Thursday, March 20, 2008

Prince Burney


Prince Burney was born around 1830-1834 according to the 1870 and 1880 census in Florida. At the present time, I do not know who his parents were but I do know that he was of native american ancestry according to his son and my great grandfather, Anderson Burney who himself was said to resemble an Indian Chief. Prince is listed on the 1880 census as Mulatto. Please note that Native Americans were often listed as mulatto on census records. I do know from census records that his mother was born in South Carolina.

He relocated to the Brundidge/Monticello area of Pike County, Alabama where he and his family resided until his death.

Prince married Jennie Burney who was born in Georgia and I am not sure at this point what her maiden name was. What I do know is that had at least 8 children including Charlotte, Sarah, Caroline, Elbert, Levi, Anderson, Nancy, Lula and possibly another girl named June.

Prince was listed in census reports as a farmer while Jennie kept house.

What is also unclear at this point is how they got to Alabama. In particular, were they brought as slaves or came as freed persons of color. According to oral family history and census records, Jennie was of african american origin.

All evidence thus far points to them being slaves at some point although for Prince at least it might not have started out that way. I researched and found that a wealthy slaveowner by the name of Guilford Burney was living in the same area of Pike County, Alabama where Prince resided. He married another native Georgian Catherine Dixon on 6/4/1834 in Leon county Florida and some of their children were Susan, Mary, Frances,Josephine,Marshall, Richard, and Alonzo. Most interesting is the fact, that he was born in Georgia, the same place as Prince's wife Jennie but later relocated to Leon county, Florida in the Tallahasee area where Prince was born and then to the Brundidge area of Pike County just like Prince. The 1860 census in Pike County, Alabama shows he owned 32 slaves. There are 2 male mulattos listed who could have been Prince but the schedule only lists the age, gender and race of the slave.

Guilford came to Pike County between 1834 and 1840, I believe because his wife had family in the area since I found other Dixons from Georgia in the small Brundidge area of Pike county. This theory is also consistent with Dixon descendent forum page information I found. It is possible that they brought both Prince and Jennie with them. Jennie may has been a slave inheritance of his wife while Prince may have been captured or inherited by Guilford since he bore his surname, Burney. I found a record in 1836 in which Guilford was executor of the estate of Ellis Burney in which slaves were distributed among the heirs but Prince's name was not on it.

The reason I suggest that Prince may have been "caputured" is because of the native american ancestry. Indians were often hunted down and captured and forced into slavery. Also, since I know that he was born in Florida and was of indian origin, it is well documented that the 2nd of a series of Seminole Wars took place in that area from 1835 to 1842 in the the Tallahassee area, where Guilford was from.
The Seminole nation came into existence in the 18th century and was composed of Native Americans from Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, most significantly the Creek Nation, as well as African Americans who escaped from slavery in South Carolina and Georgia. While roughly 3,000 Seminoles were forced west of the Mississippi River, including the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, who picked up new members along their way, approximately 300 to 500 Seminoles stayed and fought in and around the Everglades of Florida.

The surname Burney appears repeatedly on the DAWES FINAL ROLLS OF CIVILIZED TRIBES. These rolls contain names of those Indians who RECEIVED LAND under the provisions of the Dawes Act. There are multiple Burneys listed under the from the Creek, Chowtaw and Cherokee tribal lists. The Surname Prince, also appears multiple times. Creek Choctaw and Cherokee. I mention this because it is possible that Prince's surname may have been taken from his mother's maiden name which was common practice at that time.

It should also be noted that Pike County in general was Creek territory.
Pike County was created in 1821 from lands ceded by Creek Indians in Treaty of Ft. Jackson, 1814. The Creeks were the largest, most important Indian group living in Alabama. They called themselves “People of the One Fire”. The English traders called them “Creeks” because their villages were built primarily along creeks and rivers. In the early days, most of the Creek villages were in Georgia. However, with the arrival of the English colonists in 1730, the majority of the Creek nation was forced to join their relatives who had taken residence in the “western wilderness” which would eventually become known as “Alabama”. The name “Alabama” was taken from the “Alibamos” Indians, the first Creek tribe to populate the region.

At this point, a lot of questions still remain about his exact indian heritage but I am determined to continue to track his journey from slavery to freedom. One thing is certain, Prince Burney left a tremendous legacy that is evidenced by his children, grand-grandchildren and current descendents. His seed has multiplied in great numbers and are spread across the United States, east and west and north and south. His blood courses through our veins and his memory takes hold of our very souls!

The last record that I found on him was on the 1900 census. He was not on the 1920 so I believe his death must have occurred between that 10 year span. In body, he passed on to Glory but his memory and legacy lives on her through descendents.

Rest in peace, Grandfather, to us you were a Prince Amongst Princes!


Teresa said...

My grandfather Sam Colbert had Burneys in his family line in Mansfield Louisiana. There is a strong Native American line of Chocktaw and Chicasaw, African American and Creole. He is buried in either Old or New Morning Glory Cemetery in South Mansfield. Would like to share info because I beleive we could be related.

Karen Burney said...

I don't have an email address for you. Can you please provide it so we can exchange information? Also, do you know any of the Burneys in your line? Please advise. Thank you for your information and comments. Stay blessed!