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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri 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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William F. Burnes deserves honorable mention as one of the prominent citizens of the county, for it is but just to say that his good name has been above reproach, and that in business as well as in social circles he has won the confidence and esteem of all who know him. He was born in Greenville County, of the “Palmetto State,” February 15, 1829, his parents being Thomas J. and Rebecca (Childress) Burnes, who were of Irish and Scotch descent, and born March 6, 1801, and September 16, 1803, and died April 13, 1876, and about 1863, respectively. They were married in their native State, and about 1831 removed to Georgia, locating first in Hall County, and later in Whitfield County, among the Cherokee Indians, where they made their home until 1855, at which date they took up their abode in Polk County, Mo. They were active members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and throughout life the father was a farmer and stock-raiser by occupation. He was first an old line Whig in politics, but afterward became a Democrat. His father, Edmund Burnes, was born in Scotland, it is supposed, and married an Irish lady, Miss Owens. Thomas J. Burnes and wife became the parents of five children, who lived to be grown and married: Martha Ann (deceased), wife of G. S. Pitner; William F., James W., Thomas J. (deceased), and Mary N., who died on the old homestead, the wife of Ira O. Parish. William F. Burnes, our immediate subject, had about thirty-six days’ schooling as the principal part of his education, the facilities of Whitfield County, Ga., at that time being very poor as far as schools were concerned, and he learned to read at Sunday-school. He resided with his parents until August 20, 1848, when he was married to Malviney A., daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Singleton. She was born in Greenville County, S. C., January 1, 1830, and died in Polk County, Mo., April 10, 1858, having been a zealous worker in the Methodist Church for many years. Four of their five children are now living: Mary J., wife of Thomas David son; Wesley J., a school teacher and farmer; Galloway W., a physician of Polk County, Mo.; and Elizabeth, the wife of L. Laramore. John Albert died at the age of five years. September 16, i860, Mr. Burnes wedded Mary Jane Parish, a daughter of Barnett P. Parish, one of the first residents of Polk County from Indiana. She was born in Polk County, March 13, 1841, and her union with Mr. Burnes has resulted in the birth of seven children, four living: Hazeltine, wife of W. W. Higginbotham; Orlenea, wife of Dr. William Nicholas; Darinda A. Burnes, aged eighteen years; I. V., tilling his father’s farm; and De Lacey at home. Those deceased are: Ann, who died October 23, 1883, aged nineteen years; Edward and Frank, the two last dying in infancy. In 1854 Mr. Burnes moved to Waco, Texas, where he lived until 1857, then came to Polk County, and began working at the carpenter’s trade, which he continued until the commencement of the Civil War, and since that time has been engaged in farming and stock raising exclusively. On coming to Missouri he had but twenty-five cents, but by economy, industry and good managment he is now well-to-do. He has been a Mason in good standing for thirty years; is a Democrat in politics, having served as justice of the peace one year, and for many years has been a member of the Missionary Baptist Church.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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