Carrie Burnley

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Carrie C. Burnley, c. 1937

Carrie Cornelia Burnley (1864-1954) was an educator for 61 years, with 50 years of that time in the Charlottesville City Schools[1]. Burnley-Moran Elementary School is named in honor of her and Sarepta Moran, both having served long careers as teachers and principals in the school system.

Burnley was born in Albemarle County near Free Union, Virginia.[2] She is a first cousin of Paul Goodloe McIntire[3].

Burnley began teaching at age 19 in a one-room schoolhouse near Mechum River. Then taught in Harrisonburg schools before teaching privately in Charlottesville. In 1894, she taught seventh grade in the inaugural year at the new Midway School. She later became assistant principal of the grammar division at Midway and, in 1911, moved to the high school division. In 1916, she was made the first female principal in the district at the new McGuffey primary school, and held that position for 28 years until her retirement in 1944.

In 1946, Carrie Burnley submitted her resignation as a member of the City Library Board. She stated that the resignation was submitted in order that a younger member could be appointed to the Board. Her resignation was accepted by the City Council on July 1, 1946.

Burnley-Moran Elementary, which opened several months after her death, was named in honor of her and Sarepta Moran. She was a member of Charlottesville Presbyterian Church. In 1930, she was awarded the silver cup by the American Legion for her service to the community.

She was a member of the Albemarle Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, joining in 1907. This chapter was instrumental in erecting several monuments to Confederate soldiers, including the the statue At the Ready Albemarle County Courthouse, the Robert E. Lee equestrian statue, and the Thomas J. Jackson (Stonewall) statue. While she was principal of McGuffey, she she began a tradition of students decorating the Lee and Jackson monuments in downtown Charlottesville with flowers[3].

Burnley's father, Sergeant Drury Wood Burnley, served as a member of the Albemarle (Virginia) Light Artillery, also known as Southall's Battery, part of the Confederate States Army, from April 1861 until August 1862. Coincidentally, this unit was founded and commanded by Captain William Henry Southall (1826 - 1890), brother of Mary Southall Venable, who was the second wife of Col. Charles S. Venable for whom Venable Elementary is named. Another of Mary Southall Venable's brothers, S. V. Southall, was one of the Confederate veterans who endorsed Burnley's application to the the UDC.

In her membership application to the UDC, she discusses her father's service:

Our father, Drury Wood Brunley, entered the Confederate Army as Sergeant in Southall's Battery, April 1861, and served until August 1862, when having reached the age limit he was honorably discharged from service. General John B. Magruder was his commanding general. He told us many incidents of army life and of sufferings endured, which while deeply interesting to us, have been told and retold so often in the experience of other Confederate soldiers that it is needless to repeat them here. Most of his army life was spent on the Peninsula. We give a brief extract from a letter written to one of his children, while stationed there-

Ship Point, York Co. Va. , Sunday, October 27 1861

"We have moved and moved and moved until I find myself away down on Ship Point in York County surrounded on three sides by water, just where the Poquosin [recte Poquoson] River, York River, and Cheesemans's [recte Chisman] Creek empty themselves into Chesapeake Bay, about ten or twelve miles below Yorktown. We were ordered here last Sunday night about two oclock[sic] without tents, and with but one blanket, and of course are sleeping quite coolly as it has been raining for four days since we have been here, and there are no houses. We have been living very hard in the eating line, having no meat except entirely fat mess pork, which you may cut up in right large slices, and when fried turns out nothing but a little crackling about as large as your little finger, and the nearest fresh water is about 3/4 mile off. We heard that the enemy had left Fortress Monroe with about fifty ships of war and that seven of that number were destined for this place, and we have been waiting and sleeping with both eyes open looking for the Yankees ever since, but we have not seen them yet except at a distance of five or six miles off the bay, which is too far for our guns - we see a good many Yankee boats off in the bay, beside the blockading vessels which we see constantly. Two of our guns are here under command of Lieut. Watson, and the balance of our guns are at Yorktown. We are under the command of Col. Sulakowski, who is a Pole. We have about 500 men and three small guns besides our two, and are attempting to command one of the most important points on the peninsula. If the Yankees had a bit of pluck they could come here and whip us with all ease, and it is just so all over the peninsula. This is the most quiet Sunday that I have seen since I have been in the army. nothing to disturb the Sabbath except a little target shooting, and a band of music.


  1. Web. Why name a school for Carrie Burnley?, Correcting the Narrative
  2. Web. Charlottesville's Personalities, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, Saturday December 4, 1937
  3. 3.0 3.1 United Daughters of the Confederacy, Virginia Division, Papers, Accession #11331, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

External Links

  1. Why name a school for Carrie Burnley?