Janice Williams

James Rector Burton

In Aaron, General Musings, Photos, Second generation, World War I on September 3, 2013 at 1:02 am

I stumble upon many things that surprise me and make me happy when I’m researching the family. Most of what I am doing right now is just trying to find official confirmation for the birth and death dates that we have and add place locations to those births. There are many more government records online than there ever have been, so I’m just adding sources to information that has just been given to us by family members.

But I stumble upon things. Like the fact that James Rector Burton was a schoolteacher at Austin High School. I use the website findagrave.com frequently and I found where a girl named “fluttergirl” had added this picture of James Rector Burton to the picture of his grave from the Oakwood Cemetery.

BURTON_JamesRector_austinhighyearbook_1935_teacher

She says in her comments that this is from the 1935 Austin High School yearbook where “Mr. Burton” was teaching Spanish and drama.

I’m sure there are AHS yearbooks at the Austin History Center here in Austin. I will have to go see if there are other pictures.

Now, who is he? There are several men with the name “James Rector” in our family. In the Aaron Cunningham family, James Rector Cunningham fought in World War I and was killed overseas. His death prompted other people in our family to name their children James Rector.

This James Rector Burton, this schoolteacher, is not actually a blood descendant of the Cunninghams. But his mother, Willie Pearl Henson, was just a toddler when her father died and her mother, Amanda Jane Henson, married Aaron Cunningham. Aaron Cunningham was the only father that Willie Pearl Henson ever knew and James Rector Cunningham, the fifth child born to Aaron and Amanda, was Willie’s baby brother, born when she was just 10 years old. She named her son John Rector Burton after her baby brother when her baby brother was only 14 years old. John Rector Burton was named for his uncle before his uncle was a war hero.

This James Rector Burton served in World War II (after he was a schoolteacher at AHS). He continued to be a schoolteacher and I assume he taught in Comanche because he died in Comanche in 1969.

What is also amazing to me as I find these stories and they seem to be from so long ago… I look at the connections and figure out how he fit into the family and realize that his younger sister is Linda Rippetoe. She is an active member of the Comanche community and a frequent guest of our reunion. She was there last month with us. Linda may be in her 90s now, but she is as vital and engaged as she can be. Now I want to go to her and find out more about John Rector Burton, her brother, and know the stories her mother told about growing up with Aaron Cunningham.

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