Burnham (Burnam) was on the Ascensión Gonsaba land grant six miles southwest of Ennis in southeastern Ellis County. In 1861 the House family received a portion of this grant in exchange for a slave called John. Edeline House had the area surveyed and platted for the town of Burnham and donated the land for the streets, alleys, and a Methodist church. It was a well-planned community with twenty-five blocks covering 6½ acres, arranged around a public square. Mail was routed from the nearby community of Cummin's Creek until Burnham received a post office in 1861, and again after that office was discontinued in 1865. In 1870 a Cumberland Presbyterian church was established at Burnham. At one time the community also had general stores, blacksmith shops, and doctors. When the Houston and Texas Central Railway bypassed Burnham on its way to Ennis in 1872, many of Burnham's businesses were moved to be on the railroad. It had originally been planned that the railroad would go through Burnham, but railroad officials changed the route. Several men from Burnham went to Ennis with guns demanding the railroad for their community. In the ensuing shoot-out one person was killed and several wounded. The community's school, north of the town square, had fifty-eight students in 1894. By 1915 the school was gone, and by the 1930s Burnham was no longer shown on maps. A Texas Historical Commission marker in Ennis commemorates the Burnham square and cemetery.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Lisa C. Maxwell | © Texas State Historical Association
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