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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thriller Thursday - The Murder Of Luther Martin Burleson

Thriller Thursday is a daily blogging prompt on Geneabloggers.com used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites. Are there murders, bizarre accidents or other thrilling stories among your family history? Tell us about them through words and pictures during Thriller Thursday. This is an ongoing series by Anne Kruszka at Gene Notes.

Luther Martin Burleson (aka Luther Martin Burleyson) was born 6/20/1902 in Stanly County, NC to William Cornelius Burleson (aka William Cornelius Burleyson, "Neal" Burleson) and Mary Catherine Boone (aka Kate Boone).


1910 U.S. Census of Big Lick, Stanly County, North Carolina ; Roll : T624_1125 ; Page : 11B ; Enumeration District : 0119 ; Image : ; FHL microfilm : 1375138 k Lines 68-77, "Cornelius Burleyson" sic
Cornelius Burleyson, Head, M(ale), W(hite), 41 yrs old (DOB 1869), 1st marriage, married 22 yrs (DOM 1888), Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer general farm, Can read and write
Mary K Burleyson, Wife, F, W, 40 yrs old (DOB 1870), 1st marriage, married 22 yrs (DOM 1888), 9 children with 8 still living, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm, Cannot read or write
Jonah Burleyson, Son, M, W, 17 yrs old (DOB 1893), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm, Can read and write
Cromer Burleyson, Son, M, W, 15 yrs old (DOB 1895), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm, Can read and write
Annie B. Burleyson, Daughter, F, W, 13 yrs old (DOB 1897), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
Macon Burleyson, Son, M, W, 11 yrs old (DOB 1899), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
Bertie Burleyson, Daughter, F, W, 9 yrs old (DOB 1901), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
Luther Burleyson, Son, M, W, 7 yrs old (DOB 1903), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Victoria Burleyson, Daughter, F, W, 5 yrs old (DOB 1905), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Flave Burleyson, Son, M, W, 3 yrs old (DOB 1907), Single, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC



1920 U.S. Census of Endy,  Stanly County, North Carolina ; Roll :  T625_1323 ; Page : 7A ; Enumeration District :  139 ; Image :  164 , Lines 19-30, "W.C. Burleyson" sic
W.C. Burleyson, Head, Owns farm, M(ale), W(hite), 52 yrs old (DOB 1868), Married, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer general farm
Mary C. Burleyson, Wife, 54 yrs old, Married, Cannot read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
J.C. Burleyson, Son, 28 yrs old (DOB 1892), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
Cromer Burleyson, Son, 24 yrs old (DOB 1896), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
M.A. Burleyson, Son, 21 yrs old (DOB 1899), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
Bertie Burleyson, Daughter, 20 yrs old (DOB 1900), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Laborer drug store
Luther Burleyson, Son, 18 yrs old (DOB 1902), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Laborer cotton mill
Victoria Burleyson, Daughter, 14 yrs old (DOB 1906), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
Flave Burleyson, Son, 12 yrs old (DOB 1908),  Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farm laborer on home farm
Belle Carrier, Daughter, 23 yrs old (DOB 1897), Widowed, Can read and write,  Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Claude Carrier, Grandson, 5 yrs old (DOB 1915), Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Sanford Carrier, Grandson, 3 yrs 8/12 mos old (DOB 1916), Born in NC, Both parents born in NC" sic


1930 U.S. Census of Endy, Stanly County, North Carolina ; Roll : 1721 ; Page : 7A ; Enumeration District : 8 ; Image : 593.0 ; FHL microfilm : 2341455 , Lines 14-16, "Cornelius Burleson"
Cornelius Burleson, Head, Owns farm, M(ale), W(hite), 63 yrs old (DOB 1867), Married at age 18 yrs old (DOM 1885), Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC, Farmer of general farm
Mary C. Burleson, Wife, F, W, 65 yrs old (DOB 1865), Married at age 20 yrs old, Cannot read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC
Luther Burleson, Son, M, W, 27 yrs old (DOB 1903), Single, Can read and write, Born in NC, Both parents born in NC

Luther's older brother, Jonah Richardson Burleson (aka Jonah Richardson Burleyson, Jonah Richard Burleson, Jonah Richard Burleyson) had married Mary Elizabeth Howard and they had a son named Richard Nelson Burleson (aka Richard Nelson Burleyson). Nelson Burleson was born 8/8/1918 in Stanly County, NC.

Luther Martin Burleson died on 10/26/1931 at the age of 29 yrs old with a gunshot wound to the head. According to his death certificate he was shot by his nephew on 10/24/1931.  At first it was reported as an accident. But, later, 13 year old Nelson Burleson was arraigned on murder charges. It seems his father was with the two and may be why it was reported as an accident at first.

NC Death Certificate #416, Registration District #84-21, Certificate #243, Luther Martin Burleson, DOD 10/26/1931 in Albemarle, Stanly County, NC
Male, White, Single, DOB 6/20/1902 in Stanly County, NC, 29 yrs, 4 mos, 22 days old
Occupation: Farmer
Father: W.C. Burleson, born in Stanly County, NC
Mother: Catherine Boone, born in Stanly County, NC
Informant: (blank)
DOD 10/26/1931 at 11pm
Cause of death: Gunshot wound through head, probably accidental, case pending in court Accident happened at home, gunshot wound by nephew (13 yrs old) Homicide
Buried: 10/26/1931 at Pleasant Grove

Burleson Wounded
Albemarle Man In Dangerous Condition-Was Shot Accidentally
Special to Daily News
Albemarle, Oct 24 - Luther Burleson lies in Yadkin hospital tonight dangerously wounded as the result of a rifle shot which was accidentally fired into the back of his head about noon today.
Burleson, about 28, was riding on a load of hay with his nephew when the nephew (Nelson Burleson) accidentally knocked a rifle on the hay in such a manner that it fired the bullet that lodged in Burleson's head. The extent of his injuries has not been learned.

May Re-Open Suit
Attorneys Want Boy's Trial Moved to Juvenile Court
Albemarle, Dec 4 - (AP) Attorneys for 13 year old Nelson Burleson who is charged with killing his uncle after a quarrel over a watermelon October 24 today moved to reopen the case. They cited the defendant's age and argued the case should be remanded to juvenile court.
The board was bound to Superior Court Monday when probably cause was found in Stanly County recorder's court. Albert Eudy, a witness at the arraignment, said Nelson came to his house a short while before the shooting and said his Uncle, Luther Burleson, whipped him after a quarrel over a watermelon. Eudy reported Nelson said he was going to shoot the man. Luther Burleson was shot to death as he and his nephew, with Jonah Burleson - Nelson's father - were riding on a load of hay near here.

I don't have any more information about this tragic incident but I found Nelson Burleson in the 1940 U.S. Census serving time in Cabarrus County NC State Prison Camp. According to this census, he was still living in Albemarle, Stanly County, NC in 1935 so he must have entered the prison sometime between 1936-1940. It also states that he is married. He married Inez Leonard.


1940 U.S. Census of Cabarrus County NC Prison Camp, Mount Pleasant, Cabarrus, North Carolina; Roll: T627_2882; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 13-22, Line 32, "Nelson Burleson"
Nelson Burleson, Prisoner, M(ale), W(hite), 21 yrs old (DOB 1919), Married, Attended high school 2 yrs, Born in NC, Lived in Albemarle, Stanly County, NC in 1935, Inst


William Cornelius and Mary Catherine Boone Burleson had a large family of 10 children, 7 boys and 3 girls. Their first child, Arthur Burleson, died as an infant. Luther's death was the next death in the family that I'm aware of. Most of the children scattered. You can see my post on this family at Mary Catherine Boone and William Cornelius Burleson post.

William Cornelius Burleson died 1/10/1935 in Stanly County, NC of "creeping paralysis". Mary Catherine "Kate" Boone Burleson died 5/29/1950 in Stanly County, NC. They are buried at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Frog Pond, Stanly County, NC with Arthur Burleson (their infant son) and Luther Martin Burleson.

Jonah Richardson Burleson, Nelson's father, died 7/24/1963 Wadesboro, Anson County, NC in a tragic truck collision. He was working as a produce salesman and the accident occurred while he was working, evidently driving a produce truck. He died of head injuries at the age of 70 yrs old. His wife, Mary Elizabeth Howard Burleson, Nelson's mother died 9/7/1982 in Stanly County, NC.

What happened to Nelson Burleson after he got out of prison? What I know comes from his death certificate. He died 12/21/1970 in the Moses Cone Hospital, Greensboro, Guilford County, NC. He was evidently living in Eden, Rockingham County, NC with his wife, Inez Leonard Burleson, at the time. He also died of a tragic accident. A rock pile fell on him. He lasted 5 days but died of kidney and liver failure, shock, blood loss, fractured pelvis, ruptured bladder and collapsed lung. He was only 52 yrs old. He was buried at the Fairview Cemetery, Albemarle, Stanly County, NC.

NC Death Certificate #42612, Registration District #4195, Local #1546, Richard Nelson Burleson, DOD 12/21/1970 in Moses Cone Hospital, Greensboro, Guilford County, NC
Usual Residence: Center Church Rd, Eden, Rockingham County, NC
Male, White, Married to Inez Leonard, DOB 8/8/1918 in NC, 52 yrs old
Occupation: Water and Sewer Dept of the city of Eden
Father: Jonah R. Burleson, Mother: Mary Elizabeth Howard, Informant: Mrs. Inez L. Burleson, Center Church Rd, Eden, NC
DOD 12/21/1970 at 6pm
Cause of death: Accident when rock pile fell on him, renal and hepatic failure* (duration 5 days), due to shock, due to blood loss, other conditions Fx pelvis**, ruptured bladder, pneumothorax***
Buried: 12/23/1970 in Fairview Memorial, Albemarle, Stanly County, NC
*Kidney and liver failure
**Fractured pelvis
***A pneumothorax (noo-mo-THOR-acks) is a collapsed lung. Pneumothorax occurs when air leaks into the space between your lungs and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse. In most cases, only a portion of the lung collapses. A pneumothorax can be caused by a blunt or penetrating chest injury, certain medical procedures involving your lungs or damage from underlying lung disease.

His death certificate did not indicate that the accident happened at work.

I was not able to find Inez Leonard Burleson after his death. She may have remarried. If anyone has any further sourced information about this family, I would greatly appreciate it if you would contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com .



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