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Introducing Bessie Lewis Butler

I mentioned Bessie in a listing of James Lee Burns' brothers and sisters some time ago. Now we get to see what she looks like.

Bessie Butler (1888-1982)
I listed Bessie Lewis Butler as possibly James' oldest sister. She was born on October 31, 1888 possibly in Learnith (Learned), Mississippi. She died in September 1982.

While I do declare her his oldest sister, it's not exactly known where she might sit as far as who's the oldest or who's the youngest brother or sister in that family. In family materials it is said that Aggie Andrews who is her mother may have had as many as 18 children and we've recently uncovered an unknown child in Arthur Burns.

Aunt Bessie eventually found her way to Alligator, MISS where she died in September 1982. One of her known to us children was a man named Hosea (Hosie) Butler who himself moved to Memphis, Tennessee. 

I want to give a special thanks to the grand-daughter of Hosie Butler for the above picture of Aunt Bessie of Alligator, MISS. It's a good thing you can contact distant relatives via

I understand that some members of the Hunter/Burns family has had some dealings with her family. My grandmother Gurtine Burns Howard had been in touch with Hosie's family in the possibility of moving to Memphis, however, she opted to stay put in Mound Bayou. One of my aunts had actually stayed for a brief time with her mother's first cousin (Hosie, again) in Memphis, TENN during her college years.

The connection to James Lee Burns - one of her brothers - is through their mother who we know as Aggie Andrews out of Hinds County, MISS.  As she seems to use the maiden name Lewis, I do not believe they share the same father.

Allow me to repost her obituary which had been previously posted here. Note the misspelling of the tribal chief's last name though it's correct that he was residing in Mound Bayou, MISS in 1982.

To update the listings of brothers and sisters according to their birthdates:
  • Bessie Lewis Butler - October 31, 1888 to Sept 1982
  • James Etta (or Jeanette) Smith Brown - October 13, 1890 to April 14, 1963
  • Turner Burns - April 30, 1894 to November 27, 1951
  • Will Burns - May 1, 1896 to May 1975
  • James Lee Burns - June 18, 1898 to April 27, 1988
  • Arthur Burns - newly discovered September 4, 1900 to November 20, 1979
  • Robert Burns (or Fairrow) - possibly 1906, however, birthdate & date of death unknown
The birthdates and date of deaths to these remaining known sisters of Mr. James Burns remain unknown at this time
  • Mancy - only thing known about her is that she died at about 18-years-old
  • Emma - birthdate and date of death unknown
  • Hattie - birthdate and date of death unknown though as stated she was spotted at a funeral by her niece Lucyrene Burns Robinson
Of course the more I discover about this generation, the more I can write about them in the near future.

Also the listings of most of these brothers and sisters save for Arthur came from another daughter of James Burns & Emma Hunter. The oldest daughter and our family, tribalgriot Lee Alice Burns Travis.

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