More Than Just a Farmer

This is my first EVER blog, so don’t laugh too much!

I am going to participate in the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge, and the suggested theme for week #1 is A Fresh Start.

More Than Just a Farmer

L.M. Burney is a man who needed a fresh start. Killing a man will do that to a person.

Linzey Mabry Burney was born in North Carolina in 1823, the youngest of two children born to David M and Mary Stafford Burney. His parents divorced before Oct 1827, when his father remarried. L.M. lost both parents within a year when he was about 10 years old. Although he lived with his step-mother, Friendless Burney, his uncle, William Burney, was appointed his guardian, as required by law.

When he was 16 or 17, L.M. was involved in a duel, over a woman. He killed his dueling opponent. His guardian, fearing there could never peace between the two families, gave him 2 slaves, a couple of wagons with supplies, some gold, and told him to go to Texas where a man could get rich and be free. Considering both sides of L.M.’s family, the Burney’s and the Stafford’s were wealthy, I can’t help but wonder what his guardian considered rich. Court deeds prove that L.M. eventually sold his interest in a gold mine on Stafford’s Hill to his uncle, Hiram Stafford.

L.M.’s older brother, Morrison, traveled west with him and when they tried to cross Georgia, they were stopped by a rain swollen Chattahoochee River in Coweta County. By the time the river had receded enough to safely cross, L.M. had fallen in love with the ferryman’s daughter. He married Mary Thompson in Coweta Co, Georgia on 21 Dec 1843. HIs brother Morrison also fell in love and married there.

After a few years, L.M. grew restless and once again started west toward Texas. In 1854 L.M., Mary  and their four daughters made it as far as Talladega Co, Alabama when their wagon broke down. While waiting on it to be repaired, they fell in love with the rolling hills and luscious green foliage. They decided to make it their home, and in 1858, they added another child, a son, to the family.

In 1866, the area of Talladega Co where the Burney’s lived was placed into the newly formed Clay County.  L.M. owned a mercantile store with WD Haynes in Lineville, which was the first county seat. At one time, L.M. Burney was one of the wealthiest men in Clay County.

In 1880, L.M. adopted his grandson and had his name legally changed from Carroll to Burney. Later in his life, the child changed his name back to Carroll.

Linzy Mabry Burney died at his home on 22 June 1888, at age 63. He was an active member of the Masons from 1847 until his death and was buried with Masonic ceremonies. L M and his wife Mary were only buried once – at the Burney Family Cemetery, Lineville, Clay Co, AL.

During 1997/98, one of his descendants, a Mr. Carroll decided, on his own, to have their headstone and grave stones moved to Oak Grove Cemetery. Maude Hurst told me the name of the descendant, but I have forgotten the given name. She said that he paid Mr. Benefield, owner of the local funeral home, to move the stones. She said Mr. Benefield told her he did not remove the remains, just took a handful of dirt and placed it under the stones.  One of the large cement slabs that covered the graves, broke during the removal. Since the stones are now at Oak Grove, most people now think that is where L.M. and his wife are buried, but they are not, their earthy remains are still in the Burney Family Cemetery. I have not been to Oak Grove since obtaining this information.

Newer headstone at original burial place

Newer headstone at original burial place

I am still looking for information on the duel L.M. fought in North Carolina. If it were only ‘family lore’, I might think it was fantasy. In researching this family, I, and others from L.M.’s direct line, have connected with descendants from the two slaves that were with L.M. and Morrison when they left NC. These descendants tell the same ‘family lore’.

Although L.M. Burney is listed as a farmer on almost all of the census reports as an adult, he was clearly ‘More Than Just a Farmer’!

Original burial place

Original burial place

14 thoughts on “More Than Just a Farmer

  1. That was wonderful, you did an amazing job of telling their story. I never knew that a Benefield owned and ran mortuary!!!!! I wish I had been old enough to listen better at some of the family gatherings!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You clearly have a gift for story telling. Keep up the good work! I was interested to hear about the headstones being *moved*. I haven’t come across that situation before. It’s relatively common for someone to be named on a headstone though they are buried elsewhere (eg, there is a headstone for my gr-gr-grandparents William and Christiana HUDSON at Crambe, Yorkshire, but William is actually buried at Middlesbrough)… but now you’ve got me wondering how often headstones get moved. It would explain why some entries seem to be missing from burial registers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I’m here from the 52 Ancestors site.

    If you know the names of the slaves, it would be great to include them in the story. All too often the names of slaves are lost in time, since they were seldom recorded by name in censuses.

    I look forward to your other entries!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teresa,
      I wish I knew their names. I think one was Parker Burney, but not sure. I’ve found several named in wills, deeds, etc, and wish I knew how to let their descendants know. Maybe one day…


  4. Who names a child Friendless? Was that her real name. Poor thing. Pretty much doomed from birth. No wonder her family had such heartache. You did a great job!
    You have an amazing gift of storytelling.


    • Thank you so much! I totally agree with you on the name. At first I thought it was a misprint, but no, it’s correct. I believe her mother was also named Friendless. And I thought there were some weird names today! LOL


  5. I am a descendant of Parker and Lucretia
    ( Creasey) Burney of Clay County…they are the parents of my maternal grandfather. Charlie Thomas Burney.
    They were enslaved by Linsey M. ” L M “Burney.
    I have confirmed that LM Burney owned several slaves in Georgia and brought 2 males a female and an infant with him to Alabama in or around 1849-50…
    I read your blog with great interest as it lines up with our family’s oral history.
    Do you have any tax records, wills, deeds plantation records which might help establish the clear identity of slaves owned by Linsey or his wife, Mary Ann Thompson Burney


  6. Very good story. I found this while searching for information on my house. He is buried in my backyard. The house that was behind where the photographer was standing is mine.

    I often wondered how the tiny cemetery there came to be.


    • Thank you, James. I wish I could help you, but I really have no idea who was buried there first, or who owned the land. Clay Co has lost quite a lot of records due to fires, as I’m sure you know. Hope you find the information you’re looking for.


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