associate of John Wesley, his collected writings in two
volumes can be found in the John Adams library. The book has his portrait,
although I have not seen it myself. He also fought on the side of
Bonnie Prince Charlie at the 1746 Battle of Culloden, the last major battle on
John MacGowan's son, the Rev. Ebenezer MacGowan (1767-1850), may have started
the first Methodist church in the Nashville area. Ebenezer MacGowan was born in Greater London, emigrated to the states, then moved to
Tennessee in 1816, where he founded the Bethel Methodist Church in Rutherford Co., revising the
prior name "Bear Wallow" to something more biblical. Apparently, Ebenezer MacGowan
first built a two-story log house where he preached until the church proper was
built. I found an article that said he was short and would preach from the
stairs so that his audience could see him. According to "The History of the
Bethel Church" by J. T. Sanders, the first church, also built with logs and
measuring 22x24 feet, was created in 1817 or 1818. Sanders said that Ebenezer MacGowan
purchased 1,100 acres for $2,500 and donated four acres to the church. A more
modern church was built in 1887 with the original building being converted into
a schoolhouse. According to Sanders, four great-grandsons of Ebenezer MacGowan
were members and officials of the church. One of those grandsons was undoubtedly
my great-grandfather, the Rev. Samuel Wesley McGowan (1857-1936)
The history of the Virginia Blakes may be traceable back to the first Robert de Blakeland, who was born in 1164 in Calne, Wiltshire, England. I'm not sure if
the chain is completely accurate, or entirely unbroken, but it certainly is
interesting. It seems possible that the family that came to be known as "de
Blakeland" was descended from a French (Norman) knight aligned with William the
Conqueror, who of course earned his title by conquering England in 1066. After
his victory, King William needed Norman knights to help keep the ornery natives
subdued, so he awarded his warriors captured lands
by the cartloads in return for their fealty. He then set about on a massive
campaign of castle-building, to consolidate his gains. If the French knight's family name
was something like Blanc (White/Fair/Pure), the awarded lands surrounding their
castle could be called "the Blancs' land," which could easily become "de Blakeland"
once anglicized. Later, from what I have read, another Robert de Blakeland
decided to get rid of the "de" and "land," and became simply Robert Blake,
starting a new trend (and perhaps restoring the original family name, now
anglicized, in the
process). The Wiltshire region was obviously very important to King William
because there was a royal residence and hunting ground at Marlborough
Castle, just four years after the conquest. Its seems quite possible
that one of William's more capable knights would have been put in charge of the area,
bequeathing it his family name. Another possibility is that the French family took its
name from the land. Wiltshire is famous for its chalk hills and the figures,
such as white horses, that have been cut into them by removing grass from
strategic areas. Two thirds of Wiltshire lies on chalk and its highest point is
called Milk Hill. Also one of its major exports at the time was wool. So perhaps
the area was called "the white land" in French, and "de Blakeland" was merely
used to denote that Robert of the White Land was a different person than Robert
de Someplace Else.
Blake is an interesting name because it sounds like the French word for "white"
and the English word for "black." In Old English "blaec"
meant someone who had dark hair or skin, while
"blaac" meant someone with pale hair or skin.
Because the Virginia Blakes seemed to hail from southwestern England, I think a
case can be made for believing that they just might have been descendents of
Robert de Blakeland, who was quite probably a direct descendent of one of William the
Conqueror's most capable Norman knights. And we know that much of southwest
England was awarded to William's half-brother Robert de Mortragne. Men like him and their descendents would turn a
tiny island into a global empire on which the sun famously never set ...
Some of the early Blake information below comes from ANCESTRY OF EDWARD WALES BLAKE AND
CLARISSA MATILDA GLIDDEN WITH NINETY ALLIED FAMILIES, compiled and typed by
Edith Bartlett Sumner.
Genealogy / Family Tree
The abbreviation CG means "current generation," or my generation. CG-11 means
"eleven generations in the past." The state abbreviations indicate
the state of birth of the child, which is normally also the parents'
state of residence at the time. "Co." means "county" and "m." means married.
Please keep in mind that some of the connections in generations CG-15 to CG-11
are "seems like" rather than absolute facts. It is not completely clear where
the Blakes who ended up at the Jamestown colony in Virginia came from
originally. There are some "best guesses" involved. But once the Burches, Blakes
and other direct ancestors were established in Virginia, their movement into
North Carolina and Tennessee became more definitive.
Humphrey William Blake, Mayor of Bridgewater (1500-1588) m. Agnes
Littleton James (1501-): bore John Blake (Somerset, England)
Edward Echingham (1475-1527) and Anne Everard (1487-1538): parents of Mary
Echingham (Suffolk, England)
Thomas Blennerhassett (1461-1531) and Margaret
Braham (?-1561): parents of John Blennerhassett (Suffolk, England)
William Atkyns II (1510-1614) m. Ammy Atkyns (1521-1600): parents of Sir Henry
Atkins (Sandy, Bedfordshire, England)
John Lyon, Lord of Glamis (1491-1528) m. Lady Janet Archibald Douglas
(1495-1537): parents of John Lyon IV (Middlesex, England)
Humphrey Sanchett (1456-?) m. Unknown: parents of Isabel Sanchett
John "the Elder" Blake (1521-1576) m. Mabel Coverte
(1563-1633): parents of William Blake IV (Bridgewater, England)
Champion (~1450-1550) m. Isabel Sanchett (?-1486): parents of Sir Richard
Champion (St. Enoder, Cornwall, England)
Starre (1530-1594) m. Agnes Starre (1530-1590): parents of Joane Starre (Bermondsey,
Blennerhassett, M.P. and Steward of Norwich (1493-1573) m. Mary Echingham
(1526-1571): parents of Frances Blennerhassett
Henry Atkins (~1530-1628) m. Frances Edwards (1547-1610): parents of Lord George
Atkins (Bristol, Gloucestershire, England)
(Bartholomew?) Thorne (1540-1640) m. Unknown: parents of Hugh Thorne (Pitminster,
Captain Twedy/Tweedy (1552-1572) m. Unknown: parents of Dorothy Tweedy (Andover,
John Lyon IV (1510-1592) m. Joan or Jean (1514-1537): parents of Lord William
Lyon (Little Stanmore, Middlesex, England)
William Giles Blake IV (1568-1642) m. Dorothy Tweedy (1569-1647): parents of
William Giles Blake V (Bristol, England)
Richard Champion (1495-1566) m. Joan Starre (1550-1641): parents of George
Champion (St. Enoder, Cornwall, England)
George Atkins (1550-1632) m. Frances Blennerhassett (1555-1600): parents of
Grace Atkens (Bedfordshire, England)
Hugh Thorne (1568-1616) m. Ede West (1572-1594): parents of Agnes Thorne (Pitminster,
William Lyon (1540-1624) m. Isabell Wightman (1559-11593): parents of William
Lyon (Heston, London, England)
John Carter (1574-1630) m. Bridget Benion (1578-1630): parents of Anne Carter (Heston,
CG-12: William Giles Blake V (1594-1663) m. Agnes Thorne
(1594-1678): parents of William Giles Blake VI (Bristol, Somerset, England)
Atkens (1582-?) m. Grace Atkens (1580-1618): parents of Elizabeth Atkens
(Cardington, Bedfordshire, England)
(1584-1633) m. Anastasia Leibfried (1580-1633): parents of Konrad
Christof Zangmeister (Sulzburg, Germany)
Lyon (1580-1634) m. Anne Carter (1594-1634): parents of Anna Lyon (Dorchester,
Champion (1559-1620) m. Jone Sleape (1563-): parents of Edward Champion (Helston,
CG-11: Gilbourd Burch (1600-1660) m. Marie (1605-1655): parents of John
(Southwick, Hampshire, England)
(1613-1690) m. Barbara Metzger (1628-1674): parents of Agness Burch
(Germersheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)
Giles Blake VI (1620-1703) m. Anna Lyon (1620-1693): parents of Thomas Blake (Bristol,
Edvardus Champion (1602-1668) m. Elizabeth Atkens (1613-1670):
parents of Edward Champion II (Isle of Wight Co., VA)
John Moore Sr. (1614-1677) m. Abigail Pinney (1618-1677): parents of Priscilla
Moore (Hartford, CT)
Georg Kappel (~1620-) m. Unknown: parents of Anna Margaretha Kappel (Traunstein, Germany)
Hans Phillippi (1643-1714) m. Anna Ottilia (1650-1717): parents of Johannes
Phillippi (Volksberg, Alsace, France)
Mercer (1590-?) m. Elizabeth Ruston (1595-?): parents of Christopher Mercer (Stepney
Tristram Norsworthy (1604-1656) m. Ann Norsworthy (1608-1656): parents of
Johannah Norsworthy (Middlesex, England)
Richard Biggs (1559-1626) m. Anne Juxon (1595-1616): parents of John Biggs
(Southampton, Hampshire, England)
Christof Zangmeister (1620-1693) m. Maria Goelzhorn (1627-1686): parents of
Friedrich Zangmeister (Kandel, Germany)
Simson (?) m. Mary (?): parents of Mary Simson
Champion was born in Helston, Cornwall, England; he came to Jamestown, VA on a ship owned by William Swann
and Elizabeth Champion were married in Isle of Wight County in 1632, just south
first child, Phillis Champion (1632-1691) was born the same year; she married
her husband's death in 1668, Elizabeth married a planter named Joseph Poole/Pool in 1669
Moore Sr. was born in Southwold, Suffolk, England; he died September 18, 1677 in
Windsor, Hartford, CT
Pinney was born in Devonshire, England; she died December 22, 1677 in Windsor,
CG-10: John Burch (1618-1668) m. Ann Dennis (1620-): parents of Richard
Johannes VonSchlemp (1668-1726) m. Agness Burch (1665-1726):
parents of Georg Simon Von Schlemp (Kandel, Germany)
Thomas Blake (1640-1708) m. Alice Champion (1643-1709):
William Blake  (Isle of Wight Co., VA)
Edward Champion II (1635-?) m. Priscilla Moore (1635-?): parents of Alice
George Schoop (1684-1757) m. Maria Barbara Schaffner (1678-1760) parents of
Heinrich (Henry) Shupe
Johannes Phillippi (1660-1705) m. Elizabeth Ensminger (1670-1705): parents of
Johannes Phillippi (Volksberg, Alsace, France)
(1646-) m. Katherine (?): parents of Mary Sessoms (Lawnes Creek Parish, Surry Co.,
Friedrich Eberhart Zangmeister (1662-1738) m. Anna Margaretha Kappel
(1673-1730): parents of Anna
Zangmeister (Kandel, Germany)
Wilhelm Derting (1681-1754) m. Maria Magdelena Derting (1682-1763): parents of
John Adam Derdeng/Derting (Germany)
John Biggs (1615-1694) m. Johannah Norsworthy/Sawyer (1622-1694): parents of
Katherine Biggs (Norfolk, VA)
Phillip Wisman (1715-1788) m. Catherine Elizabeth (1718-1808): parents of Mary
Wisman (Laural, KY)
Christopher Mercer (1612-1670) m. Mary Simson (1624-1667): parents of
Thomas Mercer (St Dunstan, Middlesex, England)
seems to be some doubt as to whether Alice Champion was the daughter or
granddaughter of the first Edward Champion
Nicholas Sessoms applied with the Five Nations to be accepted
as a Choctaw and claimed several other family members on his application.
CG-9: Richard Burch
(1640-) m. Ann Topley (1640-): parents of Thomas Burch I (Flamstead,
William Blake (1680-1746) m. Mary Sessums (1685-1746): parents of Thomas
Blake  (Southampton Co., VA)
Shupe (1704-1762) m. Catherine Finger (1722-1754): parents of Johannes Schupp/Shoop/Shupe
Georg Simon Von Schlemp
(1695-1773) m. Anna Margaretha Zangmeister (1697-1742): parents of Anna Schlemp (Wythe, VA)
John Jacob Krieger
(~1724-1806) m. Anna Barbara Brandstetter (?): parents of Hans Michael Krieger (Froschen
(1698-1763) m. Maria Christina Cleiss (1698-1738): parents of Johannes Adam
Phillippi (Volksberg, Alsace, France)
(1700-1755) m. Elizabeth Stainforth (1702-1751): parents of John MacGowan
(1648-1718) m. Katherine Biggs (1655-1718): parents of Catherine Mercer
(Norfolk, Independent Cities, VA)
John Adam Derdeng/Derting
(1720-1776) m. Anna Barbara Mueller (1720-1756): parents of Phillip Garrad Derting/Dutton
Major Robert Harris
(1696-1765) m. Mourning Glenn (1702-1755): parents of Elizabeth Harris
Hirper/Harper (?) m. Mary (?): parents of Mary Harper (Shropshire, England)
(1685-1758) m. Unknown (?): parents of James Stuart (?)
William Roe (?) m.
Mary (?): parents of John Roe (Chester, SC)
Phillip Garrad Derting
(1738-1776) m. Mary Wisman (1735-1778) or Barbara Grinsler (1730-1776): parents of John Dutton (Germany)
Shupe was born in Heidelberg, Mannheim, Baden, Germany, and died in Heidelberg
Township, Lancaster Co., PA
William Blake left
a will that established his relationships to Mary Sessums and Thomas Blake
CG-8: Thomas Burch
I (1681-1720) m. Anna Hammond (1687-?): parents of Thomas Burch II (Flamstead,
Thomas Blake [I] (1710-1789) m. Margaret Early/Buchanan
(~1710-1740): parents of Samuel Blake (VA)
"Phillip" Dutton (1758-1810) m. Catherine Mercer (~1750-1827): parents of
Catherine "Caty" Dutton
(Wythe Co., VA)
Nicholas Reddick (1710-?) m. Katherine (1724-?): parents of Amey
Reddick (Southampton Co., VA)
(1730-1812) m. Anna Catherine Slemp/VonSchlemp/Schlemb/Slimp: parents of John
Thomas Shupe (VA)
Krieger (1762-?) m. Christina [?]: parents of Henry Creager (VA)
(1718-1807) m. Catherine Mary: parents of Mary Krieger (VA)
Phillippi (1736-1800) m. Maria Eva Barbara Eichelberger (?): parents of
Christian Phillippi (Wythe Co., VA)
(1726-1780) m. Mary Harper (1725-1815): parents of Ebenezer MacGowan (London,
(1715-1774) m. Elizabeth Harris (1733-1788): parents of William Clements
Woodson Daniel (1736-1791) m. Nancy Gouge/Gourge (1729-1847): parents of Elizabeth
Daniel (Granville, NC)
(1718-1783) m. Agnes (?): parents of James Stuart (?)
(~1746-) m. Unknown: parents of Thomas Moore (?)
(1718-1802) m. Sarah John (?): parents of Pattey Martha Roe (?)
Adam Phillippi: served with Capt. Buchanan's Co. of the Virginia Militia during
the Revolutionary War
John MacGowan was a
close friend of John Wesley and a noted preacher and author in his own right
fought with Bonnie Prince Charlie at the 1746 Battle of Culloden, the last major
battle on English soil
CG-7: Thomas Burch II
(1710-1787) m. Elizabeth Hammond (1687-?): parents of William Henry Burch (Caroline,
Samuel Blake (1735-1807) m. Amey Reddick (1737-1818): parents of Thomas
Blake (Southampton Co., VA)
(1755-1835) m. Elizabeth Daniel (1765-1847): parents of Virginia Mary "Polly" Clements (VA)
(1788-?) m. Margaret Cline (1790-?): parents of Ambrose Crigger (VA)
(~1777-1843) m. Catherine "Caty" Dutton (1780-1826): parents of Elizabeth Phillippe
(Wythe Co., VA)
John Thomas Shoop/Shupe
(~1765-1850) m. Louisa "Lucy" Farguson (1770-1848): parents of Ferguson Shupe
(Wythe Co., VA)
MacGowan (1767-1850) m. Sally Stell (1770-1793): parents of John MacGowan
(Dinwiddie Co., VA)
William Holmes (?)
m. Sarah Merritt/Mariott/Mariotte (?): parents of Sarah "Sallie" Ann Holmes
(Mecklenburg Co., VA)
(1742-1777) m. Martha Majors (?): parents of William Samuel Stuart (Caswell Co.,
Thomas Burgess, Jr.
(1714-1792) m. Mary Warren (1715-1792): parents of Nancy Burgess (Orange Co.,
Triplett Sr. (~1770-) m. Catherine (?): parents of Nimrod Duncan Triplett Jr.
(1766-1837) m. Pattey Martha Roe: parents of Dorothy "Dolly" Moore (Chester, SC)
(~1710) m. Unknown: parents of Mary Ann Lawrence (Haw River, Surry, NC)
(1756-1834) m. Mary Lotz (1756-1840): parents of Lydia Taylor (Orange, Orange
(1745-1792) m. Nancy Harris (1768-?): parents of Dr. James Johnson (Russell, VA)
MacGowan was born in Greater London, emigrated to the states, then moved to
Tennessee in 1816
MacGowan founded the Bethel Methodist Church in Rutherford Co., TN, revising the
prior name "Bear Wallow"
CG-6: William Henry Burch
(1744-1817) m. Mary Ann Lawrence (1740-1785): parents of Henry Burch (Rowan Co., NC)
Thomas Samuel Blake (1779-1840) m.
Virginia Mary "Polly" Clements (1770-1813): parents of
Philip Blake (Wake Co., NC)
Ambrose/Americus Vespucius Crigger
(1810-?) m. Elizabeth Phillippe (1815-?): bore Margaret Catherine Crigger
(Wythe Co., VA)
(1809-1872) m. Catherine/Katherine Lanter (1817-?): parents of John Daniel Shupe
(1787-1852) m. Sarah "Sallie" Ann Holmes (1792-1833): parents of Thomas Merritt
Stuart (1762-1831) m. Nancy Burgess (1762-1818): parents of Agnes Stuart
(Caswell Co, NC)
(?) m. Patience Mann (?): parents of Martha Johnson (NC), possible cousin of
President Andrew Johnson
--or-- Dr. James
Johnson (1790-1855) m. Lydia Taylor (1795-1855): parents of Martha Johnson (NC)
Triplett Jr. (1790-1861) m. Dorothy "Dolly" Moore (?): parents of Margaret
After Ambrose Crigger
died of typhus during the Civil War; Elizabeth Crigger and family
relocated to Marshall Co., TN
CG-5: Henry (Clay?) Burch
(1772-1837) m. Mary Agnes Stuart (1786-1880): parents of Stephen Carroll Burch
(Caswell Co., NC)
Philip Blake (1808-1889) m. Martha Johnson (1805-1875/1878): parents of Henry
Johnson Blake (Wake Co., NC)
John Daniel Shupe
(1840-1862) m. Margaret Catherine Crigger (1835-?): parents of Dillie Tolbert
Shutte (Wythe Co., VA)
McGowan (1825-1901) m. Martha P. Rodgers (1832-1863): parents of Samuel Wesley McGowan
(Rutherford Co., TN)
Mitchell m. Margaret Triplett (1840-): parents of Margaret Mary "Tom" Mitchell
Mitchell received a land grant for 67 acres of land in Mississippi, where they
built a plantation
John Daniel Shupe
served in Company D. 45th Virginia Infantry Minute Men and died in the Civil War
CG-4 Captain Stephen Carroll Burch (~1826-1884) m. Margaret Mary Mitchell
(1844-1869): parents of Jefferson Davis Burch (Perkinsville, MS)
Henry Johnson Blake
(1828-1911) m. Sarah C. Garton (1843-1898): parents of Alice Leon Medora Blake
(Lawrence Co., TN)
Rev. Samuel Wesley
McGowan (1857-1936) m. Dillie May Shutte (1861-1947): parents of Carrie Owen
Burch served in the Tennessee 54th Regiment during
the Civil War; he was promoted to captain on April 16, 1862
daughter Mary E. "Mollie" Shupe married the colorfully named Valentine Orphero
(1831-1911) m. Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle (1843-1900): parents of Christine
Alice Spouse (Plumstead, Kent, England)
CG-3 Jefferson Davis Burch (1863-1918) m. Alice Leon Medora Blake
(1866-1933): parents of Paul Ray Burch Sr. (Lawrence Co., TN)
Jim McAdams (?) m. Carrie McGowan (1885-1939): parents of Lillian
(?) m. Christine Alice Spouse (1881-1968): parents of Christine Ena Spouse [see "The
Mysterious Case of Christine Alice Spouse"]
Spouse was an abandoned baby; the names of her parents on her birth certificate may not
Carrie Owen McGowan
had a prior marriage to a J. H. Thompson in Marshall Co., TN, in 1901 (or
perhaps J. N. Thompson)
CG-2: Paul Ray Burch Sr. (1904-1992) m. Lillian Christine McAdams (1915-1991): parents of
Paul Ray Burch Jr. (Nashville, TN)
George Edwin Hurt
Sr. (1907-1998) m. Christine Ena Spouse (1905-1984): parents of Christine Ena Hurt (England)
CG-1: Paul Ray Burch Jr. (1933-2013) m. Christine Ena Hurt (1936-): parents of Mike
Burch, Sandra Burch, Debby Burch
Sandra Jane Burch (1945-1955) was
the stepsister of Paul Ray Burch
Jr.; she drowned in a flash flood on March 21, 1955
Sandra Jane Burch's
mother was Darkis Mary "Dottie" Stepp
George Edwin Hurt
Jr. (1931-2012), Beryl Hurt Holland, Barbara Hurt Gallagher, Colin Hurt (all England)
CG: Michael Ray Burch (1958-) m. Elizabeth Harris
(1967-): parents of
Jeremy Michael Burch
Sandra Jane Burch
m. Wayne Boyte: parents of Scott Boyte and John Boyte;
was named after her aunt who died in a flash flood
Burch m. Walter White:
parents of Samantha White and Garrett White
CG+1: Scott Boyte m. Michelle Umboh: parents of Alaya Boyte and Aryanna Boyte
John Boyte m. Samantha Boyte
Jeremy Michael Burch
CG+2: Alaya Boyte
Footnotes to the condensed Genealogy above
There is a November 9, 1703
Wedmore burial register entry for an Edvardus Champion de Blackford, so a
Blake connection is possible
Blackford, Wedmore, Wiltshire and Helston are in southwestern England, so
perhaps the Jamestown Champions and Blakes were related
When I wondered how far back in time the Blackford/Blakeland name went, it
appeared on the very first page, dated 1561
There is also a Poole in the 1561 entries, a name we quickly encountered in the
Jamestown, Virginia area
The name Champeon (Champion, Campion) also appears in the 1561 entries
The name Blake appears on the second page, in the 1562 entries
When I did a Google search for "Blake de Blackford" I immediately found a Thomas
Blake de Blackford (1613, in the same book)
All this could be coincidental, but at the very least these are ancient names of
people who lived in close proximity for many centuries
CG-3 and earlier:
While I'm not sure about the picture below, the woman's features make me suspect
that she may be Lillian Lee's mother or grandmother, with a strong dose of
Native American blood, said to be Cherokee by my father and grandmother.
The name Carrie McAdams appears as the mother on the July 11, 1931 marriage
certificate (Williamson County) of Paul Burch and Lillian McAdams. But a family member says that she thinks the picture
below may be of Mary
McGowan Collins, the sister of Rev. Samuel Wesley McGowan.
Carrie Owen McGowan was born in Tennessee on March 13, 1885. She was the
daughter of Rev. Samuel Wesley McGowan (1857-1936) and Dillie May Shutte (both
born in Tennessee). I have also seen her mother's name listed as Dillie Tolbert
Shupe. On the death certificate of her son Scott Allan McGowan, her maiden name
is listed as Dillie Talbert, suggesting that she may have been born a Talbert. Did Cherokee blood enter our family through Carrie McGowen's mother,
Dillie, or one of her children? I believe Dillie was born in Wythe County,
Virginia on March 5, 1861 and that she died in Nashville, Davidson County,
Tennessee on June 15, 1947. Whatever her parentage, it seems
Dillie was raised by Margaret Crigger Shupe, the wife of
John Daniel Shupe and the daughter of Ambrose Crigger and Elizabeth Phillippi.
According to a book written about these two courageous pioneer women, after they
lost their husbands during the Civil War, they loaded 27 family members into
three covered wagons and went to make a new start in Tennessee, with a
two-year-old Dillie Shupe in tow. A later census shows Margaret Crigger living
with Dillie and her husband, or perhaps they were living in her house.
There is a marriage license between Samuel W. McGowan and Dillie T. Shupe dated
February 27, 1879. The previous day there was a marriage contract (marriage
bond?) for $1,200 by a "Samual Westley McGowan" with an age listed as 17,
presumably the age of the bride-to-be. I have seen the former document listed in
the Tennessee State Marriage Index 1780-2002, but I have not seen any official
evidence of the contract/bond. Samuel Wesley McGowan and his daughter Carrie
Owen McGowan lie buried side-by-side at Santa Fe Cemetery, Maury County,
This is a picture of Dillie Tolbert Shupe McGowan:
This was my father's grandfather, Jefferson Davis Burch (1863-1918), a prominent
lawyer and judge. We learned about him through extended family member James R.
Richards, who has done extensive research into our family history. Jefferson
Davis Burch was born June 6, 1863 in Perkinsville, Winston County, Mississippi.
He died May 6, 1918 in Lawrence County, Tennessee, at age 54. He is buried in
Ethridge Cemetery, in Lawrence County, Tennessee, where many of his children are
also buried. He had eleven children, six of
whom survived to adulthood. The third youngest child was my grandfather, Paul
Ray Burch Sr. (1904-1992) who was born on November 24, 1904 in Ethridge, Lawrence
My grandfather's mother was Alice Leon Medora Blake (1866-1933). She was born on
July 2,1866 in Lawrence, Tennessee and married Jefferson Davis Burch on or
around June 3, 1884. According to her obituary, she died in Sheffield, Alabama on Jan. 19, 1933, at the
home of her daughter, Mrs. O. B. Landis, and she now lies buried in Ethridge
Cemetery, in Lawrence County, Tennessee, beside Jefferson Davis Burch. They
lived on Buffalo Road in Lawrence, Tennessee, according to the 1910 census.
Alice Blake was the daughter of Henry Johnson Blake and Sarah C. (Garton) Blake.
Her obituary mentions that she was a Gorton (Garton) said to be related to
President Andrew Johnson, and that her parents Mr. and Mrs. Henry Blake had
moved to Tennessee from Rawleigh (Raleigh), North Carolina. I have a copy of a family
letter in which Jim H. Blake, a grandson of Philip Blake, said that Henry
Johnson Blake was named after Andrew Johnson and was his second cousin. Their
daughter Laura Burch (1898-1976) married Oscar Bell Landis (1891-1962). I
remember visiting their son Robert Charles Landis (1931-) when I was a boy.
Everyone called him by his first and middle names, "Robert Charles." If I
remember correctly, he was a druggist.
The father of Jefferson Davis Burch was Captain Stephen Carroll Burch (1826-1884) and
his mother was Margaret Mary "Tom" Mitchell (1844-1869). According to their
Mississippi marriage license, dated February 21/22, 1860, she may have spelled her
first name "Margarett" or it could be a typo, as her name also appears without
the double "t." There is a mystery surrounding Jefferson's birth,
because according to
evidence discovered by family member James Richards: "Stephen's wife left him, took young
Jeff, and went home [to Mississippi] and told her family that Stephen had died." Stephen C. Burch served in the Tennessee 54th
Regiment during the Civil War, so his premature death notice
may have sounded plausible at the time. But he survived and was promoted to the
rank of captain on April 16, 1862, according to the official journal of the
Confederate Congress. According to the 1880 census, Stephen C. Burch was a
lawyer and farmer whose mother and father both hailed from North Carolina, as he
did himself. He may have gone by "Captain" after the Civil War, as in the book
"Henryville" by Ruth Dickey, on June 20, 1883 a George Townsend was suspected of
robbing Captain Burch's store in Henryville, Lawrence Co. According to one
account, Stephen and Margaret Mary are buried together in Old Bethel Cemetery in
Lawrence, Tennessee. But according to James Richards that this is incorrect, and
she was actually buried in Mississippi. According to the Old Bethel Cemetery
records, Stephen Carroll Burch was born in 1826 in Bledsoe Co., Tennessee and
died on May 6, 1884, while Margaret Mary Mitchell Burch was born on April 4,
1844 and died on January 9, 1869.
According to Bettie Childers, Mary T. Mitchell's parents owned a big plantation
in Mississippi. They were Thomas Jefferson Mitchell and Margaret Triplett
Mitchell. Thomas received a land grant for 67 acres of land in Mississippi. They
were living in Chester, SC at the time. Margaret Mitchell's father was Nimrod
Duncan Triplett Jr. When the war came, he enlisted in the Mississippi infantry.
Bettie Childers: "One thing I want to share with you is regarding Mary T.
Mitchell, Stephen Burch's wife. You may already be aware of this but we were
always under the impression that she was buried with Stephen in Old Bethel
cemetery. However, we discovered that she went back to Mississippi and
told everyone that Stephen had died. She married a John Wofford on July
21, 1867 and had a child named Callie by him. She died on Jan. 9,1869. We think
she probably died in childbirth. Most of Mary Tom and her family are buried in
Ellison Ridge cemetery in Winston County, MS. However, we still don't know about
Henry W. Burch's mother. Since he was born June 14, 1859 and Stephen married
Mary Tom on Feb. 28, 1860, we think that Henry's mother died in childbirth. We
have tried to find the answer to this, to no avail. Henry's mother is probably
buried in Old Bethel with Stephen. A lot of the Burches are buried in Old Bethel
James Richards has a theory, currently unproven, that William Henry Clay Burch
was the son of Stephen Carroll Burch, and that he was raised by Catherine Burch,
Stephen's sister. According to the theory, when Stephen's wife learned that he
had fathered a child by another woman, she fled back home telling everyone that
her husband was dead. W. H. C. Burch was one of the administrators of Stephen's
will, so there could have been a connection. I have also seen his name rendered
as Henry William Clay Burch.
Henry Johnson Blake (1828-1911) was born on either August 4 or September 4, 1828
near Raleigh in Wake Co., NC. He was the son of Philip Blake and Martha Johnson. He was a
miller (his father Philip Blake also owned a mill), had a tanning yard, and was the Lawrence County Postmaster, a
Church of Christ minister and a schoolteacher. He was married three times. On
September 7, 1853 in Lawrence Co., he married Louisa A. Samford. On March 9,
1865 he married Sarah C. Garton. His third wife was Sally Brooks of Maury Co.,
Tennessee. The 1910 US Census shows him living on Buffalo Road in Lawrence,
Tennessee. He died on Jan 11, 1911 in Ethridge, Lawrence, Tennessee. Sarah C.
Garton (1843-1898) was born on May 9, 1843 in Tennessee and died on Dec. 11,
in Lawrence, Tennessee. From what I have been able to learn, the Blake
men may have been millers by trade, as the younger Reddick Blake was a
prosperous mill owner in Louisiana. But the 1870 census lists Henry J. Blake as
a preacher and the 1880 census lists him as a minister of the gospel, so it
seems he considered his primary occupation to be preaching. Both censuses
confirm that his wife Sarah and daughter Alice were living with him during that
decade. A few lines down on the 1870 census I found the names of his father and
mother, Philip and Martha Blake, ages 66 and 62, respectively. Their home states
were both listed as NC, and Philip's occupation was listed as a grist miller. So
an educated guess would be that they were living very close to each other, and
that Philip Blake was running the family mill while his son Henry concentrated
on preaching. But a family letter (see Phillip Blake below) says that there were
two different mills. Not far away on the same census, I found S. C. Burch, so it
seems probable that Stephen Carroll Burch was a close neighbor. Also, a H. J.
Blake signed the November 18, 1869 will of Elizabeth Burch Revel Ashmore, the
sister of Stephen, so it seems the two families were probably close and on good
terms. Elizabeth named her son Stephen Carroll Ashmore after her brother and her
daughter Agnes Stuart Ashmore after her mother. The 1860 census lists Henry as a
farmer and miller, and living with his first wife Louisa, so it seems possible
that she died young and that he changed professions.
Phillip Blake (1808-1882/1889) was born in 1808 in Wake Co., NC and died April 16,
1882 (or 1889) in Lawrence Co., TN. On November 27, 1827 in Wake Co., NC he married Martha
Johnson. Martha Johnson (1810-1875) was born between 1805 and 1810 in NC and was
the daughter of Richard Johnson and Patience Mann, of Raleigh, Wake Co., NC.
There is a NC marriage bond with their names dated September 22, 1801. Martha
Johnson died August 14, 1875 in Lawrence Co., TN. Several articles of family
lore say that Martha Johnson was related to Andrew Johnson, and this assertion
was made by Sara Love Trigg, but so far the relationship has not been
definitively established. Andrew Johnson lived in nearby in Columbia, Tennessee, where he
was a tailor. President Johnson did have an uncle named Richard Johnson.
(According to Dorothy Burch Richards, Richard Johnson had a brother named Aaron
Johnson who was seven feet tall!) Philip and Martha Blake are buried in a grave
at the Shady Grove Cemetery in Lawrence Co., TN. The grave is marked only by
large field stones. Beside them lie Henry Johnson Blake and one wife, also
marked by large field stones. (This, per two different family members: Jackie
Mae Stutts Burch and another cousin whom James R. Richard met at the cemetery.)
In a family letter, it is said by Jim H. Blake that Philip Blake "had a grist
mill prior to and during the Civil War on the headwaters of Little Buffalo Creek
on [the] present Lawrenceburg-Henryville Road." The same letter says that he
deeded land for the Shady Grove Church of Christ and cemetery, and that he was
an elder in the church. (I believe his son Henry Johnson Blake was a Church of
Christ minister, so he probably preached there.) The letter continues to say
that H. J. Blake had a mill two miles below the old mill site, at the fork of
Watery Fork Creek and Little Buffalo Creek, that the house was called Blake's
Mill, and that there was a post office there. It concludes by saying that the
mill was sold to Alan Kidd and Dr. Meredith in 1876 and renamed Centennial
A BIT OF FAMILY HISTORY
We need family help to weave our family back to the King of Scotland.
Written by Aunt Sadie, embellished—three hundred plus years are missing between
James Stuart and our Agnes Stuart.
Christine Bumby–Allen transcribed her letter.
Sara "Sallie" Melissa Tennessee "Aunt Sadie" Alley
Birth: 21 Aug 1886, Perry, Tennessee, USA
Death: 2 Jan 1987, Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA
A BIT OF FAMILY HISTORY
James Stuart of Scotland was kidnapped when six years old and brought to the
United States to keep from being made King.
Mary Stuart, the next heir, then became Queen of Scotland.
The James Stuart (who was kidnapped) had a son named James.
James Stuart Jr., married Miss Nancy Burgress. They had six children - James
(Jim), John, Lemmie, Katie, Mary and Agnes.
Agnes Stuart married Henry Clay Burch. They had a daughter named Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Burch was first married to John Rebel: to this marriage she had one
daughter, Tennie, who married Alexander Alley.
Elizabeth's second marriage was to Mr. Bloomer Ashmore; to this marriage there
were two children: Agnes Stuart and Stephen Carroll.
Agnes Stuart Ashmore married Jonah E. Thomas Alley - (my father and mother).
Agnes Stuart Ashmore Alley's grand mother was Agnes Stuart, the grand daughter
of the James Stuart who was kidnapped in Scotland and brought to the United
States when six years old.
Lemmie Stuart had two children - Sparkman and Agnes Ann. Agnes Ann married Doc
John Markham was a first cousin to our great grand mother, Agnes Stuart Burch.
He died in Rock Island prison during the Civil War.
Robert Bruce's mother was a Stuart. Robert was in battle during war in Scotland.
He requested his men that if he was slain to take his heart back to Scotland,
which they did take back in a silver casket and buried in some Cathedral.
Johannes (John) Adam Phillippe/Phillippi (1736-1800) was born in Leipzig,
Germany. The Phillippe family occupied professional chairs at the University of
Leipzig, now Karl Marx University, for more than 300 years. Due to religious
pressures, the family moved to England. In 1750 Johannes came to America on the
Phoenix. He first settled in Warwick, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he married
Maria Eichelberger, then moved to Wake Co., Virginia. The Phillippes had
thirteen children, one of whom was my ancestor Christian Phillippe (1777-1843).
Johannes served with Capt. Buchanan's Co. during the Revolutionary War.
Samuel Blake (1735-1807) and Amey Reddick (1740-1818) were the parents of
Thomas Samuel Blake. They lived in Southampton Co, VA, but it seems they moved to Wake
Co., NC, as they both died there.
William Blake (1680-1746) was possibly born about 1680 Notoway Parish, Isle of
Wight County, Virginia. He was married in January 1704 to Mary Sessoms
(1682-1742) at Isle of Wight Co., Virginia. She was the daughter of Nicholas Sessums and Hannah
Culmer. He died March 12, 1745/46, in Southampton County, Virginia. She was born
1682 in Lawnes Creek Parish, Surry County, Virginia, and died after November
1742 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Samuel Blake was their son.
Thomas Blake (1644-1707) was born 1644 in Southwest England, and died January
30, 1706/07 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He married Alice Champion
(1643-1710), the daughter of Edward Champion and Elizabeth Atkens, in 1699. She
was born 1643 in England, and died after January 2, 1709/10 in Isle of Wight
Co., Virginia. They were the parents of William Blake.
 Was "our" Thomas Blake related to the famous Admiral Robert Blake, the
"father of the Royal Navy" who is considered to be the chief architect
of Great Britain's naval supremacy, and whose successes have "never been
excelled, not even by Nelson" according to one biographer? A bequest in Admiral
Blake's will dated 1656 stated: "Item unto Thomas Blake, son of my cousin
William Blake, once commander of the Tresco frigate, deceased, now aboard the
Centurion frigate in the service, I give fifty pounds." According to Helene
Hunt, "This information was furnished by an administrator of the [Blake] Museum.
This Thomas Blake disappeared from the English records after this time. Only
Thomas Blake of Isle of Wight Co., Va., has been suggested as being the Thomas
mentioned in the Admiral's will. After visiting the Blake Museum in 2004, the
curator showed me the files they had on Thomas Blake; also they have information
where he had returned to England and gone back to America. This can also be
found at the College of Arms in London. So I believe that now it is not
circumstantial anymore [but] it is a fact that this is the same Thomas Blake
that came to America." (Helene Hunt, March through June 2004 in England)
"We need family help to weave our family back to the King of Scotland." Written
by Aunt Sadie, embellished—three hundred plus years are missing between James
Stuart and our Agnes Stuart. Christine Bumby–Allen transcribed her letter. Sara
"Sallie" Melissa Tennessee "Aunt Sadie" Alley. Birth: 21 Aug 1886, Perry,
Tennessee, USA. Death: 2 Jan 1987, Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby,
Tennessee, USA. A BIT OF FAMILY HISTORY. James Stuart of Scotland was kidnapped
when six years old and brought to the United States to keep him from being made
King. Mary Stuart, the next heir, then became Queen of Scotland. The James
Stuart (who was kidnapped) had a son named James. This James Stuart, Jr.,
married Miss Nancy Burgress. They had six children: James (Jim), John, Lemmie,
Katie, Mary and Agnes. Agnes Stuart married Henry Clay Burch. They had a
daughter named Elizabeth. Elizabeth Burch was first married to John Rebel: to
this marriage she had one daughter, Tennie, who married Alexander Alley.
Elizabeth's second marriage was to Mr. Bloomer Ashmore: to this marriage there
were two children: Agnes Stuart and Stephen Carroll. Agnes Stuart Ashmore
married Jonah E. Thomas Alley (my father and mother). Agnes Stuart Ashmore
Alley's grandmother was Agnes Stuart, the granddaughter of the James Stuart who
was kidnapped in Scotland and brought to the United States when six years old.
Lemmie Stuart had two children: Sparkman and Agnes Ann. Agnes Ann married Doc
West. John Markham was a first cousin to our great grandmother, Agnes Stuart
Burch. He died in Rock Island prison during the Civil War. Robert Bruce's mother
was a Stuart. Robert was in battle during war in Scotland. He requested his men
that if he was slain to take his heart back to Scotland, which they did take
back in a silver casket and buried in some Cathedral.
Jeff Stewart: This particular letter from Sadie was important to me because it
established that Agnes Stuart Burch did claim a brother by the name of James.
Given that my ancestor James Stewart's children and grandchildren were living
next door to Agnes in 1850, one year after my ancestor James' death in Lawrence
County, TN, I believe Agnes to be my great, great, great aunt. I've had
autosomal DNA and yDNA testing done and would be very interested to compare
results with any of Agnes' descendants who have done autosomal testing. My
autosomal test results have already shown ties to other test subjects who are
descended from the Warren line that Nancy Burgess' mother Mary Warren was part
of. As for the claims of descent from the Royal Stewart line, I can only say
that at the level of yDNA testing I've done to date I've found nothing to
suggest that this line is descended from either King James. That said, I've been
told by one geneticist that my Stewart line's yDNA appears to have suffered a "recLOH"
event that may cause this line to appear more distant from its nearest Stewart
The Burches, the Blakes, the Boytes, the Whites, and their relatives
Disclaimer: I have tried to include as many family members as possible, but
I don't have pictures of everyone, and there are some relatives that
I haven't seen in decades. If anyone would like me add someone to this page,
please email me at
email@example.com. As the oldest grandchild on both sides of the
family, I would like to create a way for the younger generations to
learn more about each other, and stay in touch. But with such a large and
constantly growing family, I'm going to need some help! (Hint, hint.) If the
pictures seem weighted toward my immediate family, it's because those are the
pictures I happen to have in my possession. Contributions from other sources are
Paul Ray Burch Jr. was born on Thursday, July 27, 1933 and died on Saturday,
April 20, 2013 at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul
Ray Burch Sr., his mother, Lillian Christine McAdams Burch Lee, and his sister, Sandra Jane Burch.
He is survived by his loving and always-adored wife of 57 years, Christine Ena
Hurt Burch, his son Michael Ray Burch, his daughters Sandra Jane Burch Boyte and Debra
Leigh Burch White, and their families.
Here's my father, Paul Ray Burch Jr., on the left. This picture was taken on the day of his wedding,
July 14, 1956 at the Parish Church in Mattersey, East Retford, Nottingham,
England. Dad looks quite dashing (and probably more
confident than he actually was, if his wedding was anything like mine). His best
man, standing on the right, was Richard A. Allen. According to the marriage
certificate, my future mother was a 20-year-old "spinster"! (My, how times and
the language have changed.) Dad's profession was listed as an airman first
class, and mom's as a "fell-binder" (which may have been a euphemism, as she
worked at a brassiere factory). His residence was listed as Sturgate AFB,
hers as her parents' house at 22 Priory Close,
Mattersey. Her father's profession was listed as a railway laborer (albeit with
the English spelling "labourer"). There was no mention of her mother in those
chauvinistic times. Robert Wilson was the vicar.
Here are pictures of the love of my father's life: his English rose and my
mother, Christine Ena Hurt (Burch), looking very fair, very English, and very,
The smiling woman behind my mother is her mother,
Christine Ena Spouse Hurt. The man is
her father, George Edwin Hurt Sr.
Here are pictures of my mother and father, before their wedding. The boy in the middle picture is mom's younger brother, Colin Hurt.
Here are pictures from my parents' wedding in Mattersey, England:
But little did my parents guess what they were
getting into, when they decided to have me! I would grow at a fearsome rate,
reaching six foot tall by the time I was thirteen, with a crazy metabolism that
allowed me to eat gargantuan amounts of food while remaining skinny as a rail. I
was always hungry! The first picture is of my mother, pregnant with me around
Christmas, 1957. It snowed in Orlando that winter for the first time in 70
years. The other pictures are dated September and October of 1958. I think we
must have visited Nashville during that period of time, as the last picture
seems to have me sitting beside the cash register of grandmother Lee's grocery
store on Sixth Avenue South, in Nashville, Tennessee.
The picture below is dated 1959. I found it in the school folder of my aunt, Sandra Jane Burch. The picture is of my father, me, my
mother, and our refrigerator. The picture strikes me as being what we might
call "American bucolic," and emblematic of an American middle class recovering
from the ravages of World War II which was able to find normalcy even in the middle of
the Cold War. I'm sure millions of other Americans have similar pictures of the
same era (and perhaps even the same refrigerator, or one very much like it).
Here's a "very English" picture of my mother, pushing me in pram down an
English lane. While my father was stationed in Thule, Greenland,
my mother and I lived with her parents, George and Ena Hurt, in Mattersey, a
tiny English village in the Nottingham area, and my guess is that this
is where the picture was taken.
Here's poem I wrote for my mother:
for my mother, Christine Ena
There never was a fonder smile
than mother’s smile, no softer touch
than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
and know she loves you more than “much.”
So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
Though tender words, these do not speak
of love at all, nor how we fall
and mother’s there, nor how we reach
from nightmares in the ticking night
and she is there to hold us tight.
There never was a stronger back
than father’s back, that held our weight
and lifted us, when we were small,
and bore us till we reached the gate,
then held our hands that first bright mile
till we could run, and did, and flew.
But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
will leap and follow after you!
If my parents didn't know what they were getting into with me, they were really
heading into uncharted waters when they had my pesky
sisters! Here I am with Sandra, known as Sandy to everyone but Herself:
I think this may have been the family passport picture, made soon after Debby
was born. I think it's interesting how much Sandra (on the right) looks like
mom, and how much Debby (in the middle) looks like me, at least in this picture:
Here are we are, hard at play. I believe the third picture is of my grandfather
George Edwin Hurt's vegetable garden. He definitely had a green thumb, but I
think his grandchildren were mostly making a mess.
The Family Tree of
Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch
Here is a more detailed Genealogy, in roughly reverse chronological order, for my
direct line of the family
Jeremy Michael Burch was born in Nashville, Davidson
Co., Tennessee. He currently attends David Lipscomb University, where he had a
perfect 4.0 grade point average his first semester. He also played tuba in the
Vanderbilt marching band on an exchange program, and was seen dancing in the
stands on national TV during a Vanderbilt football game. He has also acted in
plays and musicals at his high school, Nashville Christian, and at the Dickson
Renaissance Center. Jeremy played Benedick in Shakespeare's Much Ado About
Nothing, Captain Keller in The Miracle Worker, Cogsworth in
Beauty and the Beast, Tom in Night of the Living Dead, Mervin
Oglethorpe in Smoke on the Mountain, Birdshot in The Homecoming,
and also acted in Annie, Tracks, Into the Woods and The Trial of
My sister Debra Leigh Burch White was born in Southampton,
England at the USAF hospital at RAF Burderop, Swindon, Wilts, England. This is
per her official Certificate of Birth issued by the US Department of State and
signed by Vice Consul Charles W. Schaller. Her middle name was spelled "Leigh"
according to my mother because she and my father were afraid my grandfather Paul
Ray Burch Sr. might take offense if her middle name was spelled "Lee," since my
grandmother had married Eric Lee. Debby married Walter White and has two children:
Samantha White and Garrett White. She graduated from Tennessee Technological
University with a degree in accounting, and is a CPA by trade.
My sister Sandra Jane Burch Boyte was also born in England.
According to her certificate of Holy Baptism, she was christened on Sept. 6,
1959 in the All Saints Church at Mattersey. Sandra married Billy Wayne Boyte on
January 2, 1982 at Bellshire Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and has
two children: Scott Boyte and John Boyte. She graduated from Tennessee
Technological University with a degree in psychology, then worked for many years
as a radiologist.
Michael Ray Burch was born in Orlando, Orange County, Florida on
February 19, 1958. According to my Certificate of Holy Baptism, I was christened
on the "Easter Even" on April 5, 1958 in the Cathedral of Saint Luke in Orlando,
Florida. Interestingly, my birthdate on the Certificate is
wrong (St. Valentine's day, Feb. 14, rather than Feb. 19) and there is a
godparent named Blake that mom can't remember. Since my favorite poet is William
Blake and I have a number of Blakes in my ancestry, I find that interesting
also. I married Elizabeth Steed Harris on June 27, 1992 in Warren,
Arkansas. I own and manage a computer software
company, Alpha Omega Consulting Group, Inc., I edit and publish an online
literary journal that gets around a million page views per year, The
HyperTexts, and I have had articles, essays, letters, humorous pieces and
poems published more than 1,800 times by a variety of literary journals,
anthologies, magazines, newspapers and websites which include TIME, USA
Today, The Washington Post, The Tennessean, The Hindu, The Lyric, Light
Quarterly, Unlikely Stories, Writers Digest's "The Year's Best Writing" and
hundreds of others. I have also translated the work of Basho, Sappho, Miklós
Radnóti, William Dunbar and other poets into modern English. I
was also a weekly columnist for the City Paper until it ceased
production. In my younger, wilder days I was something of a pool shark: I won a
number of pool tournaments and played on the Springwater pool teams that
finished first and third in the city of Nashville, winning over $7,500 in cold
cash. I also won the straight pool tournament at
Tennessee Technological University and qualified for the NCAA regionals. But
after celebrating my victory a bit too joyously, I overslept and missed the bus
to the next round! I am also a peace activist, and the primary author of the
Burch-Elberry Peace Initiative. I have worked with Greta Berlin and Mary Hughes
Thompson, co-founders of the Free Gaza Movement, and other peace activists
around the globe.
Elizabeth Steed Harris was born in Fayetteville, Washington Co., Arkansas. Her parents were William Sykes Harris II and Susan Elizabeth
Johnson Harris. (Susan later changed the spelling of her first name to Suzan,
although probably not officially, and remarried, becoming Suzan Blacksmith.) Her
brother is William Sykes Harris III. Beth is a wonderful singer who had a single
on the alternative charts: "Take a Walk Through the Pain," recorded as Beth
Harris; it reached number nine on the Cashbox alternative charts. Performing as
Beth Harris on the country music TV talent show You Can Be A Star,
hosted by Jim Ed Brown, she took the opening round, and nearly won the whole
shebang. (Bill Clinton, a friend of her grandfather William Sykes Harris, helped
her get on the show.) Lynn Anderson was one of the judges, and when she appeared
as a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and he asked her to
name the up-and-coming young country music singer for everyone to keep an eye
on, she named Beth. Lynn also told Beth in
confidence that she was the best vocalist in the talent show, and not to let the
naysayers get her down. But Beth was ripped off by people she trusted, and chose
to leave the country music industry to become a full-time mother when her son
Jeremy was born. But she continued to sing, took up acting, and won the Best
Actress in a Musical "Jimmy" Award after starring as Annie Oakley in "Annie Get
Your Gun" at the Dickson Renaissance Center. Beth also acted in many other plays
and musicals, including Godspell; Jesus Christ, Superstar; Faith County
(starring as Mildred Carson), The Odd Couple (starring as Olive
Madison); A Christmas Story (as the teacher Miss Shields); A
Christmas Carol (as the Ghost of Christmas Present); Beauty and the
Beast; Night of the Living Dead (in which she got to act with
Jeremy); and many others. Beth got started at an early age, as in kindergarten
she had the lead role in Miss Hurry-up and the Runaway Packages.
Beth Burch starring as Mildred Carson in An Evening of Culture: Faith County
II at the Dickson Renaissance Center (March 10-26, 2006). This was Beth's
15th production at the Dickson Ren Center, where she won four "Jimmy" awards for
Best Actress in a Musial, Best Actress in a Play, and two Supporting Actress
Paul Ray Burch Jr. was born on Thursday, July 27, 1933 in Nashville at
Vanderbilt Hospital and died at Windlands East, an assisted living center, in
Madison, Tennessee, on Saturday,
April 20, 2013 at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul
Ray Burch Sr., his mother, Lillian Christine McAdams Burch Lee, and his sister, Sandra Jane Burch.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Christine Ena
Hurt Burch, his son Michael Ray Burch (me), his daughter Sandra Jane Burch Boyte, his
daughter Debra Leigh Burch White, and their families. He was a twenty-year man
in the United States Air Force, and after that a bookkeeper, and then a security
guard for Davis Cabinet Company. Later in life he had bladder cancer, then renal failure, but was stoic
and not one to complain. He made the courageous decision to end dialysis
treatments, and thus his life. His family supported this decision and came to be
with him through the hospice process that allowed him to join his departed loved
ones. My mother and sister Sandra were with him when he passed away.
The first Sandra Jane Burch, my aunt, was born in 1945 and died tragically at
age ten on March 21, 1955 in a flash flood that hit Nashville. She was the only
person to die in the flood, although there was at least one other close call
with another child, according to newspaper reports. Her father was Paul Ray
Burch Sr. and her mother was Darkis Mary "Dottie" Stepp. There is more
information about the first Sandra Jane Burch later on this page.
My mother, Christine Ena Hurt Burch, was born in England on the Ides of March,
on March 15, 1936. According to her birth certificate she was born in
Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, England. At the time her parents
lived at 21 Vere Avenue. Their names were George Edwin Hurt and Christine Ena
Hurt, formerly Spouse. If I am reading the birth certificate correctly, her
father was employed as a "boillery hewer." I have a copy of her 1946 report
card, issued by the Nottinghamshire Education Committee for Mattersey Thorpe
County Junior and Infant School, which says that she was first in her class and
a "very keen and willing pupil." Her head mistress was a G. Pilkington.
Mattersey Thorpe is a wee piece from Mattersey, the Nottinghamshire village
where my mother lived with her parents. I also have several of her report cards
from the Hallcroft Secondary School in the Retford District, dated 1947 to 1951.
Her best grades were in English, Science and Music, where she consistently
received As and Bs. Her worst grades were in Physical Training, where she
received Cs and Ds. And she was absent a lot! According to mom this is
because she was a sickly child with pernicious anemia and yellow jaundice, which
was later diagnosed as hepatitis A.
Paul Ray Burch Jr. and Christine Ena Hurt Burch were married July 14, 1956 at
the Parish Church in Mattersey, East Retford, Nottingham, England. His residence
was listed as Sturgate AFB, and hers as her parents'
house at 22 Priory Close, Mattersey.
My English uncle, my mother's brother, George Edwin Hurt Jr., was born on
February 27, 1931 and died on November 24, 2012. I know little about his
ancestry, other than his parents, but hope to learn more. Help would be greatly
appreciated (hint, hint).
The birth of my English grandmother, Christine Ena Spouse Hurt, is shrouded in
mystery. I have her birth certificate, issued in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield,
Nottingham, England. According to the document, Ernest Chatterton Spouse, an
actor, and Christine Alice Stuart were the parents of Christine Ena Spouse, who
was born on April 19, 1908. But Christine Ena
Spouse was an abandoned baby, so the names of her parents on her birth certificate may not
be factual, and the name Spouse seems a bit suspect. The "informant" was listed as the mother, with an address of 32 King
Street, Sutton in Ashfield.
Michael Ray Burch:
Here's my Native-American-style birth announcement, dated February 19, 1958:
Beth Harris Burch, the wife of Mike Burch, turned into a work of art by Lauren McCall.
translations by Michael R. Burch
The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.
A woman’s highest calling is to help her man unite with the Source.
highest calling is to help his woman walk the earth unharmed.
A brave man dies but once, a coward many times.
Don't judge a man till you've walked many moons in his moccasins.
My father's father was Paul Ray
Burch Sr. He worked for C. B. Ragland, in Nashville, Tennessee, as a truck
Paul Burch Sr. is reputed to have once lifted the back end of his truck so that
a tire could be changed, a feat an English relative of the family, Russell
Holland, repeated at the wedding of Sandra Jane Burch. She was named after my
father's sister who died in a tragic accident at age
The first Sandra Jane Burch died on March 21, 1955. To avoid confusion with our
living Sandra, I will call her Jane. Recently I came across a folder containing
her schoolwork and certain other of her personal effects. Here's a picture of my
sister, Debby Burch, that I found in Jane's school folder. They look like twins!
Here's a picture of Sandra Jane Burch (Boyte), in which her Cherokee blood seems
Here is a picture of our Aunt Jane lying in her casket, surrounded by flowers:
Jane was the
daughter of my grandfather, Paul Ray Burch Sr., and his second wife, Darkis Mary
Stepp Burch, also known as Dottie. Here is a picture of Jane's grave in
Nashville's Spring Hill Cemetery:
Here is a picture of Paul Ray Burch Sr. visiting his daughter's grave and
Jane was born on December 23, 1945 (a Christmas baby!) and she died on March 21,
1955 at age nine. Her brother Paul Ray
Burch Jr. was born on July 27, 1933 and died on the evening of March 20, 2013
at age 79. So he died just a few hours short of the anniversary of Jane's death.
And when he died, his sister's picture was on the wall at the foot of his bed,
so hers may have been the last face he saw in this world.
At the time of her death, Jane was also survived by her parents, her
other brother, Clint Beavers of Cleveland, Tennessee. She was also survived by
her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Stepp, also of Cleveland, Tennessee.
Darkis Mary Stepp Burch ("Dottie") on the left, with Chris Burch, on the steps
of the Nashville Parthenon in August, 1957.
The newspaper clippings and photos below were in Jane's school folder,
presumably added by her loved ones after her death.
Here are pictures of the children of Paul Ray Burch Jr., followed by pictures of
their spouses, children, grandchildren and extended, ever-widening families.
Michael Ray Burch is the eldest of the three children of Paul Burch and
Christine Burch. He was born on February 19, 1958 in Orlando, Florida. He now
owns and manages a computer software company, Alpha Omega Consulting Group,
Inc., and is a poet, peace activist and editor and publisher of Holocaust and
The first picture below is of me with my father in October 1958. I believe the
pictures of me with the ball were taken at the house of my English grandparents
George and Ena Hurt.
Before any assumes that Russell Holland got all the muscles in the family,
please allow me to offer the evidence of the "guns" on
More evidence (and my legs are much more shapely!):
But it seem only fair to note that Russell Holland entered the Guinness Book
of World Records for a feat of strength, as reported by The Retford,
Gainsborough & Worksop Times on Thursday, July 19, 1990, when he tied Geoff
Capses's strongman record in the brick lift, carrying 24 bricks end-to-end, each
weighing three kilos.
Sandra Burch Boyte is the eldest daughter and second-oldest child of Paul Burch
and Christine Burch. She was born on August 17, 1959 in England. She graduated
from Maplewood High School (Nashville) in 1977, and from Tennessee Technological
University in 1981 with a degree in psychology.
Debby Burch White is the daughter of Paul and Christine Burch. She graduated
with a degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University in 1984. She
then became a CPA, and has worked as an executive for major companies
such as First Tennessee/First Horizon, Verso Paper Corporation and Buckeye
Here are pictures of other Burch family members. The first picture below is of
Lillian Lee holding me in May of 1959. The second picture is of Paul Burch Sr.
holding me in May of 1958, when I was a few months old. The third picture, dated
January 1960, is of Eric Lee, Lillian's second husband, whom we called
The pictures below are of me on the beach with my grandmother, Ena Hurt, and my
Uncle Colin Hurt.
Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch is the wife of Michael Ray Burch and the mother of
Jeremy Michael Burch. Beth was born on December 20, 1967. She graduated from
Little Rock's Lakeside High School in 1986, and attended the University of
Arkansas (Fayetteville), Belmont College (Nashville) and Middle Tennessee State
University (Murfreesboro), before dropping out to become a full-time mother, her
true calling. She is also an award-winning actress and singer.
Here's a poem I wrote for Beth:
She Gathered Lilacs
She gathered lilacs
and arrayed them in her hair;
tonight, she taught the wind to be free.
She kept her secrets
in a silver locket;
her companions were starlight and mystery.
She danced all night
to the beat of her heart;
with her tears she imbued the sea.
She hid her despair
in a crystal jar,
and never revealed it to me.
She kept her distance
as though it were armor;
gauntlet thorns guard her heart like the rose.
to see what you've taken
is still less than the due my heart owes!
And here's a page of love poems I have written over the last twenty years for
O, Terrible Angel
Here is Jeremy Burch kissing his mother Elizabeth Harris Burch after graduating
from Nashville Christian School, on his way to David Lipscomb University:
Jeremy Burch and his uncle William Sykes Harris III:
Samantha White is the daughter of Debby Burch White and Walter White. Samantha
graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2010 with a degree in advertising:
Scott Boyte was born on June 16, 1983 in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated from
Oakland High School in 2001 and attended Middle Tennessee State University
(Murfreesboro). He now works as a software developer and tech support provider
at Transformations Inc., where he works with his father Wayne and brother John.
He is pictured abpve with his wife Michelle Umboh Boyte. Michelle graduated from
Madison Academy in 2000. They now live in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a suburb
of Nashville with their daughters Alaya and Aryanna.
Scott Boyte with his wife Michelle Umboh Boyte:
Aryanna Boyte (left) and Alaya Boyte (right), twin daughters of Scott and
Michelle Boyte and great-granddaughters of Paul and Christine Burch:
Walter White, Garrett White, Debby White and Samantha White:
Barbara Hurt (Gallagher) with Christine Hurt (Burch) and Colin Hurt:
Christine Hurt with Colin Hurt and Beryl Hurt:
Mike Burch on vacation in England with David, Beryl and Victor Holland and
Victor's wife Rosella:
My uncle, Colin Hurt, with his wife Julia and their children Ivan, Julia, Andrea
and Paula. I remember
visiting Uncle Colin when he lived in London, sometime around 1969. I vividly
remember hearing Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" playing on the radio as I
played on terrace of his London apartment. His daughter Paula Hurt Harden now
lives in the United States and has visited our family several times.
Paula Hurt Harden:
George Edwin Hurt Jr., Pauline Hurt and Sara Hurt Afolabi:
Rachel Hurt, Sara Hurt Afolabi and Joanne Hurt Devenish:
Terry Edwards, Esther Holland Edwards and Matilda Scott:
Hannah Edwards, Jennifer Reeson and Esther Edwards: "An Edwards, a future
Edwards and an adopted Edwards":
David Holland and Beryl Hurt Holland:
Esther Holland Edwards with Chloe Holland:
Carolyn Gallagher Bean:
Danny Bean, Mark Bean, Carolyn Gallagher Bean and Joe Bean:
Jacob Ollie Gibson, Cathy Gamble, Emily Grace Gamble
Jeremy Burch as a high school junior, ready for the Junior/Senior banquet.
Here's a poem I wrote for Jeremy:
There is a child I used to know
who sat, perhaps, at this same desk
where you sit now, and made a mess
of things sometimes. I wonder how
he learned at all ...
He saw T-Rexes down the hall
and dreamed of trains and cars and wrecks.
He dribbled phantom basketballs,
shot spitwads at his schoolmates’ necks.
He played with pasty Elmer’s glue
(and sometimes got the glue on you!).
He earned the nickname “teacher’s PEST.”
His mother had to come to school
because he broke the golden rule.
He dreaded each and every test.
But something happened in the fall—
he grew up big and straight and tall,
and now his desk is far too small;
so you can have it.
One thing, though—
one swirling autumn, one bright snow,
one gooey tube of Elmer’s glue ...
and you’ll outgrow this old desk, too.
Originally published by TALESetc
In the picture below,
Beth Harris performs on the country music TV talent show "You can be a Star!"
When Lynn Anderson of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" fame, who was one of
the judges, appeared on the Johnny Carson show, he asked her the name of the
up-and-coming country music singer to keep an eye on. Her response was, "Beth
Harris." But Beth didn't like the shark-infested waters of the music business,
and chose to become a full-time mother to the apple of her eye, Jeremy.
Beth's mother, Susan Elizabeth Johnson, appears in The Razorback, circa
1965. She later changed the spelling of her first name to Suzan.
William Sykes Harris I, affectionately called Paw-Paw, Beth's grandfather on her
William Sykes Harris, 89, of Warren, died Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008, at his home.
The son of V. B. Harris and Luna Sykes Harris, he was born Oct. 17, 1918, in
Bradley County. He received his education in the Warren Public School System. He
attended Arkansas A&M College for two years and was a 1941 graduate of the
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He served as a pilot and instructor in
the Eastern Flying Command division of the U.S. Army Corp., stationed at
Moultrie, Ga., until the end of World War II. He worked at Sam Dixon Hardwood
Flooring Co. and Bradley Lumber Co. and founded Wilson Oak Flooring and Sykes
Flooring Co. He served as past president of the American Parquet Association for
17 years. He was past member and president of the Warren Rotary Club, a
recipient of the Bradley County Citizen of the Year Award, a founding member and
past president of the Warren Country Club, a member of the First United
Methodist Church, and past chairman of the administrative board of the church.
He was director of Warren Bank and Trust Co. for 30 years. He served a 10-year
term on the University of Arkansas board of trustees with two years as chairman.
He was named honorary citizen of Fayetteville and presented a key to the city.
He served as director of the University of Arkansas Foundation for 10 years, and
was also a member of the Arkansas Cancer Research Center Board. In 1993, he
received the Distinguished Service Award of the Razorback Foundation. In 1995,
he received the University of Arkansas at Monticello Alumni Award for
Achievement and Merit. He served as a director for the Cotton Bowl Association
for five years, and was awarded the Chancellors Award from University of
Arkansas Medical Center in Little Rock He was preceded in death by his parents;
his wife, Mary Steed Harris; and a son, William Sykes Harris Jr. Survivors
include a daughter, Sally Harris Barnett of Casscoe; a sister, Frances Harris
Hedrick of Warren; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
William Sykes Harris III, Beth Harris Burch, William Sykes Harris I, Sally
Barnett (Beth's aunt), and Mike Burch (still the tallest!):
William Sykes Harris I (Paw-Paw), with Mike Burch (looking a bit scraggly):
Mike reading with Melody, another member of the Burch clan: