Robert Sherman (“Bob”) Burnett and his wife Mary married in 1896 and moved with their three small children (son Archie and daughters Lottie and Birdie) to Norcross from Tesnatee, Georgia around 1905. Mary Burnett passed away in 1909, leaving her husband with three small children to raise. He turned to his wife’s sister Birdie for help, convincing her to marry him and move to Norcross to take care of her sister’s children here. She was known in the family as the “Tall Birdie”.
Bob Burnett ran a retail store in town, located first at the corner of South Peachtree and Holcomb Bridge, and then later at the corner of Jones and Wingo Streets. John Adams, writing in the book Norcross, recalled that while there were a number of retail shops in town offering a variety of goods when he was growing up, the Burnett store was one of only two that had ready-made clothing for sale.
The family lived in the white frame house that stands today at the corner of North Peachtree and Reps Miller Roads, and had a large farm in that area, stretching from there down to the Southern Railway tracks. They also operated a small “country store” at that corner that served local residents who did not want to travel all the way to downtown Norcross to shop. Robert Burnett passed away in 1939; his wife Birdie lived until 1966.
Archie Burnett worked for the Southern Railway in South Carolina when he was young, but he and his wife Elsie spent their later years living in Norcross while he was working in Atlanta. They had three children and lived in the house at the corner of Jones and College Streets, which is still owned by the family.
Lottie Burnett married local boy Dutch Ewing and had a long career in banking, mainly in Atlanta and at the Bank of Norcross. Howard Green recalled working with her at the local bank in the 1940s, when there were only three employees and the bank closed at 2PM each day. The end-of-month closing was always stressful for everyone, since they had to work until 8 or 9 PM for several days, using a large mechanical Burroughs banking machine to enter transactions and generate customer statements. Birdie Burnett (Bob Burnett’s daughter) attended Georgia Normal College, a teacher training school in Athens, after graduating from Norcross High. She taught first grade in Norcross for 40 years, beloved to generations of local students, retiring only when forced to by health problems. She and her husband, Ray Morton, lived for many years in the home at 117 North Peachtree