Monday, June 20, 2016

James Franklin Jollett's Kids: Burton Lewis Jollett

As part of my “Genealogy Do-Over” efforts AND to force myself to get crackin’ on my James Franklin Jollett book, Jollett Reunion, I will be researching and writing brief biographies of James Franklin, his wives, and his children.

Burton Lewis Jollett was the first child born to James Franklin Jollett and Lucy Ann Shiflett. That was 2 October 1860, just months before Virginia joined the Confederacy, just months before war was declared. He was a little tyke when his father left their home in Greene County, Virginia to join the cause. However, James Franklin’s lackluster service record suggests he was frequently AWOL, probably at home taking care of the farm and his growing family.

Like his younger brothers and sisters, Burton Lewis attended school. As an adult he was considered educated enough to serve his community as Justice of the Peace. The position does not require legal training but it requires good sense and ethics to handle less serious cases such as simple assault, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, reckless driving, petty theft, landlord and tenant disputes, and small claims. A Justice of the Peace can also perform civil marriages.

Children of James Franklin Jollett before 1928
The children are lined up from youngest to oldest
Left to right: Ulysses, Victoria, Sallie, Mary Frances, Leanna,
Laura, Emma, Burton Lewis, James Franklin

Most of the time though he labored on the farm. Farm communities tend to maintain close ties among farm families, each one helping another with planting, bailing hay, transporting animals to market, and canning. Maybe that is how Burton Lewis came to know his future bride Louisa Sullivan. Judging by the chronology of census records, she grew up just a few farms away from the Jolletts. Her parents were James Andrew Sullivan and Lydia Wyant.

A birth record for a baby girl born May 1878 indicates Burton Lewis and Louisa had a child out of wedlock; nevertheless, they married three years later on 20 January 1881 and made their home in Greene County. In March 1882, they had a little boy who lived only two months. Five more children were born in regular intervals; one child Maggie lived only four years.

Burton Lewis and Louisa did a cute thing naming their children. The first and middle names began with the same letter: Chester Clarence, Fleta Florence, Blanche Beecher (or some say it was Blanche Beatrice), and Lewis Lloyd.

Sometime between 1895 and 1900, Louisa died. According to the 1900 census, Burton Lewis was a widower raising his children alone. However, in September that same year he married Cornelia Morris Sullivan.

Cornelia Morris Sullivan Jollett
Cornelia Morris Sullivan
photo courtesy of Olen Morris

Like Burton Lewis, Cornelia was recently widowed, her husband having died in October 1899. She was the second wife of James Andrew Sullivan, Louisa’s father. Therefore, Cornelia was Louisa’s stepmother. Burton Lewis married his stepmother-in-law 19 September 1900 in Greene County, Virginia.

As if that family relationship were not close enough already, Cornelia was distantly connected to the Jolletts in another way. Her brothers William Gordon Morris and George Austin Morris were married to Burton Lewis’s mother’s sisters Nancy Frances and Susan Clementine Shiflett, respectively.

Morris reunion before 1928
Before 1928
Clementine and Austin Morris, James Franklin Jollett,
and Ambrose Vernon (widower of Clementine's
sister Victoria Shiflett Vernon)

Burton Lewis and Cornelia’s marriage was not the love of a lifetime. By 1916, they were divorced. Census records for 1920 and 1930 show Burton Lewis widowed; Cornelia, however, took back the Sullivan name and proclaimed she was divorced. She died in 1927.

In his later years, Burton Lewis lived with his youngest son Lewis and his family. Apparently Burton Lewis did not care much for his daughter-in-law Mary Neville (Peluso). In his will written in 1931, he named Lewis as executor; he then stipulated that should Lewis die before his wife Mary Neville, she should not be appointed to administer the estate and all inheritance from Burton Lewis should go to Lewis’s heirs. Burton Lewis’s disdain for Mary Neville is evident in these words from the will: “She would go through with it [inheritance] real soon do nobody no good. I don’t want her to have nothing from my estate whatsoever the way I have been mistreated by her.”

Burton Lewis JOLLETT ( 2 Oct 1860 Greene Co, VA – 4 May 1934 Greene Co, VA) and m1) Louisa E. SULLIVAN (Aug 1862 Greene Co, VA – Before 1900 Greene Co, VA) married 20 Jan 1881 Greene Co, VA ; m2) Cornelia MORRIS SULLIVAN (Nov 1844 Greene Co, VA – 2 Aug 1927 Greene Co, VA) married 19 Sep 1900 Greene Co, VA

Issue with Louisa Sullivan:
  1. P. JOLLETT (May 1878)
  2. E. E. JOLLETT (Mar 1882 Greene Co, VA – May 1882 Greene Co, VA)
  3. Chester Clarence JOLLETT (11 Jun 1883 Greene Co, VA – Apr 1967 Baltimore, MD) and Cora Eliza MORRIS (26 Dec 1888 Greene Co, VA – Apr 1975 Baltimore, MD) married 1 Jun 1905 Fredericksburg, VA
  4. Fleta Florence JOLLETT (22 Aug 1885 Greene Co, VA – 8 May 1956 Albemarle Co, VA) and John Lloyd SULLIVAN (26 Dec 1892 Rockingham Co, VA – 1 Dec 1967 Greene Co, VA) married 27 Dec 1916 Greene Co, VA
  5. Maggie JOLLETT (May 1887 Greene Co, VA – May 1891 Greene Co, VA)
  6. Blanche Beecher JOLLETT (13 Mar 1890 Greene Co, VA – 10 Feb 1972) and John Benjamin GENTRY (28 Dec 1888 Greene Co, VA – 8 May 1953 Charlottesville, VA) married about 1911
  7. Lewis Lloyd JOLLETT (11 Jun 1895 Greene Co, VA – Dec 1978 Richmond, VA) and Mary Neville PELUSO (11 Apr 1896 Rockingham Co, VA – 9 Mar 1981 Arlington, VA) married about 1919

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. You've done well to sort out these complicated relationships!

    1. Sometimes I wonder if I have made things clear enough for readers. It's hard to follow someone else's family.

  2. I found it interesting with the child out of wedlock and then how long it was before they got married. I wonder what people thought about that at the time.


    1. I wondered about that myself. I'm not even sure there is anyone to ask.

  3. Some people are so clever with the naming patterns for their children. We just picked a name we liked. If we were having kids now, I think I would use some of our ancestor's names, consequently our children are grateful they were born before I got into genealogy.

    1. LOL - I know what you mean. My mother wanted me to use a family name, but I didn't know enough PRETTY names back then. Names like Lucy, Sudie, and Violetta would be on trend now but not in the early 1980s.

  4. Complicated kinship and an axe or two to grind ;)

    1. Wouldn't I love to get the scoop on that story!

  5. That branch of the tree is sure complicated but you seem to have it all straightened out. And what great photos you have!

    1. I used to think I didn't have much, but actually I do. I need to quit whining about not having a pile of letters and diaries to draw from.

  6. Fascinating family history, Wendy. Poor Cornelia does look like she had a tough life. I hope she found some happiness. So pleased, you are enjoying your research.