[NOTE on 4/23/2017: I've made corrections to mis-information previously written above. Thomas was the son of Virginia's sister Mary J. Overton and Mattie was the daughter of her sister Frances A. Overton. Also, when looking back at my notes, I'm unsure about the unknown child so am removing it. I apologize if I've sent anyone on a wild goose chase!]
On September 26, 1850, Virginia and her family lived in Subdivision 65 of Newton County, Georgia. She was enumerated as Milly. Her father, a farmer born in South Carolina, was enumerated as Elijah rather than Abijah. His real estate was valued at $1500.
On October 15, 1860, the family lived in Conyers, Newton County, Georgia. Virginia’s father was still farming. His real estate was now valued at $2000 and he had a personal estate valued at $850. Virginia was a seamstress. The next two years were devastating for the Overton family. Virginia’s nephew, John L. Wooley, died in Conyers on March 30. Two weeks later, the Civil War started on April 12. But the Overton family had other things on their mind. Just three days after the start of the war, Virginia’s sister and John’s mother, Julia Saphronia Overton Wooley, died in Conyers on April 15, 1861. I don’t know the circumstances of John and Julia’s deaths, but wonder if they were the result of an epidemic that hit the area. Probably still overcome by grief, Julia’s husband, Hansford D. Wooley, enlisted as a private in Company B of Georgia’s 18th Infantry Regiment on October 2, 1861. Before he left, Hansford filed his will in Newton County in which he directed that he be buried beside his wife. Hansford appointed Virginia and Julia’s father Abijah Overton as the executor of his will. Hansford didn’t survive the war and died “in service” in Richmond, Wise County, Virginia on April 29, 1862. He left his estate to his father Basel Wooley and to Abijah Overton, “share and share alike.” John, Julia, and Hansford all three were buried at Old Conyers Cemetery in Conyers.
|Portion of Hansford Wooley's will|
Virginia married Samuel Pride Burnette, son of William Caton and Drucilla Henson, on August 23, 1866 in Newton County, Georgia. Together they had 14 children—John William Burnette, Thomas Terrell Burnette, C. B. Annbelle Burnette, Abijah Winkfield Burnette, Oscar Lee Burnette, Mathew E. Burnette, Laura J. Burnette, Frances Elizabeth Burnette, Mattie Lou Burnette, Benjamin Franklin Burnette, Virginia O. Burnette, Joseph Benjamin Burnette, Mollie M. Burnette, and one unknown to me but recorded in census records.
By July 28, 1870, Virginia and Sam lived in Covington, Newton County, Georgia. She was enumerated as Lily V. Burnett and was keeping house. They had two children—John (2) and Thomas (11 months).
During the period 1873 – 1877, the Burnette family lived in District 476 of Rockdale County according to the Georgia Property Tax digest.
By June 18, 1880, the Burnette’s had eight children, the oldest being 12 years old. They lived in the Harbins District of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Virginia’s oldest sons John and Thomas helped their father work on the farm while Virginia, who was enumerated as Millie V. Burnett, was “keeping house.” Shortly after this census was taken, the family moved to the Buncombe District of Loganville, Walton County where they lived during the period 1883 – 1887 according to the Georgia Property Tax digest.
Virginia’s father Abijah died in Conyers on June 14, 1887. Her mother died in Conyers six months later on December 11, 1887. I have yet to find the location of their final resting spot.
Life was hard for Virginia and Samuel in the early 1900s. Samuel, who had served for three years in Company F of the 24th Regiment of Georgia during the Civil War, filed an Indigent Pension Application in Walton County, Georgia on May 7, 1900 on the grounds of infirmity and poverty stating that he was in feeble health and not able to earn a support by his own or any kind of labor. He and Virginia had no homestead of their own. On June 6, 1900, the census enumerator found Virginia and her family living on a rented farm in the Buncombe District of Walton County. Her son Abijah, his wife Eugenia, and infant granddaughter Robena lived next door. The census record shows that Virginia and Samuel had been married for 34 years that that Virginia had 14 children, two of which had died. There were still six children in the home, ranging in age from 11 to 20 years. Samuel was a farmer.
In failing health, Samuel again filed an Indigent Soldier’s Pension Application in Walton County on January 28, 1902. He and Virginia still owned no property. Samuel filed yearly through at least 1907. In 1905, Samuel’s application stated that his physical condition was “old and in feeble health, not able to earn a support.” His property consisted of “nothing,” and he earned “nothing.” Times must have been hard for Virginia and Samuel.
Virginia’s brother John M. Overton died on April 14, 1906. He was buried at Almand Cemetery in Conyers, Rockdale County, Georgia.
On April 25, 1910, Virginia, Samuel, and two adult children—daughter Lula M. (age 27) and son Joseph B. (age 22)—lived in the Broken Arrow District of Walton County. Joseph, a “wage hand” on farm, was the only person in the home working.
Virginia died in Georgia on January 10, 1916. She was buried at Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Loganville, Walton County, Georgia. Her tombstone reads: Come Ye Blessed / Jinnie Burnett / July 7, 1849-Jan 10, 1916 / She was ready to / every good work.
*Today Conyers is in Rockdale County but according to Wikipedia, “… In 1870, the surrounding area was incorporated into Rockdale County out of Newton County, Georgia, and Conyers became the county seat.”