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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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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THOMAS H. BURNS. It is impossible in a brief biographical sketch to render full justice to prominent men, and yet there are some who are so intimately and clearly identified with the county’s welfare, and whose names are so familiar to all, that it is only right to dwell upon what they have done and the influence of their career upon others. To this class belongs Thomas H. Burns, who is the present Trustee of township 5, range 10, Randolph County. He is an active, wide-awake farmer, who has won success in pursuing his favorite occupation.

Our subject’s birth occurred in Monroe County, this state, December 8, 1841. He is the son of James and Lucinda (Brewer) Burns, the former of whom was born in Perry County, Mo., in 1808. He was of Scotch-Irish descent, a farmer by occupation, and departed this life in 1848 in Monroe County, this state, where he had resided for a few years. The mother of our subject is still living, at the advanced age of eighty years, and makes her home in this county. Our subject and his brother, Basil K., are the only members living of the parental family of eight children. The former received a limited education in the common schools of Randolph County, and after the decease of his father, remained at home with his mother until reaching his majority.

On the outbreak of the Civil War, Thomas H. Burns joined the Union ranks, and became a member of Company B, Forty-ninth Illinois Infantry, which was commanded by his brother, James P. At the battle of Ft. Donelson, in which our subject participated, his brother was killed. Thomas H. was present at the siege of Corinth, and at the battle of Pleasant Hill, La., and with his company was detailed on the raid after Price. At the battle of Nashville, which followed, he was color bearer, and in 1862, when at Henderson, Tenn., was taken prisoner and sent to Columbia, that state, whence he was paroled ten days later and conveyed to Columbus, Ohio, where he was exchanged. During the last three years of his service he was Corporal of his company, and although in the war from the beginning to the close, he was never wounded, but for a month was confined in the hospital at White Station, Tenn., where he had an attack of bilious fever.

After the establishment of peace, our subject returned home to Randolph County, where he worked out by the month for a year, and October 16, 1866, was married to Miss Mary A. Hull. The two children who have come to bless their home are Henry E. and Sarah. Mrs. Burns is a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, while the mother of our subject is a Catholic in religion.

Mr. Burns has made this township his home since 1876. He is truly a self-made man, and has met with both friendship and financial success in his journey through life. He owns two hundred and forty-eight acres of well improved land, and his residence is located one and a-quarter miles northeast of Brewersville. In politics he votes with the Republican party, and cast his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln. He takes an active interest in public affairs, and is now filling the office of Township Trustee. As might be expected, he is a Grand Army man, being connected with Nicholson Post No. 457, at Red Bud.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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