Biography of Alexander Burns

The following biography was Submitted by Elizabeth Burns of Phoenix, AZ for inclusion at the Genealogy in Washington Co., PA web site in August 1997.

Alexander Burns was born May 13, 1814 in Ohio County, West Virginia near West Liberty. He was the son of Garrett and Rebecca Beck Byrnes (l1/14/1788-11/23/1821). Rebecca was the daughter of Captain John Beck (1746-1816), a veteran of the Revolutionary War and Rebeccah Miller Beck (1762-1853). They settled in Ohio County WV in 1777, emigrating from Kent County Maryland.

Alexander was married November 8, 1836 to Elizabeth Cotton (1820-1891), daughter of Dr. Henry Cotton of West Middleton, Pa. Alexander was a tailor by trade and also served as a Justice of the Peace in 1840 in West Middleton. Both he and his wife are buried in the Grove United Presbyterian Cemetery there.


Henry Cotton            July 27, 1837-June 14, 1915     m. Eliza Jane Wilson
William Fletcher        Nov. 24, 1838-Oct. 31, 1902     m. Lora A. Ross
Rebecca Margaret        Aug. 1, 1841-Feb. 26, 1926      m. William T. Ackison
Sarah Louisa            Dec 4, 1843-Feb 24, 1919        Never Married
Virginia Ellen          April 28, 1845-Feb 18, 1941     m. John Smith
Laura Corene            Jan 5, 1847-July 21, 1922       Never Married
Alexander Clarkson      Nov 28, 1848-Feb 2, 1907        m. Diana Templeton
Horace Roscoe           Nov 28, 1850-Aug 23, 1912       m. Anna M. Wells
Gilbert Camaro          Jan 31, 1853-July 29, 1946      m. Laura B. Lynch
Orin Ebert              Jan 31,1853-April 30, 1940      Never Married
Decima Camilla          Sept 4, 1856-Dec 12, 1942       M. James M. Templeton
Frank Clarence          May 6, 1861-Dec 24, 1925        Never Married
Henry Burns: the eldest of the family was born in West Middleton and lived there a number of years. In June 1866 he married Eliza Jane Wilson, died July 30, 1898, a native of Manchester, Adams Co., Ohio and sometime later bought a farm near Claysville. He and his wife had six children: Willard James, Alice Mary, Frank E., Elizabeth Irene, Charles L. and Edgar Reed Burns.

William: Was a painter by trade and was killed by falling from a building. In April 1870 he married Lora A. Ross who died November 22, 1872. They had two children: Craig Ross (1/23/1871-12/1/1947) and William Ross Burns (11/12/1872-4/7/1875).

Rebecca: Married William T. Ackison in September 1870, he died in December 1883. They had two children-a son Carl and a daughter, Ora who married Dr. John Smith, a physician in Charleroi, Pa.

Sarah: Was a tailoress by trade and spent her entire life in West Middleton. Lived with her Aunt Sarah Cotton and is buried in the United Grove Presbyterian cemetery there.

Virginia: Educated at Pleasant Hill Seminary near West Middleton. In November 1865 she married John Smith and moved to their farm near Buffalo Creek where she reared a family of seven children. They later lived at Wylandville, Pa.

Laura: Lived in her father's old home in West Middleton and is buried in the cemetery there.

Alexander: While quite a youth he took the state examination and was granted a lifetime teaching certificate after which he taught for four years in the public schools of GoodIntent, Washington Co. Pennsylvania and later taught one year in Pleasant Hill Female Seminary. In the fall of 1875 he entered the Department of Medicine, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduating in 1877. Soon after his graduation he located at Getaway, Lawrence County, Ohio practicing medicine there for sixteen years, moving to Huntington, West Virginia in 1893. In Dec 1878 he married Diana Templeton. They had four children: James, Orin, Adrienne and Anice. Both Dr. Burns and his wife are buried in Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, WV.

Horace: Was a carpenter and a contractor and lived for many years in West Middleton and later Washington, Pa. He married Anna M. Wells in February 1875. They had three daughters: Ollie, Elisha and Stella. Two of these daughters went to Egypt as missionaries.

Gilbert: lived in Chicago, Illinois and conducted a retail shoe store. He was married to Laura B. Lynch in February 1887 and had 3 children.

Orin: twin brother of Gilbert lived in Helena, Montana. He was a cabinet maker specializing in the making of violins. He never married. He died in Chesapeake, Lawrence Co. Ohio and is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Huntington, WV.

Decema: was an accomplished pianist and taught music. In September 1889 she married James M. Templeton. They lived in Getaway, Lawrence Co. Ohio and had one daughter, Janet. She and her husband are buried in the cemetery at Getaway, Ohio.

Frank: was an architect by profession. He lived in Bellingham Washington.

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