*article courtesy of Jasper E. Rogers, former principal of Valley Point High School via Roy Burchfield, aka "Daddy Bear".
Polk County Heritage
Two Polk Burchfields Families?
by Marian Bailey Presswood, Polk County Historian & Archivist
I suppose all of you know by now that I practically drop everything to help a young person who is interested in finding out about their family. Guess that's because so many of us have the same sad story about waiting until everyone is gone who could have easily told us the information we're now digging so desperately to find. That's exactly how I got into this "searching for dead people stuff" back in the mid 80's because my dad, with big tears in his eyes, said the same thing.
"Why didn't I ask. . .?"
"Why didn't I ask. . .?"
So that's what happened when a young man, only eighteen years old, sent me an email this week asking about his Burchfield, Norwood, Shell, Polk folks. Bet you can figure it out from there, something got sidelined - and it wasn't his request!
And that's the first time I realized there must be two Burchfield families here that either never connect, or it's somewhere around the Garden of Eden- I never could find it. But with the naming pattern on both sides of Robert and Nathaniel "Nathan", they really must connect somewhere- I just didn't see it. And they both came from the same general area of North Carolina to Upper East Tennessee, and lived in the very same community here in Polk County nearly all their lives.
The young man descends from James Arthur Burchfield, born 1897, who was married to Naomi Norwood, daughter of Marion Frank and Cora Ann Gardner Norwood, and they lived over in the Benton Station Community. Arthur was the son of Wilse and Mary Jane Shell and his siblings were Mike, John H., Julie, and Horace Lee.
Both Wilse and Mary Jane are buried in the Burchfield Cemetary up in Springtown, as are both Wilse's parents, Nathan and Julia Caroline Mashburn Burchfield. This 1832/1914 Nathan's parents were William, also called "Wilse", and Nancy Elizabeth Baker, daughter of James C. and Jane Estes Baker who came out of Ashe, North Carolina to Cades Cove. One of Nathan's sisters, Juda Emaline, married Jesse Hammons, from a prominent Polk family, and another sister, Dolly, married Charles Hughes also a pioneer Polk family. One line further back is also a Nathaniel (1776-1863) and wife Nancy Anna McKinney. Some researchers have further back, but since I didn't do the research I won't go there.
Mashburn is a common name in Polk research, and Julia Caroline Mashburn is the daughter of William Mashburn and Lucinda Peel, and the granddaughter of another William (1774-1832) and Mary Ann Dinsmore. Some enumerators write that name as Washburn - maybe they're a bit hard of hearing, or at some time it really was Washburn. In any event, that looks to be what's on their marriage record, 16 February 1860 in Monroe County. Nathan and Julia Burchfield had six children, John (m. Ellen Chastain, went to AR), Betty (m. Zach Williams), Wilse (m. Mary Jane Shell), William (m. Gracie Jenkins), James (m. Docia Womack), and Nep (m. Dama Alice ?).
Moving to the 1864 Wilse Burchfield's wife, Mary Jane Shell, she was born 16 October 1872 to Howard and Lucinda Hampton Shell. Lucinda was Howard's first wife and according to those old notes kept by Uncle Jack Bates she died 23 September 1899. Howard and Lucinda are in the 1880 census with Mary Jane, Benjamin, Malissa E., James and William. Widowed Howard is in the 1900 census with Susan, Jim, Bill, Ellen, Charlie, Peter, Johnie, Lyle, and Tom. That's a lot of kids in a household with no mother, isn't it? Howard's Findagrave memorial is #8536309 in Kirkland Cemetery, later known as Butler, and you can just click on her name from there to see Mary Jane's.
Pictured is Wilse S. Burchfield, sitting on his front porch in the 1940's as he loved to do and visit with anyone dropping by. The other picture is Frank and Cora Norwood, possibly with their first child, Cleadis, born in 1908. They look really young and surely the other children, Ella Mae, Naomi and Howard, would have been included in the picture had they been born. (Thanks to Eric Nolan for sharing the pictures.)
Next week we'll tackle the "no d" Burchfiel family, which is probably the one with which you're the most familiar. Until then, Preserve YOUR Heritage!