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Below is a family biography included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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John H. and James P. Burns, grocery merchants of Bentonville, Ark., were born in Bedford County, Tenn., in 1830 and 1838, respectively. They are the sons of Thomas P. and Mary Ann (Knott) Burns, and the grandsons of John Burns, who was a native of Ireland, coming to the United States when a young man; was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and drew a pension for services rendered. He located in North Carolina, but afterward located in Bedford County, Tenn., where he died about 1836. Thomas P. Burns was born in the State of North Carolina in 1793, and was of Irish descent. He died in 1838. Mary Ann (Knott) Burns was born in Bedford County, Tenn., and died in 1870 at the age of sixty-three. She was the mother of five children, three of whom are now living: William who resides in Bell County, Tex., engaged in farming; John H. and James P. The father of these children died when they were quite small, and, after his death, the mother continued to keep house, and keep her children together on the farm. In 1860 she and her three children moved to Benton County, Ark., purchased a farm five miles southwest of the county seat, and here John H. and James P. remained with their mother until her death. They followed farming until 1881, when they established a grocery store in Bentonville and this they have since continued. They carry a first class stock of goods and are men of good business ability, are strictly honest, and are good citizens. In 1871 John H. married Miss Mary Elizabeth Simpson, a native of Alabama, born in 1838, and the daughter of James Simpson. Mrs. Burns died in 1875 and in 1877 he married Miss Harriet E. Campbell, who was born in Logan County Ky., and who is the daughter of James M Campbell. James P. married in 1878, Miss Sarah Emaline Jackson, daughter of Haley Jackson. They have five children: Mary E., Margaret G., Edna A., James H. and Ida. In politics the brothers are both Democrats. They are both Masons, and both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which John H. is steward and James P. trustee. In 1862 the brothers enlisted in Company F, Confederate Army, under Capt. Miser. John H. was in the battle of Helena Jenkins’ Ferry, and was captured and retained about twenty days, He was discharged at Washington, Ark after the surrender. James P. was in the battle of Prairie Grove, and was afterward transferred to the commissary department and was there from August 1862, until the close of the war. He was wounded quite severely in the battle of Prairie Grove.

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This family biography is one of 240 biographies included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Benton County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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