12 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
REMINISCENCES OF CAPT. JESSE BURNAM.'
I was born in Kentucky, Madison county, September 15th, 1792,
being the youngest son of seven. My father died when I was quite
young, and my mother moved to Tennessee in my sixteenth year,
and settled in Red Fork County, near Shelbyville. We were very
In my twentieth year, I married an orphan girl, named Temper-
ance. I was still poor. I made rails for a jack-leg blacksmith,
and had him to make me three knives and forks, and I put handles
to them. My wife sold the stockings she was married in-made by
her own hands-for a set of plates, and spun and wove cloth for
sheets and tick for feathers. I traded for a small piece of land,
and then we were ready for housekeeping. We used gourds for
In my twenty-second year, I went into the war of 1812. John
Hutcheson was my captain, and Col. John Coffee commanded the
brigade. During this campaign I contracted a disease, and the
physicians advised me to seek a warmer climate.
I started with nine families besides my own, and settled on Red
River, at Pecan Point. From there I went to the interior of Texas,
stopping for a few months where Independence now is. I had three
horses, and brought what I could on them, my wife bringing her
spinning wheel, and weaving apparatus.
We got out of bread before we stopped. Being too feeble to
hunt, I employed an old man to keep me in meat. I had fixed up
a camp, so that my family could be comfortable. My man failed
to kill a deer, and we were out of food for two days. At last I
heard one of my children say, "I am so hungry." I had been lying
there hoping to hear the old man's gun. I was too feeble to hunt,
but I got up and began to fix my gun slowly. I listened all the
'This sketch is contributed by Mrs. Julia Lee Sinks, who obtained it from
Captain Burnam's daughter, Miss Sada Burnam. Miss Burnam acted as
her father's amanuensis after he became blind. Captain Burnam appears
to have signed his name as it is given here, but it is more frequently spelled
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101021/. Accessed December 1, 2015.