Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jesse O. Burgess

My journey started with my paternal great grandfather. Jesse was born in Stewartstown, Eastern District, Monongolia, Virgina on December 3, 1835.

He was the second child of Edward Burgess and Catherine Pixler. He had an older sister name Louisa born in 1831 and a younger brother named James born in 1835.

Edward and Catherine were enumerated as being born in Pennsylvania. I have not been able to prove this with any written record as of yet. Catherine was quite a bit older than Edward having been born in about 1791. Edward was born about 1810. So when Jesse was born his parents were 25 and 44.

Jesse was enumerated in the 1850 Census in Virginia, I have not been able to locate him in a 1860 Census, but he was married to Mary Louise Dibble in 1862 in Iowa. He again is in Black Hawk County, Iowa for the 1870. 1880, 1900 and 1910 Censuses.

I learned about this man from his own words….my Burgess family was very lucky in that they had letters he had written to Mary, his wife during the Civil War.

She had gone to war with Jesse and was a nurse/cook for his group. And some how, I can’t imagine, got pregnant and went home to Pennsylvania to be with her Mom to have the baby.


He wrote of where he was, how far they marched and what battles they had found on their way. His unit was part of Sherman’s March to the Sea, but most of all he wrote about how much he missed her, and how we couldn't’t wait to see his precious “Ruby”. His son Reuben Arza Burgess was born in Conneautville, Crawford, Pennsylvania on September 5th, 1864. He also told her how much the men missed her cooking and help along the way.

He wrote her poetry, this is from one of the letters:


The swollen buds apon the trees
Seems bursting forth with every breeze
A sweetness fills those spring days
And warmer shines the suns soft rays
Her silver thread the spider weaves
Apon many trees there are green leaves

With every step come around the years
In spite our smiles or bitter tears.
Our yearning hearts awaits the day
When this cloud of war shall pass away
Then shall this might of sorrow cease,
And freedom dawn with lasting peace

J.O. Burgess

He was a very young man, newly married and missing his wife horribly as I am sure thousands did also.

The back round on this blog is one of his letters.

He would sign his letter to her: scan02321

“J O Burgess to Mary L Burgess the heroine of the Great Rebellion”.

His handwriting was amazing considering what kind of education people received back then.

He was very fortunate to come home to his little family, so many didn't…..

U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles
about Jesse O Burgess
Name: Jesse O Burgess
Residence: Rossville, Iowa
Age at Enlistment: 26
Enlistment Date: 15 Aug 1862
Rank at enlistment: 5th Corpl
State Served: Iowa
Survived the War?: Yes
Service Record: Enlisted in Company I, Iowa 27th Infantry Regiment on 05 Sep 1862.
Promoted to Full 4th Corporal.
Promoted to Full 4th Sergeant on 01 Jul 1864.
Promoted to Full 5th Sergeant on 10 Mar 1864.
Mustered out on 08 Aug 1865 at Clinton, IA.
Birth Date: abt 1836
Sources: Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of Rebellion

There will be more on Jesse and Mary, but this was their start in life together.


  1. I have discovered both your blogs via Ethalmagpie. Very interesting about the house on lakeside..also this blog on your ancesters. I should do this someday...Im not a very good blogger..I like to look at others but dont really do much with mine..I try..Your old things that you repurposed are great...I had a knife thingy like the one you painted red and I finally gave it to goodwill,couldnt sell it at my booth...but should have did a makeover on it..I will be back your blogs...sally

  2. Me, too, love both of your blogs. Keep up the great work on genealogy. It's so amazing that you have Civil War letters from your own relatives. Our family Bibles have landed at the public library. :-( Sure wish we had something, but at least if we were to go to the East Coast, we could look at and touch our families' Bibles. Most people don't even have that.