Kevin Ladd is director of the Wallisville Heritage Park at Wallisville, Chambers County, TX and lives in Hardin, TX. He is chairman of the Liberty County Historical Commission and writes for "Texas Illustrated," a monthly publication of the Liberty Gazette newspaper, which is devoted to local history and folklore.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Original Grantees - Shadrack Burney

Shadrack Burney, who was born about 1789 in North Carolina, was that rare breed on the fields of the Western Frontier: The Bachelor. Sort of a non-self-perpetuating character. Shadrack is usually referred to as one of the earliest settlers of this area. A Shadrack Burney appears in 1792 as the grandson of a Simon Burney, whose will was probated in Greene County, Georgia. Most sources give his date of arrival as 1823. When the family of E. H. R. and Sarah (Barrow) Wallis settled at Wallis Hill in the winter of 1824-1825, they found only two bachelors living in that section. Family tradition holds that one of the two was Burney. The other was a Mr. Arnold, although no records have ever provided any more information about him. The 1826 census of the Atascosito District lists him as a farmer and stockraiser and also indicates he had previously resided in Louisiana before coming to Texas. His survey, located on the north side of Turtle Bay (Lake Anahuac) was bordered on the west by the E.H.R. Wallis Survey and on the north and east by the M. A. Carroll Survey. His title was dated April 24, 1831. His name does not appear in any local records after that date. One record refers to Burney as a former associate of the pirate/privateer Jean Laffite. The only landmark that links this early settler to the land is Burney Gully.

The name Shadrack has been a popular one in Chambers County. John Shadrack "Shake" Barrow. Rufus Shadrack "Rack" Barrow. Shadrack Standley. Shadrack Stephenson. Just to name a few.

If anyone ever stumbles across any tidbit of information on Shadrack Burney, I would love to know more about him. You can email me at and I'll be most appreciative.


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