Burlington, the judicial seat and most important town of Coffey county, is located just south of the central part of the county, at the junction of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroads, and on the Neosho river. It is a progressive little city, with waterworks, fire department, electric lights, and a number of commercial and manufacturing interests, including 2 banks, a daily and a tri-weekly newspaper, flour mill, grain elevators, tile factory, 3 cigar factories, creamery, carriage and wagon factory, and all lines of mercantile enterprises. It has excellent graded and high schools, and all denominations of churches. There are telegraph and express offices and an international money order postoffice with 6 rural routes. The population according to the report of the government census of 1910 was 2,180.
The Burlington town company was incorporated in 1857, by O. E. Learnard, Charles Morse, J. A. D. Clark, T. T. Parsons and C. W. Southway. The town was named for Burlington, Vt., the home of O. E. Learnard, the principal promoter. The first building was a combination of two small buildings brought from Hampden, and was used for a store in which James Jones kept a stock of goods. The second building was a wagon shop erected by Edward Murdock, and the third was the "Burlington Hotel," which was constructed by F. A. Atherly on contract with the town company. Rev. Peter Remer and family came in May. Mrs. Remer was the first woman in Burlington. Dr. Samuel G. Howe, the philanthropist and husband of Julia Ward Howe, located a Wyandotte "float" in that year. It was surveyed into lots and a part of it sold and incorporated in the town. A great deal was done that first year in way of improvements. Several houses and business establishments were built, and in addition a bridge was constructed across the Neosho and a mill was put in operation. During the war every thing was at a stand-still, the men having all enlisted in the army or being engaged in protecting the border. The unsettled condition of affairs pertaining to the location of the county seat was a drawback to the growth of the town until after 1866. By 1870 new life was in evidence in the progress of the town. A little carding mill which had been started in 1863 grew into a woolen mill, with a cotton gin in connection, a water mill had been built by Cross & Son at a cost of $55,000, and another mill was built in that year at a cost of $16,000. In 1873, a $28,000 school house was erected. The first bank was opened in 1870. The first newspaper, the "Neosho Valley Register," was published by S. S. Prouty, in 1859.Pages 257-258 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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