Until now we’ve only been able to assume Solomon to be the son of Joshua Burris Senior. There really has been nothing telling us with certainty that such claim is true. This reality is no longer as per my last post outlining the discovery of a 1772 Bertie County tax list naming “Joshua Burris Senior and Son Solomon.” Assuming a minimal age limit of 16 years, from the tax list we further know that our Solomon was born prior to 1766.
From this find we can move forward without hesitation. We are cleared to interpret our history laden tea leaves from a new perspective. The door has been flung wide open allowing us a less cluttered glimpse into the records we hope will further enhance our ancestral story.
In this post I’ll begin the search anew with a critical look at our Burris family’s first acknowledged records accounting for events along Rocky River in southern North Carolina. I’ll start with a look at the family’s first land holdings in the region.
In Anson County, and dated 27 May 1778, Joshua Burris Senior made a formal request for 100 acres of land (Grant 3987, Anson) situated on Jones Creek. First appearing as a book recorded entry, the land in question was identified as adjoining those of William Ratliff and Daniel Murphy. The land was officially surveyed three months later on 29 Aug 1778 by Wm. Love. And then a little over a year later, on 3 Sep 1779, Joshua Burris Senior was issued a patent for his 100 acres:
Having been entered, surveyed and issued on the same dates as his father, Joshua Burris Junior also received a patent for 100 acres (Grant 4134, Anson). However, Junior’s land was not on Jones Creek, but rather, was situated on waters of Island Creek. Some may believe this refers to land on Island Creek in now Stanly County as at the time issued, the lands of Stanly fell into Anson County. That’s not the case as from the image at the top of the page we know that branches of both Jones and Island creeks rise just east of present day Wadesboro flowing east into the Great Pee Dee. Both Junior and Senior lived near each other in the area of present day Gum Springs. See below, the lands of Joshua Burris Junior:
From a present day Google map, below we see that both Joshua Burris Sr and his son Joshua Burris Jr. received land grants within a few miles of the area of Gum Springs Baptist Church. And as you would hope, the father and son may have been neighbors, acquiring land fairly close to each other.
Looking back to the land grant records, there’s one bit of information I’ve not discussed. As part of the survey process, two persons are chosen to walk with, assist, and carry the chains and equipment used by the surveyor. Known as chain bearers or chain carriers, the two also witnessed the metes and bounds called out in the survey. As for Joshua Burris Senior’s 100 acre grant, Jenkins Hansford and David Burris are recorded as chain bearers. From this we can imagine that Joshua Senior had a son named David. There’s still no proof that’s the case, but the naming will certainly guide future research. Also mentioned is Jenkins Hansford. An odd name and not found anywhere else in Anson County, who is this person and why would he be there assisting the businesses of our Burris family?
As it turns out, back in Bertie County, the Hansford family had close contact with our Burris family. At this time I’ll quickly brush over the information introducing a few important points worth further consideration.
From deed G-453 dated 1751, Jenkins Hansfords and William Hansford are identified as sons of Thomas Hansford who lived at that time on “Malls Haven” west of the Chowan River. I think this is in the area of a place known as the “Pall Mall” located along the present day line between Bertie and Hertford counties. And a year before the transaction naming the children of Thomas Hansford, in 1750, John Wynns deeded land to James Burrass land on the south side of Flatt Swamp. The land adjoined White with witnesses being Thomas Hansford and Wm Hansford (registered Aug Court 1750).
The above links Jenkins to his brother William and father Thomas Hansford. And as James Burras is believed to be the father of Joshua Burris Senior, the information above is but a small bit of the evidence linking the Hansford Family to our Burris family. And lastly, it locates the two families as living near each other in northeast Bertie County on its line with Hertford County.
Carrying this line of thinking a bit further, in 1730, a register of cattle marks in Bertie County lists: “Thomas Hansford …for his son Jenkins Hansford.” From this we know that Jenkins was not of the generation of Solomon and Joshua Burris Junior. Of a similar age as that of Joshua Burris Senior, Jenkins must have been quite old in the 1770’s when he walked the lands of Anson as a chain bearer.
And, there’s an important story regarding another Thomas Hansford, likely being a distant family member. Participating in Bacon’s Rebellion,
“it is said that he [another person named Thomas Hansford] took a conspicuous part in the insurrection, brilliant as it was brief, and when he was captured after Bacon’s death, he supplicated no other favor than that “he might be shot like a soldier, and not hanged like a dog.”
You can read more on this story at Thomas Hansford: The First Native Martyr to American Liberty.
A person named Jenkins Hansford died ca. 1795 at which time his estate in Bertie County was inventoried by Luke White. Luke and his family will be important in understanding ties to other branches of the Burris family who moved west.
Along with Jenkins Hansford, David Burris was also chosen to be a chain bearer in Joshua Burris Senior’s land grant. Who is David? I’ve yet been able to locate David but suspect him to be the son of Joshua Senior …or possibly a brother. He’s there as chain bearer for the land grant and then is gone. Who is he!?
Likewise, and turning to the land grant of Joshua Burris Junior, the names of his chainbearers were William Garrison and Adom or Odum Cook, Coak, or Cake. And as with David Burris, these two people are a mystery. I’ve yet to find anything else in Anson connecting them to our family. Much more work is needed.
In closing it must be pointed out that per his revolutionary War pension request, Solomon Burris served in the war out of Anson County. And by 1784, just after the close of the Revolutionary War, Solomon had married and fathered his oldest son named Taylor. His brother Joshua picked up and moved again to Anderson County SC. Somewhere in all this Joshua Burris Senior dies.
While his brother moved from the state, Solomon remained put though did make a bit of a move north into now Stanly County. Why did Solomon not make the move to South Carolina with his brother? What was there in old Montgomery County that drew Solomon to that area? Without proof, I believe the answer lies in a woman with maiden name Taylor. As Solomon married Judith Taylor, the couple moved to an area of Montgomery County thick with members of a Taylor family who once lived in the area just west of Bertie County. Coincidence? Giving their first born the name Taylor, all that’s left for us is to figure out the exact reason why.