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Jul 05, 2018

Fairview Cemetery Restoration: Reverend L. S. Burnett, The Dial, Mason, Minister

Blog 62 Picture 3a

In the last two posts, we have been reviewing The Dial, an African American newspaper that existed in 1914. The editor was Rev. Conley Lincoln Henderson, and Rev. Robert F. Fox was the associate editor. Let’s now go back to our first scheduled cleaning as a community group where little did I know I had chosen to take a picture next to someone for whom we would find no documentation of where he was buried.

This was the first-time cleaning Fairview Cemetery after Jim Ravencraft had photographed all the headstones he could find. We cleaned around this one, and my husband, Ellis McClure, took this photo. I did not know this person buried in this spot, but I knew that Rev. L. S. Burnett would be someone who I would be proud to get to know.


Robin Foster Fairview Cemetery
Photo taken by Ellis McClure, 2014


Rev. L S. Burnett

Husband of Josie E. Burnett

Dec. 23, 1858

May 5, 1919

Rev. L. S. Burnett was the treasurer of The Dial:


Blog 62 Picture 2b
L. S. Burnett, A New Paper Here (Greenwood Daily Journal), Greenwood, South Carolina, 26 September 1914, Page 3, Column 4,,


Newspaper Obituary

The obituary was written for The Index-Journal, and it said so in the article. This means it also had appeared in The Dial. He served his last day as minister of Pine Grove Church, and he went home and dined. He took sick, and he fell unconscious never to wake again. He pastored the Hodges circuit which was made up of Pine Grove and Mt. Zion church.

Rev. L. S Burnett’s service was held at Weston Chapel. I could not find his wife, Josie, who was living at the time of his death. Neither the obituary nor the death certificate said where he was buried, so unless we had carved out his grave which was under limbs and kudzu we would not have known where he was.


Blog 62 Picture 3a

Obituary Rev. L.S. Burnett
L. S. Burnett, Colored Minister Dies (The Index Journal), Greenwood, South Carolina, 6 May 1919, Page 8, Column 7,,


Rev. Lewis S. Burnett

Rev. L. S. Burnett’s first name is Lewis. Was born in Abbeville County, but no names for his parents were given on the death certificate. Josie E. Burnett, his wife, did sign the death certificate. Once again, we were not told where he was buried.

So many of the people interred at Fairview Cemetery did not have a death certificate, or the death certificate just gave the county where they were buried. We made a great effort to find each headstone and compare it with funeral home records, obituaries, and death certificates so that we would know if they were buried in Fairview Cemetery. Some were not.


Death Certificate Rev. L.S. Burnett
“South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 April 2018), 004177352 > image 780 of 1740; Department of Archives and History, State Records Center, Columbia.


1910 Census for Lewis S. Burnett

I found Rev. Lewis S. Burnett on the 1910 US Census in Greenwood County. Josie, his wife, was listed on the census as well. They had her mother, Fanny Bowie, and her sister, Fanny Bowie, living with them.

Unfortunately, I could not find them in 1900:


Blog 62 Picture 5
“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 June 2017), South Carolina > Greenwood > Greenwood Ward 2 > ED 85 > image 10 of 24; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).


Sharpen the Saw

Go back and take a look at the top of the headstone. Notice the masonic emblem engraved there? How many of you have ancestors that were masons? Rev. Lewis S. Burnett was a mason. I could not find him and his dealings with the local masonic lodge anywhere, but I will with the next The Dial board member that I will discuss next week.

We will then research Charleston area, Greenwood area, and Columbia area masonic members who met together in the Upstate. Let us know in the Facebook Group if you are interested.