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View Tree for James BurkhamJames Burkham (b. 1805, d. June 04, 1880)

James Burkham (son of Charles Burkham and Nancy Ann Abbet) was born 1805 in Clay County, KY, and died June 04, 1880 in Sulpher Bluff, TX. He married Mathilda on 1830 in Red River County, TX.

 Includes NotesNotes for James Burkham:
From "Red River Recollections", written by Eunice Wheat Futrell, and submitted by Jo Ann Tate Null:

James and Matilda Burkham

Burkham, James: James was born in Clay County, KY, in the late summer of 1805. He was the eldest son of Virginian Charles Burkham and his wife, Nancy Ann Abbet. The Wavell Registor, an 1830 census of Old Miller County, Ark., gives the arrival date of the Burkham family, their ages, and the place of origin. Based on this census, and contrary to some early accounts, James Burkham was a boy about 10 years old when his family came to the area on July 4, 1816, from Indiana. They crossed the Red River by March 1820, to form the Burkham Settlement at the mouth of Mill Creek in present Bowie County.

James learned the ways of the frontier from his father. He was adept at shooting game of all kinds, including bear, hunting and trading with the Indians, caring for the cattle and fine horses owned by his father, and directing the slaves in cultivating and planting newly-cleared land. Henry Stout and James Burkham were lifelong friends. Once, when hunting bear together, Stout's knife missed the bear and James had to paddle his skiff fiercely to avoid the bear turning him into the river. Captain Charles Burkham's bear dogs finally arrived and helped kill the bear.

In 1830, James Burkham married Matilda ______, born about 1812 in TN. The following children were born in Red River County: Elliott B., abt. 1832; Charles Barnett, born July 28, 1833, died January 23,1914 (the writer's great-grandfather); William T., abt. 1838; Thursy Ann, abt. 1841; and Thomas Jefferson, abt. 1844. The sons all served in Company F of the 23rd Texas Confederate Cavalry for the length of the Civil War. James' youngest brother, Benjamin Franklin, served in the same unit.

On October 18, 1830, Charles and James Burkham signed a petition for a good and passable road from the landing at Levi Davis' to the courthouse at Jonesborough. The names of the other petitioners were Samuel Burnam, N. G. Crittenden, J. H. Little, James Rodes, William H. Hopkins, Thomas J. Hopkins, James Clark, J. E. Hopkins, Eldridge Hopkins, Francis Hopkins, and R. M. Hopkins.

In 1834, James was summoned by Justices John Stiles and David Myers of Roystown to be in the house of James Smith on August 7, 1835, for the trial of John Morton. Morton had forcibly and with strong hand taken possession of a house, tenements, and about six acres of unsurveyed United States land near the Burkham Settlement, in January, 1834. This land had been improved by Benjamin R. Milam. Sheriff R. M. Hopkins and Deputy E. Frazier rode a circuit of some 160 miles to summon the following men for possible jury services: James Burkham, James E. Hopkins, William H. Hopkins, Benjamin Tipton, Jacob Gregg, John Tisdale, William Browning, Wiley Langham, Robert Trammel, Asa Jarman, William Griger, John Barkman, Jacob Barkman, Joseph Levins, Joshua Robins, William C. Ingram, Richard Gideon, Andrew G. Melton, J. E. Hopkins, John H. Dyer, Coalman Watson, Thomas Satterwhite, Alexander Johnston, and Lee Morris. This was quite a gathering of neighbors.

On May 6 1834, James and his mother witnessed the last will and testament of Jesse T. Boyce who had a large plantation in present day Bowie County. Boyce bequeathed Isham John Boyce, his nephew, one thousand dollars. He gave his brother, William H. Boyce, the plantation on red River with all Negroes, horses cattle, hogs and everything on the farm; and lands in Haywood, Obion, and Henderson Counties in TN; and all his lands in N. C. lying in the counties of Granville, Wake and Franklin. Boyce adds that if he marries the will becomes null and void. He also states that he is in a very sickly country. Boyce's brother, William, appears with his family on the 1860 census of Red River County.

In the Texas War of Independence, James Burkham rode with Captain William Becknell's Company of men from Red River County to join Sam Houston's army. They arrived one day subsequent to the Battle of San Jacinto. James served again in 1841 as a militiaman in Red River County. For his service to the Republic of Texas, he received a first-class land grant in Red River County near the present town of Avery, a bounty warrant of 320 acres in Lamar County, land in the future in Hopkins County, and a pension of two hundred fifty dollars. James Stout and Henry Stout witnessed the pension request in Hopkins County in 1875.

Following the death of his parents, Charles in 1837, and Nancy Ann in 1845, James moved his family to Hopkins County. In 1846, they located near Sulphur Bluff. Benjamin Franklin Burkham came with them. They left the family friendship shared with James' sister, Susannah, and her husband, Hudson Posey Benningfield, and his brother, Ahijah, and his new bride, Louisa Jane Birdwell. The Burkham name was given to a creek and a schoolhouse and recreation center located northeast of Clarksville. The schoolhouse no longer stands.

James and Charles Burkham may have been members of the Masonic Order in Clarksville. Following James' move to Hopkins County near Sulpher Bluff, he became a member of the newly formed Old Tarrant Lodge, No. 91. In 1852, the Grand Lodge of Texas listed the members of the Friendship Lodge, No 16, meeting on the first Friday of each month at Clarksville. (There is a list of men who were friends and neighbors of the Burkhams but the list is omitted here as it is lengthy.)

James Burkham sold his slaves to J. Latimer about 1853. There were many children and grandchildren working on the farm. Those children born in Hopkins County were Mary C., abt. 1852; James, abt. 1853, and ____ A., abt. 1858. Thursay Ann and her family lived close to her parents. She had married Andrew Martin. Charles Barnett Burkham was a prospering stockraiser in Sulpher Bluff. He married Elizabeth Jane _____ in 1854.

In 1854, James' widowed sister, Cynthianna Burkham Holloway, came to live with her brother. She had been in Louisianna when her father died. The younger Burkham children and the Holloway cousins attended school together near Sulpher Bluff in 1854 and 1855.

James and Matilda Burkham saw many changes in the years to come. The Civil War and Reconstruction brought hardships to them and to their neighbors. Charles Barnett Burkham's first wife died while he was serving in the Confederate Cavalry. When he returned he married a widowed seamstress, N____ Partain. He gave the Burkham name to her three children. The had several children before her death in the late 1870's. In 187? he married for the third time a girl of eighteen, Martha Frances "Fannie" Morris. the following children were born to the marriage.: Carrie, Kimp B., Charles "Chock", Fa????, Samuel Marvin "Sank" (the writer's grandfather), Susannah "Suzie" (twin of Samuel Marvin), Jennie, ____ James "Jim", Caesar, Tommy, Stonewall Jackson "Boss", Ora, and Nollie. Charles Barnett died in 1914. His wife, Martha Frances, died in 1960 at Sulpher Bluff.

Matilda Burkham preceded her husband in death. She appears on the 1870 census, but not the 1880 census. The census enumerates or listed the death date of James Burkham as June 4, 1880, almost sixty-four years following his arrival in the Red River area of Northeast Texas. He had worked to civilize a wilderness, served the Republic of Texas, administered to the needs of his neighbors and family and left a rich heritage for all his descendants.

Bibliography: Archives of TX; Clark's History (Pat); Red River Co. Records; Wright Papers, Barker Library, University of TX.


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From the "New Handbook of Texas, Vol. I", Lytle Library, written by Christopher Long, submitted by Jo Ann Tate Null:

"Burkham, James (1805-1880). James Burkham, pioneer settler, was born in Clay County, Kentucky, in the late summer of 1805, the son of Charles and Nancy Ann (Abbet) Burkham. ... In March 1820, the group crossed the river and founded a permanent settlement, known later as Burkham Settlement, on the mouth of Mill Creek near the present border of Red River and Bowie counties. During the Texas Revolution Burkham joined Captain William Becknell's company, which set out to join Sam Houston's main army but arrived the day after the battle of San Jacinto. Burkham served again briefly in the militia in 1841 and in recognition of his service was awarded a first class land grant in Red River County near Avery, a bounty warrant of 320 acres in Lamar County, and a plot of land now in Hopkins County. After his mother died in 1845, he moved to Hopkins County and settled near Sulphur Bluff. Burkham was a Mason; in Hopkins County he became a member of the newly organized Old Tarrant Lodge No. 91. Around 1853 he is said to have sold his slaves to James L. Latimer. Burkham and his wife, Mathilda, whom he married in 1830, had five children. He died at the family homestead near Sulpher Bluff on June 4, 1880."

Bibliography: Pat B. Clark, "The History of Clarksville and Old Red River County" (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937). Claude V. Hall, "Early Days in Red River County," East Texas State Teachers College Bulletin 14 (June 1931). "Red River Recollections" (Clarksville, Texas: Red River County Historical Society, 1986). Rex. W. Strickland, Anglo-American Activities in Northeastern Texas, 1803-1845 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1937). George Travis Wright Family Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

See the notes for Charles Burkham for information about the Burkham Settlement.

More About James Burkham:
Military service: 1836, War for Texas Independence, served under William Becknell's Company.

More About James Burkham and Mathilda:
Marriage: 1830, Red River County, TX.

Children of James Burkham and Mathilda are:
  1. Thomas Jefferson Burkham, b. 1844, Red River County, Texas, d. date unknown.
  2. Elliott Burkham, b. 1832, Red River County, Texas, d. date unknown.
  3. +Charles Barnett Burkham, b. July 28, 1833, Red River County, Texas, d. 1914, Sulpher Bluff, TX.
  4. William Burkham, b. 1838, Red River County, Texas, d. date unknown.
  5. Thursay Ann Burkham, b. 1841, Red River County, Texas, d. date unknown.
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