The HyperTexts

Christine Ena Burch
the former
Christine Ena Hurt

compiled by Michael R. Burch, her son

A man may attempt to burnish pure gold, but who can think to improve on his mother?
—Mahatma Gandhi, translation by Michael R. Burch

Christine Ena Hurt, my mother, was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, England, on March 15, 1936. She died on December 19, 2020 at age 84, in Nashville, Tennessee. This is her life story, told in pictures, poetry and prose. There is also a timeline of her life, after the pictures and poems. Here are two pictures of our lovely English Rose, looking very fair, very English, and very, very beautiful ...

Our English Rose
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

The rose is—
the ornament of the earth,
the glory of nature,
the archetype of the flowers,
the blush of the meadows,
a lightning flash of beauty.

The poem above is my translation of a Sappho epigram.

I believe most or all of these early pictures date to around 1956, the year of my parents' wedding. The smiling woman behind my mother is her mother, Christine Ena Spouse Hurt. The beaming man is her father, George Edwin Hurt Sr.

don’t forget ...
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

don’t forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.

I have dedicated this poem to my mother and wife Beth, but you are welcome to dedicate it to someone you love, if you like it. The opening lines were inspired by a poem by e. e. cummings.

My mother reminds me of my favorite actress, Marilyn Monroe, in the picture above.

Marilyn Monroe beautiful innocence - YouTube

Remembering Not to Call
by Michael R. Burch

a villanelle permitting mourning, for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

The hardest thing of all,
after telling her everything,
is remembering not to call.

Now the phone hanging on the wall
will never announce her ring:
the hardest thing of all
for children, however tall.

And the hardest thing this spring
will be remembering not to call
the one who was everything.

That the songbirds will nevermore sing
is the hardest thing of all
for those who once listened, in thrall,
and welcomed the message they bring,
since they won’t remember to call.

And the hardest thing this fall
will be a number with no one to ring.

No, the hardest thing of all
is remembering not to call.

Paul Ray Burch Jr., my father, was born on Thursday, July 27, 1933 and died on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Ray Burch Sr., his mother, Lillian Christine McAdams Burch Lee, and his sister, Sandra Jane Burch. Here are pictures of my parents before their wedding. The boy in the middle picture is mom's younger brother, Colin Hurt.

Barbara Hurt (Gallagher) with Christine Hurt (Burch) and Colin Hurt:

Christine Hurt (Burch) with Colin Hurt and Beryl Hurt (Holland). This photo was obviously taken a bit later, as Colin is now a head taller than his sisters. But, like me, I think he shot up overnight. I was over six foot tall at age thirteen.

Paul and Christine Burch were married for 57 years. They are survived by their son Michael Ray Burch, their daughters Sandra Jane Burch Boyte and Debra Leigh Burch White, and their families.

Disclaimer: I have tried to include as many family members as possible, but I don't have pictures of everyone, and there are some relatives that I haven't seen in decades. If anyone would like me add someone to this page, please email me at Contributions are certainly welcome, whether pictures, poems, memorials, anecdotes, etc.

Related family and genealogy pages: Paul Ray Burch Jr., Christine Alice Spouse, Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch, Robert Turner Burch

For genealogy buffs, there are Hurt and Spouse genealogies at the bottom of this page, and extensive genealogies for the Burch side of the family on my father's page (the first link above).

Here's my father, Paul Ray Burch Jr., on the left. This picture was taken on the day of his wedding, July 14, 1956 at the Parish Church in Mattersey, East Retford, Nottingham, England. Dad looks quite dashing. His best man, on the right, was Richard A. Allen. According to the marriage certificate, my future mother was a 20-year-old "spinster"! (My, how times and the language have changed.) Dad's profession was listed as an airman first class, and mom's as a "fell-binder." His residence was listed as Sturgate AFB, hers as her parents' house at 22 Priory Close, Mattersey. Her father's profession was listed as a railway laborer. There was no mention of her mother in those chauvinistic times. Robert Wilson was the vicar.

This picture of my father and his best man walking down an English sidewalk on an overcast, rainy day, depicts something experienced by thousands of young American men who were enchanted by the English roses they found, despite the often-dismal weather.

Here are pictures from my parents' wedding in Mattersey, England, in 1956:

Little did my parents guess what they were getting into, when they decided to have me! I would grow at a fearsome rate, reaching six foot tall by the time I was thirteen, with a crazy metabolism that allowed me to eat gargantuan amounts of food while remaining skinny as a rail. I was always hungry! The first picture is of my mother, pregnant with me around Christmas, 1957. It snowed in Orlando that winter for the first time in 70 years. The other pictures are dated September and October of 1958.

The picture below is dated 1959. The picture is of my father, me, my mother, and our refrigerator.

Here's a "very English" picture of my mother, pushing me in pram down an English lane.

Here are poems I wrote for my mother:

Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

There never was a fonder smile
than mother’s smile, no softer touch
than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
and know she loves you more than “much.”

So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
Though tender words, these do not speak
of love at all, nor how we fall
and mother’s there, nor how we reach
from nightmares in the ticking night
and she is there to hold us tight.

There never was a stronger back
than father’s back, that held our weight
and lifted us, when we were small,
and bore us till we reached the gate,
then held our hands that first bright mile
till we could run, and did, and flew.
But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
will leap and follow after you!

by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

Your love is as delicate
as a butterfly cleaning its wings,
as soft as the predicate
the hummingbird sings
to itself, gently murmuring—
“Fly! Fly! Fly!”

Your love is the string
soaring kites untie.

by Michael R. Burch

for all good mothers

Bring your peculiar strength
to the strange nightmarish fray:
wrap up your cherished ones
in the golden light of day.

Such Tenderness
by Michael R. Burch

for all good mothers

There was, in your touch, such tenderness—as
only the dove on her mildest day has,
when she shelters downed fledglings beneath a warm wing
and coos to them softly, unable to sing.

What songs long forgotten occur to you now—
a babe at each breast? What terrible vow
ripped from your throat like the thunder that day
can never hold severing lightnings at bay?

Time taught you tenderness—time, oh, and love.
But love in the end is seldom enough ...
and time?—insufficient to life’s brief task.
I can only admire, unable to ask—

what is the source, whence comes the desire
of a woman to love as no God may require?

The Greatest of These ...
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

The hands that held me tremble.
The arms that lifted
Angelic flesh, now parchment,
is held together with gauze.
But her undimmed eyes still embrace me;
there infinity can be found.
I can almost believe such unfathomable love
will still reach me, underground.

If my parents didn't know what they were getting into with me, they were really heading into uncharted waters when they had my pesky sisters! Here I am with Sandra, known as Sandy to everyone but Herself:

I think this may have been the family passport picture, made when Debby was a baby and we were trying to ship her off to parts unknown ...

Here are we are, hard at play. I believe the third picture is of grandfather Hurt's vegetable garden in Mattersey, England. He definitely had a green thumb, but I think his grandchildren were mostly making a mess.

It is hard to believe those little children are now parents and grandparents, and that the mother who watched over us all our lives is gone ...

Final Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

Sleep peacefully—for now your suffering’s over.

Sleep peacefully—immune to all distress,
like pebbles unaware of raging waves.

Sleep peacefully—like fields of fragrant clover
unmoved by any motion of the wind.

Sleep peacefully—like clouds untouched by earthquakes.

Sleep peacefully—like stars that never blink
and have no thoughts at all, nor need to think.

Sleep peacefully—in your eternal vault,
immaculate, past perfect, without fault.


by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

Mother, I love you!
Mother, delightful,
articulate, insightful!

Angels in training,
watching, would hover,
learning to love
from the Master: a Mother.

You learned all there was
for this planet to teach,
then extended your wings
to Love’s ultimate reach ...

And now you have soared
beyond eagles and condors
into distant elevations
only Phoenixes can conquer.


Elegy for a little girl, lost
by Michael R. Burch

. . . qui laetificat juventutem meam . . .
She was the joy of my youth,
and now she is gone.
. . . requiescat in pace . . .
May she rest in peace.
. . . amen . . .

I was touched by this Latin prayer, which I discovered in a novel I read as a teenager, around age 16 or 17, and chose to incorporate into a poem. From what I now understand, “ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam” means “to the God who gives joy to my youth,” but I am sticking with my original interpretation: a lament for a little girl at her funeral. The phrase can be traced back to Saint Jerome's translation of Psalm 42 in the Vulgate Latin Bible (circa 385 AD).

Dad's mother, Lillian Christine Lee, had a grocery store that she and her second husband, Eric Lee, owned and operated on Sixth Avenue South in Nashville. According to family lore Grandma Lee had Cherokee blood; she was dark-complexioned and was called Gypsy, after the famous Gypsy Rose Lee. In any case, I have included my translations of Cherokee poems, proverbs and blessings that I dedicated to my father when he chose to forego dialysis and enter the final stage of his life ...

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing I
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I will extract the thorns from your feet.
For yet a little while longer, we will walk life's sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.

Here's dad at age 79, shortly before his death, but still brave, still stoic, still smiling.

Photo: Paul Ray Burch, USAF Retired  July 27, 1933 - April 20, 2013.  

Do not stand at my grave and cry.  I am not there.  I did not die. . .

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing II
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Happily may you walk
in the paths of the Rainbow.
and may it always be beautiful before you,
beautiful behind you,
beautiful below you,
beautiful above you,
and beautiful all around you
where in Perfection beauty is finished.

Here's dad at age 79 with his immediate family: Christine Ena Hurt Burch, Debra Leigh Burch White, Sandra Jane Burch Boyte and Michael Ray Burch:

Photo: Dad's last days

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing III
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May Heaven’s warming winds blow gently there,
where you reside,
and may the Great Spirit bless all those you care for,
this side of the farther tide.

And when you go,
whether the journey is fast or slow,
may your moccasins leave many cunning footprints in the snow.
And when you look over your shoulder,
may you always find the Rainbow.

Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

I see the longing for departure gleam
in his still-keen eye,
                              and I understand his desire
to test this last wind, like those late autumn leaves
with nothing left to cling to ...

It is so very difficult to lose our loved ones. Here is a prayer-poem I wrote that I hope may be of some comfort:

I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for everyone

I pray tonight
the starry Light
surround you.

I pray
by day
that, come what may,
no dark thing confound you.

I pray ere the morrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels' white chorales
sing, and astound you.

The Children of Christine Ena Burch and Paul Ray Burch Jr.

Michael Ray Burch is the eldest of the three children of Paul and Christine Burch. He was born on February 19, 1958 in Orlando, Florida. He now owns and manages a computer software company, Alpha Omega Consulting Group, Inc., and is a poet, peace activist and editor and publisher of Holocaust and Nakba poetry.

The first picture below is of me with my father in October 1958. I believe the pictures of me with the ball were taken at the house of my English grandparents George and Ena Hurt.

The Poet's Condition
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

The poet's condition
(bother tradition)
is whining contrition.
Supposedly sage,

his editor knows
his brain's in his toes
though he would suppose
to soon be the rage.

His readers are sure
his work's premature
or merely manure,
insipidly trite.

His mother alone
will answer the phone
(perhaps with a moan)
to hear him recite.

Before any assumes that Russell Holland got all the muscles in the family, please allow me to offer the evidence of the "guns" on "Muscle Beach":

More evidence (and my legs are much more shapely!):

But it seem only fair to note that Russell Holland entered the Guinness Book of World Records for a feat of strength, as reported by The Retford, Gainsborough & Worksop Times on Thursday, July 19, 1990, when he tied Geoff Capses' strongman record in the brick lift, carrying 24 bricks end-to-end, each weighing three kilos.

Sandra Burch Boyte is the eldest daughter and second-oldest child of Paul Burch and Christine Burch. She was born on August 17, 1959 in England. She graduated from Maplewood High School (Nashville) in 1977, and from Tennessee Technological University in 1981 with a degree in psychology.


Scott Boyte is the son of Sandra Jane Burch Boyte and her husband Wayne Boyte. Scott was born on June 16, 1983 in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated from Oakland High School in 2001 and attended Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro). He now works as a software developer and tech support provider at Transformations Inc., where he works with his father Wayne and brother John. His wife Michelle Umboh Boyte graduated from Madison Academy in 2000. They now live in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville with their daughters Alaya and Aryanna. 

Scott Boyte with his wife Michelle Umboh Boyte:

Aryanna Boyte (left) and Alaya Boyte (right), twin daughters of Scott and Michelle Boyte and great-granddaughters of Paul and Christine Burch.

Photo: The balloon twister at Brixx is awesome!!

Aryanna Boyte (left) and Alaya Boyte (right), looking smashing in red velvet at Christmas.

Photo: Aryanna and Alaya ready for Christmas

The twins finish their first Music City Marathon:

Debby Burch White is the daughter of Paul and Christine Burch. She graduated with a degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University in 1984. She then became a CPA, and has worked as an executive for major companies such as First Tennessee/First Horizon, Verso Paper Corporation and Buckeye Technologies.

A proud father at the wedding of his youngest daughter:

Debby Burch White with her husband Walter White on vacation in Puerto Rico in 2012.

Photo: El Yunque

Walter White, Garrett White, Debby White and Samantha White.


Garrett White, Debby White and Walter White.


Samantha White is the daughter of Debby Burch White and Walter White. Samantha graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2010 with a degree in advertising.

My English uncle, my mother's brother, George Edwin Hurt Jr., was born on February 27, 1931 and died on November 24, 2012.

Joy in the Morning
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George Edwin and Christine Ena Hurt

There will be joy in the morning
now this long twilight is over
and their separation has ended.
For fourteen years,
he had not seen her
whom he first befriended,
then courted and married.
Let there be joy, and no mourning,
for now in his arms she is carried
over a threshold vastly sweeter.
He never lost her;
she only tarried
until he was able to meet her.

by Michael R. Burch

for my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt Sr.

Between the prophesies of morning
and twilight’s revelations of wonder,
the sky is ripped asunder.

The moon lurks in the clouds,
waiting, as if to plunder
the dusk of its lilac iridescence,

and in the bright-tentacled sunset
we imagine a presence
full of the fury of lost innocence.

What we find within strange whorls of drifting flame,
brief patterns mauling winds deform and maim,
we recognize at once, but cannot name.

Attend Upon Them Still
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George and Ena Hurt

With gentleness and fine and tender will,
attend upon them still;
thou art the grass.

Nor let men’s feet here muddy as they pass
thy subtle undulations, nor depress
for long the comforts of thy lovingness,

nor let the fuse
of time wink out amid the violets.
They have their use—

to wave, to grow, to gleam, to lighten their paths,
to shine sweet, transient glories at their feet.
Thou art the grass;

make them complete.

My Touchstone
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandfather George Edwin Hurt Sr.

A man is known
by the life he lives
and those he leaves,

by each heart touched,
which, left behind,
forever grieves.

Sailing to My Grandfather
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt Sr.

This distance between us
—this vast sea
of remembrance—
is no hindrance,
no enemy.

I see you out of the shining mists
of memory.
Events and chance
and circumstance
are sands on the shore of your legacy.

I find you now in fits and bursts
of breezes time has blown to me,
while waves, immense,
now skirt and glance
against the bow unceasingly.

I feel the sea's salt spray—light fists,
her mists and vapors mocking me.
From ignorance
to reverence,
your words were sextant stars to me.

Bright stars are strewn in silver gusts
back, back toward infinity.
From innocence
to senescence,
now you are mine increasingly.

Note: Under the Sextant’s Stars is a painting by Bernini.

The birth of my English grandmother, Christine Ena Spouse Hurt, is shrouded in mystery. I have her birth certificate, issued in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, England. According to the document, Ernest Chatterton Spouse, an actor, and Christine Alice Stuart were the parents of Christine Ena Spouse, who was born on April 19, 1908. The "informant" was listed as the mother, with an address of 32 King Street, Sutton in Ashfield.

Michael Ray Burch: Here's my Native-American-style birth announcement, dated February 19, 1958:

I was born in Orlando, Florida. According to the 1959 Orlando Florida City Directory, we were living at USAF h1304 35th Street.

Here's Beth Harris Burch, the wife of Mike Burch, turned into a work of art by Lauren McCall.

Cherokee Proverbs
translations by Michael R. Burch

The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.

A woman’s highest calling is to help her man unite with the Source.
A man’s highest calling is to help his woman walk the earth unharmed.

A brave man dies but once, a coward many times.

Don't judge a man till you've walked many moons in his moccasins.

My father's father was Paul Ray Burch Sr. He worked for C. B. Ragland, in Nashville, Tennessee, as a truck driver. Paul Burch Sr. is reputed to have once lifted the back end of his truck so that a tire could be changed, a feat an English relative of the family, Russell Holland, repeated at the wedding of Sandra Jane Burch. She was named after my father's sister who died in a tragic accident at age nine ...

The first Sandra Jane Burch died on March 21, 1955. To avoid confusion with our living Sandra, I will call her Jane. Recently I came across a folder containing her schoolwork and certain other of her personal effects. Here's a picture of my sister, Debby Burch, that I found in Jane's school folder. They look like twins!

Here's a picture of Sandra Jane Burch (Boyte) ...

Here is a picture of our Aunt Jane lying in her casket, surrounded by flowers:

Jane was the daughter of my grandfather, Paul Ray Burch Sr., and his second wife, Darkis Mary Stepp Burch, also known as Dottie. Here is a picture of Jane's grave in Nashville's Spring Hill Cemetery:

Here is a picture of Paul Ray Burch Sr. visiting his daughter's grave and leaving flowers:

Jane was born on December 23, 1945 (a Christmas baby!) and she died on March 21, 1955 at age nine. Her brother Paul Ray Burch Jr. was born on July 27, 1933 and died on the evening of March 20, 2013 at age 79. So he died just a few hours short of the anniversary of Jane's death. And when he died, his sister's picture was on the wall at the foot of his bed, so hers may have been the last face he saw in this world. At the time of her death, Jane was also survived by her parents, her other brother, Clint Beavers of Cleveland, Tennessee. She was also survived by her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Stepp, also of Cleveland, Tennessee. Darkis Mary Stepp Burch ("Dottie") on the left, with Chris Burch, on the steps of the Nashville Parthenon in August, 1957.

The newspaper clippings and photos below were in Jane's school folder, presumably added by her loved ones after her death.

Here are remembrances from dad's final viewing and funeral:

Here are pictures of the children of Paul Ray Burch Jr., followed by pictures of their spouses, children, grandchildren and extended, ever-widening families.

Here are pictures of other Burch family members. The first picture below is of Lillian Lee holding me in May of 1959. The second picture is of Paul Burch Sr. holding me in May of 1958, when I was a few months old. The third picture, dated January 1960,  is of Eric Lee, Lillian's second husband, whom we called "Pappy."

All Things Galore
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandfathers George Edwin Hurt Sr. and Paul Ray Burch, Sr.

now in your gray presence
you are

somehow more near

and remind me that,
once, upon a star,
you taught me


that ululate soft phrase,
that hopeful phrase!

and everywhere above, each hopeful star

gleamed down

and seemed to speak of times before
when you clasped my small glad hand
in your wise paw

and taught me heaven, omen, meteor . . .

The pictures below are of me on the beach with my grandmother, Ena Hurt, and my Uncle Colin Hurt.

Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch is the wife of Michael Ray Burch and the mother of Jeremy Michael Burch. Beth was born on December 20, 1967. She graduated from Little Rock's Lakeside High School in 1986, and attended the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), Belmont College (Nashville) and Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro), before dropping out to become a full-time mother, her true calling. She is also an award-winning actress and singer.

Here's a page of love poems I have written over the last twenty years for Beth:

O, Terrible Angel

Here is Jeremy Burch kissing his mother Elizabeth Harris Burch after graduating from Nashville Christian School, on his way to David Lipscomb University:

Photo: Graduation day for my baby boy! Yes I cried!

Love’s Extreme Unction
by Michael R. Burch

Lines composed during Jeremy’s first Nashville Christian football game (he played tuba), while I watched Beth watch him.

Within the intimate chapels of her eyes—
devotions, meditations, reverence.
I find in them Love’s very residence
and hearing the ardent rapture of her sighs
I prophesy beatitudes to come,
when Love like hers commands us, “All be One!”

Jeremy kissing his mother the day of his grandfather's funeral:

Jeremy Burch and his uncle William Sykes Harris III, the day of the funeral:

Mike Burch on vacation in England with David, Beryl and Victor Holland and Victor's wife Rosella:

Colin Hurt, Ivan Hurt, Andrea Hurt, Paula Hurt Harden, Julia Hurt Cox, and Julia Hurt:

Paula Hurt Harden:

Paula Hurt Harden with her husband Scott Harden:

George Edwin Hurt Jr., Pauline Hurt and Sara Hurt Afolabi:

Rachel Hurt, Sara Hurt Afolabi and Joanne Hurt Devenish:

Joseph Afolabi and Sara Hurt Afolabi:

Emily Grace Gamble, daughter of Cathy Gallagher Gamble:

Terry Edwards, Esther Holland Edwards and Matilda Scott:

Hannah Edwards, Jennifer Reeson and Esther Edwards: "An Edwards, a future Edwards and an adopted Edwards":

David Holland and Beryl Hurt Holland:

Russell Holland, the son of David and Beryl Holland, married Ruth Miriam Mallender, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Mallender, on Saturday, February 20, 1988, at Bethel Church, Mansfield, Woodhouse, England. Their children Esther Holland Edwards and Chloe Holland:

Rebekah (Becky) and Rachel Holland, daughters of Martin and Linda Holland:

Carolyn Gallagher Bean:

Danny Bean, Mark Bean, Carolyn Gallagher Bean and Joe Bean:

Jacob Ollie Gibson, Cathy Gamble, Emily Grace Gamble:

Here is Beth with the newest member of our extended, ever-widening family: Talen Jace White, the son of Elon Adriel White. Elon has been like a second son to Beth, and a brother to Jeremy.

Beth has also decided to adopt Nicole Elizabeth Prince White, also known as Nikke.

Photo: Dancing at the Old Bank in Swindon's Old Town district.

Jeremy Burch "all warm and fuzzy."

Photo: My WONDERFUL son Jeremy Burch with a fuzzy face and long hair.....yes it was summer, I don't think Nashville Christian School would appreciate the rocker look!

Here's a poem I wrote for Jeremy:

The Desk

for Jeremy

There is a child I used to know
who sat, perhaps, at this same desk
where you sit now, and made a mess
of things sometimes.  I wonder how
he learned at all ...

He saw T-Rexes down the hall
and dreamed of trains and cars and wrecks.
He dribbled phantom basketballs,
shot spitwads at his schoolmates’ necks.

He played with pasty Elmer’s glue
(and sometimes got the glue on you!).
He earned the nickname “teacher’s PEST.”

His mother had to come to school
because he broke the golden rule.
He dreaded each and every test.

But something happened in the fall—
he grew up big and straight and tall,
and now his desk is far too small;
so you can have it.

One thing, though—

one swirling autumn, one bright snow,
one gooey tube of Elmer’s glue ...
and you’ll outgrow this old desk, too.

Originally published by TALESetc

In the picture below, Beth Harris performs on the country music TV talent show "You can be a Star!" When Lynn Anderson of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" fame, who was one of the judges, appeared on the Johnny Carson show, he asked her the name of the up-and-coming country music singer to keep an eye on. Her response was, "Beth Harris." But Beth didn't like the shark-infested waters of the music business, and chose to become a full-time mother to the apple of her eye, Jeremy.

Beth's mother, Susan Elizabeth Johnson, appears in The Razorback, circa 1965. She later changed the spelling of her first name to Suzan:

William Sykes Harris III, Beth Harris Burch, William Sykes Harris I, Sally Barnett (Beth's aunt), and Mike Burch (still the tallest!):

William Sykes Harris I (Paw-Paw), with Mike Burch (looking a bit scraggly):

Mike reading with Melody, another member of the Burch clan:

Deliver Us ...
by Michael R. Burch

The night is dark and scary—
under your bed, or upon it.

That blazing light might be a star ...
or maybe the Final Comet.

But two things are sure: your mother’s love
and your puppy’s kisses, doggonit!

A Timeline of the Life and Legacy of Christine Ena Burch

March 15, 1936: Christine Ena Hurt is born on an auspicious date, the Ides of March, to George Edwin Hurt Sr. and Christine Ena Spouse Hurt, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, England. Her future husband, Paul Ray Burch Jr., was nearing three years old at the time, having been born on July 27, 1933. The Hurt children, from oldest to youngest, were George, Christine, Barbara, Beryl and Colin.

September 3, 1939: Great Britain enters World War II by declaring war on Germany. Mom's family would move to the tiny village of Mattersey early in the war. The Hurt children would walk to school wearing gas masks; windows were covered with blackout curtains; food was rationed. At least once, a Messerschmitt flew over the village and tried to destroy a nearby ammunition plant. In Mattersey the Hurts lived in a council house at 22 Priory Close. The remains of the ancient Mattersey Priory, which dates back to 1185 and was founded by Roger de Mattersey, can be visited on the nearby River Idle (which we used to kid mom was just a "crick" to Americans). Mattersey lies about 6 miles north of Retford and 13 miles southeast of Doncaster, in Nottinghamshire.

May 7, 1945: Germany surrenders to the Allies, ending the war for Great Britain. But American military bases would remain, explaining how my father ended up on an Air Force base in England. But Americans were not universally welcome. When dad was ready to ask for permission to marry mom, he was told the only thing her father had against him was that "you're an American." Ouch, that stings! But apparently Granddad Hurt came around, or was overruled.

1951: My mother was a very intelligent and well-read young woman. But her family was not well-off, and from what I understand, she was forced to leave her all-girl secondary school at age 15 to help support her younger siblings, Barbara, Beryl and Colin. Her older brother, George, had already joined the British military and was serving in Egypt. She took a job at a brassiere factory and was still living at home with her parents when she met dad. From what I remember, she was supposed to meet some other airman, but they caught each other's eye and quickly became an item.

July 14, 1956: Christine Ena Hurt becomes Christine Ena Burch by marrying Paul Ray Burch Jr. at the All Saints Parish Church in Mattersey, East Retford, Nottingham, England. The 14th century church has been described as a "handsome gothic edifice" and they made a dashing and smashing couple, resulting in some excellent wedding pictures viewable on this page. Dad's best man was Richard A. Allen. According to the marriage certificate, my future mother was a 20-year-old "spinster"! (My, how times and the language have changed.) Dad's profession was listed as an airman first class, and mom's as a "fell-binder." His residence was listed as Sturgate AFB, hers as her parents' house. Her father's profession was listed as a railway laborer. There was no mention of her mother in those chauvinistic times. Robert Wilson was the vicar.

1957 (circa): My father is stationed at an Air Force base in Orlando, Florida. On their way to Florida, the young married couple stops to visit dad's parents in Nashville. When the bus crosses the Mason-Dixon line, mom is surprised and disturbed to see black passengers required to move to the back of the bus. This is a story she told me many times over the years, so I know it made a big impression on her. Mom always opposed racism and had many friends of different colors and shades whom she always treated as equals. I'm sure Florida was an ordeal for mom, in many ways. They lived in an un-air-conditioned trailer amid heat she had never experienced before. (An 80-degree day is a heat wave in England.) There were bugs as big as your hand, while England, being a civilized country, has only teeny-tiny bugs. Florida has animals that can maim and kill, like alligators, while the most threatening animals I have seen in England are bunny rabbits, and those only rarely.

February 19, 1958: Michael Ray Burch is born in Orlando, Florida, the future home of the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, it would be all downhill from there, sibling-wise.

1959: Mom is pregnant with Sandy when dad is stationed at Thule, Greenland, where dependents are not allowed. With one child in tow and another on the way, mom returns to England to live with her parents in Mattersey. Thus I grew up speaking with an English accent (long since lost). I was talking nonstop at a very early age. In fact, I was told that Granddad Hurt got in a fight with a co-worker who called him a liar, saying it wasn't possible for two-year-olds to say such preposterous adult things! (I like to think I have always been ahead of my time.)

1960: When dad returns from Thule, the family is reunited in Gainsborough, England. We lived in England for approximately five years. My sisters Sandra Jane Burch and Debra Leigh Burch were both born there and have dual citizenships. One of my earliest memories is going to the hospital to collect Debby after her puzzling appearance. Where did babies come fromstorks, really?

1963: Our family moves to Lincoln, Nebraska, where I would attend kindergarten and first grade. I still had an English accent, because my teacher criticized me for pronouncing words incorrectly. But c'mon, who invented the language? One of my early memories is watching mom weep over President John F. Kennedy's funeral, with another little boy saluting his casket. I also remember how our class practiced ducking under wooden desks for "protection" against Russian nukes. The desks were not very reassuring!

1966: The Burches move to Nashville, Tennessee, where I would attend second and third grade. We would live for a time with dad's mother, Lillian Lee, and her second husband, Eric Lee. The Lees owned a small grocery store on Sixth Avenue South, close to downtown Nashville. The Burches would later move into a house in Donelson, a hilly suburb of Nashville. They were joined there by Paul Ray Burch Sr., who was unmarried at the time. Grandpa Burch took the Burch kids to see their first movie: Sean Connery as James Bond in Thunderball.

1967: The Burches move to Roseville, California, a suburb of Sacramento, where I would attend fourth grade. It was very hot, so most time away from school was spent at the community swimming pool. Mom was able to earn both her high school diploma and her GED, with a perfect score on the English portion of the latter. That was something she was rightfully very proud of, and probably the closest she came to bragging about herself.

1968: The Burches move to Wiesbaden, Germany, where I would attend grades five through eight. We lived for two years in a small German hamlet, Bischofsheim, while waiting for USAF base housing. For the first year, we were the only English-speaking residents. Mom taught herself German and made enduring friendships with some of our German neighbors. For each of four summers, she drove us across Germany, France and Belgium and through the harrowing London traffic, so that we could spend three months with her parents in Mattersey. We also enjoyed shorter vacations up the Rhine River to the stupendous Frankfort zoo, to the Black Forest, to Berchtesgaden and Salzburg, and to a variety of castles and cathedrals. 

1969: The Burches watch Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon at a friend's house (there was no Burch TV set).

1972: The Burches move to Goldsboro, North Carolina, where the Burch kids attend Faith Christian Academy. I was in ninth grade and the starting center on the FCA junior varsity basketball team. Mom unselfishly worked for the school in order to help with our tuition.

1973: Dad retires from the Air Force after 20 years of service to his country, and the Burches relocate permanently to Nashville, Tennessee, to be close to his aging parents. At first we lived in an upstairs apartment at Granddad Burch's house on Chilton Street, within walking distance of the Tennessee Fairgrounds and its community swimming pool. Mom and dad then purchased a house at 3317 Spears Road in the Parkwood subdivision. I attended Maplewood High School, where my sisters would join me. I don't remember exactly when, but sometime between 1973 and 1976, mom realized that all three of her children needed braces and unselfishly chose to become a high school cafeteria worker to help pay our dental bills. She would work her way up to cafeteria manager, and would eventually manage multiple cafeterias. It was also around this time that mom told me that she and dad had made a bad investment (selling religious books) and that there wasn't enough money to pay for me to go to college! Because my grades were in the top ten at Maplewood, and I had the highest ACT and CLEPT (college entrance test) scores in the school's history, I had always assumed that I would go to college. But we figured it out: I won an academic scholarship that paid my tuition and room and board, and I worked 40 hours per week my senior year, to have some spending money for clothes and sundries. Whew, that was close!

1976: I graduated from Maplewood and went to Tennessee Tech in nearby Cookeville. Sandy and Debby would both graduate salutatorian and follow me to Tech. We didn't see each other very often, being in different classes and having different majors, but we were there together. 

1978: I co-oped with AT&T for a year while living at home and working in nearby Brentwood.

1979-1980: With a permanent position as a software developer, I moved out for the last time and got an apartment on Edmundson Pike. The kids are growing up.

1982: Mom and I fly to England together. We vacation in England for a month, staying with Uncle David and Aunt Beryl at an ancient cottage called Throstle's Nest. I was able to spend a good bit of time with my cousins Victor and Russell Holland. 

1983: I bought my first house, in Bellevue, a suburb of Nashville.

1987: Another trip to England with mom. This vacation featured bed-and-breakfast tours of Wales, Stratford-on-Avon, Chesterfield, Chatsworth Hall and London. On the return flight from Gatwick the pilot had to jettison fuel and return for flap repairs. Mom hated to fly under the best conditions, so getting her back on the same plane was quite an undertaking! But we did make it back in one piece.

1990: A third trip to England with mom. This vacation featured a bed-and-breakfast tour of Scotland and the northeastern coast: Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle, Calendar, Edinburgh Castle, North Berwick, Lindisfarne. We also visited the Lake District, Lake Windemere, York, Yorkminster Cathedral, Scarborough (where we stayed in a converted windmill!), the Yorkshire Dales, and Alton Towers. It was the hottest English summer on record, with temperatures as high as 99, and no air-conditioning and precious little ice! And yet we always had a great time in England. I will always treasure those three trips to England with my mother, and seeing her glow with love for her family and friends there.

1991: I met my future wife, Elizabeth Steed Harris, on 1-5-1991 at the Natchez Trace restaurant and bar, in Bellevue, Tennessee. I had a reputation as the local pool shark. She asked me to teach her to play pool and we ended up inventing "twister pool." Things were soon getting serious for the confirmed bachelor! Later, in May, we had a family trip to Destin with Beth, my parents, and Uncle David and Aunt Beryl, who were visiting at the time. We also had a trip to Chatanooga trip with my cousin Victor Holland and his wife Rosella. We visited Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls. At the Chatanooga Choo-Choo, Beth sang “Mockingbird” with one of the singing waiters. A very daring girl! Then on 8-31-91, Beth asked me to marry her! A very daring girl!

November 7, 1991: Grandma Lee dies, a grand and very independent woman.

July 27, 1992: Michael Ray Burch and Elizabeth Steed Harris are married in Warren, Arkansas. Mom's sister, Barbara Hurt Gallagher, travels from England to attend the wedding.

June 14, 1993: Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch gives birth to Jeremy Michael Burch, the youngest of Chris Burch's grandchildren.

1993-2013: Mom and dad continued to live at their house at 3317 Spears Road until it became apparent that they were struggling with the consequences of the aging process. Sandy and Debby found the perfect assisted living center for them, at Windlands East. Mom protested at first, but I believe she came to agree that it was the best place for her and dad, after all.

April 20, 2013: Paul Ray Burch Jr. dies at age 79, in hospice with his family gathered around him, at Windlands.

2013-2020: As mother grew older, she needed more care and she relocated to the Elmcroft assisted living center. Debby moved back from Memphis to be closer to mom. Sandy was always there for mom through thick and thin. Mom had a heart attack and had to have a pacemaker inserted. For a time, she lost most of her memory. When I visited her for the first time after her surgery, she looked at me blankly, and I realized that she didn't know who I was. That was such a terrible empty feeling! But her memory did return enough for her to know who her children were. But she had lost her ability to use her phone, which she could no longer answer, much less dial. One day I had the thought that she might be able to remember how to use an old-fashioned phone. So I asked Beth to find an old-style phone and mom was able to answer the phone again, and even make calls. I think that was the best gift we ever gave her, because it let her talk to her family and friends again. When the pandemic struck and we were not allowed to go to mom's room, that phone was a real blessing. I was so very happy when she actually called me. Success! And Debby would go tap on mom's window and visit her that way. So we found ways to cope and communicate even in the worst of circumstances. But unfortunately, mom's health was no match for Covid, when she became infected, although she fought it like the valiant warrior that she was, until the very end.

December 18, 2020: I see my mother for the last time, in hospice at Summit Medical Center. This is such an incredibly cruel disease, because for many months we were not allowed physical contact with our angel. When I was finally allowed to see her, I had to put on two masks, which made a kiss impossible, and two layers of rubber gloves, which made holding her hand "different" to say the least. She was on morphine to keep her from suffering and most of the time she was unconscious. But she did open her eyes and I like to think that she recognized me. But please wear masks, practice social distancing, and stay safe, because this is an incredibly cruel disease. But, having no other recourse, I was glad to see that the doctors and nurses were able to keep mom from suffering as she prepared to cross over.

December 19, 2020: Christine Ena Burch dies at age 84, at Summit Medical Center, from Covid pneumonia.

December 23, 2020: Christine Ena Burch is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.

Although she left school early in order to help her family's finances, mom never stopped learning, because she was a great reader. And she instilled a love of reading and learning in her children. I remember her reciting "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes to her enthralled children at bedtime a number of times. When we moved to Germany, she taught herself German. When she took the GED test, she aced the English section with a perfect score. But mom sacrificed everything for her husband and children. Why did she return to the workforce? Because her kids were embarrassed by crooked teeth and needed braces. Mom started out as a high school cafeteria worker and worked her way up to managing multiple cafeterias. But what I will always remember about mom was her love, her compassion, her courage and her unselfishness. As my sister Debby noted, she was a fighter till the very end and she never once gave up on her loved ones, even when wrestling with COVID pneumonia at age 84. Debby told me that when she asked mom if she was ready to give up, she said, "No." It was hard to let her go, but she set an example all her life, and even in death, by never giving up on anyone she cared for. And with her large, encompassing heart, she cared for many people, including children she adopted and supported in other countries. Yes, Christine Ena Burch was an extraordinary woman, and the heart and soul of our family for all my 62 years on earth. What will I do without her?

Mom spent 20 years working for the Metro Nashville school system as a cafeteria worker and cafeteria manager. She also served as a Sunday School teacher for many years, was a Big Sister to April, sponsored children in other countries, and was a loving grandmother to her grandchildren: Scott, Samantha, John, Garrett, and Jeremy, and her great-granddaughters, Alaya and Aryanna. When dad developed cancer, she tended to his needs with strength and determination until he made the decision to depart this life in 2013 by not taking dialysis treatments any longer. Even as she aged, mom continued to teach bible studies at the Windlands assisted living center that became her home. She was extremely sociable and made new friends wherever she went. Now she is again with her brother George, her sisters Barbara and Beryl, her husband, her parents, and numerous friends. We will miss her enormously but feel so fortunate to have had her as our mother.

My father was a 20-year-man in the United States Air Force. He was stationed in:

England (where he met and married Christine Ena Hurt while stationed at Sturgate Air Force Base, near Gainsborough)
Orlando, Florida (at either Orlando Air Force Base or McCoy Air Force Base)
Thule, Greenland (at Thule Air Base)
England (the second time he was stationed at Brize Norton Air Force Base, near Carterton)
Lincoln, Nebraska (at Lincoln Air Force Base)
Nashville, Tennessee (at Sewart Air Force Base)
Sacramento, California (at McClellan Air Force Base; we lived in nearby Roseville)
Wiesbaden, Germany (at Wiesbaden Air Base and Lindsey Air Station; we lived in Bischofsheim while waiting for base housing)
Goldsboro, North Carolina (at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base)

After retiring from the Air Force, dad attended Draughons Junior College in Nashville, where he obtained an associate degree in bookkeeping. He then worked as a bookkeeper and security guard until health problems required him to retire. While dad and I disagreed about many things, I admire him for the courageous, stoic, uncomplaining way he faced life, even when life was harsh. He taught me many valuable lessons that I didn't always appreciate when I was learning them, including the value of family ties, hard work, frugality, loyalty, dependability and sticking to one's guns. I will always remember how true he was to my mother, through thick and thin, and to his parents as they grew older. He never sought personal glory, and made it clear that he didn't want military honors that he felt should be reserved for the men who risked life and limb on the battlefield. He was a brave, loyal and honorable man.

The Mysterious Case of Christine Alice Spouse, Actress

Christine Alice Spouse, by Carlo Nieper

There are mysteries surrounding the birth of my grandmother, Christine Ena Spouse, and her mother, Christine Alice Spouse [1881-1968]. Here is what I have been able to gather so far. According to my grandmother's birth certificate, she was born on April 19, 1908 in Sutton-in-Ashfield, County of Nottingham, England. This was the residence of the Harrisons, her foster parents, who ran a Salvation Army boarding house and had fostered other children in the past. Her natural mother's name appears as "Christine Alice Spouse, formerly Stuart." The father's name appears as "Ernest Chatterton Spouse" and his occupation is given as "Actor." Our family believes that Christine Alice Spouse was also an actor, and there are other documents which verify this. The mother's residence is given as 32 King Street, and this agrees with what my Aunt Barbara Hurt Gallagher told me: that the mother was living in the Harrisons' house when the baby was born. If this is the case, it seems likely that Christine Alice Spouse was indeed the mother. Why would she give her maiden name as Stuart? One possibility is that she wanted her baby's last name to be Spouse. If so, she would have needed the father's last name to be given as Spouse, and she would have needed a different maiden name. Her sister Winifred Mary Spouse married Frank Stuart, so she may have "borrowed" the last name Stuart. Another possibility is that she had married Frank Stuart, or some other Stuart, or had had an affair with a man by that name. Another possibility is that Winifred had assumed her sister's identify for some unknown reason. Christine Alice Spouse later lived in London with Carlo Nieper, a member of an aristocratic German family and a portrait painter of some note. It is believed that he was on friendly terms with Hitler and painted Hitler's portrait. They had three children together: Violet Mary Carola Nieper (1911-1982), Raoul Nieper (1913-1989), and Helene Sybil Nieper (1914-) who was nicknamed "Bobbie." There is a rumor that Carlo Nieper was a German spy who fled England via a U-boat the onset of WWI. He died in Berlin on December 17, 1938. There is another rumor that Ernest Chatterton was also a spy, last seen jumping out of hotel window in Germany to escape the German police! In any case, Christine Alice Spouse married Philip Sale in 1927. She had a sister, Winifred Mary Spouse (1880-1918), who was also an actress. She also had a brother, Stanley Charles Spouse (1884-1969). Christine Alice Spouse was born on November 27, 1881 in Plumstead, Kent, England. She emigrated to Atherton, Leichardt, Queensland, Australia in 1958, presumably to be near her children, who had emigrated there earlier. She died in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on April 25, 1968.

Christine Alice Spouse Timeline

NOTE: Carl Johannes Theophil Walter Nieper was born on April 29 1869, in Dresden, Deutschland, to Johann Carl Ludwig Nieper and Caroline Wilhelmine Amalie Johanna Elise Nieper (born von Seyffarth).

1831 - Edward Spouse is born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England.
1842 - Elizabeth Beadle, age 28, dies of "child-bed fever." Her husband, Charles Beadle, is a confectioner on North High Street.
1843 - Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle is born in Highley, Worcestershire, England.
1879 - Edward Spouse marries Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle on July 24, 1879 in Erith, Kent, near London, England.
1880 - Winifred Mary Spouse is born in Plumstead, Kent, England.

1881 - Winifred Mary Spouse is baptized on September 10, 1881; Edward Spouse's occupation is listed as an accountant.
1881 - Christine Alice Spouse is born on November 27, 1881 in Plumstead, Kent, England to Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle and Edward Spouse.
1882 - Edward Spouse is living at 19 Vicarage Park in Plumstead, Kent, near London, England.

1884 - Stanley Charles Spouse is born.
1885 - Christine Alice Spouse is baptized at Belvedere, All Saints, Kent on April 5, 1885. The address looks like Woolwich Rd, Belvedere.
1891 - Christine Alice Spouse is living with her parents in Erith, Kent, England.
1900 - Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle dies at age 57, leaving Christine motherless at age nine.
1901 - Christine Alice Spouse is living with her father in Lewisham, London.
1901 - Winifred Mary Spouse, age 21, marries Frank Stuart. Is this the source of the Stuart name on Christine Ena Spouse's birth certificate?

1908 - Christine Alice Spouse, around age 27, gives birth to Christine Ena Spouse on April 19, 1908 in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
1911 - Christine Alice Spouse is living as a "visitor" in Kensington, London with Carlo Nieper and his mother Carole Nieper-Sayfforthy in the Jemima Croucher household.
1911 - The 1911 census shows Christine Alice Spouse (age 29, born circa 1882) living with Carlo Nieper (age 41) at Kensington Park Road, Kensington, London.
1911 - Edward Spouse dies at age 80 on April 6, 1911.
1911 - Christine Alice Nieper (?) gives birth to Violet Mary Carola Nieper on September 22, 1911 in Paddington, London.
1913 - Christine Alice Nieper (?) gives birth to Raoul Nieper on March 31, 1913 in Paddington, London.
1914 - Christine Alice Nieper (?) gives birth to Helene Sybil Nieper.
1918 - Winifred Mary Spouse dies at age 38 on October 19, 1918 in Lancashire, England.
1919 - Christine Nieper is living at 4741 Vera Road, Lyndhurst, Islington, Finsbury and Fulham, London.
1927 - Christine Alice Nieper, age 45, marries Philip Sale in Holy Trinity, Hounslow, England on February 26, 1927. Oddly, her father's name was given as "Edward Nieper."
1938 - Carlo Nieper dies at age 69 in Berlin on December 13, 1938 or December 17 1938.
1939 - Christine Alice Sale is living with Philip Sale and Raoul Nieper at 63 Sussex Road, Harrow, Middlesex, England.
1949 - Christine Alice Sale arrives in Southampton on November 4, 1949.
1952 - Christine Alice Sale arrives in New York on February 5, 1952.
1953 - Christine Alice Sale, age 71, departs New York for Southampton aboard the Queen Mary on July 7, 1953.
1954 - Christine Alice Sale arrives in New York on November 1, 1954.
1958 - Christine Alice Sale moves to Atherton, Leichardt, Queensland, Australia to be near her children.
1959 - Christine Alice Sale arrives in Southampton on November 16, 1959.
1963 - Christine Alice Sale is living in Everton Park, Petrie, Queensland, Australia.
1968 - Christine Alice Sale dies at age 86 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on April 25, 1968.


Genealogy / Family Tree

The abbreviation CG means "current generation," or my generation. CG-11 means "eleven generations in the past." The state abbreviations indicate the state of birth of the child, which is normally also the parents' state of residence at the time. [DNA] means relationships have been confirmed by DNA with accompanying explanations. "Co." means "county" and "m." means married. Please keep in mind that the further we go back in time, the harder it is to be sure that all the connections are to our family. I have made notes about some of the questions and uncertainties.

An asterisk (*) means that I have double-checked the records, which doesn't mean the older records can be verified with a high degree of exactness. Two asterisks means that I feel confident that the family connection is real. Three asterisks means that I'm certain.

The Burch family genealogy is much longer and can be found here: Paul Ray Burch Jr.

Alaya Boyte ***
Aryanna Boyte ***

Scott Boyte m. Michelle Umboh: parents of Alaya Boyte and Aryanna Boyte ***
John Boyte m. Samantha Boyte ***
Samantha White ***
Garrett White ***
Jeremy Michael Burch ***

Michael Ray Burch (1958-) m. Elizabeth Harris (1967-): parents of Jeremy Michael Burch ***
Sandra Jane Burch m. Wayne Boyte: parents of Scott Boyte and John Boyte;  Sandra was named after her aunt who died in a flood ***
Debra Leigh Burch m. Walter White: parents of Samantha White and Garrett White ***

Paul Ray Burch Jr. (1933-2013) m. Christine Ena Hurt (1936-): parents of Michael Burch, Sandra Burch, Debra Burch ***
Sandra Jane Burch (1945-1955) was the stepsister of Paul Ray Burch Jr.; she drowned in a flash flood on March 21, 1955 ***
Sandra Jane Burch's mother was Darkis Mary "Dottie" Stepp ***
George Edwin Hurt Jr. (1931-2012), Beryl Hurt Holland, Barbara Hurt Gallagher, Colin Hurt (all born in Mansfield?, Nottinghamshire, England) ***

Paul Ray Burch Sr. (1903-1992) m. Lillian Christine McAdams (1914-1991): parents of Paul Ray Burch Jr. (Nashville, TN) ***
George Edwin Hurt Sr. (1907-1998) m. Christine Ena Spouse (1908-1984): parents of Christine Ena Hurt (Mansfield, England) ***

NOTE: For more information about the Spouse family tree, please see the separate Spouse Genealogy.

Jefferson Davis Burch (1863-1918) m. Alice Leon Medora Blake (1866-1933): parents of Paul Ray Burch Sr. (Lawrence Co., TN) ***
James Wilson McAdams (1876-1932) m. Carrie Owen McGowan (1885-1939): parents of Lillian Christine McAdams (Shelbyville, TN) ***
Ernest Chatterton (?) m. Christine Alice Spouse (1881-1968): parents of Christine Ena Spouse [see "The Mysterious Case of Christine Alice Spouse"] ***
Abraham Hurt Jr. (1878-1948) m. Ruth Wheatley (1877-1926): parents of George Edwin Hurt Sr. (Fulwood, near Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England.)


Abraham Hurt Sr. was born about 1837 in Westhorpe, Nottinghamshire, England.
According to the 1841 census, William Hart (48) and Sarah Hart (48) were living in Southwell Notts. with Elizabeth (23), Mary (18), Hannah (12), Eliza (9), Abraham (4), Emma (2), William (10 months).
Question: Was Abraham the son of William and Sarah, or perhaps the son of Elizabeth or Mary?
Abraham Hurt Sr. (1837-1911?) m. Alice Keeton/Keaton (1844-1926)
Joseph Wheatley (?) m. Mary Hallam (1852-1901): parents of Ruth Wheatley (Ockbrook, Derbyshire, England). I have not been able to verify these ancestors.
Abraham Hurt Sr. was born in 1837 and baptized on May 10, 1837. His occupations were listed as farmer, grocer and shopkeeper.
Abraham Hurt Sr.'s children, oldest to youngest, were Sarah, Mary Ellen, William and Ernest (twins), Baletta-Violetta-Villetter (her name kept changing!), Catherine, Abraham, Maude, Israel and Vera Manuela.
There was also a child in the Hurt household named Mary Rumley.
The censuses from 1841 to 1911 are consistent about the family members except for the spellings of their names. The last name is Hart, Hunt but mostly Hurt.
The 1851 census shows Abraham Hurt Sr. (13) and his father William Hurt (47) working as servants in the household of William and Mary Saxby in Southwell, Notts.
There is a record of a marriage on June 24, 1861 between Abraham Hurt Sr. and Alice Keeton at St. Mary Magdalene, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England.
The 1861 census has Abraham Hurt Sr. (24) living with Alice Keeton (16) and her parents William Keeton (50) and Martha Keeton (52), so that relationship seems correct.
An educated guess is that Abraham Hurt Sr. married Alice Keeton and they were living with her parents.
The 1871 census has Abraham Hurt Sr. (33) living with Alice Keeton (25) with Sarah (6), Mary E. (2) and William and Ernest (both 11 months).

The birth index says Abraham Hurt Jr. was born on Apr. 25, 1878. The death index reports that died in Sept. 1948 in Mansfield.
From the 1881 census forward, it seems the whole Hurt family lived in Fulwood, near Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England. (Mom confirmed this.)
I found a Ruth Wheatley (1877-1926) who was born in Derbyshire, but I'm not positive that she is "our" Ruth Wheatley.
There is a Ruth Wheatley born Feb. 20, 1876 in Ilkeston, Derbyshire to Samuel Wheatley and Sarah Ann (?). But she seems to have married George Bostock.
I found a Ruth Wheatley who lived in Nottinghamshire but she married a man named Samuel Green in 1874. Her father was William Wheatley.
I confirmed the marriage of Abraham Hurt Jr. to a Ruth Wheatley in the marriage index. They had a daughter named Olive Ruth, so the first name Ruth seems likely correct.
Abraham Hurt Jr.'s children were George Edwin Hurt Sr. (Nov. 6, 1907-1998), Givernia Hurt (1910-?), Lawrence Vincent Hurt (April 2, 1911-1986), Alice Maud Hurt (1913-1990), Elsie Hurt (1915-2008), Florence Mabel Hurt Cattanach (Oct. 21 1918-Sept. 2004), Olive Ruth Hurt (March 14 1921-1989).
The 1911 census shows Christine Ena Spouse, age 2, living with Joseph and Catherine Harrison at King Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England.
The 1911 census shows Christine Alice Spouse (age 29, born circa 1882) living with Carlo Nieper at Kensington Park Road, Kensington, London, England.
The 1911 census shows George E. Hurt, age 3, living in Fulwood, Nottinghamshire, England with Abraham Hurt Sr. (age 73) and Alice Hurt (age 65) and his parents, Abraham Hurt Jr. (32)  and Ruth Hurt (29).
The 1911 census lists Abraham Hurt Jr. as a coal miner hewer. George Edwin Hurt Sr. also worked a coal miner hewer at one time.
The 1911 census is a mystery because there is a probate record that says Abraham Hurt Sr. died on August 22, 1901 and left 137 pounds to Alice Hurt!

Christine Ena Spouse was an abandoned baby; the name of her father on her birth certificate may not be factual. The father's trail ends here.
I did find an actor named Tom Chatterton who was born in 1881, the same year as Christine Alice Spouse, but I am unaware of any other connection.
John Wilson McAdams (or James I. McAdams) has been hard to track down; he was married to Carrie Owen McGowan in Bedford TN on August 11, 1913.
The reason I believe James Wilson McAdams is correct is that he had a sister named Ludie Elizabeth McAdams Mullins and I remember the unusual name Ludie.
James Wilson McAdams was born Oct. 5, 1876 in Weakley Co., TN, and died on March 6, 1932 in the same county. He was apparently called Jim, Johnie and John.
Carrie Owen McGowan had a prior marriage to a J. H. Thompson in Marshall Co., TN, in 1901 (or perhaps J. N. Thompson).
According to the 1910 census, John Thompson was a Shelbyville "sawer" who worked in a saw mill and had been married to "Carry" Thompson for nine years.
According to the 1920 census, Jim McAdams was a Shelbyville carpenter.

Captain Stephen Carroll Burch (~1826-1884) m. Margaret Mary Mitchell (1844-1869): parents of Jefferson Davis Burch (Perkinsville, MS) ***
Henry Johnson Blake (1828-1911) m. Sarah Catherine Garton (1843-1898): parents of Alice Leon Medora Blake (Lawrence Co., TN) ***
Rev. Samuel Wesley McGowan (1857-1936) m. Dillie May Shupe/Shutte (1861-1947): parents of Carrie Owen McGowan (TN) ***
James Baker McAdams (1845-1920) m. Sarah W. Davidson (1848-1931): parents of John Wilson McAdams (Greenfield, Weakley Co., TN) **
Abraham Hurt Sr. (1837-1911?) m. Alice Keeton/Keaton (1844-1926): parents of Abraham Hurt Jr. (Fulwood, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England).
Joseph Wheatley m. Mary Hallam (1852-1901): parents of Ruth Wheatley (Ockbrook, Derbyshire, England). I have not been able to verify these ancestors.
Edward Spouse (1831-1911) m. Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle (1843-1900): parents of Christine Alice Spouse (Plumstead, Kent, England) ***

Stephen Carroll Burch served in the Tennessee 54th Regiment during the Civil War; he was promoted to captain on April 16, 1862.
Dillie's youngest daughter Mary E. "Mollie" Shupe married the colorfully named Valentine Orphero Lafayette Rainbolt.
In his obituary, James Baker McAdams was called "Esquire" and one of Greenfield's "oldest and best known citizens."
Henry Johnson Blake wrote a letter to the Lawrence Democrat in which he confirmed his parentage and living in Wake Co., NC, until age six (around 1834). He also said he "probably" was a relative of "Andy Johnson" (i.e. President Andrew Johnson). Henry also mentioned running Blake Mills, where he had a tanning yard, mill and kept a post office.

The Burch family genealogy is much longer and continues here: Paul Ray Burch Jr.

Spouse Genealogy

Christine Ena Spouse was 21 when she married my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt Sr. They lived at 22 Priory Close in Mattersey, Doncaster, Yorks, England. Here is her genealogy, with CG meaning "current generation" or my generation.

CG: Michael Ray Burch (1958-) m. Elizabeth Harris (1967-): parents of Jeremy Michael Burch
Sandra Jane Burch m. Wayne Boyte: parents of Scott Boyte and John Boyte
Debra Leigh Burch m. Walter White: parents of Samantha White and Garrett White
CG-1: Paul Ray Burch Jr. (1933-2013) m. Christine Ena Hurt (1936-): parents of Michael Burch, Sandra Burch, Debra Burch
CG-2: Paul Ray Burch Sr. (1904-1992) m. Lillian Christine McAdams (1915-1991): parents of Paul Ray Burch Jr. (Nashville, TN)
George Edwin Hurt Sr. (1907-1998) m. Christine Ena Spouse (1905-1984): parents of Christine Ena Hurt (England)
CG-3: Ernest Chatterton (?) m. Christine Alice Spouse (1881-1968): parents of Christine Ena Spouse (Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottingham, England)
CG-4: Edward Spouse III (1831-1911) m. Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle (1843-1900): parents of Christine Alice Spouse (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
CG-5: William Spouse (1799-1848) m. Mary Jane Turner (1802-1857): parents of Edward Spouse III (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
Samuel Charles Beadle (1816-1847) m. Elizabeth Coates (?-1843): parents of Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle (Highley, Worcestershire, England)
CG-6: Edward Spouse II (1775-1850) m. Barbara Storr (1777-1819): parents of William Spouse (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
John Beadle III (1788-1859) m. Elizabeth Susannah Read (1781-1864): parents of Samuel Charles Beadle (Erith, Kent, England)
CG-7: Edward Spouse I (1738-?) m. Mary Clark (1746-1813): parents of Edward Spouse II (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
Barnabas Storr (1795-1863) m. Ann Hart (1795-?): parents of Barbara Storr (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
John Beadle II (1760-1831) m. Mary (1759-1799): parents of John Beadle III (Erith, Kent, England)
CG-8: John Spoures/Spowers (1720-?) m. Jane Pyles (1709-1757): parents of Edward Spouse I (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
John Beadle I (1730-1811) m. Mary Dingley (1734-1809): parents of John Beadle II (Erith, Kent, England)
CG-9: Ephraim Spoures (1690-1733) m. Elizabeth (?): parents of John Spoures (Scotland)

The Burch/Hurt Family Migrations

July 27, 1933: My father, Paul Ray Burch Jr., is born in Nashville at Vanderbilt Hospital to Paul Ray Burch Sr. and Lillian Burch.

March 15, 1936: My mother, Christine Ena Hurt is born to George Edwin Hurt Sr. and Christine Ena Spouse Hurt, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England. And our Auntie Flo (Florence Mabel Hurt Cattanach) also lived there because I remember visiting her as a child.

Sometime before 1958 dad is stationed in Orlando, Florida.

February 19, 1958: Michael Ray Burch is born in Orlando, Florida.

1959: Dad is stationed in Thule, Greenland and mom and I move to Mattersey, England to live with her parents, George and Ena Hurt.

1960: When my dad returns from Thule, the family is reunited in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England. We lived in England for approximately five years. My sisters Sandra Jane Burch and Debra Leigh Burch were both born there and have dual citizenships. One of my earliest memories is going to the hospital to collect Debby after her puzzling appearance. Where did babies come from—storks, really?

Our family would live, chronologically, in Gainsborough England, Orlando Florida, Mattersey England, Gainsborough England, Lincoln Nebraska, Donelson (a suburb of Nashville), Roseville (a suburb of Sacramento California), Bischofsheim Germany, Wiesbaden Germany, Goldsboro North Carolina, and Nashville Tennessee.

Burch/Hurt family members have lived in various locations:

Patrick Gallagher and Barbara Hurt Gallagher and family lived in Mattersey-Thorpe and Worksop.

David Holland and Beryl Hurt Holland and family lived in Retford, near Doncaster, Yorks.

Colin Hurt and his family lived in London, Mattersey, overseas as missionaries, and in Wales.

Michael Burch and Beth Harris Burch and family have lived in Bellevue, a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee.

Walter White and Debby Burch White have lived in Germantown and Collieviller, suburbs of Memphis, and in Nashville.

The Family Tree of Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch

This is a more detailed Genealogy, in roughly reverse chronological order, for my direct line of the family

Jeremy Michael Burch was born in Nashville, Davidson Co., Tennessee. He attended and graduated from David Lipscomb University, where he had a perfect 4.0 grade point average his first semester. He also played tuba in the Vanderbilt marching band on an exchange program, and was seen dancing in the stands on national TV during a Vanderbilt football game. He has also acted in plays and musicals at his high school, Nashville Christian, and at the Dickson Renaissance Center. Jeremy played Benedick in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Captain Keller in The Miracle Worker, Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast, Tom in Night of the Living Dead, Mervin Oglethorpe in Smoke on the Mountain, Birdshot in The Homecoming, and also acted in Annie, Tracks, Into the Woods and The Trial of Goldilocks.

My sister Debra Leigh Burch White was born in Southampton, England at the USAF hospital at RAF Burderop, Swindon, Wilts, England. This is per her official Certificate of Birth issued by the US Department of State and signed by Vice Consul Charles W. Schaller. Her middle name was spelled "Leigh" according to my mother because she and my father were afraid my grandfather Paul Ray Burch Sr. might take offense if her middle name was spelled "Lee," since my grandmother had married Eric Lee. Debby married Walter White and has two children: Samantha White and Garrett White. She graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in accounting, and is a CPA by trade.

My sister Sandra Jane Burch Boyte was also born in England. According to her certificate of Holy Baptism, she was christened on Sept. 6, 1959 in the All Saints Church at Mattersey. Sandra married Billy Wayne Boyte on January 2, 1982 at Bellshire Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and has two children: Scott Boyte and John Boyte. She graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in psychology, then worked for many years as a radiologist.

Michael Ray Burch was born in Orlando, Orange County, Florida on February 19, 1958. According to my Certificate of Holy Baptism, I was christened on the "Easter Even" on April 5, 1958 in the Cathedral of Saint Luke in Orlando, Florida. Interestingly, my birthdate on the Certificate is wrong (St. Valentine's day, Feb. 14, rather than Feb. 19) and there is a godparent named Blake that mom can't remember. Since my favorite poet is William Blake and I have a number of Blakes in my ancestry, I find that interesting also. I married Elizabeth Steed Harris on June 27, 1992 in Warren, Arkansas. I own and manage a computer software company, Alpha Omega Consulting Group, Inc. I also edit an online literary journal that gets around a million page views per year, The HyperTexts, and I have had articles, essays, letters and poems published more than 5,000 times by a variety of literary journals, anthologies, magazines, newspapers and websites which include TIME, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Tennessean, The Hindu, The Lyric, Light Quarterly, Unlikely Stories, Writers Digest's "The Year's Best Writing" and hundreds of others. I have also translated the work of Basho, Sappho, Miklós Radnóti, William Dunbar and other poets into modern English. I was also a weekly columnist for the Nashville City Paper until it ceased production. In my younger, wilder days I was something of a pool shark: I won a number of pool tournaments and played on the Springwater pool teams that finished first and third in the city of Nashville, winning over $7,500 in cold cash. I also won the straight pool tournament at Tennessee Technological University and qualified for the NCAA regionals. But after celebrating my victory a bit too joyously, I overslept and missed the bus to the next round! I am also a peace activist, and the primary author of the Burch-Elberry Peace Initiative.

Elizabeth Steed Harris was born in Fayetteville, Washington Co., Arkansas. Her parents were William Sykes Harris II and Susan Elizabeth Johnson Harris. (Susan later changed the spelling of her first name to Suzan, although probably not officially, and remarried, becoming Suzan Blacksmith.) Her brother is William Sykes Harris III. Beth is a wonderful singer who had a single on the alternative charts: "Take a Walk Through the Pain," recorded as Beth Harris; it reached number nine on the Cashbox alternative charts. Performing as Beth Harris on the country music TV talent show You Can Be A Star, hosted by Jim Ed Brown, she took the opening round, and nearly won the whole shebang. (Bill Clinton, a friend of her grandfather William Sykes Harris, helped her get on the show.) Lynn Anderson was one of the judges, and when she appeared as a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and he asked her to name the up-and-coming young country music singer for everyone to keep an eye on, she named Beth. Lynn also told Beth in confidence that she was the best vocalist in the talent show, and not to let the naysayers get her down. But Beth was ripped off by people she trusted, and chose to leave the country music industry to become a full-time mother when her son Jeremy was born. But she continued to sing, took up acting, and won the Best Actress in a Musical "Jimmy" Award after starring as Annie Oakley in "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Dickson Renaissance Center. Beth also acted in many other plays and musicals, including Godspell; Jesus Christ, Superstar; Faith County (starring as Mildred Carson), The Odd Couple (starring as Olive Madison); A Christmas Story (as the teacher Miss Shields); A Christmas Carol (as the Ghost of Christmas Present); Beauty and the Beast; Night of the Living Dead (in which she got to act with Jeremy); and many others. Beth got started at an early age, as in kindergarten she had the lead role in Miss Hurry-up and the Runaway Packages.

My father, Paul Ray Burch Jr. was born on Thursday, July 27, 1933 in Nashville at Vanderbilt Hospital and died at Windlands East, an assisted living center, in Madison, Tennessee, on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Ray Burch Sr., his mother, Lillian Christine McAdams Burch Lee, and his sister, Sandra Jane Burch. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Christine Ena Hurt Burch, his son Michael Ray Burch (me), his daughter Sandra Jane Burch Boyte, his daughter Debra Leigh Burch White, and their families. He was a twenty-year man in the United States Air Force, and after that a bookkeeper, and then a security guard for Davis Cabinet Company. Later in life he had bladder cancer, then renal failure, but was stoic and not one to complain. He made the courageous decision to end dialysis treatments, and thus his life. His family supported this decision and came to be with him through the hospice process that allowed him to join his departed loved ones. My mother and sister Sandra were with him when he passed away.

Paul Ray Burch Jr. chronology:

1953: PRB is an airman third class at Lowry AFB in Denver, Colorado, where he received a Certificate of Proficiency as a disbursing clerk.
06-01-1960: PRB is promoted to Staff Sergeant. 

The first Sandra Jane Burch, my aunt, was born on December 23, 1945 and died tragically at age ten on March 21, 1955 in a flash flood that hit Nashville. She was the only person to die in the flood. Her father was Paul Ray Burch Sr. and her mother was Darkis Mary "Dottie" Stepp. According to her death certificate she was a student at Shwab Elementary School and she died by drowning at the "foot of Lucille Street" after falling in a drainage ditch. Her address was given as a doubly unlucky 1313 Meridian Street.

My mother, Christine Ena Hurt Burch, was born in England on the Ides of March, on March 15, 1936. According to her birth certificate she was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, England. At the time her parents lived at 21 Vere Avenue. Their names were George Edwin Hurt Sr. (born November 6, 1907) and Christine Ena Hurt, formerly Spouse (born April 19, 1908). If I am reading the birth certificate correctly, her father was employed as a "colliery hewer" or coal miner! (I later found confirmation of this very dangerous occupation in the 1939 England and Wales Register, along with confirmation of the address.) My grandfather George Edwin Hurt Sr. and grandmother Christine Ena Spouse were married in Mansfield in 1930, according to the England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index.

I have a copy of mom's 1946 report card, issued by the Nottinghamshire Education Committee for Mattersey Thorpe County Junior and Infant School, which says that she was first in her class and a "very keen and willing pupil." Her head mistress was a G. Pilkington. Mattersey Thorpe is a wee piece from Mattersey, the Nottinghamshire village where my mother lived with her parents. I also have several of her report cards from the Hallcroft Secondary School in the Retford District, dated 1947 to 1951. 

Paul Ray Burch Jr. and Christine Ena Hurt Burch were married July 14, 1956 at the Parish Church in Mattersey, East Retford, Nottingham, England. His residence was listed as Sturgate AFB, and hers as her parents' house at 22 Priory Close, Mattersey.

The HyperTexts