Burkham, James (1805–1880)

By: Christopher Long

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: February 28, 2020

James Burkham, pioneer settler, was born Clay County, Kentucky, in the late summer of 1805, the son of Charles and Nancy Ann (Abbet) Burkham. In 1816 the family moved to the Red River Valley in Arkansas Territory. Around 1820 the Burkhams and several other families crossed the river into Texas and settled on the mouth of Mill Creek, at what became known as Burkham Settlement. During the Texas Revolution Burkham joined Capt. William Becknell's company, which set out to join Sam Houston's main army but arrived the day after the battle of San Jacinto. Burkham served again briefly in the militia in 1841 and in recognition of his service was awarded a first-class land grant in Red River County near Avery, a bounty warrant of 320 acres in Lamar County, and a plot of land now in Hopkins County. After his mother died in 1845, he moved to Hopkins County and settled near Sulphur Bluff. Burkham was a Mason; in Hopkins County he became a member of the newly organized Old Tarrant Lodge No. 91. Around 1853 he is said to have sold his slaves to James L. Latimer. Burkham and his wife, Mathilda, whom he married in 1830, had five children. He died at the family homestead near Sulphur Bluff on June 4, 1880.

Pat B. Clark, The History of Clarksville and Old Red River County (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937). Claude V. Hall, "Early Days in Red River County," East Texas State Teachers College Bulletin 14 (June 1931). Red River Recollections (Clarksville, Texas: Red River County Historical Society, 1986). Rex W. Strickland, Anglo-American Activities in Northeastern Texas, 1803–1845 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1937). George Travis Wright Family Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Christopher Long, “Burkham, James,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/burkham-james.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
February 28, 2020