Tuesday, June 4, 2019

52 Ancestors - NAMESAKE: Burton Lewis

Many years ago when I first became aware of traditional naming patterns, particularly among the Irish and Germans, I was hopeful that I could trace my ancestors more easily. Surely my database would grow and grow as a result of my new understanding of how children were named for their grandfathers and uncles. However, not so. It seems the generations I was working with were perhaps too far removed from the traditions of their forefathers.

Nevertheless plenty of grandfathers in my line have been honored when new baby boys came into the family. Take Burton Lewis Jollett, for example. 
Burton Lewis Jollett https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Burton Lewis
(cropped from a larger photo courtesy Ben Marks)
He was the first child born to my 2X great-grandparents James Franklin and Lucy Ann Shiflett Jollett. That was 2 October 1860 in Greene County, Virginia.

The name “Burton” was bestowed in memory of Lucy Ann’s father Burton Shiflett. Just one month before the birth of her baby boy, Burton was stabbed to death at the hands of Lucy Ann’s uncle Leland Frazier. At trial, Leland pleaded “not guilty” to murder but was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead and was sentenced to four years in the penitentiary.

As for the “Lewis” half of the name, I had assumed it was either Burton Shiflett’s middle name or just a name that sounded good next to “Burton.” However, it turns out to be a tribute to his other grandfather, Fielding Jollett.

On deeds, in census records, and in other legal documents, Fielding’s name often included a middle initial that looked like either “L” or “S.” It wasn’t until I found James Franklin Jollett’s death certificate that I learned Fielding’s middle name (or maybe FIRST name) was actually “Lewis.” The informant was James Franklin’s daughter Laura Jollett Sullivan. She identified James Franklin’s parents as Mary Armentrout and “Louis F. Jollett.” Who knew?

Burton Lewis has been on my mind lately. Just this past week Burton Lewis’s great-grandson found my blog and contacted me. Along with thanks for the research, he sent PICTURES. For the first time, I saw Burton Lewis as a young father.
Burton Lewis and Family about 1900 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
About 1900 Greene County, Virginia
Standing: Fleta Florence and Chester Clarence
Seated: Burton Lewis, Lewis Lloyd, Blanche Beecher,
and wife #2 Cornelia Morris Jollett
(photo courtesy Ben Marks)
I also learned that Burton Lewis was born with a club foot. Really?? 

I never noticed the deformity in the few photos I have in which Burton Lewis was standing with his brother and sisters at a family reunion.
Jollett Family Reunion about 1927 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Jollett "kids" from youngest to oldest
Ulysses, Victoria Breeden, Sallie Clift, Mary Frances Davis,
Leanna Knight, Laura Sullivan, Emma Coleman, Burton Lewis
and their father James Franklin Jollett
But it is certainly clear in the photos my 3rd cousin Ben sent me.
Burton Lewis and Ulysses Jollett https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Burton Lewis and younger brother
(photos courtesy Ben Marks)

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.”

© 2019, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. So cool about getting those pictures and your contact with the great grandson contacting you. I bet it helped validate your work in pursuing your family ancestry.


    1. It has! I get inquiries all the time from distant relatives asking for information but rarely do they have something to share in return. This contact was HUGE for me.

  2. Wow, what interesting background on the namesakes for Burton Lewis Jollett! And how wonderful that your blog served as cousin bait to attract a relative who provided photos for you. Yay for cousin bait!

    1. When pictures accompany email, it's time for a parade!

  3. This is such an interesting blog. So glad you connected with your relative and now have more photos...I'm sure he was glad to see all your work too.

    1. Photos with names, no less! Although he did send one where no one is identified but there are lots of clues to play with.

  4. Interesting - and great that you found a cousin!

    1. Thanks. Yes, good to have a cousin interested in our genealogy.

  5. Who knew? That's my line! I have a 2x great grandfather named Louis, although sometimes I see it spelled Lewis.