Burkett family traces forefathers’ footsteps during reunion

Published 5:24 am Thursday, September 7, 2023

The Burkett Family had a history family reunion this summer. In doing so, the family decided to trace their forefathers’ footsteps. “Our forefather Primus Burkett traveled from Orangeburg South Carolina to Lawrence County with his slave master George Burkett,” said Shirley Thompson, chairperson of the reunion.

Alongside Primus was his father, Robert Wheeler, and his mother, Lucretia Wheeler.

The family journey was long and quite difficult, but it was managed.

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The reunion traced the footsteps of Robert Wheeler and Primus Burkett to Bethany Baptist Church in what is now Prentiss on Highway 13.

“In the 1800’s our families attended church alongside the white Burketts slave owner and other neighboring parishioners. The black Burketts were also listed on the church roll.”

The family visited the Francis Marion Burkett Cemetery on Burkett Road in Jefferson Davis County where their second to fifth great-grandparents, Primus, Robert and Lucretia were laid to rest.

Also buried in the cemetery is Robert Wheeler’s brother and one of his daughters Easter, (Esther), who married Robert Johnson.  “The headstones are in great condition considering the age of the stones dated back to the 1800’s.”

Robert Wheeler lived to be the estimated age of 128 years. His brother’s estimated age was 106 years. The first known Interment was in 1848 and the last known interment was in 1913.

“What an amazing adventure we had together as a family.”