The Burgin family looms large in McDowell County history as well as in the history of our nation. Along with the Greenlees, Carsons, and McDowells, they were among the first settlers of what is now McDowell County. Phillip Burgin arrived in America in 1677, and his son Benjamin “Pioneer Ben” Burgin made his way to the Old Fort area around 1770. He built a two-story walnut log home in 1779 that was a local landmark until it burned to the ground 150 years later. The Burgin family sent over 30 of its men into service in the Confederate Army, with nearly a third losing their lives.
In the years just before his death, George Aden Burgin (1874-1959) wrote down many of his own memories as well as stories told to him by his father and grandfather. McDowell resident and Burgin family chronicler Peggy Silvers reads one of his heartbreaking Civil War stories for us and then talks about the forgotten victims of the Civil War- the families left behind in these mountains to battle raiders, deserters, outlaws, and starvation. (Peggy is author of Echoes in the Mist: The Burgin Family 1677-1989 and is beginning work on a book about the homefront in the Civil War based on diaries and letters from that era.)
Listen to Peggy Silvers here: (There is much, much more to learn about the Burgins. A good place to start is their astonishingly detailed family history website.)