Burge family papers, 1832-1952

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8z2p5

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Burge family.
Title: Burge family papers, 1832-1952
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 266
Extent: 1.5 linear ft. (3 boxes) and 20 bound volumes (BV) ; 1 microfilm reel (MF)
Abstract:Papers of the Burge family of Newton County, Georgia including correspondence, diaries and journals, account books, notebooks, record books and sermons, photographs, clippings, wills, and photographs.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on access

Special restrictions apply: Due to preservation concerns, researchers are required to use the microfilm copy of the Dolly Burge, Louisiana Burge, and Sarah Gray diaries.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Additional Physical Form

Diaries of Dolly Burge, Louisiana Burge, and Sarah Cornelia Burge published on microfilm as American Women's Diaries - Segment II, Southern Women (Readex Microfilm Corporation, 1988).


Gift, 1952.


[after identification of item(s)], Burge family papers, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by Elizabeth Russey, 2005

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Dolly Sumner Lunt (1817-1891) of Bowdoinham, Maine, was the eldest daughter of William and Anne Matilda Sumner Lunt, and grandaughter of Dolly Vose and Davis Sumner. She married three times: Samuel Harding Brown Lewis (1838), Thomas Burge (1850), and William Justice Parks (1866).

Her first husband, Samuel Harding Brown Lewis (1816-1843), a native of Portland, Maine, was the son of James and Hannah Lewis. Lewis, a physician, joined his brother-in-law Isaac Coming's practice in Zebulon, Georgia, after he, his wife and daughter moved to Georgia in 1842. But financial difficulties forced him to start his own practice in Madison, Georgia. Their first child, Susan Littlefield Lewis, born in 1840 in Bowdoinham, Maine, died of bronchitis in Covington, Georgia in April 1844. Her second child, Orrington Lewis, born in 1843, died soon after. That same year, her husband died at the age of twenty-seven of congestive fever.

After these deaths, Dolly took up teaching again in Madison and Covington; in 1850 she married Thomas Burge (1806-1858) who had five children from a previous marriage: Rebecca, Wiley, Louisiana, Eliza, and Thomas. Their own child, Sarah Cornelia Burge (Sadai) was born December 11, 1855. The Burges lived on the Burge Plantation, a 900-acre site with about 100 slaves, nine miles east of Covington, on the old Madison road. Burge died in 1858; Dolly spent the war years a widow.

In 1866, she married for a third time and moved to her husband's home in Oxford, Georgia. Her third husband, William Justice Parks (1799-1873), known as "Uncle Billy," was born in Franklin County, Georgia, and was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1821. He was a delegate to all General Conferences during his lifetime. For eight years, he served as financial agent of Emory College and was a charter member of the Board of Trustees. In Oxford she came into contact with prominent Methodist and Emory-associated leaders. By early 1872, Parks was completely paralyzed, leading to his death in 1873 in Oxford, Georgia.

As soon as her daughter Sadai finished college, Dolly sold the home and moved back to the Burge Plantation. Sarah Cornelia Burge (1855-1892) married John Gray in 1875. John Davis Gray (1852-1887) graduated from Emory College in 1872; he was a Methodist minister. Their children include Dorothy Gray Bolton, Ida Gray Morehouse, and Joseph H. Gray. Dolly died on October 26, 1891 and was buried in Oxford Cemetery.

Publication Note

Dolly Lunt Burge diary published as A Woman's War-Time Journal, with introduction and notes by Julian Street (J.W. Burke Co., 1927).

Dolly Lunt Burge diary published as Robertson, James I., ed., The Diary of Dooly Lunt Burge (University of Georgia Press, 1962).

Sarah Cornelia (Sadai) Burge diary published as Little Sadai: Journal of Miss Sadai C. Burge, 1874 (Keelin Press, 1950--private printing).

Diary of William H. Graham published as A Confederate Diary of the Retreat from Petersburg, April 3-20, 1865, edited by Richard B. Harwell, Sources and Reprints, Series VIII, Number 1, Emory University, 1953.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of correspondence, diaries and journals, account books, notebooks, record books and sermons, photographs, clippings, wills, and photographs produced or collected by the Burge and related families.

Correspondence is of the Lewis/Burge/Parks and Gray families and describes economic, religious and social life in middle Georgia for much of the nineteenth century. Included are such topics as a descriptions of plantation life; slavery (February 12, 1859, January 6, 1864, March 25 and June 1, 7, 20, 1865); a lynching (February 6, 1877); cotton trade (Burge diary; March 12, 1846, January 8, 1861, and October 2, 1864); education at Emory College and Wesleyan Female College; development of Southern Methodism and Methodist Conferences; and family news. There are twelve letters from Dolly Burge to her daughter Sarah Cornelia dealing with family news; however, Mrs. Burge's diary (1847-1879) is more revealing of her activities and thoughts than are the letters written by her. There are seven letters (1844-1860) from Dolly's father William Lunt to Dolly, concerning family news and business dealings in Maine; eight letters (1840-1891) from Orrington Lunt to Dolly describing his extensive trip to Europe (July 22, 1866) and excitement of the World's Fair (February 16, 1891); and thirteen letters from Dolly's brother-in-law Issac M. Comings in which he discusses the Thomsonian Practice (June 1, 1843). In Samuel H.B. Lewis' letters (6 letters, 1837-1843) the Thomsonian Practice is again discussed (June 26, July 31, and August 23, 1843). Another correspondent to Dolly was nephew Wiley T. Burge (4 letters, 1864-1865) discussing his cotton trade and plantation life in southwest Georgia. A large portion of the letters (20 letters, 1866-1873) are from William J. Parks describing Methodist conferences and affairs of the church.

Another major segment deals with activities of Sarah Cornelia and her husband John Davis Gray (14 letters, 1876-1885) in which he wrote about church activities, his sermons, and a trip to the Centennial in Philadelphia (July 19 and 20, 1876). Sarah Cornelia's correspondence (17 letters, 1873-1888), primarily to her mother and husband, deal with family news. Other correspondents include Warren Candler (7 letters, 1874-1886) on social life and church affairs; Charles Edward Dowman (26 letters, 1874-1881) on Conference news, church activities, philosophy, literature, and the ministry; Atticus G. Haygood (7 letters, 1875-1885); and Howard W. Key (6 letters, 1872-1876).

The collection includes twenty bound volumes of diaries, account books, notebooks, journals, pastor's pocket record books, and poetry books. The diaries of Dolly Burge (1847-1879) and her daughter, Sadai [Sarah Cornelia] B. Gray (1874), describe life in Georgia during the Civil War and Reconstruction; that of Dolly's step-daughter Louisiana Burge (1860-1862) recounts life at Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia; and that of William H. Graham (1865; no relation) describes the retreat of the Confederate Army from Petersburg, Virginia. The sermons and pocket record books (1867-1882) were compiled by John D. Gray. There is also a marriage contract between William J. Parks and Dolly Burge (1866), wills of W.J. Parks (1872) and of Sadai B. Gray (1892), a history of Mt. Gilead Church, and family photographs.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by document type.

Selected Search Terms

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Corporate Names

Topical Terms

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Form/Genre Terms


Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 1832 September-1835 April
1 2 1836 April-1840 July
1 3 1841 July-1843 December
1 4 1844
1 5 1845-1846
1 6 1847-1849
1 7 1853-1858
1 8 1859-1860
1 9 1861
1 10 1862-1863
1 11 1864-1866
1 12 1867-1869
1 13 1870
1 14 1871
1 15 1872
1 16 1873 January-June
1 17 1874
1 18 1875 January-August
1 19 1875 September-December
1 20 1876 January-April
1 21 1876 May-July
1 22 1876 August-December
1 23 1877 January-June
2 1 1877 July-1878 December
2 2 1879
2 3 1880-1881
2 4 1882
2 5 1883
2 6 1884
2 7 1885 February-August
2 8 1885 October-December
2 9 1886
2 10 1887-1889
2 11 1890-1892, 1895
2 12 1923-1924, 1934, 1946, 1952
2 13-19 Undated
Other papers
2 20 Financial records
2 21 Printed material
3 1 Newspapers
3 2 Notes and poetry fragments
3 3-9 Sermons, undated
3 10 Sermons, Mt. Gilead History
Bound Volumes
BV1 Burge, Dolly: Diary, February 6, 1847 - September 29, 1879; Covington, Georgia [RESTRICTED: Available on microfilm]
BV2 Burge, Dolly L.: Account Book, 1860
BV3 Burns, Lula A.: Treasurer's Book, 1877-1879; Eatonton, Georgia
BV4 Parks, William: Account book, 1853
BV5 Burge, Louisana D.: Notebook and journal, May 4, 1860 - March 4, 1862 [RESTRICTED: Available on microfilm]
BV6 Burge, Sarah Cornelia: Journal, July 16, 1874 (Evanston, Illinois)-September 21, 1874 (Brooklyn, New York) Oxford, Georgia, Newton County, 1874 [RESTRICTED: Available on microfilm]
BV7 Lewis, Samuel H. B.: Sketchbook, January 1837 - November 14, 1839
BV8 Graham, William H.: Confederate diary, April 3-20, 1865,
BV9 Gray, John D.: Notebook, March 1867
BV10 Gray, John D.: Pastor's Pocket Record Book, January 25, 1873
BV11 Gray, John D.: Pastor's Pocket Record Book, 1875, Hampton, Georgia
BV12 Gray, John D.: Account Book, 1876
BV13 Gray, John D.: Pastor's Pocket Record Book, 1878, Eatonton, Georgia
BV14 Gray, John D.: Pastor's Pocket Record Book, 1881-1882, Greenville, Georgia
BV15 Gray, John D.: Account Book, 1881; Cash Book, 1889, Greenville and Trinity (also used by Mrs. J. D. Gray)
BV16 Thrasher, B. E.: Miscellaneous notes, November 12, 1871, Emory College to J. D. Gray
BV17 Poetry book to Dolly S. Lunt, 1833-April 5, 1835 April 5
BV18 Poetry book, January 18 - May 17, 1863
BV19 Poetry book, no date
BV20 Unidentified journal
3 11 Contact prints: Sheet A
3 12 Contact prints: Sheet B
3 13 Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge [Sheet A, #2-4]
3 14 Dolly Burge, [1864?] [Sheet B, #19-21]
3 15 Dolly Burge Parks, [1885?] [Sheet B, #16-18]
3 16 Thomas Burge and daughter, Sadai, [1858?] [Sheet B, #25-30]
3 17 Sadai Burge and her slave nurse, Rachel, [1858?] [Sheet A, #32-34]
3 18 Sadai Burge, [1863?] [Sheet A, #35-36; Sheet B, #1-2]
3 19 Lousiana Burge, [1860?] [Sheet A, #17-19]
3 20 William Webb Lunt, [1855?] [Sheet B, #31-34]
3 21 Priscilla Purrington Lunt, [1855?] [Sheet A, #23-25]
3 22 Rev. William J. Parks, [1870?] [Sheet A, #20-22]
3 34 Rev. William J. Parks, ambrotype, circa 1850-1860
3 23 Sadai Burge Gray, [1875?] [Sheet A, #29-31]
3 24 Rev. John Davis Gray, [1875?] [Sheet A, #26-28]
3 25 Sadai Burge Gray, [1880?] [Sheet A, #11-13]
3 26 John Davis Gray [Sheet A, #5-7]
3 27 John Davis Gray [Sheet A, #14-16]
3 28 Lydia Glass Burge, [1890?] [Sheet A, #8-10]
3 29 George and Sidney Gunn, [1920?] [Sheet B, #4-6]
3 30 Rev. William J. Parks' home [Sheet B, #7-12]
3 31 Burge home, [1913?] [Sheet B, #22-24]
3 32 Burge home, [1916?] [Sheet B, #13-15]
3 33 unidentified