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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


GEORGE W. BURNETT. The sons of the pioneers of Morgan County have reason to be proud of their position as such, especially when they have improved the talents bestowed upon them, and have preserved the self-respect, which, whatever may be a man's fortunes in life, will in time almost invariably gain him a worthy position among his fellow-men. The career of Mr. Burnett has been uniformly prosperous, he having been spared many of the trials and adversities which are allotted to some, but he has pursued the modest and unassuming course which has gained him many friends who would stand by him, even should misfortune overtake him. He is numbered among the substantial farmers of this county, and has a fine estate on section 27, township 14, range 8.

Our subject was born in the township where he now resides April 3, 1831, and is the son of Isham and Lucinda (VanWinkle) Burnett, who are widely and favorably known throughout this section as forming a part of its pioneer element. He was reared to farming pursuits and given such education as was afforded in the log cabin school-house of that day, during a few months in the year. He resided with his parents until a man of twenty-seven years, but in the meantime, had secured a part of the land comprising his present farm, and had been engaged in its cultivation.

At an early day several families from the East settled near the present homestead of Mr. Burnett, and established a store, a blacksmith shop, a grist and saw mill, a very good school, and a church. The dwelling now occupied by our subject, was erected by Franklin Miner, a member of the colony. Mr. Miner met his death accidentally at the mill, and subsequently the remaining members of the colony removed to other parts of the county. ON the 6th of May, 1858, occurred the marriage of Mr. Burnett with Miss Mary J. McCormack, who was born in this county, and is the daughter of John and Jane McCormack. The newly wedded pair settled upon the present farm of our subject, which then comprised eighty acres of land given him by his father, and to which he added from time to time until he became the owner of 1,300 acres. He has given four of his sons each a farm ranging from 160 to 240 acres, all improved, and he has still over 400 acres left. In addition to general agriculture, he has engaged largely as a live stock dealer, with very profitable results.

Seven of the eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Burnett, are still living, one daughter having died at the age of seven years. These are named respectively, Marshall, Everett, Oscar, Fred, John, Emma and Lucinda. The private business of Mr. Burnett has occupied about all his time, and he has never desired office; he has mingled with political matters very little, although keeping himself well posted upon events of general interest, and giving his support to the Republican party. Mrs. Burnett is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, although in belief a Presbyterian, having joined the former on account of their being no Presbyterian Church in this vicinity.

John McCormack, the father of Mrs. Burnett, was born in Nicholas County, Ky., in 1801, and was the son of James and Elizabeth McCormack, natives of Gettysburg, Pa. The family is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and was represented in Pennsylvania at a very early day. James McCormack was a gunsmith by trade, and was married in Pennsylvania to Elizabeth Gregory. Later he removed to Kentucky during the pioneer days of Nicholas County, where he became the father of a large family, and spent his last days.

In Nicholas County, Ky., John McCormack grew to manhood and was married. He lived there until 1834, then coming to this county, entered a tract of land near which the village of Franklin afterward grew up. He only lived, however, a few years thereafter, departing hence in 1838. The six children born of this union, are recorded as follows: James R. died in this county; Elizabeth married John Newport; Catherine became the wife of G. Atchinson; Nancy married M. Sanders; Mary, Mrs. Everett, was the youngest daughter; John A. was killed in a collision on a railroad, while serving as a soldier in the late Civil War. Mrs. McCormack survived her husband for a period of twenty-five years, devoting her life to her children, and had the happiness to see them grow to a happy manhood and womanhood. Both she and her husband were Presbyterians, and among the first members of Pisgah Church.

1889 Index
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