HON. GEORGE B. BURROWS


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 961-962

HON. GEORGE B. BURROWS. The ancestral record of the family of Mr. BURROWS dates back to the pioneer era of New England settlement, but exact details have not been within reach for the preparation of this sketch. His father, the Rev. Baxter BURROWS, was born at Petersham, Mass., July 22, 1804. The maiden name of his mother was Lydia BOYNTON, daughter of Capt. Jewett BOYNTON, a soldier who served his country faithfully and honorable in the war of the American Revolution. She was born Aug. 24, 1807, at Wethersfield, Vt.; married March 17, 1828, and died May 12, 1871. The career of Mr. Baxter BURROWS was marked by all the usual incidents of pioneer life, when Vermont was a semi-frontier State. He was a regularly ordained minister of the Baptist Church, and lived and reared his family upon a salary less than a day laborer receives at the present time. He was a man of deep and conscientious convictions, strong will and fearless independence in the advancing of what he deemed the cause of right and justice, unawed and unmoved by adverse surroundings. He was among the earliest of that noble band of Abolitionists whose earnest labors in support of the old Liberty party, after the many dark hours of tribulation, put in motion that train of causes that in the end gave freedom to a continent. He not only advocated the cause from the beginning, but aided it in a practical form by receiving, harboring and helping on their way, through what was styled the "underground railroad," all such fugitives from bondage as came his way in making their escape to Canada. He still survives, after much personal detraction and persecution for holding to the cause of the oppressed, to rejoice at the victory of freedom over tyranny and wrong, and to enjoy the tributes of honorable respect that follow upon righteous deeds well and timely done.

George B. BURROWS was born in Springfield, Windsor Co, Vt., Oct. 20, 1832. He received a good common-school education, and by dint of industry in sweeping floors, bell-ringing, building fires, sawing wood and other similar services, was enabled to pay his way and achieve a higher order of academic education. At a later date he was employed as clerk in several country stores in Vermont, until 1853, when he located in the city of new York and for a few years embarked in business.

In 1858, he moved to Wisconsin, locating in Sauk City, Sauk Co., where he conducted a bank for several years with a fidelity and trustworthiness that secured him the good will and gratitude of all with whom he had business relations or was associated.

The national banking system having succeeded to that of the State, he in 1865, removed to Madison, where he purchased the real estate agency of James RICHARDSON, and soon after vastly enlarged its scope, so that it at present embraces all the north end of the State as a field of operation, limited by no county lines, and now ranks among the largest and most successful agencies in the Northwest, if, indeed, it does not lead all others.

Jan. 13, 1857, he married Alma THOMPSON, a daughter of the Hon. D. P. THOMPSON, of Montpelier, Vt. She was born in Montpelier, Jan. 13, 1837. The family was highly distinguished for education and literary ability. Her father held from time to time many positions of public trust. He was born in Charlestown, Mass., Oct. 1, 1795, and, after the death of his grandfather, who was killed in the battle of Lexington, removed with his father to the then now town of Berlin, Vt., where his earlier years were passed in the usual routine of New England farm life in the period of its infancy. By his own energy and determination in earning the means, he entered Middlebury College, from whence he graduated in 1820. After several years passed in teaching in Virginia, he studied law and was admitted to the bar of that State. He then returned to Vermont and commenced practice as an attorney. Subsequently he was elected Register, and soon after Judge of Probate of Washington Co. At a later period he filled the positions of Clerk of the house of Representatives, of that county, and of the State Supreme Court; and later was elected Secretary of State, which position he held until the close of the official term in 1855, when, owing to failing health, he withdrew from public life.

Widely and honorably known as Judge THOMPSON was to citizens of Vermont as a trusted and valued public officer, his memory will be longest known and treasured as the first and only novelist the State has ever produced. Intimately acquainted with the minutest details of its early annals, and fond of literary pursuits, he carefully gathered all the old stories and traditions of early settlement, and made of them the web and woof of "May Martin' or, The Money Diggers," "The Green Mountain Boys," "Locke Amsden," "The Rangers; or, The Tory's Daughter," "Gant Gurley; a Tale of the Umbagog," "The Doomed Chief; or King Philip," "Centeola," and many other tales and lesser productions; while, as editor of the Freeman, he archived wide distinction. As a local historian, he was indeed a tireless worker, and the annals of the State are probably better known to the country at large through his labors than the writings of all its other authors combined. They were pleasing, home-like pictures, drawn usually on the general plan adopted by James Fennimore Cooper, and will be read by multitudes in all coming ages.

He died at his home, on the 6th day of June 1868, after many years' suffering from general ill health.

The union of Mr. BURROWS and wife have been blessed by one son - George Thompson BURROWS, a youth of decided literary tastes, who, in developed manhood, gives promise of continuing a career so well begun by his ancestry. He was born at Montpelier, Vt., Dec. 22, 1865.

In 1876, Mr. BURROWS was elected to represent the Capital District of Wisconsin in the State Senate for two years; re-elected to the same position in 1878, and also again in 1880. This is a distinction which, for one so young, has scarcely its parallel in the State.

In its largest sense, Mr. BURROWS may be pronounced a self-made man. In nearly all that he has attempted, he has succeeded. The stern training of his boyhood is a lesson not lost upon him. Whatever he does is carefully, thoughtfully and wisely done - done with all his might and concentrated effort. Of a lively disposition, active and hardy training, a temperament nervous in its energy, a pleasing address, genial conversational powers, rapid and accurate business habits, a tireless industry, and in public life, an honest purpose to reach and be governed by principles, discarding mere impulses, and to study and promote the real interests of his constituents - he is justly regarded as one of the most promising actors among the rising generation of public men. He is one whom success does not inflate, nor wealth spoil. He has passed every grade from privation to riches, from an unknown youth to a prominent actor in the affairs of State, and the same instincts and guiding common sense that distinguished his ancestry have been inherited by him. Wisconsin may well be proud to have enrolled so much of solid worth among its honored citizens.


Transcribed and contributed to this site by Carol

 

 

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