Bio: Mary Markham
Mary Markham was the second daughter and third child born to John Markham and his wife Mary of Pittsylvania county Virginia. She was probably born between
1784-1788. She grew up on the Markham family plantation, but little else is known of her childhood and youth. Her father died in 1801, when she was a
teenager. She likely remained with her mother and under the care of her eldest brother, Peter Markham.
On the 15th of July 1808 she was married to Elisha Burch. The marriage is recorded in Powhatan county Virginia, the home of Mary Markham's aunt, Elizabeth
Harris Markham, widow of Vincent Markham. There seem to have been a number of close ties between the Markhams in Pittsylvania county Virginia and those in
Powhatan county Virginia. It is wondered if Mary Markham and Elisha Burch might have been married in the home of her aunt. Witness to the marriage was Francis
Lewis who was married to Vincent Markham's daughter, Elizabeth Markham. Surety for the marriage was Thomas Powell who was married to another Markham cousin. The
bond states that Mary Markham was twenty-one years of age.
Mary Markham and Elisha Burch set up their home in Pittsylvania county Virginia. In the year following their marriage, 1809, Mary Markham's mother died and
the young couple is named in several court records related to the settlement of the estate. Mary Markham Burch's six younger siblings were placed under the
guardianship of their oldest brother Peter Markham. But, in 1812 Peter Markham went off to war and Elisha Burch took over as guardian to the youngest Markham
children. It is not clear who took up residence on the Markham plantation, but it seems possible that Elisha Burch and Mary Markham may have lived there for a
time, raising their own family and caring for the Markham children who were still at home.
By 1820, Elisha Burch and Mary Markham appear in the census of Pittsylvania county Virginia with three young sons and two daughters. Their neighbors include
John West, Ezekiel East, Davis Barden, John Kindrick, Nathaniel Faris, Nancy Patterson, Thomas Davis, Josiah Hodges, and their brother-in-law James Whitehead. It
is not clear exactly where in the county they are living, but the names of their neighbors don't suggest that they were living on the old Markham
Elisha Burch and Mary Markham appear in the 1830 and 1840 census of Pittsylvania county Virginia. Combining data from 1820-1840 census records suggest that they
had two daughters born 1808-1810, four sons born 1810-1825 and two more daughters born 1825-1835. The youngest female child might be a grandchild. To date, I
have only been successful in identifying three of their sons: John Cheadle Burch, Peter Lafayette Burch and James A Burch.
The Burch family in Virginia has been the subject of research, but many questions remain. There were probably several distinct Burch families in
Virginia. Marilu Smallwood Burch published a book titled "The Birch, Burch Family of America" and it gives clues to a Burch family in Hanover county Virginia
which is likely to be the family the Markhams are connected to. She names six Burch "brothers" who appear in the Chancery records of Hanover county Virginia:
Isham, Peter, Benjamin, Elisha, John and Cheadle. This Burch family had very early connections to the Cheadle family when Hannah Cheadle married Thomas Burch
in the early 1700's in Middlesex county Virginia. The appearance of the Cheadle name in the Burch family is a helpful clue. After careful consideration, I have
come to the conclusion that the Elisha Burch who married Mary Markham is one of the six "brothers" of Hanover county Virginia and that another of the brothers,
Cheadle Burch, was married to a sister or cousin of Mary Markham Burch.
It is helpful to place the three sons of Elisha Burch and Mary Markham. In 1826, John Cheadle Burch was apprenticed to John W Power as a gunsmith in
Pittsylvania county Virginia. This is the only record we have of this young man. Peter Lafayette Burch married and raised a large family in Pittsylvania
county Virginia and James A Burch removed to Mississippi where he also raised a large family. I have received help on the Burch descendants from researchers
Gertrude Williams, Mrs Lonnie Crosby, Sue Jordan, Royal Tucker and Ron Burch.
The 1840 census is the last appearance of Mary Markham Burch. It is likely that she died sometime between 1840 and 1850 when she was in her sixties. Elisha
Burch lived to be an old man. He appears in the 1850 census of Pittsylvania county Virginia, living with his son Peter L Burch and family. His age is given
as seventy-seven and his occupation is teacher. It is wondered at what point in his life he took up the profession of teaching. Elisha Burch died in 1854
and his son, Peter L Burch was administrator of his estate.
Do you want to know more?
Link to Mary Markham
Sketch: A Markham Wife for Cheadle Burch.
Biography of Mary Markham; written by Pamela Hutchison Garrett for John Markham of Chesterfield website; 2014.