Lost Memories of Keziah
For two to three decades all family genealogy efforts have stopped at Keziah. Many have pieced together eight generations of Burgesses all related to one of three known Burgess brothers of who have been said to have been born to Keziah Burgess in or around Bedford County VA. Some of those early genealogists are Janis Burgess Horner, Martha Burgess, Sheila Gibson, William Burgess and many more.
Family tradition holds that Keziah Burgess was bonded to John Nichols by the court order of the Overseers of the Poor, in 1791. Keziah was an infant or perhaps one year old. She had three sons, Armstead, Oliver and Sperrill. Notable was the additional bonding of James Burgess, and James McDaniel, “son of Mary Burgess” within a few years of Keziah’s bonding. Son Armstead was also bonded in 1817 at about seven years old.
Because Keziah’s last name was Burgess, both as a child and adult, and the three sons clearly held the last name Burgess, it is assumed that: 1. Keziah’s parents were indigent or dead, 2. that she was born out of wedlock, and given the Burgess name from a parent or family or 3. her mother was a prostitute or a slave.
We can deduct from records decades later that she left Virginia with her sons and a daughter-in-law, for Bedford County, Kentucky. But I do not yet know of specific evidence of the small Keziah family in Virginia. In fact several questions are, after all these years of research, still open:
Did the three boys have the same father?
What is the actual birth date of Keziah?
Was Keziah part of the larger more prosperous William Burgess family of Bedford or part of a small family passing through?
Did Keziah leave Virginia for a time before immigrating to Kentucky?
How did they survive after Keziah was released from bondage and during the time they tried to make a new start in the barren lands of Kentucky?
Perhaps the irony of the mystery of Keziah is that it has caused some of us to look further into the lives of the family than we might have otherwise done.