Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Background on Burch Family, Slaves on the Berry Plantation

When the Genealogical Society prepared the Coweta County Cemetery Book in the 1980's, they only knew of one grave in the cemetery. They called it the Cole Street Cemetery because no one came forward with any other information. Cynthia Rosers put some questions on the internet and we now have more info on the Burch Family.

Background on Burch family

Abner Robert Burch was born in March 1848 in Virginia. He was possibly the slave of Robert Simms Burch who lived in Coweta County in 1835. Robert. Burch is shown in the 1859 census as owning 19 slaves and in 1855 had 25. He was a lawyer and lived in Newnan, the 5th District.

Eliza E. Smith Burch was born in February 1848 in Georgia, the daughter of George and Isabella Smith. It is possible they were slaves of Dr. Ira Smith, an early Coweta County settler from Virginia who, in 1850, owned 54 slaves. George and Isabella had five children; Eliza, Ira, Walter, Fannie and Georgia.

Abner and Eliza were married in April 1866. Charlie was the second son of Abner and Eliza. According to the 1870 Census, their eldest son, George, was born in 1867. In the 1880 Census he was listed as being a railroad postal clerk. He went to Atlanta University and married Elizabeth Cox in 1893. They lived in Fulton County. Abner and Eliza raised a second child, Wilburn (Bud) Gay. In the Census of 1870, Abner was listed as a cook and Eliza as a housekeeper. In 1887 Abner established a restaurant on E. Broad Street. He later gave Bud an interest in the restaurant and it became one of Newnan's most popular eating places well into the 1930's.

Abner and Eliza owned a large piece of property between Savannah and Burch Streets in the Chalk Level community of Newnan. The house faced Burch Street and, at one time, there was a road from Burch Street to the cemetery. Abner and Eliza were respected and prominent citizens in Newnan having large property holdings and being committed church members and contributors or the community. There is no record of either Abner or Eliza's death or place of burial. A deed dated 1911 shows George to be A. R. Burch's sole heir and family history relates that Eliza died shortly after Abner.

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