The Burgess family of the lower Sandy Valley, is of Scotch origin, the ancestors coming over to Virginia before the American Revolution. Edward, the founder of the house on Sandy, came from Giles County, Virginia, about 1800, or before. The Burgesses are kinsmen of the Colonel Ralph Stewart family, who came from the same section in the Old Dominion.
Edward Burgess had two sons, Edward and William. William’s sons were George R. and Edward (who were twins), Reuben, Strother, and John (who was killed by the falling of a tree when a young man). Edward met his death, when eight years old, by being scalded to death in a kettle of boiling sugar-sap.
The daughters were Clara and Rebecca, who were twins. Clara married Edward Winfield; Rebecca married Louis Riggleston. They moved to Iowa, and did well. Permitta, another daughter, married a McGranahan; Nancy, married a Mr. Williams, and went West. Sarah, the youngest, married a Mr. Donohoe, and moved to Kansas and got rich.
The William Burgess branch have all come to the front as good citizens and fine business men and women. Reuben was a little “off,” but never lost his integrity. George R., who married into the noted family of Spurlocks, is perhaps the best representative of his father’s family. At least he is better known in the valley than his other brothers and sisters. For forty years he has been a magistrate, and has represented his county in the Legislature of the State. He is now an old man, stricken in years, and full of honors. He reared a large family of children, many of them now occupying a front rank in the mercantile, professional, and social walks of life. Two sons are doctors; one is a lawyer and State senator in West Virginia, while still another was a minister in the Methodist Church, South, though now dead.
Mr. George R. Burgess and wife enjoyed their golden wedding in the Summer of 1886.
Edward Burgess, the brother of William, was at one time sheriff of Lawrence County, and like his brother, reared up a large, respectable family, who, together with their descendants, are among Lawrence County’s best and most prominent citizens. George Burgess, who married into the prominent family of Johns, was a man of rare integrity and honor, and left to his large family of children a priceless name and much wealth. Edward and Gorden were noble men, and left large families to bless the county. The Burgesses are Methodists. In politics, they are divided. Most of them, however, are Democrats. A promising son of Edward Burgess, the third in line of that name, was an officer in the Union army and fell in defense of the stars and stripes.
William Ely, The Big Sandy Valley (Catlettsburg, KY: n.p., 1887), pp.225-227.