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Full text of "John E. Burton"

JOHN E. BURTON 



JOHN E. BURTON 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Indiana State Library LSTA Grant 



http://www.archive.org/details/johneburtonOObeck 



JOHN E. BURTON. 

One of the most conspicuous figures in the recent history of the state of 
Wisconsin is John E. Burton, too well known to the readers of this his- 
torical and biographical compendium to need any formal introduction here, a 
man actively identified with the industrial and business interests of Milwaukee 
and vicinity, widely known as one of the leading financiers of this section of 
the state. Equally noted as a citizen whose useful career has conferred credit 
upon the state and whose marked abilities and sterling qualities have won for 
him much more than local repute, if not, indeed, a national fame, he holds 
today distinctive precedence as one of the most progressive men that ever 
inaugurated and carried to successful termination large and important under- 
takings in this locality. For over thirty-three years he has been a con- 
spicuous figure in the mining world, his extensive operations in Alaska bring- 
ing him up to the front rank of his compeers. Strong mental powers, in- 
vincible courage and a determined purpose that hesitates at no opposition have 
so entered into his composition as to render him a dominant factor in the 
business world and a leader of men in important enterprises. He is essentially 
a man of affairs, of sound judgment, keen discernment, rare acumen, far- 
seeing in what he undertakes, and every enterprise to which he has addressed 
himself has resulted in liberal financial returns. Mr. Burton's extensive 
business interests are but the legitimate fruitage of consecutive effort, directed 
and controlled by good judgment and correct moral principles. He has forged 
his way to the front over obstacles that would have discouraged and even 
thwarted men of less heroic mettle, gradually extending the limits of his in- 
tellectual horizon until he is not only one of our twentieth-century captains of 
industry, but also one of the best developed mentally, having always been a 
close observer and a profound student and kept fully abreast of the times. 
Taken as a whole, his career presents a series of continued successes rarely 
equaled in the state. In the most liberal acceptation of the term, he is the 
architect of his own fortunes and eminently worthy of the proud American 
title of self-made man, meriting the high esteem in which he is universally 



held. This high position in the minds and hearts of the people has been won 
to a considerable degree through his marked ability as a man of letters and 
for his public benefactions. All will agree that the men most influential in 
promoting the advancement of society and in giving character to the times 
in which they live are two classes, the men who study and the men of action. 
Whether we are more indebted for the improvement of the age to the one class 
or the other is a question of honest difference of opinion; neither class can be 
spared and both should be encouraged to occupy their several spheres of labor 
and inflluence, zealously and without mutual distrust. The career of Mr. 
Burton would indicate that he combines in his makeup both the elements of 
the scholar and the public-spirited man of affairs. 

John E. Burton was born October 19, 1847, i^^ New Hartford, Oneida 
county, New York. His ancestors were nativ^es of Conningsby, Lincolnshire, 
England. His father, John Burton, emigrated to the United States in 1829. 
He married Ruth Jeanette Allen, the daughter of a soldier of the war of 1812. 
She was a devout woman, the possessor of many commendable attributes of 
head and heart. The father was a successful business man of exemplary char- 
acter and was noted for his fortitude, courage and hospitality. 

John E. Burton was reared in a most wholesome home atmosphere, and 
his early training- beneath his parental roof-tree has no doubt contributed in 
no small measure to his success in later life. He was educated at the Caze- 
novia Seminary and at Whitestown, New York, having been graduated from 
the Whitestown Seminary w'ith high honors in June, 1868. He won first 
prize for oratory in the Cazenovia Seminary. He began life as a school 
teacher at Cazenovia and during two years following was principal of the 
public schools in Richmond, Illinois. In 1870 he became principal of the 
public schools in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. In 1872 he established the Geneva 
Herald and a year later resigned from his school work to fill the position of 
editor of this paper. He followed journalism for four years, when he sold 
his paper and devoted his time to the manufacturing interests of Lake Geneva. 
He has been identified with nearly every public enterprise in Lake Geneva, 
and has acquired the enviable reputation of having done more for the promo- 
tion of this beautiful city than any other individual. 

Mr. Burton's next most important work was as general agent and man- 
ager of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of New^ York for the state of 
Wisconsin. He was very successful in this field of endeavor, writing eight 
hundred thousand dollars of business for the company the first year. He was 



then promoted by the company to general manager for Wisconsin, Minnesota 
and northern Michigan and increased the business to three mihion dollars in 
one year. In four years his total business exceeded six million and five hun- 
dred thousand dollars. In 1885 he resigned this position and undertook the 
work of promoting the iron mining interests of the Goebic and Penokee range, 
making an exploration of this country in February of that year, traveling by 
rail to the end of the railroad line and the balance of the way on foot and 
snowshoes. His investigation satisfied him of the value of some of the 
properties, which he secured, and their development within three years made 
him a millionaire and the acknowledged chief promoter of the Goebic range. 
He gave Hurley, Wisconsin, its place on the map, being its pioneer pro- 
moter, and erected the Iron Bank building, thirteen stores, thirty-five dwell- 
ings, the big foundry and the Burton hotel, two hundred feet long and four 
stories high, the latter building alone costing fifty-five thousand dollars, and it 
still stands as the best in the iron country. He also erected the Burton Manu- 
facturing block in Chicago at an expense of one hundred and twenty thousand 
dollars. He purchased large amounts of property in Lake Geneva, and in 
almost every instance improved the poorer grades of buildings and built some 
fifteen or twenty new ones, including the Florence Manufacturing building, 
the Odell typewriter factory, many dwellings, also costly barns on the various 
farm properties. Seventy-five thousand dollars was put in the Aguan canal 
project to connect the Aguan river of Honduras with the Caribbean sea, 
opening up the resources of the country to the commerce of the world; a 
creditable scheme and one which ought yet to be carried out by some American 
with money and brains. It was his aim to connect the canal at Truxillo, 
above the rapids of the river. The object of this enterprise was to make a 
useless river navigable for two hundred miles and by this vvork control the 
mahogany markets of the world. By virtue of this effort Mr. Burton has the 
distinction of having received mention in Herringshaw's "Encyclopedia of 
American Biography." This work contains no paid biographical sketches of 
any kind, and only a few lines are devoted to men wdio have won distinction 
or have done something for the progress of our country. A large interest was 
taken in the Oakwood Sanitarium at Lake Geneva, a big grist mill was pur- 
chased, the Ladies' Seminary bought, the steamer line on Geneva lake was 
also accjuired. He organized the American Fiber Company, which aims to 
produce merchantable fiber from any form of vegetation which contains fiber, 
owning the controlling interest in the same. He also purchased a book store 



in Chicago, undertook the stocking of seven large farms with high grade live 
stock, the controlling interest in the First National Bank of Lake Geneva was 
purchased, as well as the princii3al interest in the bank at Hurley. A round 
million dollars' worth of various kinds of real estate was purchased for cash 
and iron stocks and together with the management of seven iron mines, em- 
ploying nearly a thousand men. For upwards of two years his average ex- 
penses were forty thousand dollars per month, yet during that time no one 
went without their pay. 

Mr. Burton devoted five years to mining in Calaveras county, California, 
developing and operating a crystal mine, taking out the largest rock crystals 
recorded in geology, the product of twelve tons being sold to Tiffany & Com- 
pany, of New York. He also opened the Green Mountain hydraulic mine 
and extracted from this property gold to the value of over forty thousand 
dollars. Failing health forced him to return home in 1900. 

Mr. Burton's attention having been directed to the northern Alaskan 
gold fields, he obtained all the information he could get about the Nome 
country, and decided that it was a promising field for exploitation, after 
spending the season of 1904 at Nome, Cape Prince of Wales, and visiting the 
graphite mine of Siberia. He accordingly acquired extensive interests of both 
gold placer and tin properties in this region, and thus became one of the potent 
factors in developing the resources of Seward peninsula. The gold mines are 
situated near Nome in the most promising part of the Nome district, and the 
tin properties are near Cape Prince of Wales on Cape Mountain. At this 
place the prospects for obtaining tin in commercial quantities possessed al- 
most infinite possibilities, as Mr. Burton was quick to see, and his company at 
once shipped a ten-stamp mill and concentrators to its mines on Cape Moun- 
tain, and a large quantity of ore was soon obtained. This energetic initial 
move marked the beginning of a new world supply of commercial tin. He 
later succeeded, in December, 1903, in combining the tin interests of the 
York district in northwestern Alaska, the consolidation being to the better- 
ment of all concerned. 

Assuming nothing from rumors from the Nome country regarding" the 
fabulous discoveries of tin, he went to Washington City and consulted the 
United States government geologist. He was shown accumulations in the 
geological department of tin ores gathered in Alaska, which showed that rich 
deposits were evidently there, of rich commercial tin, sixty per cent, pure tin 
or twelve hundred pounds to each ton of ore concentrated. He had no 



trouble in interesting capital in the tin fields of York which was then believed 
to contain deposits of tin aggregating possibly four hundred million dollars. 

Mr. Burton has shown his strength in the successful culmination of the 
many financial enterprises in which he has been engaged. He has also shown 
his strength of character in other ways. At the age of twelve years he began 
a collection of coins, and when he was thirty-four years old he had the most 
valuable collection of American coins ever owned in the Northwest. This 
splendid numismatic collection was sold under the hammer in New York city 
to supply Mr. Burton with funds to assist him in paying a security debt of 
twenty-eight thousand dollars. The collection was sacrificed for ten thousand 
and eight hundred dollars — and this was the penalty he paid for endorsing a 
friend's notes. A writer, in referring to this act of Mr. Burton, says : 

"This was a sacrifice indeed, view it as you may. It was an act of 
dauntless courage, backed by a heroic sense of integrity, for it required much 
more than ordinary courage to give up one's cherished possessions and to 
severely flagellate one's self without flinching. Mr. Burton was now left to 
face the world empty-handed. To begin is a task, but not a severe one, for it 
is the common lot of all ; but to begin over again is what tests the mettle of 
which we are made. The world smiles benignly upon the beginner, but not so 
friendly on him who seeks to retrieve fortune lost." 

Mr. Burton has always been a student and has familiarized himself with 
the world's best literature, and at the same time has kept well abreast of the 
times on current events and latest discoveries in the world of science and in- 
vention. He owns a private library of fourteen thousand volumes which is 
said to be the finest in the state of Wisconsin. This library represents the 
careful and constant accumulations of over thirty years. It contains two 
thousand four hundred and sixty volumes on Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln- 
iana. Everything that has ever been published about the martyred President 
may be found in the splendid collection that has been gathered by Mr. Burton, 
who has always been an ardent admirer of the Great Emancipator. Mr. 
Burton has written an oration on Abraham Lincoln which is a classic. Re- 
garding him as the best man of history, studying his character from every 
actual and imaginary point of view, and being absorbed with his theme, it is 
not surprising that his eulogy possesses the strong individuality which en- 
titles it to live with the best thought of the age. This splendid effort has 
been widely praised by critics. In order to give the reader some idea of Mr. 
Burton's masterly style, we quote from this oration a few random paragraphs : 



"The character of Abraham Lincoln stands so high above all possible 
wrong doing that honesty was never mentioned or thought of as a virtue in 
him. 

"He was not only the best product of pure American civilization which 
his country produced, but he was, all in all, the best public man and sincerest 
statesman who has ever figured in the destiny of this nation or in the history 
of the world. 

"To all right-minded Americans he is the ripe and rounded product of 
what every man would like to be, and he will therefore remain, through all 
time, the symbol of perfected character. The whole world loves Lincoln be- 
cause he did what the world knows was right, and he avoided doing what the 
world knows to be wrong, and it is therefore doubtful if any human being 
will ever again hold a similar position of greatness in a similar and trans- 
cendant epoch, or ever fulfill the Avorld's expectations so completely, as did 
Lincoln. 

"His fame grows so steadily, so perfectly, so naturally, and so mightily, 
and the very fiber of his character comes out so brilliantly as the searchlight of 
time reveals him from every possible point of view that the fear among 
thoughtful men is, that, with the lapse of centuries, his fame may pass the 
boundary line allotted to flesh and blood and become obscured by entering the 
realm of the mythical, where he may be lost to the world of struggling men 
among the gods and the myths which always inhabit the past. 

"The great dream of the centuries seems to have blossomed in his event- 
ful life, and the more we learn of it the more we come to realize and to know 
that in him was the perfect man in the sane and soundest sense of the word, 
physically, mentally and morally. Poverty made him good ; suffering made 
him great ; circumstance made him President ; fidelity made him beloved ; 
courage made him heroic, and martyrdom made him immortal. 

"You may search the minutest records of recorded time and you cannot 
find another character who made so few mistakes during the chaos of such 
trying ordeals, or who possessed on all great occasions that sublimity of faith 
and courage of action, as mark and make the character of Abraham Lincoln; 
neither can you find another man w'ho could control, and even guide to glory, 
all his impetuous subordinates in the heat of conflict and yet without offense 
compel them to unconscious obedience in the fulfillment of a destiny which 
he alone could read in the dusk of deathless performance. 



"The record of this world does not show another character who was 
schooled in almost continuous failure in youth and early manhood, in order 
that he might the better serve as the successful and great commander in the 
most momentous epoch of human progress. Nowhere in the library of na- 
tions can you find another character so varied in all experiences and yet where 
every experience was clearly given for the perfect formation of a character 
unique and matchless. 

"I have seen Abraham Lincoln and heard his voice. This is to me a happy 
recollection. * * * With other men it was literary achievement ; the 
triumphs of war; the aggrandizement of conquest; the glory of new discovery 
or the flight of imagination in the kingdom of art or song; but with Lincoln 
it was character, character, character. This is why his name grows 
with each succeeding year. * * * As a patriot he was ambitious, but an 
ambition that never crowded or even approached the limit of his patriotism, 
therefore absolutely safe in all emergencies; as a martyr, beautiful beyond 
that of saint or scientist, and as a memory he was and is the dearest, the 
gentlest and the most God-like." 

The following extract from The LaRue County Herald, published at 
Hodgenville, Kentucky, under date of August 2, 1906, is deemed worthy of 
reproduction here, in connection with Mr. Burton's work relating to the 
martyred President : 

"Mr. John E. Burton, a successful business man and a man of letters, of 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, though a comparative stranger to the people of this 
section, is greatly admired by the people of LaRue county, and especially so 
by those who can appreciate the patriotic spirit which once brought Mr. Burton 
to Kentucky and which gave him a limited acquaintance with our people. 

"When the Lincoln birthplace was to be sold Mr. Burton came to Ken- 
tucky as a prospective purchaser. He stood at the court-house door in 
Hodgenville the day the farm was sold and bid on it until he saw that it 
would go to an unlimited price and he permitted Mr. Collier's agent to buy it. 
He was not buying it for speculation, but simply wanted the honor of pos- 
sessing the place and he wanted to see that it would fall into the hands of 
those who would not attempt to handle it as a financial speculation. While in 
the town he was surprised to observe that the town made little or no attempt 
to impress upon the visitor the fact that it was the birthplace of Abraham 
Lincoln, and it was his opinion that our people should give greater emphasis 
to the pride we take in that matter. Shortly after he went home he wrote to a 



friend here and repeated his surprise that the town had nothing to speak out 
to strangers and to tell them that Lincoln was born within two miles of the 
place, and in order to inspire our people with the true spirit in that respect he 
stated in his letter that if the people would secure sufficient funds to build a 
monument in the public square to the memory of Lincoln, he would contribute 
one hundred dollars to the fund. In this way Mr. Burton became the origina- 
tor of the idea of erecting the monument which will soon be built in the public 
square and which the Kentucky Legislature aided by giving two thousand and 
five hundred dollars. For the reason that our people are manifesting great 
pride in the monument to be erected and for the further reason that Mr. 
Burton first conceived the idea, we have reason to say that he is held in the 
highest esteem by our people and the Herald is glad to be able to print his 
picture herewith, as a formal introduction to those who failed to see him per- 
sonally when he was here. 

"As an enthusiastic admirer of the lamented Lincoln, Mr. Burton does 
not yield to any man. He holds Lincoln as his ideal man of all men. He has 
met Lincoln and has heard his voice. He has studied his life and is thor- 
oughly familiar with his hero. He knows of everything that has been ac- 
credited to the life of Lincoln. When he hears of any incident connected with 
the life of the great man he 'runs the report down' and investigates it. And 
in this connection it can be said that Mr. Burton is the possessor of the rarest, 
if not the largest, private collection of works of biography upon Lincoln in 
existence, the volumes numbering over two thousand. He has portraits, 
paintings, photographs, autographs, mementoes and souvenirs of Lincoln by 
the hundreds. This is all the result of many years of study and labor on his 
part and fully illustrates the great admiration he possesses for the war Presi- 
dent." 

In speaking of Mr. Burton's fine collection of Lincoln relics. The Chicago 
Evening Post, under date of December 8, 1908, says : 

"The approaching centenary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, which is 
arousing public interest to all phases of the life of the great American, has 
brought to light one of his most devoted admirers and enthusiasts, John E. 
Burton, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. 

"Mr. Burton has devoted his life to collecting all the published literature 
relating to Lincoln, and as a result of his labors has amassed a collection of 
over twenty-three hundred volumes, together with many pamphlets and still 
more precious autographic documents. This is said to be the largest and finest 



collection of Lincolniana in existence, surpassing all public and private collec- 
tions on this subject. 

"Of the autograph documents one of universal interest is an authentic 
copy of the Proclamation of Emancipation, signed by Abraham Lincoln and 
William H. Seward, President and Secretary of State, and by John G. 
Nicolay, private secretary of the President. Of these there are only two in 
existence, the other bemg among the treasures of the state department at Wash- 
ington. The original was burned in the Chicago fire of 1871. The genuine- 
ness of the signatures attached to this copy have been attested to by the late 
John Hay. 

"Other legal documents in Lincoln's handwriting proved that he be- 
longed to six different law firms. These date from 1838 to 1855, and discover 
the firms of Stuart & Lincoln, Logan & Lincoln, Harlan & Lincoln, Lincoln & 
Herndon, Lincoln & Lamon and Goodrich & Lincoln. Another among the 
treasures is the printed copy of the debates between Douglas and Lincoln, 
which has been owned by Lincoln and corrected by him. The penciled inter- 
lineations or notes in the handwriting of one of the chief actors in the dra- 
matic contest make the volume one of great interest. There also is a copy of 
'The Constitutional Text-Book,' into which Lincoln had copied the thirteenth 
amendment. These relics are all the more rare, inasmuch as nearly all of 
Lincoln's books were burned in a fire in Philadelphia which destroyed a col- 
lection similar to this of Mr. Burton. Not all of Mr. Burton's Lincoln relics 
are books, however. The very book-case in which rest many of his most 
precious volumes is made from the flooring of Lincoln's bedroom in his 
Springfield home. It is of black stained oak, and very quaint in appearance. 

"Mr. Burton, whose enthusiasm in the work of keeping green the memory 
of Lincoln knows no bounds, was a disappointed bidder for the farm where 
the President was born. On learning that its purchaser intended making of it 
a national park, however, he became reconciled, especially when the manager 
of the farm, William E. Burton, presented him the old drawnng-knife used 
about the place, from which the wooden handles had long since rotted away 
and formerly owned by Lincoln's father. 

"Reminiscent of the terrible close of the life of the Great Emancipator is 
another of Mr. Burton's relics. This is one of the checks signed by John 
Wilkes Booth during his stay at Washington from November till the follow- 
ing April, in which he matured his plans for assassinating the President. 
Booth deposited twelve hundred dollars in a bank and drew out the monev in 



various sums, issuing- in all twelve checks. These have become historically 
famous as the 'blood money checks.' The one in the Burton collection is 
dated December 24, 1864, and reads: 'Pay to J. Wilkes Booth or Bearer 
Fifty Dollars.' 

"Mr. Burton has prosecuted his self-assumed task under the greatest dis- 
couragements. Once he has seen sold beneath the auctioneer's hammer every 
book in his collection, but he resumed the work, and after twelve years has a 
great historical collection. 

"Mr. Burton owns the original autograph copy of the first 'Life of 
Lincoln' ever known. This was written and issued by John Locke Scripps, 
a former Chicago newspaper publisher. It is related that the book, which was 
read to Lincoln in proof, contained the statement that among Lincoln's favorite 
books was 'Plutarch's Lives.' The story goes on to say that Lincoln asked to 
see the final proof, and that Mr. Scripps went to Springfield and read it to him. 
Then, continues the tale, Lincoln said : 'The truth is, Mr. Scripps, I had 
never seen "Plutarch's Lives," but since you were here last I have purchased 
it and read it from cover to cover — and now your statement is true.' 

"One of Mr. Burton's aims is to prepare and publish a complete national 
bibliography of Lincoln. This would occupy three volumes and would in 
itself be a work of years. The collection now in Mr. Burton's hands is the 
natural starting point for such a work.'' 

The one hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth was celebrated at Lake 
Geneva, February 12, 1909, at which Mr. Burton was one of the principal 
speakers. His oration, like that quoted from above, was a masterpiece. 
Space will not permit us to give more than his peroration, although the entire 
address is well worth c^uoting: 

"Lincoln had no crown; but all the crowns of Europe thrown into the 
melting pot and the furnace of character, would not mould one good enough, 
pure enough, nor big enough to fit his kingly brow." 

Mr. Burton has delivered many other notable orations, but we can no 
more than give a few of his themes here. "Address of Welcome," delivered 
at the twentieth annual reunion of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Association of 
Walworth County, at Lake Geneva, August 26, 1908; "The Unique Soldier," 
delivered at Lake Geneva, September 2, 1886, before the Northwestern Re- 
union of the Grand Army of the Republic, assembled at Camp Spence Smith ; 
"The Secret of Luck," a lecture delivered March 22, 1893, before the Mead 
Association at Sheboygan, Wisconsin ; "The Inspiration of Bibles," delivered 
at Ford's Theater, Lake Geneva, March 17, 1881 ; ''The Birth and Death of 



Religions," delivered at the same place, June 2, 1881 ; "The Honest Dollar of 
America; a New Ratio and Its Benefits"; 'The Old Trail to the Mother 
Lode; A Miner's Souvenir Sermon." The latter was issued on the latter's 
fifty-ninth birthday, October 19, 1906. Mr. Burton has the original manu- 
script of "Sweet Bye and Bye," secured after many years effort. He also 
has an original copy of "Home, Sweet Home." 

Mr. Burton's religious training was in accordance with the Methodist 
Episcopal church. For sixteen years he was a member of this church, but 
drifted into agnosticism, and became an admirer of such men's work in this 
field as IngersoU and Voltaire. He has been all his life a worker in the 
Republican party, but in the Bryan-McKinley campaign both his judgment and 
sympathy were in favor of bi-metalism. Mr. Burton is a Royal Arch Mason, 
and his daily life would indicate that he endeavors to carry its sublime pre- 
cepts into his actions among his fellow men. 

The Wisconsin State Historical Society at Madison reviewed Mr. Bur- 
ton's work in the development of the state's resources, he being credited as the 
chief promoter in opening and developing the Goebic iron range of northern 
Wisconsin and Michigan and voted him a life membership and vice-president 
of the society and sent him an official recjuest, in 1888, to have his portrait 
hung in the state historical gallery. An excellent oil painting was accordingly 
made by Frank B. Carpenter, the painter of Emancipation-Proclamation fame. 
This was not only in recognition of Mr. Burton's efforts in developing Wis- 
consin's iron interests, but also for his contribution of many specimens to the 
society collection which he had gathered in Cuba, Yucatan, Honduras and 
Mexico. 

On December 7, 1869, John E. Burton married Lucretia D. Johnson, of 
Killawag, Broome county, New York, his schoolmate at Cazenovia. She is 
the representative of an excellent old family and is a lady of culture and re- 
finement, having long been a favorite with a wide circle of friends. This 
union has been blessed by the birth of four children, namely: Howard E., 
Warren E. and Kenneth E., all young business men of much promise, engaged 
principally in mining in Colorado; and Bonnie E., who married Prof. Edmund 
D. Denison. 

John E. Burton is a man of strong convictions and unswerving honesty. 
He is very practical, and yet is an idealist. The large success he has won in 
business enterprise is a manifestation of the practical man ; his love of books, 
his idealization of the strong and masterful men of history, his work in the 



subtle realm of thought are evidences that there are times when he is an 
intellectual dreamer. And notwithstanding his strenuous career, his stupen- 
dous business affairs and his public work he finds time to court the muses and 
has produced some exquisite verse on diverse themes, and had he devoted his 
life exclusively to literature, he would have, no doubt, taken a very high rank 
among his famous compeers as a man of letters. He has no use for the tawdry 
tinsel of society, or for the sham and hypocrisy of the world. If he has been 
assiduous in gathering gear, it has not been entirely "for the glorious privilege 
of being independent," but for the gratification he would derive from using 
wealth for the accomplishment of something that will be helpful to others. 

Mr. Burton is a gentleman of pleasing personality, courteous in his rela- 
tions with his fellow men and his individuality, which is very distinct, is im- 
pressed upon any work with which he is connected, and in the accomplishment 
of a purpose he is willing to assume any amount of labor required or any 
responsibility incurred. He is a broad-minded, manly man, a gentleman with- 
out ostentation whom to know is to respect, admire and honor, for he is a 
splendid specimen of well developed, well rounded, symmetrically poised, virile 
manhood, with a commanding presence, moving among his fellows as one born 
to leadership. With duties that would crush the ordinary man, he has his 
labors so systematized that he experiences little inconvenience in doing them. 
Everything moves with the regularity of clock work at his Milwaukee office 
or in the field of his vast mining operations. He is a vigorous as well as inde- 
pendent thinker, a wide reader, and he has the courage of his convictions upon 
all subjects which he investigates. He is also strikingly original and fearless, 
prosecutes his researches after his own peculiar fashion, and cares little for 
conventionalism or for the sanctity attaching to person or place by reason of 
artificial distinction, tradition or the accident of birth. He is essentially 
cosmopolitan in his ideas, a man of the people in all the term implies and in the 
best sense of the word a representative type of that strong American manhood, 
which commands and retains respect by reason of inherent merit, sound sense 
and correct conduct. Measured by the accepted standard of excellence, his 
career has been eminently useful, and his life fraught with great good to his 
fellows and to the world. 



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