“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Decatur in Morgan County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

Burleson House (circa 1836)

“A Hard Nut to Crack”


—The Battle For Decatur —

Burleson House (circa 1836) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, February 20, 2010
1. Burleson House (circa 1836) Marker
Inscription. This Greek Revival mansion belonged to Dr. Aaron Adair Burleson and his wife, Janet, during the Civil War. Part of an original 778-acre land grant, the brick home covered by Flemish bond, features 18-inch thick walls and contains one of the significant Federal period interiors in North Alabama. The iron fence work surrounding the property is original and Union soldiers used it for drying blankets as seen in the accompanying photograph. The original gates, however, are missing and are thought to have been taken by soldiers for use as fire grates. Before the war, Burleson served as the first President of the Tennessee and Central Alabama Railroad which became part of the Nashville & Decatur Railroad - a vital north-south transportation link. Burleson served as a physician with the rank of Major in the Confederate army. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston is thought to have stayed in the home while reorganizing his army here in March, 1862, although his headquarters were actually located in the office of the nearby McCartney Hotel. During the occupation of Decatur the Burleson family was well treated, and “got along with their guests with minimum friction,” according to relatives. Janet Burleson received passes to travel between the lines until she was caught smuggling quinine to injured Confederate soldiers, which she
Tour Stop 6 image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, February 20, 2010
2. Tour Stop 6
Note the iron fence that was used by the Federal Soldiers to hang drying blankets.
accomplished by putting the medicine in holes bored into her surrey and sealing them with beeswax. When Union Major General Grenville M. Dodge ordered citizens to evacuate Decatur in early 1864, the Burleson family’s possessions were piled in the street and burned. Among those possessions were books from Dr. Burleson’s library. A volume of “Byron’s poetic works, “ stolen from the fire heap by a Federal soldier and then confiscated by Lieutenant L. N. Weeks of the Federal army, was returned to the family in 1900. The home was sold in 1869 to Jerome Hinds, a former Union soldier from Illinois. It was here that Hind’s niece, Grace Hinds, was born. She later married Lord Curzon, who at one time was England’s Viceroy of India. After the Hinds’ occupation, the home was used as a boarding house and hotel before standing vacant until its purchase in 1895 by R. P. McEntire for use as a private residence. The home remains a private residence, and the privacy of the family should be respected.

(Side Bar):
The following letter was written by an unknown Decatur resident, “Perry,” during the Federal Occupation.

May 26, 1864
Dear Joe: “Having an opportunity of sending a letter through the lines I hasten to send a few words…. Your Aunt and myself are both well and getting along as well as could be expected under the circumstances.
Burleson House image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, February 20, 2010
3. Burleson House
Federal Army Band gathers on roof of Burleson House for photograph supposedly taken April, 1865. Note blankets drying on fence. Attributed to the D. R. Cubbison Collection.
The citizens were all ordered out of the place (Decatur) with the exceptions, Austins, Harrisons and our own families, by special permit from Gen. Dodge. Since then there is scarcely a house standing, all having been torn down by orders. Those within the fortifications remaining, Mrs. Burleson’s, Mrs. Bradley’s and your aunt’s; those on the outside, Capt. Drake’s occupied by Austins, and Mrs. Haney’s by an office. King’s still standing but it may not be long, all others having been demolished, so that Decatur is among the things that were…” Yours Truly, Perry
To J. W. Roop, 7th Alabama Cavalry, Malone’s Reg.
Note: J. W. Roop’s aunt was Mrs. Jane McCartney, who operated the McCartney Hotel during the war.
Erected by City of Decatur. (Marker Number 6.)
Location. 34° 37.009′ N, 86° 59.07′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Alabama, in Morgan County. Marker is at the intersection of Sycamore Street Northwest and Market Street Northwest, on the left when traveling north on Sycamore Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur AL 35602, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “a place of importance” - Union Leadership at Decatur (here, next to this marker); Schaudies - Banks Cottage
The Burleson House image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, February 20, 2010
4. The Burleson House
(within shouting distance of this marker); Two Bridges Across The Tennessee River (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dancy-Polk House (circa 1829) (approx. 0.2 miles away); Confederate Leadership at Decatur - McCartney Hotel Site (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Railroad (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old State Bank Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Decatur and The Civil War in North Alabama (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Decatur.
Categories. War, US Civil
The Burleson House image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, February 20, 2010
5. The Burleson House
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 6, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 1,908 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 6, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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