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Centennial History of Hurricane (1994 Edition): William Alexander Burdette

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. In 1994, the Centennial Committee published a follow up book which included family histories which were not submitted in time for the 1988 Centennial History. This week’s selection is the 4th history from The Centennial History of Hurricane WV Continued — 1994.


Submitted by Dave Burdette

William A. Burdette was born June 19, 1838, in Monroe County WV, one of twelve children of Alexander and Mary Hill Burdette. He was the grandson of William and Sarah Cornwell Burdette who had arrived in Monroe County about 1800. Burdette is still a familiar name in Monroe County.

In February 1855, William A. came, with his family, to a farm a few miles south of Hurricane. The family engaged in farming, cattle and timbering. A few short years later, when the Civil War began, William enlisted in Capt. Albert J. Beckett’s company of Cavalry, one of the first units mustered in the Confederate Army. These men, as were most Confederate soldiers, simply were fighting to protect their homes rather than uphold slavery or other political reasons. In July 1861, William was present at the Battle of Scary, one of the first battles of the Civil War. In early 1862, he transferred to the 10th Regiment, VA Cavalry. Three years later, this unit was positioned near Appomatox Courthouse when Lee surrendered to Grant. After fighting so hard for so long, surrender was a bitter pill for Confederate soldiers to swallow, and it was an experience he never forgot.

He returned home in April 1865. A year later he went to a farm on Kanawha River near Scary and lived there until 1873. He then returned to the family farm which he and his brother Lee purchased. Later, he purchased his brother’s interest, and still later added other tracts, making it one of the larger farms on Trace Fork.

On February 12, 1868 William married Virginia Chittum and they were the parents of:

Olia C., b. March 26, 1869, d. December 26, 1899
John S. “Buster”, b. Jan. 3, 1872, m. Mary Harbour, (see volume I).
Virginia L. b. Dec. 30, 1873
Mary Belle, b. Mar. 25, 1876 d. June 2, 1946
Ella R., b. c1878, d. Mar. 26, 1896
Lillie R. “Lula”, b. sept. 12, 1880
Wilburn W., b. Dec. 20, 1883
Willie A., b. Dec. 20. 1883 (twins)
Herbert E., b. Apr. 24, 1885, d. Dec. 26, 1979.

Among these children were bankers, business leaders, dentist, farmers, tobacconists, etc. William continued living on the family farm until his death March 28, 1907. The large number who gathered for his funeral attested to his popularity in the community. Most of his pallbearers were Confederate veterans. His final resting place was in Mt. Moriah Cemetery.

A host of descendants still live in the Hurricane area.

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