The Early History of Burlingame
by William G. Cutler (1883)
The act incorporating the Burlington Town Company was approved February 20, 1857. The corporators were O. E. Learnard, Charles Morse, J. A. D. Clark, T. T. Parsons and C. W. Southway. The first president of the company was C. W. Babcock, and the first secretary was B. W. Woodward, both of Lawrence. The father of Burlington was O. E. Learnard, a native of Burlington, Vt., in whose honor the town was named.
In January, 1857, O. E. Learnard, F. A. Atherly, A. H. Vince, Edward Murdock, H. W. Watrous, John Bishop and others arrived. They were the first occupants of the town site. They boarded with Charles Morse, across the river, three miles distant. The first house on the town site was a combination of two small houses, procured at Hampden, and made into one for a provision store for James Jones, the first merchant. It was located east of the present "Central Hotel," about midway between that hotel and the river.
The second building erected was a log house, built by Edward Murdock, and used by him for a wagon shop. The third building erected was the "Burlington Hotel," on the site of the "Morris House," built by F. A. Atherly, on contract with the Burlington Town Company, the lumber for which was rafted down the Neosho River, some thirty-five or forty miles. During the building of the hotel, in May, 1857, Rev. Peter Remer and family arrived. Mrs. Remer being the first woman that had ever appeared on the town site, she was greeted with cheers by the workmen at the hotel. The boys regarded her as the loveliest and handsomest lady they had ever beheld, though it is possible that her beauty was hardly comparable with that of Mrs. Langtry.
Mr. Remer and his family located at Burlington, the ardent admirers of Mrs. Remer abandoning the work on the hotel until a house could be erected for the family. The "Burlington Hotel" was designed simply for a boarding house, and it was located near the river for the accommodation of the mill hands. When the time arrived for the erection of the hotel proper, it was intended that it should be located on the south side of Rock Creek, on the site now occupied by the office of S. A. Brown, and make that the nucleus for the town. The original town site consisted of 320 acres. The first landlord of the hotel was Francis Britton.
In 1857 a bridge was constructed across the river, near the site of the present bridge, by the town company, but it was carried away by a freshet in 1859. The first steam saw mill in operation in the county was started at Burlington in the spring of 1857. It was removed from Hampden, to which place it had been sent by the Emigrant Aid Company. It could not be operated at Hampden for the want of water.
George W. Stevens erected the first store building, in the summer of 1857. Orlando and Judson A. Walkling erected a storehouse about the same time, and opened therein a stock of general merchandise, August 7, 1857. The first celebration in Burlington of "the day that made us free," was July 4, 1857. William B. Parsons was the orator. In March, 1859, the town site was pre-empted by B. L. Kingsbury, Probate Judge.
During the war period Burlington was at a standstill. A large proportion of the voting population of the town and county had gone into the Union army, and no new settlers came into the county. The darkest day the town ever experienced was on the 19th of May, 1863, when the county seat was removed to Hampden, by such an overwhelming majority, it looked as though the people of the county were determined to crush Burlington, and her people were about ready to throw up the sponge.
The next day S. S. Prouty, who was then at home, temporarily absent from the army, said he would put up $500 for the purpose of erecting a building for a woolen carding mill and purchasing the machinery necessary to put it in operation. This gave renewed hope to the struggling town and convinced her enemies that Burlington was not yet ready to die. The carding mill finally developed into a large woolen factory, and a cotten (sic) gin was added to it.
Cotton growing was attracting some attention in the county at that time. Orsen Peck, a farmer on North Big Creek, realized $800 for his crop in 1864, and 18,000 pounds of lint were ginned at the Burlington factory in 1865. In 1869, the Excelsior Water Mill was built by Cross & Sons, at a cost of $55,000, including dam and races. In September, 1875, Hon. William Martindale purchased the property and still owns it.
The Burlington steam mill was completed in 1870 at a cost of $16,000; the Burlington schoolhouse was completed in 1873 at a cost of $28,000. The first bank in the county was organized under the name of Jarboe, Garretson & Co., and began business April 16, 1870. The firm consisted of H. L. Jarboe, N. P. Garretson, D. W. Stormont, and M. Bailey, the latter two of Topeka. The bank was conducted under the management of N. P. Garretson, until it was reorganized as the Burlington National Bank April 29, 1872, with a capital of $50,000; H. L. Jarboe, president, N. P. Garretson, cashier.
Burlington has steadily prospered and grown since the completion of the railroad to the town in 1870. It now has a population of about 2,500, and nearly every branch of business is represented there.
Burlington is located at 38°11'40N, 95°44'44W (38.194420, -95.745532). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 km² (2.1 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,790 people, 1,122 households, and 713 families residing in the city. The population density was 522.9/km² (1,354.7/mi²). There were 1,277 housing units at an average density of 239.3/km² (620.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.95% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.61% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. 1.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,122 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,174, and the median income for a family was $43,021. Males had a median income of $30,946 versus $20,357 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,443. About 5.2% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.