Name: Nathaniel Macon Burford
Birth: 24 JUN 1824 in Smith Co., Tennessee
Birth & marriage info from Smith County Homecoming '86 Heritage Committee, The History of Smith County Tennessee, p 424, quoting Encyclopedia of the New West, United States Publishing Co., as furnished by Janice Bassett.
Nathaniel was probably living with his father in the 1830 census of Smith Co., TN, in the group (2) white males less than 5 yrs (p 96) -- the age is not exact.
The following sketch reveals much biographical information about Nathaniel:
"At the age of seventeen, Nat Burford began teaching in country schools which enabled him to pass through a course of study at Irving College for three years. He then studied law in the office of the Honorable A. J. Marchbanks at McMinnville, Tennessee, and was licensed as a lawyer in October, 1845. For a time Burford settled in Jasper, Tennessee, but the spirit of adventure called him to volunteer as a soldier for the Mexican War. However, when his company reached Knoxville, the quota for the state had already been filled. Young Burford, desirous of serving the cause, presented his horse to Dr. John T. Reed, a surgeon in a regiment already mustered into service.
Burford returned to Jasper for a brief time and then set out for the Southwest. Short of funds, he worked his way as a deck passenger to Shreveport, LA where he arrived with $2.50. He walked to Jefferson, Texas, where he became deputy clerk of the district court under Willis H. Childress.
On October 1, 1845, astride a twenty-five dollar pony and five dollars in his pocket along with numerous letters of recommendation, rode into Dallas where he filed his homestead claim on the town by posting his shingle as a lawyer. He speedily formed a law practice with John H. Reagan.
Burford, a Democrat, was elected prosecuting attorney of the district in which Dallas was in 1850 and again in 1852.
By a law of 1856, the sixteenth judicial district of Texas was created, embracing the counties of Ellis, Dallas, Collin, Grayson, and all the outlets and territory west of this new district. Burford was elected judge of this new district.
When the War Between the States came in the spring of 1861, Burford enlisted as a private in the 1st Texas artillery. Judge Burford secured a commission to raise a regiment, and this regiment was mustered into the Confederate service as the 19th Texas Cavalry with Burford serving as its colonel until September, 1864, when ill health forced him to resign his commission.
In 1866 Burford was elected to the legislature from Dallas County and was elected speaker of the House of Representatives [of Texas].
In 1875, he was elected presiding justice of Dallas County and in February, 1876, he was elected judge of the 11th judicial district. He was appointed a U.S. Commissioner in 1879......Judge Burford was an Episcopalian."
(Excerpt from item F187 in The History of Smith County, Tennessee by Smith County Homecoming '86 Heritage Committe, using information in Encyclopedia of the New West, US Publishing Co., as provided by Janice Bassett)
1880 census Dallas Co., TX. (p 22) Dallas. Ward 1. N. M. Burford, WM 56, atty. law, b. TN, father b. NC, mother b. VA. Living w/him: wife M. J. and children Mattie, N. M., R. L., J. F. and Mary.
Father: John Hawkins Burford b: 26 MAY 1795 in North Carolina
Mother: Nancy McAlister b: ABT. 1793 in Virginia
Mary J. Knight b: ABT. 1839 in Tennessee
- Mattie Burford b: 16 FEB 1861 in Texas
- Nathaniel Macon Burford b: 20 AUG 1866 in Texas
- Robert Lee Burford b: 1870 in Texas
- Jeff Mallard Burford b: 1876 in Texas
- Mary J. Burford b: SEP 1879 in Texas