Friday, May 7, 2010

BURDINE: Civil War Letters

Addison Fletcher Burdine writes to his wife, Ruth Standefer Burdine

by Terry Thornton

A few days ago, a descendant of Addison Fletcher Burdine, late of Monroe County, sent a link to transcriptions of the letters AF Burdine wrote to his wife "Rutha" Standefer Burdine during the Civil War. A member of a North Mississippi Hill County unit, Company F, Second Mississippi Cavalry, AF Burdine was a First Lieutenant.

Addison Fletcher Burdine and Ruth Standefer Burdine are buried at New Hope Cemetery, Parham, Monroe County, Mississippi. His father and grandfather are reported to have been buried at Burdine Cemetery near Pearce Chapel, Monroe County. Her family was one of the earliest and most influential pioneering groups in the eastern hills of Monroe County; much of the area in present-day Parham was once owned by the Standefers.

The letters AF Burdine wrote to his wife are dated May 18, 1863 -- February 17, 1865. It is not known if she was at their plantation in Itawamba County near Ironwood Bluff/Bull Mountain Creek just north of Smithville or at another home perhaps in Monroe County during this period. AF Burdine on more than one occasion writes that she might move to their older place if she would be more comfortable; the original Burdine Plantation Home was in Itawamba County; AF Burdine and Ruth Burdine also resided in Monroe County.

The transcription of the letters tells much of the Burdine Family but, more importantly, the letters reveal much about the life and times of Hill Country citizens during the turbulent Civil War. Anyone with an interest in Monroe County and Itawamba County should read the letters for an understanding of many aspects of life both on the battlefield and on the homefront. Additionally, family researchers will no doubt learn about some of their ancestors as the letters are full of local names.

Below is a listing of some of the individuals mentioned in the letters (highlighted in bold blue). The relationship of individuals listed is an on-going research project --- please feel free to post comments of correction or to post additional information about the names.

Addison Fletcher Burdine, 1823 - 1905, writer of the letters. Son of Wesley Burdine, 1800 - 1887; grandson of John Fletcher Burdine, 1772 - 1845 (both Methodist ministers; both buried at Burdine Cemetery at the historic Siloam Church grounds near Pearce Chapel, Monroe County, Mississippi.

Ruth Henrietta Standefer Burdine, 1833 - 1916, wife of Addison Fletcher Burdine. Throughout the letters she is referred to as Rutha. Daughter of William Price Standefer/Standifer; granddaughter of Luke and Mary Alice Price Standefer/Standifer. Luke and Mary Standifer are buried at New Hope Cemetery, Parham, Monroe Country. The grave for Luke Standifer, 1767 - 1834, is marked with the notation "2d Lieutenant VA Militia Rev. War." Other Standifer burials are marked by only a pile of brick at New Hope Cemetery.

Children of AF and Rutha Burdine mentioned in the letters:
1. "Gimy" is James Shafer Burdine
2. "Larisa" is Larissa Virginia Burdine
3. "Valeria" is Charity Valeria Burdine
4. "Sweet Babe" or "Little Babe" never named in the letters is Mary Leona Burdine
Other children of AF and Ruth Burdine include
1. John Luther Burdine 1854 - 1862 buried at New Hope Cemetery, Parham
2. Ira Price Burdine
and several other children born after 1865.

Aunt Charity is Charity Standefer, Ruth Standefer Burdine's aunt. In later years, Aunt Charity lived in a cottage in the yard of AF Burdine and Ruth Standefer Burdine. Charity Standefer, 1795 - after 1870, is buried at New Hope Cemetery, Parham, Monroe County.

Armstrong individuals named within the letters require more research. The D.A. Armstrong and the Mr. Armstrong mentioned throughout the letters are probably the same individual. It would appear that AF Burdine left this individual in charge of the plantations while he was in the military. David A. Armstrong 1811 - 1889 is buried in Beans Cemetery in Itawamba County; it is not known at this time of his connection/relationship to the Burdine Family.

D. Armstrong is thought to be AF Burdine's brother-in-law, David D. Armstrong, husband to Mandane Burdine, sister to AF Burdine.

The two Armstrong men called "Dick" and "Dock" are probably A.D. Armstrong and Adolphus Armstrong, both Privates in Company F, 2nd Mississippi Cavalry --- and both may be AF Burdine's nephews.

A.D. Armstrong married J.A.M. (Julia?) Pearce in 1880 in Monroe County. A.D. Armstrong, 1846 - 1917 and Julia Armstrong, 1861 - 1946, are buried in Maxey Cemetery, Monroe County, Mississippi.

There is a military marker without dates for "A. Armstrong, Company H, Second Mississippi Cavalry CSA" at New Hope Cemetery which may be Adolphus Armstrong. More research is needed.

John Armstrong mentioned in the letters is also unknown at this time.

George Dilworth is probably Private George Dilworth, Company H, Second Mississippi Cavalry. Further, AF Burdine's sister, Melissa K. Burdine, married George Dilworth. This individual could be AF Burdine's brother-in-law.

Steavan Dilworth is probably Private Steven Dilworth, Company F, Second Mississippi Cavalry. It is not known at this time the relationship of Steven to George Dilworth.

James Burdine is probably AFBurdine's brother, James C. Burdine 1831 - 1914. James C. Burdine was a Private, Company A, 43rd Regiment Mississippi Infantry CSA.

Mary Parchman most likely is Mary Jane Burdine Parchman McCullen, sister of AF Burdine. At the time of the letters, Mary Jane Parchman was the widow of James M. Parchman who had just been killed in action at the Battle of Shiloh.

Judith Fears is Judith Victoria Burdine Fears, 1837 - 1913, sister of AF Burdine. She was married to William Johnson Fears, 1834 - 1911. She is buried at New Hope Cemetery, Parham, where she is listed as Juda V. Burdine Fears on the marker with W.J. Fears. W.J. Fears is also listed on a family marker at New Hope Cemetery for Hansford J. Fears and Peachy Ann Chism Fears as one of their eight children.

John Fears. Because he was entrusted by AF Burdine to hand-deliver one of the letters to Ruth Burdine, it is believed that John Fears was a kinsman or certainly a neighbor of the Burdines. At this writing, however, it is not clear who he is.

Barman Terel is Blair Moorman Terrell of Quincy. His son mentioned is John Thomas Terrell, 1843 - 1864, who was killed in the Civil War and is buried at Oakland Cemetery, Fulton, Georgia.

Ben Rigans is probably B.F. Riggan, First Sergeant, Company F, Second Mississippi Cavalry.

Captain Anderson is Joseph A. Anderson, the Captain of AF Budine's CSA unit.

John Hatchcock is most likely John Hathcock, Private, Company F, Second Mississippi Cavalry.

Patrick is probably Thomas J. Patrick, Corporal, Company F, Second Mississippi Cavalry.

Dick's uncle Tom Murphy may be T.A. Murphy, Private, Company C, 43rd Regiment Mississippi Infantry, CSA.

John, Lou, and her 4 youngest are probably slaves of AF Burdine.

Emery, Lister, Esex, Little Essx are probably slaves of AF Burdine.

Ed Pearce is probably the E.P Pierce, 34, farmer, as enumerated on the 1860 Monroe County Federal Census.

Lum Pearce, Old Man Wadkins, Clabe, Cleyborn, Jo, Stea, Mr. Hudson, Lorsy, Murphy, Lt. Roy, Jo Carter, Jery shot and killed, Whitecer, and nun are unknowns. More research is needed.

Two of the unknowns listed above are mentioned within interesting activities --- AF Burdine explains to Rutha Burdine to "send well to Lorsy and have a new hat made" and then mentions "Nun" regarding hides that AF Burdine left to be tanned and to get the leather (earlier he mentions to get shoes made).

"Jery shot and killed" is another name and another tragic circumstance which requires more research.


Addison Fletcher Burdine by Carol Ann Burdine. Transcription of Letters. Posted at Oktibbeha County Mississippi. Copyrighted 2008 by William Price. Note: In the header of this article it is stated that Addison Fletcher Burdine and Ruth H. Standefer Burdine are buried in New Hope Cemetery, Calhoun County, Mississippi. They are buried, however, at New Hope Cemetery, Monroe County, Mississippi.

Index to Online Cemetery Records Monroe County Mississippi by Terry Thornton, Monroe County GenForum, a series of 24 articles from # 2150 through 2173, September 11, 2006.

New Hope Cemetery, Parham, Monroe County Mississippi by Terry Thornton, August 2008 (print version copyright by the New Hope Cemetery Perpetual Fund) and 2009 (digital version, Compact disc, copyright jointly by New Hope Cemetery Perpetual Fund and William T. Thornton).

Burdine Cemetery, Cemeteries of the Hill Country by Terry Thornton, Article #s 85, 86, 87, April 6, 2009.

On the Sanctification of Miss Charity Standefer by Terry Thornton, Hill Country of Monroe County, # 107, July 1, 2007, Volume One, 2009.

Charity Standefer b 1795 VA d after 1870 Monroe County MS by Terry Thornton, Monroe County GenForum, # 2580, February 18, 2007.

Miss Jessie Pierce's History of Smithville, transcribed by Terry Thornton, Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi, Articles 756 - 762, December 12, 2008. Available on Hill Country, Volume One CD, 2009.

Mother Monroe by W. A. Evans, as reprinted by the Mother Monroe Publishing Company, Hamilton, Mississippi. 1979.
Mother Monroe Every-Name Index by Terry Thornton, Itawamba Historical Society, October 2006.

Cemetery Markings, Itawamba County by Betty Burton-Cruber.

Various online family trees from a number of contributors

Terrell Society of America, information from Don C. Terrill in email to Terry Thornton, June 12, 2007. See also Quincy Mississippi, Part 3 --- The Terrell Family and Store Ledger by Terry Thornton, Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi, # 76, June 10, 2007.

J.T. Terrell's burial information in a letter transcription posted by Bob Franks, The Civil War: A Fallen Itawamba Soldier's Burial in Atlanta, Itawamba History Review, May 28, 2007.

Thanks to Jim Young of Missouri, great-grandson of Addison Fletcher Burdine, for sending the link to the transcription of the letters. Mr. Young is the owner of the letters.

Thanks also to the Monroe County Discussion Group (Jerry Harlow, Aberdeen, Mississippi; Mary Anna Riggan, Lackey, Mississippi; Rita Thompson, Hatley, Mississippi; Judy Sullivan, Amory, Mississippi; Bob Franks, Mantachie, Mississippi; James Alverson, Biloxi, Mississippi; and Lori Thornton, Morristown, Tennessee) for assistance in sorting through the Burdine Family.

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