(Photo Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Racine and Kenosha Counties Citizens
Lake City Publishing Co. 1892)
Alonzo Burgess, a pioneer of Kenosha County of 1836, and an early settler of Racine County, now a resident of the City of Racine, was born in East Bennington, Bennington County, Vt., August 27, 1820. His parents were Benjamin and Rebecca (Chase) Burgess, who were also natives of Bennington County. His father was a farmer by occupation and was married in his native county. In 1825 he moved with his family to Oswego County, New York, and settled in the Town of Hannibal where he resided until the spring of 1836 when he emigrated from New York to Wisconsin Territory. He located on a tract of Government land adjacent to the Village of Southport, now Kenosha, March 5, of that year. At that time the Territory in which Southport was situated was in Milwaukee County. In 1836 it was set off as Racine County, and the later division left Kenosha County as it now exists.
Benjamin Burgess was twice married. His first wife was Rebecca Chase, as given above, and by their union were born four sons and three daughters: Sylvia died when a young lady; Nehemiah married Sophia Hulbut and both are now deceased; Benjamin wedded Sophia Gardner and is a farmer of Brighton Township; Julia, widow of Nicholas LePoidvine, resides in Beatrice, Nebraska. After the death of the first wife the father married Amanda Foster by whom he had four children, as follows: William E., a successful farmer of Somers Township, Kenosha County; Martha, deceased, was the wife of Charles Ticknor; Belinda, widow of Thomas Dow, resides in Racine; Cyrus was drowned at the age of eighteen. Mr. Burgess was engaged in the saw-mill business until his death, which occurred in March 1838, only two years after locating in Southport.
Alonzo Burgess removed to Oswego County, New York, with his parents when five years of age and came to Wisconsin with them in March, 1836, being then a lad of fifteen years. Soon afterward he went to work with his uncle, William Foster, with whom he remained five and a half years. He then engaged in the manufacture of brick near Kenosha and bought a farm of eighty acres in the Town of Somers. On the 6th July, 1844, he was married in that town to miss Artemesia Kellogg, daughter of Arthur and Armena (Howe) Kellogg. She was born near Oswego Falls, New York, and was an earnest Methodist in religious faith. Five children were born of their union: Adelia A., wife of Richard Warner, of Beatrice, Nebraska; Emeretta who wedded L. Cook of Somers, Kenosha County' Frederick A., who married Cordelia Foster and is a farmer of Mt. Pleasant; Carrie A., wife of E.L. Cook, of Somers, and Martha, who died at the age of eighteen years. Mrs. Burgess died on the 8th of May, 1863, in the prime of womanhood.
On the 1st of July, 1867, Mr. Burgess was married in Kenosha County, to Miss Mary A. Buswell, who was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, February 16, 1829, and is a daughter of Ezra and Judith A. (Judkins) Buswell. She became a teacher in girlhood, teaching in a High School in Ohio and also in the Kenosha and Racine High Schools. Her career as a teacher included an experience of many years and was distinguished by superior ability and a conscientious discharge of duty. She came to Kenosha County with her parents in 1842 when thirteen years of age. Her father was a highly respected pioneer of that county, was born in Grantham, New Hampshire, April 27, 1793, and died in Paris Township, Kenosha County, November 14 1863. Her mother was born in Concord, New Hampshire, December 19, 1800, and died in Mt. Pleasant Township, Racine County, February 14, 1876.
Mr. Buswell was a man of more than ordinary ability and of fair scholastic training. After coming to Wisconsin he took an active part in local affairs, serving several years as Township Supervisor. His marriage to Miss Judkins occurred in Warner, New Hampshire. Until his removal Westward he was engaged in conducting a tannery and shoe establishment. His object in coming to Wisconsin was to locate his sons on farms. He therefore left New Hampshire in 1842 for Southport, now Kenosha, but the lake was so rough the vessel could not land and hence went on to Chicago. By team, Mr. Buswell came to Paris Township, where he entered three hundred and twenty acres of land from the government, to which he added by purchase. He gave the eldest three sons farms, and lived to see all his children become respected members of society. He had five children, as follows, Moses C., a farmer of Somers Township; Edmund D., a farmer died in 1885; Mary A.; John S., a veteran of the late war, who lost his health in the service, resides in Union Grove, Wisconsin. In politics Mr. Buswell was a Democrat until the rise of the Republican party, to which he afterward adhered. Both were members of the Baptist Church, to which society their daughter also belongs. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Burgess in the town of Mt. Pleasant, Racine County; M. May, born May 17, 1869, and E. Roy, born September 13, 1872.
Mr. Burgess made his home in the part of Racine County since made into Kenosha County until 1842, when he removed to the present Racine County and purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which he increased by subsequent purchase to four hundred and twenty acres. He became one of the leading farmers of Racine County and was an extensive grower of sheep and Durham cattle, He continued to conduct his farm until April, 1880, when he removed to Racine City, partly on account of securing better educational advantages for his young children. He still owns his farm of two hundred and fifty acres which is situated near the southwest corner of the Town of Mt. Pleasant and which is one of the most valuable farms in the county. He began for himself in life a poor boy and has become one of the substantial men of his township. His start in life was made by molding brick, at which he worked most industriously.
Mr. Burgess is a Republican in politics and has served two years as Supervisor of Mt. Pleasant Township. He is a thoroughly practical farmer and has by industry and judicious management accumulated a fine property. It is now fifty-six years since he became a resident of Wisconsin and his course in life has been distinguished by integrity, honor and fairness in all his relations with his follow- citizens.
(Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Racine and Kenosha Counties Citizens
Lake City Publishing Co. 1892)
Burgess - In The News
"A short time ago Wm. Burgess received a case of honey from his son in law, Clayton Reas of California."
(Racine Weekly June 1, 1899)
"Burdett and Robert Burgess of Chicago are spending a few days at their father's home in the village.
(Racine Daily July 18, 1900)
Mrs. L. Cool and her brother, Fred Burgess, departed for Mt. Clemons, Michigan on Monday, where Mr. Burgess will take treatment for rheumatism.
(Racine Weekly Sept 1, 1895)
Mrs. W.E. Burgess of Chicago had a tumor removed from her left side on Tuesday last. Her many friends here will be pleased to learn that she is getting alone as well as expected.
(Racine Weekly Jan. 27, 1898)
"A very pleasant reunion was held at the home of William E. Burgess on Christmas Day. His six sons were home - Charles of Bristol, Edward and his family, Will, Burdette and Robert of Chicago and George and his family of Somers. The family presented their father with a beautiful upholstered rocker."
(Racine Daily Jan. 1, 1900)
"Robert Burgess went to Chicago Tuesday where he accepted a position with an ice company."
(Racine Weekly May 25, 1899)
"George and Robert Burgess hauled two loads of flax straw to Franksville Thursday morning."
(Racine Daily Feb. 8, 1899)
"Miss Maggie Sinclair and George Burgess were united in marriage at the Presbyterian Church on Thursday afternoon, Rev. Henry Brown officiating."
Racine Weekly Oct. 28, 1897)
"No clue has yet been obtained to the party who placed a baby boy on the steps of Alonzo Burgess."
(Racine Daily Oct. 23, 1900)
"Mr. Fred Burgess is very sick with typhoid fever."
(Racine Daily Oct. 21, 1896)
"George Burgess is moving to the Flett farm which he will work the coming year."
(Racine Journal Jan. 9, 1903)
"Charles Burgess, a resident of the Town of Somers, was very badly injured in this city about 1 o'clock this afternoon. While attempting to drive his team of horses attached to load of hay on the market back of the chemical engine house, he drove them too near the building,resulting in the wagon capsizing. Burgess was precipitated on the stone pavement, falling a distance of several feet. He was picked up unconscious. Dr. Nott was summoned and after making a temporary examination ordered that the man be taken to the St. Luke's hospital in the patrol wagon. At the hospital the physician made a complete diagnosis of the case and found him suffering from the effects of a severe concussion. It is also thought that the man's skull is fractured. he had not regained consciousness up to three o'clock this afternoon."
(Racine Journal Aug. 13, 1901)
"A brilliant wedding took place at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon April 15, at the home of Mr. Wm. Burgess when his daughter Hattie was united in marriage to Clayton B. Reas in the presence of nearly one hundred friends of the contracting parties. Miss Edith Lewis acted as bridesmaid and Burdette Burgess, brother of the bride was best man. As the wedding march was being played by Miss Mae Burgess the bridal party came into the parlor preceded by Rev. George J. Rea and took their places on the white fur ring underneath a handsome arch decorated with evergreens and Easter lilies. The ceremony was short but impressive, at the close of which the young couple received the party congratulations of their many friends. The bride was attired in a white India linen gown trimmed in lace and satin ribbons, wore white slippers and carried a bouquet of white Roman hyacinths. The groom was wearing the same flower. A rose bowl with daybreak carnations was a beautiful center piece. The refreshments were delicious and nicely served by young ladies and gentlemen, superintended by Miss Mary Rhodes, in her usual capable manner.
After the supper, music and sociability were participated in, a solo "The Oak Oaken Bucket" was exquisitely rendered by Mrs. Owen (nee Florence Spencer) the audience joining in the chorus. It was a great pleasure to listen to Somers' former sweet singer again. Then came the announcement that the young ladies should gather in the front yard as the bride was about to throw her bouquet into the crowd and the young lady fortunate enough to catch it would be the first to be married. One of our popular young ladies carried off the prize. The presents were numerous and elaborate, betokening the high esteem in which the young couple are held by their friends. Mr. and Mrs. Reas left on Friday afternoon April 17 by way of Northern Pacific to Portland, Oregon from which place they will go by ocean steamer to San Francisco; then by rail to Porterville, near which place Mr. Reas owns a fine fruit farm. The best wishes for their future prosperity and happiness will follow the young people through life's journey."
(Racine Weekly April 23, 1896)