Estate of Charles Lewis Burks (1795-1845)

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Date: 1845 to 1870
Location: Bedford County, Virginiamap
Surnames/tags: Burks Cheatwood
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Charles Lewis Burks and his wife Lavania (Cheatwood) Burks died in Virginia in the 1840s, leaving 9 children. He died intestate, and Hiram Cheatwood was appointed adminstrator of his property[1] and guardian to their four children under the age of 21 (Susan, Mildred, Charles, and Hiram).

Certain papers filed in the administration of this estate are available at the Library of Virginia "Virginia Memory" website, ref. Sarah P. Burks etc. v. Adm. of Charles L Burks, Bedford County, Virginia; Index No 1870-116.

According to the court record, Burks's farming operations in Botetourt and Rockbridge Counties were continued for "twelve months after the administrator took charge of the estate" at notable personal expense and inconvenience to Hiram Cheatwood, living in Bedford County "25 miles from [Burks's] residence."[1]


Heirs of Charles Lewis Burks

The estate papers are a primary source as to the relationships among the children and grandchildren of Charles Lewis Burks. For family historians, they may have value because Charles and Lavania died before they could be enumerated with their children by name in the 1850 US Census.

Descendants listed in 1851:

  1. Sarah P. Burks
  2. William D. Burks
  3. Ann A. Burks
  4. Louisa V. Scott, wife of William R. Scott
  5. Susan H. Burks
  6. Mildred M. Burks
  7. Charles C. Burks
  8. Hiram C. Burks
  9. Elizabeth (deceased), wife of John Owens (deceased)
  10. William L. Owens, child of Elizabeth and John, in the care of Benjamin Owens.

Persons claimed as Slaves of Charles Lewis Burks

The cause of action in the linked filings was a petition to sell the enslaved persons claimed as property by the C. L. Burks estate, for the benefit of his heirs. The enslaved people are named in the filings by defendant Hiram Cheatwood as follows:

  1. Old man Mat (very infirm)
  2. Jacob
  3. Ampy
  4. Ryal
  5. Spencer
  6. Ben
  7. Daniel
  8. Robert
  9. Sally
  10. Hannah
  11. Mary + 2 small children

Hiram Cheatwood was enumerated in Bedford County on the 1850 Slave schedule claiming to own 20 people.[2]

On 15 January 1852, in Pattonsburg, Virginia (now Buchanan, Virginia), the enslaved persons were sold as follows:

  1. Spencer, age 51, "unsound", to M. L. Leftwich
  2. Jacob, age 55, to D. B. Cheatwood
  3. Mary, age 19, to Wm D. Burks (possibly Burks-572)
  4. Mary's oldest child, under age 3, to Wm D. Burks (possibly Burks-572)
  5. Mary's youngest child, 3 months, to Wm D. Burks (possibly Burks-572)
  6. Robert, age 16, to Richard H. Burks
  7. Daniel, age 18, to Richard H. Burks
  8. Ben, age 22, to Richard H. Burks
  9. Ampy, age 51, to Arthur L. Burks
  10. Hannah, age 35, to Jordan Anthony
  11. Sally, age 50, to J. Martin
  12. Ryal, nearly age 60, to David Skidmore
  13. Mat, age between 80-90, to R. Irvin (possibly the husband of Elizabeth (Burks) Irvine

Old Mat was sold to Robert Irvine, with Wm D Burks as security, under covenant "to take care of said negro, clothe & feed him for the residue of his life." This sale went to the "lowest bidder" and may have been in the nature of a viatical gamble or some kind of fictional transfer to clear title for a "worthless" asset, as Irvine's bond was immediately returned to him (See page 15 of 17).

Other Records of these Enslaved Persons

Ryal and Spencer were probably claimed by Lavania (Cheatwood) Burks in 1820 as property inherited from her father Daniel Cheatwood.[3] In 1820, "Royal"'s value was estimated as $500 or $550. Spencer's value was estimated at $500. These "values" could indicate that they were young men in 1820, and survived into their 50s when the C. L. Burks estate litigation occurred.

Jacob could be the same enslaved person "Jacob" conveyed by the will of John Burks in 1828 to his son Charles L. Burks.[4]

In March 1846, an inventory and appraisal of Charles L. Burks's property in Botetourt County was entered into the Will Books of Rockbridge County.[5] The following enslaved people were named in the 1846 Botetourt County inventory:

  1. Ampy, man, about 45
  2. Rial, man, about 46
  3. Bartlett, man, about 30
  4. Ben, man, about 18

Link to this Free Space

[[Space:Estate_of_Charles_Lewis_Burks_(1795-1845)|Estate of Charles Lewis Burks (1795-1845)]], Bedford County, Virginia, 1851-1852.

Known Descendants Chart


  1. 1.0 1.1 Account of H. Cheatwood adm. C. L. Burks, Rockbridge County Will books, v. 10-11, 1843-1851, pp 483ff (FHL Film # 007646176, image 253ff of 534.
  2. "United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1850 ", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 February 2020), Hiram Cheatwood in entry for MM9.1.1/MV82-8SM:, 1850.
  3. Amherst County Will books, v. 5-6, 1810-1827, pp. 128-129 (FHL Film # 007643859, image 398 of 714).
  4. Will of John Burks, recorded in Rockbridge Co., VA Will Book 6, p. 313 selected transcript available on
  5. Will books, v. 10-11, 1843-1851, pages 203-204 (FHL Film # 007646176, images 112-113 of 534.)

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