The Burnop Family History


The Burnop family is the latest of the Howell-Burnop family ancestors to immigrate to America.  What little we know is based on a photocopy of a document that appears to be an eulogy to Richard Thompson Burnop but is typewritten.  It is unknown whether it was published in a newspaper.  It appears to have been handed down from Elbert Howell to his daughter Margaret Howell then to her daughter Betty Jean Keister.  Other family members may also have copies.

A copy of this document follows.  The mention of Nannie Burnop’s death forty‑seven years ago indicate that it was probably written in April 1937 shortly after Richard T. Burnop’s death.


In Memory of R. T. Burnop


Richard Thompson Burnop, son of the late Richard and Margaret Burnop, was born in Westmoreland, England, on September 7, 1856; and departed this life at his home at Chatham Hill, Virginia on April 12, 1937 at the age of 80 years, 7 months and 5 days.

His parents came to America when he was only eighteen months old. They came across in a sailboat. They settled in Pennsylvania, later moving to Virginia. He was converted at an early age under the labors of Rev. Bob Sheffey. He joined the Methodist Church and was a faithful Christian for over 65 years. He was never known to be absent from a service until he was stricken blind three years ago. He also had a cancer on his face of which he suffered great agony. But he was always patient through his suffering, never complaining. He often expressed himself as ready, willing, and anxious to go. He often sang and rejoiced while on his bed of affliction and conducted family worship until about two weeks before his death, when he became too ill to do so.

He was married to Miss Nannie Vaughn of Carroll County at the age of 18. To this union were born six children. Mary, the wife of the late A. S. Oaks, and George Burnop died several years ago. Those living are Mrs. Gussie Richardson, and Mrs. Bertha Howell, of Radford, Mr. Bill Burnop, and Mrs. Flora Goodwin of Bluefield, W. Virginia. His wife died forty‑seven years ago. Later he married Miss Sue Crabtree of Ridgedale and to this union were born seven children; Charles, John, Claude, Robert and Misses Myrtle and Bessie Burnop and Mrs. Myrtle Ferguson, Charles and Robert preceded him in death. His widow also survives. He also leaves two sisters‑‑Mrs. W. G. Webb and Mrs. M. B. Maylord. Several grand children and great grand children, and a host of friends mourn their loss. He was never known to have an enemy. He was the leading man in church work in our community and is missed by everyone. While we mourn our loss we know and realize that our loss is his gain, and that he is enjoying the splendor of that beautiful land where no sickness, pain or blindness enters.

Interment was made at the Chatham Hill Cemetery by his faithful pastor Rev. Debusk. Pallbearers were; Rudolph, Thomas and Ray Howell, Bill Richardson, Campbell Burnop and Charles H. Webb. Flower girls were Mrs. Mable Otey, Misses Edith Richardson, Julia Howell, Margaret Deboard, Eva Lennis, Carrie Sheffield and Mrs. Elizabeth Neel.

A precious one from us is gone,

A voice we loved is still,

A place is vacant in our hearts,

That never can be filled.


The Burnop Family

              From an 1870 Carroll County Census, we learn that Richard (the father) and his wife Margaret were born in England, Richard in 1828 and Margaret in 1835.  At the birth of their son, Richard T. Burnop, they were living in Westmoreland, England.  Eighteen months after his birth or in 1858 the family emigrated from England to America first settling in Pennsylvania.  It would have been nice if the name of the “sailboat” had been given also.

              They later moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia no doubt coming down the Shenandoah Valley like so many before them.  By 1870 they were living in Carroll County, VA and their family had grown by 1 more son and two daughters.  This census shows James Burnop, 11, with his birthplace listed as Virginia therefore the stay in Pennsylvania could not have been long as they immigrated in 1858 and were already in Virginia in 1859. 

              Both Richard (the father) and Richard (the son-only 13) were listed on the 1870 census as miners.

The 1880 census only shows Richard (the son) with his wife Nancy E. who the eulogy names as Nannie Vaughn of Carroll County.  They married in 1874 probably in Carroll County but by 1880 were living in Smyth County where they remained until their deaths.

              Richard (the father) and Margaret Burnop are not found in the 1880 census but in 1900 the Smyth County census of the Rich Valley District lists Margaret Burnop of England.  Carroll County Will Books show that Richard (the father) died in April 1879.

              Richard (the son) Thompson Burnop and his second wife, Susan S. are also found in the 1900 Smyth Co., VA census with a family of 1 daughter and 4 sons.  The Carroll County death registry shows that Nancy Vaughn Burnop died in 1889.  Richard later remarried, this time to Miss Sue Crabtree of Ridgedale.

              Bertha Burnop, Richard Thompson Burnop’s daughter by his first marriage, was born in Smyth County and married Elbert Eden Howell in 1901 in Radford, VA where they lived the rest of their lives.

              In keeping with the eulogy we learn that Richard Thompson Burnop was converted by the Rev. Bob Sheffey at an early age.  Rev. Sheffey was a well known circuit preacher in Southwest Virginia.  From here the account moves to his last years of life, a cancer of his face, blindness and eventual death. 



The Burnop Family in the Census Records


1870 VA Census-Carroll County, p.516

258-253 Burnop, Richard                  42          Miner                    Eng

                             Margaret               35                                       Eng

                             Richard                 13          Miner                  Eng

                             James                   11                                       VA

                             Margaret                 3                                       VA

                             Mary                    Nov 8/12                            VA


1880 VA Census-Smyth County, B651

Burnop, R. S.                                                  vol     30               ed 83

W           M           23    POB-Eng      sheet   2                Ln  4

Nancy E.              W           25          VA

Wm. H.                S              3          VA

Mary E.                D              1          VA


1880 VA Census-District 84, Rich Valley, Smyth County, p.102A    

James P. BURNOP            Self         M           S            W           21          VA

              Occ: Farmer         Fa: ENG               Mo: ENG

Margaret BURNOP            Mother   F            W           W           40          ENG

              Occ: Keeping House           Fa: ENG Mo: ENG

Margaret A. BURNOP       Sister      F            S            W           13          VA

Mary Belle BURNOP         Sister      F            S            W           10          VA

Macie A. BURNOP            Sister      F            S            W           8            VA

Elizabeth BURNOP            Sister      F            S            W           4            VA

James PARKINS                Uncle      M           S            W           65          ENG

                                           Fa: ENG               Mo: ENG



1900 VA Census- (Soundex)

Burnop, Bertha                                                              vol   51   ed 85

W           F            Sept 1882             17          VA         sheet  8   Ln 84

              Smyth Co.                           Rich Valley District 

Enumerated with   Daugherty, Robert B.



Burnop, Jas. P.                    vol-51/ed-78/sheet-6/ln- 25                                                                       

              W           M                         Aug  1858            41          VA                      

              Smyth Co.                           Marion District

              Rhoda                   W           May 1855             44          VA

              Annie                    D            Sep  1883             16          VA

              Maggie                 D            Jul    1885             14          VA

              Richard H.            S            Aug  1887            12          VA

              George R.             S            Nov  1889            10          VA


Burnop, Margaret                vol-51/ed-85/sheet-4/Ln-94

W           F                          Feb?1835             65          Eng

Smyth Co.                           Rich Valley District 

Burnop, Bettie                     D            Nov 1875             24          VA

McGhee, Estelle S. (GD)     Jul 1892   7          VA


Burnop, R. Thompson         vol-51/ ed-85/ sheet-5/Ln-19                                                                    

W           M                         Sept       1856      43          Eng                      

Smyth Co.                           Rich Valley District             

              Susan S.               Apr        1869      31          VA

              Flora R.                Sep        1886      13          VA

              George R.             Jun         1889      10          VA

              John N.                 Jan         1892        8          VA

              Claude E.              Sep        1894        5          VA

              Robert F.              Sep        1898        1          VA


1910 VA Census- (Soundex)

Smyth Co.                           091   0089   0161

Burnop, George                  H            M           20          VA         VA        

Enumerated with Gaddy, Richard M. H            W


Smyth Co.                           091        0085      0309     

Burnop, George R.              H            W           20          VA         VA

              Mary J.   W                                       23          VA


Smyth Co.                          091        0085      0308

Burnop, Henry R.                S                          21          VA         VA

Enumerated with Birnop, James P.     H            W


Smyth Co.                           091        0085      0308

Birnop, James P.   H            W           53          VA         VA

              Frances S.            W           56          VA

Southered, Margaret V. D                 24          VA

Burnop, Henry R.  S                          21          VA

Southered, Fannie M.          GD           8          VA

              Hallie L.  GD                         2          VA


Smyth Co.                           091        0089      0156

Burnop, Thompson              H            W           53          England

              Sue                       W                         40          VA

              John                      S                          18          VA

              Claude                  S                          15          VA

              Robert                  S                          11          VA

              Myrtle                   D                            8          VA

              Bessie                   D                            5          VA

              May                      D                            2          VA


1920 VA Census- (Soundex)         

Smyth Co.                           vol-76/ ed-108/ sheet-6/ ln- 80

Burnop, George R.                            M           W           31          VA        

              Jessie                    W           F            W           35          VA

              Ruth H.                 D            F            W             9          VA

              Minnie F.              D            F            W             8          VA

              Robert F.              S            M           W             7          VA

              Annie                    D            F            W             5          VA

              Guy                      S            M           W           3 3/12  VA

              Walter                  S            M           W           10/12     VA


Smyth Co.                           vol-76/ ed-119/ sheet-2/ ln-35                                      

Burnip, George W.                           M           W           32          VA

              May                      W           F            W           36          VA

              Florence E.           D            F            W           3 11/12 VA

              George C.             S            M           W           1 2/12    VA

Bailey, B. B.                        Bo          M           W           22          VA


Smyth Co.                           vol-76/ ed-109/ sheet-1/ ln-95

Burnop, Henry                                   M           W           32          VA

              Margie                  W           F            W           23          NC

              Lee                       S            M           W             6          VA

              Carl                      S            M           W             4          VA

              Virgil                     S            M           W           4/12       VA


Smyth Co.                           vol-76/ ed-108/ sheet-7/ ln-2

Burnop, James      M           W           61          VA        

Burnop, Francis                   W           64          VA

Wymer, Hallie                     GD         12          VA


Smyth Co.                           vol-76/ ed-119/ sheet-1/ ed-8

Burnip, Joan          W           9/12       VA        

Enumerated with Tolten, Napoleon B. as GD