Our Family History

The Genealogy of Robert and Christina Barritt

Dr. Rufus Columbus BURLESON

Male 1823 - 1901  (77 years)


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  • Name Rufus Columbus BURLESON 
    Prefix Dr. 
    Born 7 Aug 1823  near Decatur, Morgan, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Census 1830  Morgan County, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    • presumed
    Census 2 Nov 1850  Houston, Harris, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Census 15 Jun 1860  Independence, Washington, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Census 1 Jul 1870  Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Census 5 Jun 1880  Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    • S. 6th St.
    Census 13 Jun 1900  Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • 912 Baylor St.
    Religion Baptist 
    Education Nashville University (TN); Western Baptist Theological Seminary (KY), 1847 
    Occupation Minister, Professor, University President 
    Died 14 May 1901  Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried Oakwood Cemetery, Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I1665  Dyal and Speckels
    Last Modified 15 Apr 2013 

    Father Jonathan Adair BURLESON,   b. 6 Oct 1789, North Carolina, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Sep 1866, Morgan County, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth BYRD,   b. 4 Sep 1796, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jul 1839  (Age 42 years) 
    Married 15 Sep 1813  Madison County, Alabama, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F551  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Georgia J. JENKINS,   b. 23 Sep 1833, Georgia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jun 1924, Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years) 
    Married 3 Jan 1853  [2
    Children 
     1. Jonathan BURLESON,   b. Abt 1859, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    +2. Hallie Byrd BURLESON,   b. Sep 1865, Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    +3. Richard Adair BURLESON,   b. 21 Sep 1869, Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Dec 1944, Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
    Last Modified 22 Mar 2017 
    Family ID F559  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 7 Aug 1823 - near Decatur, Morgan, Alabama, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1830 - Morgan County, Alabama, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 2 Nov 1850 - Houston, Harris, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 15 Jun 1860 - Independence, Washington, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1 Jul 1870 - Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 5 Jun 1880 - Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 13 Jun 1900 - Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 14 May 1901 - Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Oakwood Cemetery, Waco, McLennan, Texas, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Headstones
    Burleson, Rufus C.
    Burleson, Rufus C.
    Burleson, Rufus C.
    Burleson, Rufus C.
    Military marker:
    CHAPLAIN 15 TEXAS INF
    CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY
    1823 1901
    Burleson, Rufus C. and Georgia J. historical marker
    Burleson, Rufus C. and Georgia J. historical marker
    Inscription:
    "DR. RUFUS COLUMBUS BURLESON
    PIONEER PREACHER - PRESIDENT OF
    BAYLOR UNIVERSITY - BORN IN
    ALABAMA AUGUST 7, 1823 - DIED
    MAY 14, 1901

    HIS WIFE
    GEORGIA J. BURLESON
    BORN SEPTEMBER 23, 1833
    DIED JUNE 11, 1924

    Erected by the State of Texas
    1936"

    Histories
    My mother's thoughts on the importance of family and genealogy.
    My mother's thoughts on the importance of family and genealogy.

  • Notes 
    • Rufus C. Burleson was baptized into the Baptist church in April 1839 at Mount Pisgah Church in Morgan County, Alabama. He returned to the church fifty years later to preach a jubilee sermon to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of that event.

      Rufus attended Summerville Academy from 1837 until 1839. He then spent some time at schools in Danville and Decatur. In 1840, he entered Nashville University in preparation for the Baptist ministry. He was forced to withdraw from the school in 1841 due to ill health. However, he went home to recuperate and studied Greek, Hebrew, and Bible history. After regaining his health he taught in Mississippi until 1845 at which time he was ordained into the ministry and served three small churches near Starkville, Mississippi. He then entered Western Baptist Theological Seminary in Covington, Kentucky, in 1846 and graduated the following year. The Southern Baptist Domestic Mission Board appointed him for mission work in Texas. Upon his arrival in Texas, he was sent to the pastorate at First Baptist Church in Houston in 1848.

      In 1851, he became the second president of Baylor University in Independence, Texas, succeeding Henry Lee Graves, stabilizing the school through advertising, travel, and speaking across the state. While there, he baptized Sam Houston on 19 Nov 1854. However, friction developed with Horace Clark, and as a result the female and male departments at Baylor were separated. Clark took over the female department, which he wanted to operate independently of Rufus. An invitation from Waco prompted Rufus and the faculty of the male department to move to Waco in 1861. He became president of Waco University, which did well under his presidency. Waco University became coeducational in 1865 and began receiving support from the Baptist General Association of Texas. Meanwhile Independence, Texas, was bypassed by the railroad, causing problems for Baylor. The schools merged in 1886, with Rufus as its president. Baylor came to prominence in Texas under his leadership. However, there was controversy. He battled William Brann, the editor of the Iconoclast newspaper, a harsh critic of Baylor, specifically, and Baptists, in general. Their feud came to a head in 1894. A young Brazilian girl who lived with the Burlesons was found to be pregnant. Brann came to her aid, championing her through his newspaper and accusing Rufus of improprieties. A grand jury found Rufus innocent of any charges. However, Brann continued to attack Rufus. As a result of the incident thirty-five female students withdrew from Baylor, further intensifying the feud. In 1897 Baylor removed Rufus from the presidency and gave him the title president emeritus. Rufus believed this demotion was a result of the Brann controversy.

      Rufus served in the pastorate of churches in Houston, Independence and Waco. He was often a guest preacher and revivalist across the state. He was elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas for 1892-93. He contributed to public education, as well. At the request of Barnas Sears, Rufus began unofficial work for the Peabody Education Fund in 1869. At the time there was opposition to public education. He was able to help overcome this opposition, in part by proposing improvements to teaching, including teachers’ institutes and the establishment of a state teachers’ school. He also was a key figure in the formation of Bishop College. In 1872 in New York he presented the need for a college for blacks to Nathan Bishop. Bishop contributed a sum of money to the institution.

      Rufus received an honorary D.D. from Howard College in Alabama in 1867. He received an honorary LL.D. from Keachi College in Louisiana in 1882. He was chaplain of the Texas Veterans Association in 1898. [9, 10]

  • Sources 
    1. [S77] Headstone survey, conducted by Robert C. Barritt, 31 Jul 2007.

    2. [S259] The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, 20 Aug 2007.

    3. [S12] Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900, United States of America, Bureau of the Census, McLennan County, Texas, ED 76, p. 7.

    4. [S6] Fifth Census of the United States, 1830, United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Morgan County, Alabama, p. 196, line 17.

    5. [S8] Seventh Census of the United States, 1850, United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Harris County, Texas, p. 22.

    6. [S9] Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Washington County, Texas, p. 163.

    7. [S10] Ninth Census of the United States, 1870, United States of America, Bureau of the Census, McLennan County, Texas, p. 46.

    8. [S11] Tenth Census of the United States, 1880, United States of America, Bureau of the Census, McLennan County, Texas, ED 103, p. 15.

    9. [S1] Burleson Family Bulletin, Helen Burleson Kelso, ed., Vol. VI, no. 4, p. 772.

    10. [S545] .


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