Copyright © Janice Tracy, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sebastian and Bridget Haffey Burns

St. Mary of the Springs Catholic Cemetery, in Madison County, Mississippi, near Rayville, is the final resting place for a large number of individuals with Irish ancestry who came to Madison County to live in the late 1800's. Some of the individuals buried in this old Catholic cemetery have surnames such as Burns, Doherty, Donahoe, Haffey, McGowan, Murray, Murphy, and Shannon. Two of these families have a large number of their loved ones buried in St. Mary of the Springs Cemetery, and these same two families, Burns and Haffey, had children who married each other.

Bridget Haffey, born May 10, 1869, married Sebastian B. Burns, who was born on October 17, 1866. Sebastian died August 19, 1929, and Bridget Haffey Burns died on June 3, 1939. A picture of their double gravestone, with the name "Burns" inscribed on the stone that separates the two larger stones, is shown here.

Sebastian Burns was born in Mississippi to Patrick Burns, a native of Ireland, and to Sarah Krafts Burns, who was born in South Carolina. According to the U. S. Census of 1870, Sarah and Patrick were living at that time in Police District 4 of Madison County. Sebastian, at three years old, was the oldest of the three children in the household. His siblings were James, age 2, and Mary, age 1, and both children, like Sebastian, were born in Mississippi. The Burns family lived near other families where the adults had been born in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and where the children in these household were born after arriving in Mississippi.

In 1880, when the U. S. Census was taken that year, Patrick and Sarah Burns were still living in Madison County, near Sharon, Mississippi. Their family had grown, and Sebastian (now shown as S. Joseph Burns,) had six brothers and sisters. James, age 11, was now known as "Tim," likely an abbreviation for his other name. And Mary, now called "Annie," was 10 years old. Other children in the household were Sallie, age 7, Joe, age 6, Katie, age 4, and John, age 3. M. J. Krafts, age 71, was shown as Sebastian's father-in-law, and had possibly become a widower at some time during the past ten years.

In 1900, Sebastian and Bridget Haffey Burns, married for four years, were enumerated on the U. S. Census and were the parents of a nine-month old daughter, Annie. Bridget birthplace was shown as Ireland, as was the birthplace of her parents. The surnames of neighbors of the Burns family included both Burns and Haffey, as well as others named Alexander, Boddie, Clanton, Henry, and Luckett.

In 1920, when the U.S. Federal Census was recorded, a birthplace of Mississippi was fairly common among most of the individuals living in close proximity to the Burns family, both adults and children. Sebastian and Bridget had moved to another location in Madison County, near Camden, and they had six children, two daughters and four sons. The children's names were Josephine, age 17, Edward, age 15, Catherine, age 13, twins Paul and Willie, age 10, and John B., age 8. This farm family of eight was shown to be renting their home in a very remote and rural area of Madison County, and economic times were likely tough, to say the least.

Ironically, by 1920, out of several dozen adults living near Sebastian and Bridget Haffey Burns in Camden, Mississippi, their family were the only individuals who had a parent born outside the United States.

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