Information on the Burroughs Family of Virginia
This author had believed there may well be a connection to the Burroughs line of St. Mary's County, MD. This was also the belief of Ms. Alice Hanawalt, a U.S. park ranger (now retired) associated with the Booker T. Washington Memorial Park in Franklin County, Va. She spent several years researching the ancestry of James Burroughs, a grandson of John Burroughs of Fauquier; this James Burroughs owned a small tobacco plantation, where celebrated author Booker T. Washington was born, and which is now an historic sight under the auspices of the National Park Service. While she was convinced that there was likely a connection between John Burroughs of Fauquier and St. Mary's County, Maryland immigrant, John Burroughs, her last email, after her retirement, stated that the connection had not yet been found. Unfortunately, subsequent attempts to email her have bounced back as undeliverable. Much of her research has aided this author in finding pertinent records about John Burroughs of Fauquier, as well as data concerning his son Joseph Burroughs.
As a background to the theory of the Maryland connection, St. Mary's immigrant, John Burroughs (1644-1717), had two sons, John (died 1735) and Richard (died 1769), both of whom named their first-born son John. Chronologically both of these Johns were of the right age to have been John Burroughs of Fauquier. John, son of John was considered the more likely candidate (mainly based upon the age given by John, son of Richard, in a 1764 Charles County, MD court deposition, as age 50; taken literally, he would have been born in 1714, five years after John of Fauquier's birth). But subsequent info from Ms. Linda Reno, a St. Mary's County Burroughs descendant and professional genealogist/author, indicates that this John Burroughs, son of John, never left St. Mary's County. While there is still a possibility of a connection to the Maryland line, absolute proof is lacking. Thus, John Burroughs of Fauquier's origins still remain a mystery. That he was a fairly wealthy man is evident from his estate administration; he obviously owned land at one time, although he had disposed of any such land by the time of his will. Perhaps a critical aspect in determining his origins would come from a record relating to this land, which, thus far, has proven elusive.
While John Burroughs of Fauquier's origins remain a mystery, some additional information on Burroughs of the northeastern area of Virginia (Fauquier, Stafford, Prince William, Loudoun) has been accumulated, with the thought that many, if not all, of these individuals may be related to John of Fauquier. These records may be accessed HERE.
John and Mary Burroughs of Fauquier County, Virginia
After his death, his widow Mary removed to adjacent Prince William County, where she and son, Clement Burroughs, appear on the 1787 tax list. It would appear that Mary was living in Prince William at least several years prior to 1787, as the contestation of John's will was handled by the Prince William County court, and the will and other papers pertaining to probate are also filed in that county.
Joseph Burroughs of Stafford County (1787 and 1788), Fauquier County (1790), Loudoun County (aft 1790, and by 1797, to abt 1803), and Bedford County, Virginia (abt 1816-1833)
The movements of Joseph Burroughs, son of John Burroughs of Fauquier, are consistent, both in regard to location as well as timeframe, with what we know of our Joseph Burroughs, born in 1763. Initially, he appears to be moving around northeastern Virginia, never quite settling in any one place. He appears in Stafford County tax lists in 1787 and 1788, then in a 1790 Fauquier County tax list, and then in Loudoun County (adjacent to Fauquier) in 1797 as receiving baptism in the North Fork Primitive Baptist church, again mentioned in these records in 1803. It is currently believed that sometime around, or just after, the birth of their last child (1806), Joseph and Mary then removed to Amherst Co., VA, where Joseph appears on militia lists there. Then, perhaps prompted by the deaths of four of their eldest five children in 1813, Joseph and his family left Amherst for Bedford County, where Joseph had received an offer to preach there at the Moody Meeting House.
The only mention this author has seen as to Joseph's wife is from Ackerly and Parker's Our Kin, A History of Bedford Co., Va., which states that Joseph "married Mary Pierce in Maryland"; subsequent attempts to find out more information about her had proven fruitless. But the author was recently contacted by Mr. Brian Lee, who had become interested in the Burroughs, not through any familial connection, but because the grave marker of Joseph Nichols Burroughs rests on the edge of his property in Bedford County, Virginia. This Joseph Burroughs was a grandson of Joseph and Mary Pierce, being a son of James Burroughs and Elizabeth Robertson. Through this interest, he had made a connection with the National Park Service researchers, and thus, through his own investigative research, was able to identify Mary Pierce's father, Jacob Garoon Pierce. Additionally, he identified a brother of Mary, namely Peter Pierce, with whom Joseph Burroughs appears in Amherst militia lists. This makes it evident that first son, Jacob, and a later son, Peter, were named after Mary's side of the family.
Joseph's wandering ways seem to have been adopted by at least three of his brothers, Clement, Benjamin, and Samuel. According to research done by a descendant, Clement Burroughs first went to North Carolina, where he married (his marriage bond is recorded in Warren Co., NC), then returned briefly to Virginia (Spotsylvania County), before heading west to Kentucky. Benjamin is also believed to have removed to Kentucky. Basil and George appear to have remained in Stafford County; Basil's 1793 estate inventory is recorded in Stafford County. Samuel Burroughs, according to a descendant, removed to Madison Co., KY. As yet, the whereabouts of Joseph's siblings, John, James, and Matthew, have not been discovered.Fortunately, the descendants of Joseph Burroughs have been fairly thoroughly researched due to the historical significance surrounding his son James Burroughs. James owned a small tobacco plantation in Franklin County, Virginia, where Booker Taliaferro Washington was born in 1856. While Booker was not allowed to attend the local school, it is stated that one of the daughters of James Burroughs was responsible for mentoring the young slave. This old plantation is the historical site which is under the auspices of the National Park Service.
Robert Thomas Burroughs and Matilda A. Tate
He was born in Loudoun County, per his death record filed in Patrick County, Virginia. This also fits the known movements of his father, Joseph Burroughs. Robert Thomas was aged about 10 years when he and his parents and siblings removed to Bedford County, where he later married Matilda Tate. Said death record states that he died of paralysis, aged 86 years, 9 months, and 27 days, occupation farmer. When he removed from Bedford to Patrick is not known, but on 25 Oct 1852, his brother-in-law, James B. Tate and Elizabeth, his wife, sold 125 acres of land, lying upon Spoon Creek in Patrick County to Robert Thomas Burroughs for the sum of $324.96, and it appears that Robert Thomas Burroughs then sold this land, 14 Feb 1855, to James S. Harbour, described as 125 acres, lying on Spoon Creek at the mouth of Smith Creek. It is noted that this property lay within one-half mile of the property upon which his daughter, Susan (Dalton) Burroughs resided; said property having been inherited by his son, James Robert Burroughs, who died well before his father.
James Robert Burroughs and Susan Elizabeth Dalton
Unlike his predecessors, James Robert Burroughs died prematurely, just one month shy of his 37th year. Research done by this author's great-uncle, states that it is presumed he died of tuberculosis. He was a railroad man, according to his marriage record filed in Patrick County. Widow Susan (Dalton) Burroughs raised their three children, and after they had grown to adulthood, she married William D. Smith in 1889, and went to live with him on Russell Creek in Patrick County. After his death about 1900, she returned to her home near Spoon Creek, where she resided the remainder of her life.
William Thomas Burroughs and Virginia Susan Shotwell
William Thomas Burroughs and his new wife, Virginia Susan Shotwell, began their married life in the former home of his mother, Susan Dalton Burroughs, who had remarried in 1889 and removed with her new husband to nearby Russell Creek. Their first three children were born in Patrick County, and around 1895 or 1896, William Thomas and Virginia removed to the city of Norfolk, Virginia. He was a carpenter by trade and worked for the Norfolk and Western Railroad upon first coming to that city, and later worked for the Seabord Air Line Railroad in Portsmouth, Va. He was transferred by the latter company to Savannah, Georgia, but later transferred back to Portsmouth. During World War I, he worked at the Navy Yard in Norfolk, and eventually went into business for himself, doing repairs and remodelling work. By 1923, he had removed from Portsmouth, back to Norfolk, where he built the family home. When wife Virginia Shotwell died, in 1948, he had amassed a comfortable retirement and enough money to well provide for his own sustenance. But the year following her death, he remarried to Elizabeth Shepherd, and by whatever means, she was able to obtain ownership of his property. She died two years before he, and in her will she bequeathed all of her properties to her two daughters (by a former marriage) and nothing to her husband. His son-in-law, this author's great-uncle, stated that "he was one who never strayed from his convictions, his politics, nor his religion..he believed that a verbal promise was as binding as one made in writing..it was never known that he failed to keep a promise."
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