Sunday, March 10, 2013

BURTONS of Beattie's Ford, North Carolina

© Kathy Duncan, 2013

Two sons of Col. Robert and Agatha (Keeling aka Williams) Burton, of Granville County, North Carolina, settled at Bettie's Ford, Lincoln County, North Carolina, in about 1813. They were brothers Robert H. Burton and Alfred Moore Burton. They each married daughters of John Fullenwider.

In the late 1800s, the Charlotte Observer ran long histories of the area of Lincoln County, North Carolina that embraced the Beattie's Ford area of the county. Interesting tidbits of the Burton family included references to silver forks, an eccentric grandfather clock, and mouse eaten poetry.

From an article entitled, "Broad Axe and The Forge," a brief history of the old Unity Church neighborhood:

"Another potent influence in this section was the Burton family. Robert and Alfred Burton came from Granville county and settled at Beattie's Ford with their families. They were both learned lawyers and each had a large practice. Robert had four sons, only one of whom, Henry W., of Lincolnton is living. One daughter married Michael Hoke and was the mother of General Robert F. Hoke, of Raleigh, and grandmother of Hoke and Burton Smith, of Atlanta. Alfred Burton had four sons, all of whom are dead. Three daughters survive, Mrs. Elizabeth Hoyle and Mrs. S. V. Young, of Charlotte, and Mrs. Mary Conner, of Lincoln.

"One of the first grandfather clocks brought to Beattie's Ford was ordered from Boston by Alfred Burton, and as it arrived before the completion of the dwelling, a place was cut in the kitchen ceiling for its upright accommodation. The base of the clock resting on the lower floor and the face protruding into the upper, it was necessary to go into the second story when the time-piece needed winding. It is said by the old people that the Burtons were the first families of the neighborhood that used silver forks, two tine steel being the implements in vogue in most of the other households. The silver tableware doubtless came from Boston with the clock. As two-prong steel forks were precarious food conductors, the gentlemen of the old school, resorted to knives as more reliable conveyances. The Alfred Burton homestead is beautifully located and commands a fine view of the Catawba. It has been occupied since its erection by members of the family until a few months ago, when the death of Miss Fanny Burton caused Mrs. Hoyle, her sister, to move away. So neatly and methodically was the house arranged, that Mrs. S. V. Young, one of the sisters, has related that she could have gone in the dark and placed her hand on certain books she remembered in childhood. Neither the piano, nor family portraits, have been moved, save to be dusted, and all the articles of furniture occupy the same positions allotted to them more than 60 years ago.

" ...James Anderson, who bought the Forney homestead, married a sister of Robert and Alfred Burton. His son, Robert, married a daughter of the celebrated Dr. Thornwell, and was himself a talented Presbyterian minister."
[Source: Charlotte Observer; Charlotte, NM; Sunday, April 11, 1897]

From an article entitled, "Old Homestead's of Lincoln," by Mr. Brevard Nixon:

" ...The Connor and Burton homesteads were formerly included in a grant to a Beattie, from whom Beattie's Ford was named. Mr. and Mrs. Beattie were members and regular attendants of Unity Church.

" ...The land was purchased by Mr. Fulinweder, whose daughters married Robt. H. and Alfred Burton, and thus were founded the Connor and Burton homesteads.

"....The Connor and Burton dwellings still stand on the historic heights from which Cornwallis viewed the beautiful Catawba at Beattie's Ford, and though somewhat dilapidated, still retain the beauty of historic interest, and the ivy of historic recollection, green in the minds of every inhabitant of east Lincoln today; still clings around their walls.

" ...Adjoining the Connor homestead was that of James King, who came to Boston from England about the year 1763. There he was educated and learned the tailor's trade. During the Revolutionary War he moved to Maryland. Being too young to belong to the regular army he did guard duty. After the war he settled on the Potomac, in the neighborhood opposite Mt. Vernon, married Miss Elizabeth Emerson, and lived there, working at his trade, and doing tailor work for General George Washington, until Gen. Washington's death. He came to Lincoln about the year 1801, and worked at his trade as long as he was able.

"He was an Episcopalian, but as there was no church of his faith in the neighborhood, he attended Unity. He was said to have been the most thorough scholar of his neighborhood, having mastered the English, the Latin, the French, the German and the Greek languages, and, as his library showed, was well versed in general literature and the sciences.

"He lived to be ninety-six years old, and at this death had read the Bible through sixty-nine times, having read it through every year for that many years. He was also a poet, and after his death his manuscript was bought at his sale by Robert H. Burton, who intended to have it published, but the mice had had access to the old trunk in which it was kept, and had so badly eaten the paper, that not a single one of his poems could be preserved from the fragments..."
[Source: Charlotte Observer; Charlotte, NM; Sunday, July 4, 1897]

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