John M. Burton, a leading banker of Atwood Kan., was born in Monroe county, Indiana, March 16, 1838, a son of Henry W. and Martha Burton, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of North Carolina. Henry W. Burton was a farmer and when his son, John, was quite young, he moved to Kankakee county, Illinois, where the boy attended the common schools and later was for some time engaged in teaching. Our subject then took up surveying, completed his studies in that line and became a surveyor. For sixteen years he was deputy county surveyor of Kankakee county, teaching school in the winter during fourteen years of this time. The Burton family were among the pioneers of their locality in Kankakee county, as the town of Kankakee had just been started when they came.
In the spring of 1865 Mr. Burton enlisted in Company A of the One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Illinois infantry, but had gone only as far as Chattanooga, Tenn., when Lee surrendered. He was discharged at Memphis, Tenn., in the fall of 1865. After leaving the army he was elected county surveyor of Iroquois county, Illinois, which office he held for fifteen years, living in the town of Watseka. In the spring of 1887 he came to Kansas, located in Atwood, and bought the Rawlins County Bank. Mr. Burton owned all the stock himself and conducted a private banking business in the same building now occupied by him, having made some addition to the building in the meantime. In July, 1902, he organized his business into a State bank and it is now the Rawlins County State Bank, of which Mr. Burton has been president since the organization.
Aside from his banking business our subject has some 2,000 acres of ranch property under fence, modernly equipped in every respect, and stocked with several hundred head of live stock. He has served the city of Atwood eight or ten years as mayor and at the last election was Republican candiate[sic] for representative, but owing to his vast business interests was unable to make a hard campaign, so was defeated by a few votes by the Democratic candidate. He is a member of the Kansas Bankers' Association and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. There was no railroad through Atwood at the time Mr. Burton located here, the nearest station being Stratton, Neb., thirty miles away, from which point all freight was hauled. Atwood was founded in 1880, and in 1885 it was but a small inland village with no county buildings. The surrounding country was sparsely settled and the chief industry was cattle raising. Mr. Burton was here during the county seat fight, in which Atwood was victorious. In June, 1905, Mr. Burton married Sarah L. Binning, a native of Iroquois county, Illinois. She first settled with her husband in Nuckolls county, Nebraska, and later came to Rawlins county, Kansas, where they took up Government land. Mr. Burton is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.Pages 62-63 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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