James Burkitt, farmer and stock dealer, was born in 1826 in Sumner County, Tenn., the sixth of ten children of William and Nancy (Godwin) Burkitt, natives of North Carolina. The father, born in 1794, of Irish origin, the son of Rev. Lemuel Burkitt, a Baptist minister, was reared and married in his native State, and came afterward to Sumner County, Tenn., and in 1845 to Franklin County locating near Mulkeytown as a farmer. He died in 1859. He was twice married, the last time to Susan Wheeler, about 1837. They had two sons and two daughters. She died in 1856. Our subject was unable to get an education,
because of few schools and poor parents. He enlisted in Company K, Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in 1847, and served a year. In 1849 he returned and married Mary, daughter of Calvin and Patsey Jones. Seven of their ten children are living: James H., Isabelle (wife of A. J. Davis, Luana (wife of N. Hollingsworth), Allen, Etta (wife of John Moore), William H. and John. Mrs. Burkitt died in 1870, and he married Mrs. Martha A. Fry, of Wilson County, Tenn., who died in 1881. His last wife was Mrs. Ann Burkitt, nee Thurston. Their children are Frederick and Florence. Soon after his first marriage he located on his present farm, and in his log house built the first brick chimney on Harrison's Prairie. After the war he replaced that by his present nice frame home. He now owns 260 finely improved and cultivated acres, 140 acres, the home farm, being near Christopher. His war service left him unable to do much manual labor, and he turned to experimenting with live stock, the foundation of his success as a prominent farmer who began with nothing. He is a public-spirited man, and a Democrat, first voting for Taylor. He belongs to the F. M. B. A., and he and his wife are members of the Christian Church.