The Burrous (Burris) family has been in Angelina County since at least 1839 and in the Burke area since at least 1870. According to the Handbook of Texas in its article on Angelina County, "The first Anglo settlers in the district were the Burris family, who in 1820 settled in the northern part of what is now Lufkin at a place then called Burris Prairie." Another entry on Burris Prairie says that it was near Bald Hill. Whether this is the same family is unknown, but the Burrous family originated in the same area.
William M. (Bill) Burrous ran a blacksmith shop and Sinclair station in downtown Burke just south of what later became Bob Weisinger's Gulf station as early as 1900. He married Sudie Corrine Carrell, and they had sons William L. (Willie). Lloyd J., and Joseph M. Sudie's parents were Isaac Carrell and Adalya Mann. Isaac's parents were William B. Hall Carrell and Mary Ann Treadwell, daughter of James M. Treadwell, brother of Stephen J. Treadwell.
Willie was a farmer and carpenter, and and he and his wife Catherine Killough Burrous lived on a farm just east of the Angelina County Airport. Catherine was born at Idabel, Oklahoma on the Choctaw Reservation daugher of Jim and Cordelia Killough. The Killoughs eventually migrated to Lufkin where Catherine met Willie. Willie and Catherine's farm was eventually taken for expansion of the airport's east-west runway. One of their sons Donald was one of the author's boyhood friends. He now lives at Oatman, Arizona where he runs Jailhouse Gifts.
Lloyd took over his father's blacksmith shop in downtown Burke and turned it into an auto repair shop. Joe moved to California where he lived for the rest of his life.
William's parents were Andrew Jackson and Elizabeth Gilley Burris. The Gilley family was involved in an incident at Homer in 1866 that came to be known as the Gilley War that grew out of a dispute over service in the Civil War. Angelina County had voted against secession, and the Gilleys were on the anti-secession side. The details are unclear, but several soldiers were hanged while home and perhaps AWOL. Shortly thereafter the dispute led to a shooting at the courthouse in Homer involving George Gilley in which several men were killed including the county sheriff. Because of the hard feelings most of the Gilleys relocated to southern Lousisiana.
William's grandparents were Samuel and Eliza Louisa Squyres Burris. It is likely that the middle name Houston was a later addition. One source lists his middle initial as "J", and it is unlikely that a man born well before Sam Houston became famous would have been named for him. Samuel was born in 1817 in Louisiana. Since his wife Eliza was born in Catahoula Parish, that is likely his birthplace as well. Catahoula Parish is the birthplace of the author's ancestor Martin D. White, also an early resident of Angelina County. In the 1850 census Samuel was listed as a "stockkeeper", which was a common occupation in early Angelina County. Samuel died in 1890 and Eliza in 1901, and they are buried at the Burrous Cemetery (see this page also) on the old Burris place south of Lufkin off FM 58.
Another well-known Burrous was John Dearmond Burrous who lived at Fairview not far from the easternmost part of Burke. The censuses list him as a teacher. He was best known as the owner of an American bison (buffalo) who cross-bred it with a brahma to create a brahmalo. Dearmond was the son of John Franklin Burris, another son of Samuel Burris. He married Stella Largent, daughter of John Willard Largent.
In 1910 John Franklin Burrous (60) lived in Burke near the Conner and Lee families along with his wife Lou M. (58), son John D. (22), and daughter Eliza A. (20).