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Below is a family biography included in The History of Weakley County, Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  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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W. J. Burchard, a prosperous merchant of Martin, Tenn., was born in 1843, the eldest of four children of A. C. and Sarah Burchard. The father was born in North Carolina in 1819, and in his days of childhood was brought to Hickman County, Tenn. He was a farmer and stock dealer, and was married in 1842. He is now connected with the First National Bank, at Centreville. His wife was born in Smith County, Tenn., in 1817, and her demise occurred in 1877. Our subject joined the army May 10, 1861, enlisting in Company H, Eleventh Tennessee Infantry. In December, 1861, he was appointed by Col. James E. Raines as provost-marshal and served in that capacity six months. At the end of the year he re-enlisted and was then made orderly sergeant of the company. He participated in the battles of Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. After this he joined Forrest’s cavalry, and was with him in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, besides many other engagements. He returned home in the spring of 1865. The next year he entered Cumberland University and completed his education at that place in 1867. Maggie Montgomery became his wife in 1871. Her father, John Montgomery, was a lawyer of considerable distinction at Centreville, Tenn. He died in 1878. His wife, Jane Montgomery, is residing with her daughter, Mrs. Burchard. Mr. and Mrs. Burchard are the parents of five children: Farrar, A. C., Field M., Charley and Sally. Soon after his marriage Mr. Burchard purchased 100 acres of timber land, which he cleared and improved, and on which he lived until 1882. He then moved to Martin and entered into partnership with W. B. Blakemore. They built a large livery barn and continued in the business two years, when our subject sold his interest and engaged in the dry goods and grocery business with J. B. Ragsdale. The firm is known as Ragsdale & Burchard and their stock amounts to $7,000. Their sales amount to about $25,000 per year. In August, 1882, he was elected magistrate, a position he held two years. He is a Democrat and his first presidential vote was cast for Horace Greeley. He and Mrs. Burchard are members of the Christian Church.

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This family biography is one of 108 biographies included in The History of Weakley County, Tennessee published in 1887 by Goodspeed.  The History of Weakley County was included within The History of Gibson, Obion, Dyer, Weakley & Lake Counties of Tennessee. For the complete description, click here: History of Gibson, Obion, Dyer, Weakley, and Lake Counties of Tennessee

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