Family Stories

Dr. Mortimer James Lucian Burchard – Caldwell County

Dr. Burchard, August 20, 1820 – February 5, 1899.  Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky.

Today’s blog began with a gravestone photo taken at Cedar Hill Cemetery, located on Green Street in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky.  The stone is rather unusual, on a rectangular base are chopped branches of a tree, trimmed to the same size, one bearing oak leaves and acorns, with a round piece on top bearing the Masonic seal and Dr. Mortimer James Lucian Burchard’s birth and death information.  Dr. Burchard was one interesting gentleman to follow.  He was born in Pennsylvania, raised by his grandparents, since his parents died when he was young.  In the 1850 Randolph County, Indiana, census, Dr. Burchard lived with wife Hester Boyd, 22, born in Indiana; son James B., 1, born in Indiana, James R. Boyd, 20, his brother-in-law, and Hannah Lock, 15.  In 1860, he was then living in Hancock County, Illinois, with one son, James B. Burchard and wife Hester Boyd Burchard.  After his service in the Civil War, Mortimer Burchard settled in Birmingham, Kentucky, a small town in Marshall County.  This town no longer exists.  In 1944 the town was submerged under water when Kentucky Lake was formed.  In the 1870 census Dr. Burchard was living there with wife Lydia C. Wilson, and her two sons by a previous marriage – Lew M. Wilson, 17; and Harmon T. Wilson, 15.  And by the 1880 census Dr. Burchard lived in Caldwell County, Kentucky, with wife Connie Wilson Burchard.  His son Charlie was born in Kentucky about 1872 either in Marshall or Caldwell.  I do not have a death date for Lydia Connie Burchard.  Dr. Burchard married Pauline Watkins, a widow, February 12, 1890, in Caldwell County.  They had no children, but she had two children from her first marriage to E. P. Watkins – Lucy and Webb.  Dr. Mortimer James Lucian Burchard died February 5, 1899.

From the Memorial Record of Western Kentucky, Lewis Publishing Company, 1904, pp. 701-703:

MORTIMER JAMES LUCIAN BURCHARD, deceased, was for many years one of the leading physicians of Princeton, Kentucky.  He was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, August 20, 1820, and his death occurred in Princeton, Kentucky, February 5, 1899.  His father was also a native of Pennsylvania, where he lived and died, and was a farmer by occupation.

     Mortimer J. L. Burchard was reared by his grandparents in Pennsylvania, receiving his elementary education in the common schools of that state and was a graduate of the medical department of the Cambridge (Massachusetts) University.  He studied the allopathic system, but afterward became learned in homeopathy and introduced the latter system in Princeton.  He was first engaged in the drug business in Hamilton, Ohio, where he remained until 1861, and in that year enlisted for service in the Civil war in the Confederate army, serving throughout the entire struggle as a surgeon, and at its close located in Birmingham, Kentucky, where he continued to practice the homeopathic school of medicine with great success.  Finally, however, at the urgent request of friends, he came to Princeton, and here he continued in the active practice of his chosen profession until his life’s labors were ended in death.

     Dr. Burchard was first married to Hettie Boyd, a native of Iowa [should be Indiana since that is listed on census records as her place of birth], who died shortly after her marriage, having become the mother of one child, James B.  In 1890 the Doctor was united in marriage, in Caldwell county, Kentucky, to Mrs. Pauline Watkins, the widow of E. P. Watkins, who was born and reared in North Carolina but came to this section, and served as circuit clerk of Caldwell county.  Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Watkins, — Lucy and Webb, both born and reared in Caldwell county.  Mr. Watkins died in this county in 1865.  Mrs. Burchard is the daughter of Isaac and Catherine Gray, early pioneers of this section of the state, and the father was engaged in the stave business during the greater part of his life.  His death occurred in Caldwell county.  Dr. Burchard was a Democrat in his political affiliations, and fraternally was a member of the Masonic order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythis.  His religious views connected him with the Cumberland Presbyterian church, of which he was a worthy member, and he was numbered among the leading and honored citizens of Princeton.

Dr. Burchard’s will, Caldwell County Will Book C, pages 93-94, was written April 11, 1896, about three years before his death.  Everything is given to wife Pauline.

Son Charles Burchard moved to Douglas County, Nebraska, and in 1891 married Mollie Dale, daughter of William Dale and Oovin Spike (?).  Charles was 22, born in Kentucky, son of M. J. L. Burchard and Connie Wilson.

The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tuesday, February 7, 1899

Dr. M. J. L. Burchard, seventy-nine years of age and one of the oldest physicians of Caldwell County, died last night after a short illness of pneumonia.  He was a high Mason, being a Knight Templar and a member of high standing.  His body will be interred tomorrow in the Princeton Cemetery.

The Paducah Sun Democrat, McCracken County, Kentucky

Monday, January 7, 1924

Mrs. Burchard, 72, Dies at Princeton

Mrs. Pauline Burchard, 72, life long citizen of Princeton, died Saturday morning at 3 o’clock after a week’s illness of pneumonia.

Mrs. Burchard was twice married, the first time to Mr. D. Watkins, deceased, and later to Dr. Burchard, also deceased, then a well-known physician of Caldwell County.

Two children survive her:  Mrs. Lucy Griffin, of this city, and Mr. Webb Watkins, mayor of Dexter, Missouri.

Pauline Burchard, 1840-1924.

Pauline’s children placed this stone after the death of her mother.

E. P. Watkins, February 1824 – July 29, 1865.

E. P. Watkins’ gravestone is exactly like Dr. Mortimer Burchard’s stone. Pauline had them identically made for her two husbands. (Sorry the top is cut off.)


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