Burk Burnett’s Family

When people think of the 6666 Ranch, they typically think of Samuel Burk Burnett, his wives and children. However, Burk Burnett had a number of siblings, some of whom were associated with the ranch over the years while others were ranchers on their own.

The parents of Samuel Burk Burnett were Jeremiah Amos Burnett (1824-1904) and Nancy Turner Burnett (1829-1869). They likely married in Missouri around 1845, since a son Wesley was born the following year and Burk was born in 1849. Wesley may have passed away while he was still a youth. He only appears in the 1850 census. After Wesley and Burk, came Tillman Howard (1850), Mary Ann (1852), Phoenix Monroe (1855), Malinda Elizabeth (1856), Jeremiah (1959), Martha Jane and Amanda Maud (1861) and Ruth (1863). All were born in Missouri except for Martha Jane, Amanda Maud and Ruth.

Tillman Howard “Tibb” Burnett married Minnie Belle Horner and most of his life, he was a cattleman living in Benjamin, Knox County, Texas. The couple had a large family. Tillman survived Burk by about a year, passing in 1923 and Minnie survived Tillman until she passed in 1938. Both are buried in Knox County.

Sister Mary Ann “Mollie” Burnett married Silas Granville Christal and they lived in or around Decatur. Silas was a minister in Wise County. Mary Ann passed in 1913 and Silas followed her in death in 1918. Both are buried in Wise County. Silas’ mother was also a Burnett (apparently a cousin of the Jeremiah Burnett family) and other Christal and Burnett family members also moved the area. A family story on the Christal side is that their Wise County family members saw the need for a school. The family members went in together to build a one room school house that originally stood in Stony, Texas, located about halfway between Denton and Decatur, known as the Christal-Burnett Schoolhouse. Many years later the old building was restored and relocated to a city park in nearby Ponder, Texas, a few miles to the southeast of Stony.

Brother Phoenix Monroe “Bruce” Burnett married an older sister of Minnie Belle Horner named Katherine Rice Horner. Phoenix seems to have worked as a cowboy on the 6666 Ranch for a while before he married. He and Katherine later lived in Benjamin, Knox County. Phoenix died of unknown causes in 1899. Katherine remarried and later died in 1910. Both Katherine and Phoenix are buried in Knox County.

Sister Malinda Elizabeth “Lizzie” Burnett married Rufus A. Campbell in 1883 and had two children before she passed in 1892 at the age of about thirty-five, due to unknown causes. Rufus was a stock raiser. He survived Malinda for many years before passing in 1941. Both are buried in Decatur, Texas.

Brother Jeremiah James Johnson “Jerry” Burnett had married Jesse Murray, but the couple had no children at the time he succumbed to typhoid fever in 1894 at the age of thirty-five. At the time of Jeremiah’s death he owned property in Wichita County and a partial interest in cattle that were located in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) at the time. A newspaper article said that he passed away at the 6666 Ranch and that Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Burk Burnett were by his side. Like several other family members, he is buried in Decatur, Texas.

Sister Martha A. Burnett died in 1863 at the age of two years old. Her cause of death is unknown and she is buried in Denton County.

Sister Amanda Maud “Mandy” Burnett first married Thomas Anthony Minter in 1882 who died in 1898. She then married James M. Barkley. Barkley was also a member of an early Texas family and was associated with the 6666 ranching business, serving as ranch foreman until a year before he died in 1920. After Mrs. Barkley retired, she moved to Fort Worth. Amanda recalled the early days of her family’s residence in Texas. Amanda’s experiences ranged from childhood memories of hiding in fear under the bed as tribe members would prowl around the house. She also recalled enjoying visits of Chief Quanah Parker, his wives and family in later years, when they came to the ranch. In addition, she remembered the occasion when the Jeremiah Burnett family came down to Tarrant County to see the first railroad train arrive in Fort Worth. When she died in 1946, she was the last surviving daughter of Jeremiah and Nancy Burnett. Mr. Barkley is buried in Birdville, where he was born. Thomas Anthony Minter and Amanda are both buried in Henrietta, Clay County, Texas.

Ruth was the youngest sister of the group. She married Lesly C. Mayes in 1883 and Thomas W. Roberts in 1896. Thomas Roberts was also in the ranching business. Ruth and Thomas had no children and lived in Wichita Falls. Thomas died in 1943 and Ruth died in 1945. Both are buried in Wichita Falls.

Samuel Burk Burnett was first married 1869 to Ruth Bottom Loyd (1853-1913). Their union produced two children who lived to be adults, Thomas Loyd Burnett (1871-1938) and Anne Valliant Burnett (1876-1914). Their stories are generally well known. The marriage of Ruth and Burk ended in divorce and in 1892, Burk married Mary Sue Couts Barradall. Mary Sue was the widow of pharmacist Claudius Wills “Claude” Barradall who was a murder victim in 1884. He had been a doctor during the Civil War, after which he opened a pharmacy in Fort Worth. One day, a man named Charles Herring walked into the pharmacy and shot Barradall. Newspaper articles mention that the suspect Herring was inebriated and that Barradall may have earlier encountered him and refused to sell him morphine. Mary Sue and Burk together had one son, Samuel Burk Burnett, Jr. who died at the age of twenty-one from a relatively rare form of soft tissue cancer.

Burk Burnett died in 1922 while still married to Mary Sue Couts who passed about two years later. All four individuals above (Burk Burnett, Ruth Loyd Burnett, Mary Sue Couts Burnett and C. W. Barradall) are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Fort Worth.

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3 thoughts on “Burk Burnett’s Family”

    1. The way most people do it is to chart out their own ancestors and then look for common relatives in the other family. We had some distant relatives named James. Other family members had always been told that this branch was related to Jesse James’ family and were strongly inclined to think it was true. Sometimes it works, but this time we came up empty. Good luck!


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