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The Burnett Children

Auburn In The Long Ago                     Auburn Times  Aug. 1939


Thought possibly the readers of The Auburn Times would like to have a brief sketch of the Burnett family, of which I am the oldest. It was one of, if not the largest, families in Auburn. There were nine children, eight of whom lived to be grown and six are now living. The six now living are all married and have been married 25 years or more and on January 25, 1939, my wife and I have been married 40 years. On last August 19, George the second son, had been married 35 years. I was born May 6 1872, and that started things for the Burnett dynasty. I started to school to my father when I was six and got through when I was seventeen. They say I never missed a day. In the summer I worked at any job open to a boy and the list follows: Tan yard, brick kiln (worked in three of them), tobacco factory, loading tobacco hogsheads in cars for shipment to Louisville, then I worked three summers on the farm of Mr. Scott Hall, not far from Auburn. After finishing school, I taught a four-months’ country school in Warren County and then while still 17, went to Louisville and worked for a year for the Belknap Hardware Co., and fifteen years for the Baptist Book Concern and the Western Recorder. Roughly speaking my life divides into four eras: 16 years spent in Auburn, 16 years spent in Louisville, 16 years in college work, 16 years on the road for a Chicago concern. I married Marietta Abbot, a Louisville girl, January 25, 1899, father saying the ceremony. The Lord gave us five children. He has taken two of them. Our only daughter died when she was less than three, our oldest son, George Lee, finished Mercer University at 19, went with the Brown Shoe Co., St. Louis, through the graciousness of John Richey, and he was taken from us about ten years ago. We have three grown sons living, the oldest of the three, Oscar Weaver, (the second son) lives in Greensboro, N.C., is married and has his own business – stocks and bonds – and has been quiet successful. He also finished Mercer University at 19 and went to New York with Guarantee Trust Co. The next son, J. Henry, Jr., finished his college work at the University of North Carolina, and is now married and living in New York, where he has a splendid position with the Coca Cola people. The youngest son, Robert, is unmarried and is head of the transcription department of radio station WHAS, Louisville, KY. He finished his college work at Washington and Lee University, and all four of the sons got A. B. Degrees

Mrs. Burnett lives in Macon, Ga., and I get home as often as possible. For 20 years I have been recording secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention.

George, Jr., is two and one-half years younger than I. After completing his college course at Bethel College, Russellville, Ky., he went to teaching and most of his life has been spent in the schoolroom. He is an exceptionally fine teacher. George married Miss Laura Yates. He was president of Liberty College, Glasgow, Ky., for many years and I joined him in schoolwork there. After about a year and a half, we took charge of Tennessee College, Murfreesboro, Tenn. I remained ten years. He has four lively daughters and a most talented wife. She has taught voice, art and expression and excelled in all. She prefers art and is a portrait painter and gets top prices for her portraits. Three of the daughters have finished college and received art degrees and are married. The youngest daughter is a Junior in College this year. George’s oldest daughter, Ellen, lives in Texas and has one son. The next daughter lives in Memphis, the third daughter, Frances, also lives in Texas, and the youngest daughter, Florence, lives in Boiling Springs, S.C., with George and his wife and attends college in Goffney, S.C.  George is at present president of Boiling Springs Junior College, in North Carolina, and is doing splendid work.

Nellie, is the next of the children, she married Rev. Poleman E. Lowe. They lived in Missouri, but he only lived a short while and after a few years she married her present husband, W. Day Dickson, merchant, Glasgow, Ky. They have no children.

In the last years of their lives, mother and father made their home with Nellie and Day. I have never known a more thoughtful and gracious son-in-law and brother-in-law than Day Dickinson – he is a prince. Nellie has never had any children, her hobby is ancestors, and she is hot on their trail.

Duff is the next child; he finished his college work at Bethel, then studied medicine in Louisville. Since then he has practiced near Louisville (at Anchorage, Ky.) He married a Louisville girl, Miss Mattie Richardson. They have two sons. One (Joe) graduated from the University of Alabama and medical College, Louisville. He is married and has a son and is now practicing in Anchorage and surrounding territory. The other son, Lawrence is a junior in Center College, at Danville, KY.

Martha is the next in line of succession. She married H. E. Davidson, merchant, Glasgow, Ky. They had two children; a daughter she slipped away from them some years ago and son Burnett Davidson, an A. B., of Furman University, S.C., unmarried and lives in Glasgow. He is in the wholesale grocery business.

The came Mary Belle who, after finishing college and studying in Boston, went to Missouri to teach where she was taken suddenly ill and passed away in 1907.

A sister, Amby Broadus, only lived nine months.

Permelia (known in girlhood as Addie) married H. E. Klass, a civil engineer. He is with L&N Railroad Co., and has been for many years. They lived in Louisville. They have two grown daughters, Eloise and Nell, both A. B. graduates of Blue Mountain College. Miss Eloise is teaching in Glasgow, Kentucky.

Alice Eaton, the youngest child, got her A. B. at Tennessee College, then got her M.A. at Radcliff College, Cambridge, Mass., coordinated with Harvard University. She married Rev. C. E. Sterns, pastor Clifton Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky. He is still there. During the flu epidemic in 1918, she was taken ill and the Lord took her home to glory.

During 38 years, one or more of us were in school and not a one of we eight ever went to a public school in our lives. Nellie attended Hollin’s College in Virginia and Boscobel College in Tennessee. Martha, Mary Belle and Permelia attended Liberty College; Glasgow, Ky. George was for three years President of the Tennessee Baptist State Convention and one year as vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Yours sincerely,

            J. HENRY BURNETT

                        Macon, Ga.


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