William Tillman Burley


Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 (all documents in jpg format)

Research done by Nancy Desper who is descended from Sarah J. Burley and James Thomas Reid, II.

This chancery case concerns a parcel of land owned by Tillghman Burley who died intestate.  The 1812 Widow’s Pension shows that Tilman Burley died Jan. 11, 1863 in Henrico Co. Va. and was married to Sarah Bond on January 8, 1829 in King William County, Virginia.

NOTE: The bulletin from the King William County Historical Society (No 11 dated October 1984, pg 4): November 9, 1834. The following persons were baptized by Elder Geo. W. Trice namely Tilman Burley & Sarah his wife free persons of colour . . . . . .

Settlement resulted in sale of the land for $300. The money was divided among his living children and the children of his deceased children. There was no mention of children Thomas, Charles and Mary Louise (probably same child as Polly).  The copies I have do not show the date, but I had written 11-27-08 on one of the typed pages. Thomas MAY be Thomas Burley, age 36, born in Va., living with wife Laura and children in Effingham, Ga. Thomas and James were probably twins. They were shown as same age on 1850 and 1860 census. Nothing has been found on Charles since he served in the Confederate Army. He may have been killed in the war. Mary Louise died in 1903.

Chancery case described one acre of land, known as Lowmoor Ave., north of Deep Run Turnpike, on Broad St., near City of Richmond.  Plaintiffs would have forty-two forty eighths interest in property; infant (Abial) entitled to six forty-eighths.

Deed found at Lib. of Va., Positive Reel #47, Henrico County, Deed Book 77, 1862, Pg. 386-387

Person who answered phone at Henrico General District Court 804-501-4723 said they purge their records after 10 years.  She did not know where they went (7-9-12)


  • Jas. D. Burley (son) Received $37.50
  • Mary S. Ford, widow (daughter) Received $37.50
  • Ellen Burley, single (daughter) Received $37.50
  • W. T. Burley, dead (son) leaving a widow and six children
  • Diezena Rye, dead (daughter) leaving a husband and two children
    • William Rye (husband of Diezena)
    • Clarence Rye (son of Diezena) Received $18.75
    • Bessie Irvin Taylor (daughter of Diezena) Received $18.75
  • Flick Burley, dead (son) leaving two children (this would be ALEX/ALEXANDER)
  • Arthur Burley, dead (son) leaving sole heir
    • John A. Burley (heir of Arthur, son?) Received $37.50
  • Martha Ellen Burley, dead (daughter) leaving husband and son under 14 years of age (Martha was actually the granddaughter NOT a daughter)
    • Ramon Kenyon (husband of Martha)
    • Abial Burley Kenyon (son of Martha) Received $37.50

Most everyone named in this chancery case had already been found.  There were some surprises:

- Bessie Irvin Rye is the same person shown as Jessie Rye, “boarder,” in the household of  William and Mary Ford on the 1900 census.  Marriage record of Bessie Rye to Irving Taylor on Sept. 12, 1905 in Richmond shows her parents as “unknown.”  Marriage announcement in Times Dispatch Sept. 17, 1905 confirms that she was niece of Mary Ford.  She lived in Passing, Va. Her address has been shown as Essex and Caroline; census records show them in Bowling Green.   

  • 1910 census shows James I. & Elizabeth - Married 4 years - Bowling Green, Va.
  • 1920 census shows James E. & Sarah  - Bowling Green, Va.
  • 1930 census shows J. I. & Bessie - Bowling Green, Va.
  • 1940 census shows Irving J. & Sarah E.  - Caroline Co.

- The chancery case clarifies that William O. Burley is the son of Alexander (Aleck); shown as FLICK in the chancery case.  Alexander’s daughter Georgie had not been found before. Richmond Times Dispatch, Mar. 23, 1909, Pg. 5 indicates that Georgie Beauregard Burley, daughter of Alexander and Rebecca Burley of Henrico County received $5,000 (looks like) from the estate of Charles O. Riddick. The relationship to Mr. Riddick is not known. Believed to be Georgie B. Burleigh, (as shown on death certificate) who died Mar. 17,  1913 of hepatic cirrhosis at 1001 Randolph St., the home of John and Nellie Schneider.  Shown as born 6-6, age 51, year of birth not shown. Father shown as unknown; maiden  name of mother Anna Gillman. Information given by Mrs. Schneider.

Shown as Georgie Burley in Riverview Cemetery records. She is buried in Plat C, Div. 6, Section No. 30, Grave 1 with other members of the Schneider family. The section was  purchased by John Schneider on March 17, 1913. Her connection to the Schneider family is not known.

- John A. Burley is shown as “sole heir” of Arthur Burley.  It is assumed that he was Arthur’s son, but that is not clarified.  Believed to be John Arthur Burley, born July 1,  1882 in Richmond, Va.  ( per WWI and WW II Registration)

  Not found in Old Birth Index 1880-1896 Lib. of Va. (checked 6-1-12)

Living with Thelma B. Ivy and son Charles in Richmond, Va. on 1900 census (age 19)  1880 census shows Patrick Heath (who was his stepfather) as boarder in home of Geo. W. Ivey who had 5-yr. old son Charles.

Shown as sailor on USS Birmingham on 1910 census (age 27)

WWI Registration, Chelsea City, Ma. shows Chas. E. Ivy, Richmond, Va. as contact inf.

Did not find on 1920 census.

Living in New York City, occupation Peddler, on 1930 census (age 48)


Could he be John Burley, age 58, born New York, shown in Harts Island Prison Reformatory, Bronx, New York on 1940 census????

- The biggest “surprise,” revealed in the chancery case is that Martha Ellen Burley, daughter, married Ramon Kenyon and died leaving husband and son Abial Burley Kenyon, an infant under the age of 14. Martha, daughter of Tilman Burley, would have been born about 1842 according to census records. 

I had found a Martha Burley who was killed in an explosion in a munitions factory on Brown's Island in Richmond in 1863 (during the civil war). I could not PROVE it, but I had always thought she was the daughter of Tilman and Sarah. I could not find an obit or death report, but Martha’s sister Mary Ford lived near there. I thought she might have lived with them. Martha was 18 years old on 1860 census shown with her parents in Henrico County, Va. I could not find her in 1870.

A “Google” search for Abial Burley Kenyon results in information posted in 2004 from a Kenyon Family Genealogy Forum ABIAL BROWLEY KENYON by Bill Wright, author of "Ancestors and  Descendants of William Browning Greene and Mary Hoxsie Lewis with Allied Families."

E-mails from Bill Wright indicate that records he found at the Family History Center in Utah show Ray Allen Kenyon married NELLIE Burley, daughter of William T. Burley and Elizabeth Romtree, on July 2, 1887 in Hopkinton, RHODE ISLAND.  Birth record of Abial Browley Kenyon shows he was born Feb. 12, 1895 in Richmond, RHODE ISLAND; parents Ray A. and Nellie (Dawley) Kenyon. Death record shows Nellie B. Kenyon died July 17, 1895 from cancer of the stomach in Richmond, RHODE ISLAND, age 28 years, 10 months, 27 days, daughter of Wm. T. & Elizabeth Burlingame. Abial was adopted by his father’s cousin, George Brown.  His World War II Registration Card shows Abial BURLEY Brown, born Feb. 12, 1895.

William T. Burley and Elizabeth Rountree Burley had daughter Martha, age 4 on 1870 census. 1880 census does not show Martha, but shows NELLIE, age 13 (believed to be same child). She would have been born about 1866-1867 and more likely to have a child in 1895. When Elizabeth Rountree Burley died in 1893, the obit indicated " Norfolk and Providence (R. I.) papers please copy. So there was a connection to Rhode Island.

Nellie’s death in the Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Va. on 7-21-1895 confirmed that Nellie Kenyon, wife of Raymond Kenyon who died near Providence, R.I., was the daughter of William T. Burley of Richmond, Va. It is unknown how Nellie Burley from Richmond, Va. met Raymond Kenyon and lived in Richmond, Rhode Island.

Could someone have made a mistake when the Chancery notes were typed?

Did the person taking notes get confused about who was child and who was grandchild?