Chickasaw County Mississippi Genealogy & History Network

Henry Lemuel Burkitt Biography

18 October 1818 - 14 May 1901

(submitted by Gerald & Tammy Westmoreland)

Gen. Henry Lemuel Burkitt enjoyed the reputation of being a practical and successful man for many years. Not only as a substatial and pregressive planter, but as one intelligent and thoroughly posted on all public matters. He was elected and served four years in the Mississippi Senate, from 1883 - 1887.

He was born in Halifax County, North Carolina, October 18, 1818, but the year following his parents removed to Giles County, Tennessee, where he was reared and wher he lived until 1836. His parents then relocated to Lawrence County, Tennessee, where they are buried and where he resided for about seventeen years.

While in Tennessee he was elected as Major of the Lawrenceburg Militia in 1839. He was promoted by the Governor of Tennessee to the position of Brigadier General. He held this position for eight years, commanding the militia of the counties of Larence, Wayne, Hardin, and Hickman.

Also while in Tennessee, he practiced law for fifteen or twenty years and was quite an extensive contributor to the newspapers and journals of the day. His articles, which were on popular subjects, were met with the approval of critics as well as the public generally.

In 1850 he published a second edition of the Kehokee Baptist Association which had been originally published by his grandfather, Lemuel Burkitt, and Jesse Read, in 1803 and sold several thousand copies in the United States. In 1882 he published a popular work entitled "Burkitt's Maxims and Guide to Youth." In 1885 he published a small work against prohibition, which circulated very extensively. In 1889 he published a second edition of his Maxims much improved.

In 1854 General burkitt moved to Waynesboro, Tennessee, but in 1864, while he was in the Confederate Army, his family were refugees from the battlefields to North Alabama, and remained near Mount Hope until the end of the war. Then he and his family moved to Palo Alto, Mississippi near which place he reained until his death.

During the war he spent one year in the Confederate Army, serving as clerk of the Ninth Tennessee Calvary. He was in the accepted sense of the word a self-made man, having quarried his success from the gloomiest realities of life. He obtained his education through his own efforst after he was grown.

On May 23, 1841, he married Miss. Louisa Howell, of Alabama, and by her became the father of five children. Hon. Frank Burkitt of Okolona, MS; Burgess L. Burkitt; James Burkitt of Amory, MS; Mary E. Burkitt (wife of T.J. Fisher) of Tennessee; and Exile Burkitt of Jackson, Tennessee.

Henry's wife died September 29, 1889. He later married his deceased wife's sister, the widow Mrs. M.J. Walker of Corinth, MS. This marriage occured September 2, 1890.

General Burkitt claimed that he was a descendant from William Burkitt, a distinguished divine and writer of England who was born in 1650 and died in 1703 and was the author of Burkitt's notes on the New Testament.


Henry Burkitt died May 14, 1901in Okolona, MS and is burried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Chickasaw County, MS.

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