Transcribed by Pat Stubbs
September 2, 1954 - Reprinted November 25, 1976
* CALíS COLUMN *
†††† Recently we had dinner with our first cousin, Howard D. Wilburn, and his wife, Sallie Richmond Wilburn, who reside near Dixon Springs.† After a fine dinner, the writer asked to be excused and then got in his car and went out to the Bradley farm or the Buck Clay place, about a mile from the Wilburn home.† Here in the years ago by lived one of our uncles, William Alexander Ballou, who died about 60 years ago.† We wanted to see if we could find his grave, but our search was fruitless.† By his side is buried another great-uncle of ours, Uncle Lon Ballou, whose real name was Leonidas W. Ballou, son of Dow and Elizabeth R. Ballou.† We failed to find either grave, but hope to be better next time.
†††† But our trip was not althoughter in vain, for we found the old Burford burial place which is located on the same farm.† It is near a spring that still flows on in spite of drought and the clearing of nearly all the adjoining lands.† Once there was a house near where these members of the Burford family lie buried.† We reached this conclusion from the fragments of broken chinaware, pottery and other things that indicate a pioneer home once stood nearby.† Perhaps some reader of the paper can tell us who built the old home and when, and also something of it history.
†††† Before giving the inscriptions on the old markers at the grave in the little family burial plot, we give a sketch of one of the oldest members of the Burford family, Elder Daniel Burford, the first pastor of Dixon's Creek Baptist Church organized on March 8, 1800 and which has had a continuous existence since that day, slightly more than 154 years ago.† The church was formed in the home of Captain Grant Allen, located near the mouth of Dixon's Creek, some three of four miles from where we found the burial place of several of the members of the Burford family.
†††† The sketch of Elder Daniel Burford is given by Grime as follows:
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Elder Daniel Burford
†††† Nothing is known of the early life of this pioneer minister.† He was one of the constituent members of Dixon's Creek Church.† He was ordained by this church on the day she was constituted, March 8, 1800, by a presbytery consisting if Elders William Phipps, Joshua White and Clifton Allen.† He entered at once upon the pastorate of this church and served them until 1807.† Perhaps, as early as 1805. He became Register of Smith County and moved to the town, or near the town, of Carthage.†††
He then established a preaching point near where Caney Fork River empties in to the Cumberland.† This work was prosperous, and in June, 1806, Dixon's Creek Church extended an arm there.† That fall they constructed seats, and elected Elder Daniel Burford as pastor of the arm.† The next year he resigned the care of the mother church and gave his time to building up this new interest and conducting the† County Registry office for a support.† His work here was consierably††† blessed and resulted in the constitution of Hogan's Creek Church, in 1810, he making one of the constituting Presbytery.† He also assisted in constituting Salem Church in 1809.† In 1814 he moved into the community of Liberty, DeKalb County, Tennessee, and cast his membership with Salem Church in August of that year.† Deacon William Martin says he was a preacher of the first order.† Such endorsement from such a source is an honor of which anyone might be proud.† He has a grandson, Major Burford, who is still living at Dixon Springs, Smith County.† Where he sleeps we know not, but God will find him in the resurrection at that day.
†††† Elder Daniel Burford was twice married, his first wife having been Miss Fannie Hawkins.† After her death he married her sister, Miss Betty Hawkins.† By these two women he was the father of a large family of sons and daughters, whose names, for the most part, have been lost to their prosterity.
†††† In 1787, Thomas Gregory, son of Thomas Gregory, married Miss Phoebe Hawkins in Virginia.† She was the grandmother of our own grandmother, the former Miss Sina Gregory.† Whether we are related to the two sisters, just mentioned, we do not know.† But we have evidence that Phoebe was the aunt of the two Hawkins brothers who later settled near Friendship, in the present Trousdale County; of the Hawkins who settled at the present Castalian Springs; one at the present Siloam, and the fifth brother at Red Boiling Springs.
†††† There is quite a family of Hawkins living in Cookeville and in the east end of Jackson County, who, we feel sure, are our relatives.† Members of the family told the writer about a year ago that some of the older members of the family recalled a visit of two men named Gregory to them in the years long gone by.† We are of the opinion that these two men were Ambrose and Robert Hawkins Gregory, grandsons of Phoebe.† In fact the older members of the Jackson County Hawkins family relate that they believe these were the names of the two men who came from Smith County to visit their relatives in Jackson County nearly a hundred years ago.† William Hawkins is the oldest man of the family that can be positively identified today by the Jackson County group.† He was born, we believe in 1819.
†††† But to resume our account of the Burfords we now give some of the inscriptions found in the family burial ground, with some of our own comment.
†††† The oldest Burford we found buried in this quite little cemetery was David Burford, a son of the early pastor of Dixon's Creek Baptist Church.† He lies buried in a grave now covered by a large box-like stone marker.† The inscription is as follows:† "David Burford, born Nov. 5, 1791; died May 23, 1864, aged 72 years.† An honest man, the noblest work of God."† His death occurred during the last months of the Southern Confederacy.† Our mind ran back to the horrors of war, its hardships, its bitter enmities, its unequal struggle, and a thousand other things that would perhaps be best forgotten.
†††† Near the grave of David Burford was another box-like enclosure, with the following inscription: "To the memory of Nannie M. Burford, born Aug. 23, 1843; died Aug. 5, 1853." "Nannie was the daughter of David Burford and his wife, Elizabeth.† So at the early age of just ten years, the girl had gone away to join the great host of those who have lived and died.† One thing that impressed the writer very forcibly was that in that little cemetery, with the bushes and vines and weeds almost hiding the monuments, we found abundant evidence that all alike are doomed to die.
†††† The next grave we found was that of the wife of David Burford.† The inscription is as follows:† "In loving memory of our mother, Elizabeth W., wife of David Burford, born Dec. 9, 1808; died July 15, 1894.† The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him."
†††† We do not know how many children were born to this worthy couple of more than a hundred years ago, but we do know that this man and his wife, like the rest of us, had to taste the bitter things of bereavement, sorrow and giving up their loved ones.
†††† The next inscription is as follows:† "Jonathan Burford," without any other words except that "J. B." can be found on the foot stone.† Jonathan was a son of the old minister whose life sketch is given above.† G. W. Allen, of Dixon Springs, is a direct descendant of Elder Daniel Burford.†† He informs us that Jonathan was not normal mentally.† Perhaps this may account for the fact that the inscription seems to be incomplete.
†††† Another grave has the following inscription on its marker:† "David, infant son of Robert and Mary E.† Burford, born March 13, 1863, died Dec. 20, 1863."† This was another casualty among the children of the Burford family.† Robert Burford was the son of David Burford, above mentioned.† Thus at the age of nine months and one week, the sould of the little boy took its flight from a war-torn world.† What a sad home with the Christmas season only five day away.† But there was little merriment for that Christmas when brother fought against brother on bloody fields of battles that stretched over nearly all the southland, when hardly a home was free from the visitation of death by war, and when the south was fast becoming a land of graves, of hungry men, women and children, of broken-up families, of blasted hopes, aspirations, ideals and nearly everything else worth living for.
†††† Another inscription:† "Laura, daughter of Robert A. and Mary E. Burford, born Feb. 9, 1851; died Oct. 25, 1861."† This is the silent record of a little girl who lived but 11 summers and then went away a few months after the out-break of the most dreadful war the South has ever known.† We are of the opinion that this was the first born of Robert A. and Mary E. Burford, as the wife, was only slightly more than 18 years old when Laura was born.
†††† The next grave we located had the following on its marker:† "Mary E., wife of Robert A. Burford,
and daughter of E. P. and Nancy B. Lowe,
born Jan. 19, 1833; died Jan. 27, 1879."†
We are informed that she died by her own hand, a suicide, but we do not know in what manner she took her own life.† In recording this tragic ending of a life, we have no desire to throw any shadow over the history of the family; but we record this solely as a matter of fact.
†††† We found that at least part of the monuments in the cemetery were erected or built by Brown, of New Albany, Ind.† This firm of monumental builders was one of the most noted in the Middle West and South in the long ago.† We have seen scores of their monuments in our prowling through silent cities of the dead.
†††† The next inscription we copied is as follows:† "Robert Allen Burford, son of David and Elizabeth Alexander Burford, born Feb. 23, 1827; died Jan 28, 1904.† I feel that I have done my duty by my family, my country and my God, and I am not afraid to die."† This was a grandson of the old preacher of 150 years ago.
†††† Another inscription reads as follows:† "Sacred in the memory of Mary Ann and Daniel Burford, the former born Oct. 10, 1828; and died Jan. 20, 1834.† The latter born Nov. 4, 1820; died Jan. 25, 1834, both children of David and Elizabeth W. Burford."† So this couple lost two children, aged a little more than five and three years, respectively, in a matter of only five days.† We have no idea to the cause or causes of their deaths.
†††† We copied another inscription as follows:† "To the memory of Nancy A. Burford, Born Jan. 27, 1840; died Jan. 13, 1842."† We do not know whose child she was but she lived slightly less than two years.
†††† The last inscription we copied and the last we found in the old cemetery, was as follows:† "In memory of Little George, son of Rom C. and Bettie H. Wright, born Dec. 27, 1830; died April 30, 1852."† Bettie H. Wright was an aunt of G. W. Allen, who is a leading citizen of Dixon Springs.† Mrs. Bettie H. Wright was the mother of Mrs. Sam M. Young, who also lives at Dixon Springs.
†††† We are giving these old inscriptions for the purpose of getting them into print and being able to preserve them for the rising generation.