(1) Hance McCain Burney, father of the prominent Fort Worth lawyer Judge I. H. Burney,was a pioneer of Texas and a man whose record may be studied with profit by all who admire the sturdiness and enterprise of those men who "made Texas."
He was born near the famous Revolutionary war battle-ground, Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, May 12, 1826. He lived to be nearly eighty-nine years of age, passing away at his home in Kerr County April 23, 1915. The vitality and vigor of his life are reflected in the seven sons who survive him. He spent his early life in McNary County, Tennessee, and first came to Texas in 1853, locating in Washington County. In Washington County on December 28, 1853, he married Miss Mary A. Tatum. daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Tatum, who in 1852 came from McNary County, Tennessee, and settled at Labaradee Prairie, two miles from the old town of Burton in Washington County, Texas. On December 28, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Burney celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of their wedding, six of their sons being present. Mrs. Burney, the aged wife and mother, is still living in Kerr County, and her home has been in one house for over sixty years. She was born in Tennessee June 13, 1839. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Burney returned to Tennessee for several years, then came back to Texas in 1856, and after about a year
in Washington County moved to Kerrville, where they were associated with the first settlers, and at the time of his death Mr. H. M. Burney was one of the last survivors of the original group of pioneers in that community. Their first home was at the corner of what is now Main and Baker streets. A Post office was established at Kerrville in 1857, with Judge Burney as the first postmaster. He was also one of the first merchants, his store being next door to the courthouse. He served as postmaster seven years, and in 1862 he established a ranch on Turtle Creek at the headwaters of the Guadalupe River, where he lived the rest of his life. He was a man of exceptional enterprise and public spirit. The opportunities for accumulating wealth were not abundant in that sparsely settled section
of Southwest Texas, but by the production of the means to wealth and his public spirit H. M. Burney deserved all the prosperity that comes to the most successful men. Besides
his ranching industry he recognized some of the natural resources of his community and proceeded in characteristic manner to develop them not only for his own profit but for the benefit of the entire district. The banks of the Guadalupe River contained a large amount of cypress timber. To convert it into lumber he imported into the country a steam sawmill, freighted from San Antonio laboriously by ox teams. He constructed the mill in 1871, and sawed up large quantities of cypress timber, much of which was sent to San Antonio. The home in which he lived the best years of his life and in which his widow still resides was built from cypress, every piece of timber from sills to shingles being of the "wood everlasting." While he was a successful cattle rancher, he was also interested in agriculture and early understood the availability of the valley lands of the Guadalupe for wheat growing. He was one of the first to produce wheat in that section, and in order to find an outlet for his crop and encourage his neighbor farmers and ranchers to sow wheat he established a flour mill, using the water power from the Guadalupe River. This flour mill was erected in the early '70s. Thus he had a prominent share in establishing local industries that went a long way toward making the community self supporting in the many years when Kerrville had no railroad facilities.
In the early '60s he was appointed probate judge of Kerr County and in 1878 was elected to the office then known as chief justice or county judge, filling that post four years. He also served as deputy county and district clerk. Judge Burney both for the benefit of his own children and for the community in general was deeply interested in education, and from his own slender resources he provided generously for the needs of his sons and gave them the advantages of college. The records of these sons show that they well repaid the affection and interest of their parents. The nine sons, seven of whom survive their father, were Judge R. H. Burney, Judge I. H. Burney, W. D. Burney, J. G. Burney, William Burney, Lee Burney, John W. Burney , Mack Burney (deceased) and Percy Clitus Burney
(deceased). The survivors all live in Kerr County except I. H. Burney of Fort Worth and J. G. Burney of Austin. Robert Henry Burney has been a prominent Texas lawyer for many years, a former member and for a time president pro tem of the State Senate, and for the past sixteen years has been judge of the Thirty-eighth Judicial District, with home at Kerrville. W. D. Burney, a resident of Center Point in Kerr County, is cashier of the Guadalupe Valley Bank. J. G. Burney a farmer, merchant and former member of the Legislature, living at Austin. William is a stock farmer at Center Point. Lee is also a farmer and stock raiser, and John W. is a merchant at Kerrville.
Source: History of Texas: Fort Worth and the Texas Northwest, Volume III, published by Lewis Publishing Company, 1922; Pgs. 14-15
2) BURNEY, HANCE MCCAIN (1826–1915). Hance McCain Burney, Kerr County pioneer and county judge, son of Robert H. and Lydia (McCain) Burney, Sr., was born on May 2, 1826, at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina. His family moved to McNary County, Tennessee, where his father died. Burney first came to Texas in 1853. On December 28 of that year in Washington County he married Mary A. Tatum, who had moved to Texas with her parents from McNary County the same year. After their wedding the couple returned to Tennessee, where they remained until after the birth of their first child in 1854. They returned to Texas, accompanied by Burney's mother and two sisters, and settled in the Guadalupe valley. Burney served as first postmaster of Kerrville from 1858 to 1866. He also served as Kerr county judge in 1864 and 1879–80. As one of Kerrville's early leading citizens, he established a trading business and one of the area's first sawmills, from which he sold to the United States government the building materials for forts and military camps. He owned a ranch on Turtle Creek and served as president of the First National Bank at Center Point. The Burneys had nine sons; one of them, Robert H. Burney, became a state legislator and district judge. Hance Burney died on April 23, 1915, and Mary died on May 22, 1925.
-Rebecca J. Herring
Source: BIBLIOGRAPHY:Bob Bennett, Kerr County, Texas, 1856–1956 (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956; bicentennial ed., rev. by Clara Watkins: Kerr County, Texas, 1856–1976, Kerrville, Texas: Hill Country Preservation Society, 1975).; Handbook of Texas Online.