Napoleon B. Burge, president of the Elmhurst Investment Company, dealers in real estate, bonds, mortgages and irrigated lands, with offices in the New England Building, Topeka, was born on a farm in Porter county, Indiana, Aug. 22, 1871. His parents are John Howard and Evaline Christina (Blackley) Burge, the former born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, April 22, 1850, and the latter born in Porter county, Indiana, April 22, 1848. The father moved to Kansas with his family in 1878, and located on a farm on the Republican river, in Republic county, and there engaged in farming and lumbering. The parents, now retired residents of Topeka, had eight children: Maude DeEtta, who died at the age of twenty-one unmarried; Napoleon B., who is second in order of birth; Cornelius B. (See sketch); Josiah, who died at the age of twenty-five; John; Fannie C., who is the wife of George D. Wilkinson of Topeka; Beatrice and Ruth C., both of whom reside with their parents in Topeka.
Napoleon B. Burge has resided in Kansas ever since he was a lad seven years of age. In 1881, when he was ten years old, his parents removed to Manhattan, where the remainder of his youth was spent and where he was educated in the Kansas State Agricultural and Mechanical College of Manhattan. After the family's removal to Topeka, in 1888, he took a course in a business college, mastering both stenography and typewriting, and for three years thereafter he held the position of official stenographer for the Kansas Court of Appeals, which ceased to exist, however, on March 1, 1896. While thus engaged he studied law and was later admitted to the bar; then for four years Mr. Burge was a western correspondent of several metropolitan dailies, including the "Chicago Times," the "Cincinnati Enquirer," and the "New York Journal." In the fall of 1896, when but twenty-five years. of age, he was a candidate for the Congressional nomination in the Sixth Kansas district, making his race on a free silver Republican platform and stumping the district despite his youth. Before the date of the convention came, however, he withdrew in favor of William Baker, who was then the representative of the district. In June, 1901, Mr. Burge established the firm of N. B. Burge & Company, which became Burge, Harris & Company, in 1904, when the late Senator William A. Harris became his partner but who withdrew from the firm in 1908. For about two years Mr. Burge then carried on the business alone. In the spring of 1910 Frank E. Parr became his partner in the business, when the firm name again became N. B. Burge & Company and it so continues at the present time. Mr. Burge has rapidly forged to the front since he embarked in business on his own account and he today has an enviable position in the list of Topeka's most successful business men. One of his principal accomplishments was the conception and promotion of "Elmhurst," Topeka's most fashionable residence suburb. This was brought into a reality in February, 1909, when the suburb was laid out at his instigation. He takes all the more pride in his achievement in adding this beautiful suburb to Topeka, for many of the older and more experienced men with whom he consulted tried to discourage him, telling him his plan could not be made a success. The fact that Mr. Burge has made a great success of the suburb in the face of adverse advice is, therefore, a source of much gratification to him. Elmhurst, though but two years old, now has forty cozy and beautiful homes, with a population of 300 persons, and more than a half million dollars has been invested in improvements in the suburb, which has been provided with everything necessary to make a modern and cheerful home. It has been provided with shade trees, paved streets, sewage system, water mains, electric lights and cement walks. At each main entrances to the suburb a large red boulder, with the word "Elmhurst" carved on its surface, has been placed, serving as a silent sentinel to all who approach that they are in the vicinity of the place.
On Sept. 7, 1903, Mr. Burge was united in marriage with Miss Amelia Martin, only daughter of George W. Martin, secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society. Mr. Burge is a member of the board of directors of the Commercial Club of Topeka; also president of the Topeka Ad Club; and is a life member of the Kansas State Historical Society. He is a Republican and he and his wife are members of the First Presbyterian Church.Pages 679-680 from volume III, part 1 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 December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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