Hilas C. Burnham


Hilas C. Burnham, who owns and operates a fine farm of one hundred thirty two and one-fourth acres on section 32, Franklin township, has been a resident of Allamakee county since his birth and the greater part of his active life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits. A spirit of enterprise and progress actuates him in all that he does and he now owns one of the productive and well managed farms of this vicinity and is classed with substantial and progressive agriculturists. He was born in Franklin township, August 24, 1864, and is a son of Charles and Elizabeth (Dee) Burnham, natives of Ohio, both born on the line between Union and Champaign counties. The father spent his entire life engaged in farming, coming at an early date to this township and county. After one year he returned to Ohio, where he married, afterward settling again in Franklin township, where he resided on the farm which now forms the Lamborn homestead. He purchased the land in an unimproved condition and with characteristic energy turned his attention to its clearing and cultivation, he and his wife spending the remainder of their lives upon the property. The mother passed away in 1879 and the father in 1891. He had been prominent local public affairs, having held practically all the township offices, including those of trustee, tax collector, assessor and justice of the peace, filling the latter position with credit and ability for twenty years. He and his wife were the parents of four children: Pearl, deceased; Hilas C., of this review; Elma M., the wife of W. E. Hinman, of Franklin township; and Edna, who died in infancy.

In the acquirement of an education Hilas C. Burnham attended district school in his native township and from his early childhood aided his father with the work of the homestead. At the age of eighteen he became a farm laborer, living at home, however, until he was twenty-one. Having attained his majority, he engaged in hauling cream, but after one year married and turned his attention to farming. He went to Ford county, Kansas, one hundred miles northwest of Wichita, spending one summer in that vicinity. Returning to Iowa at the end of that time, he rented a farm in Allamakee county and continued to reside upon it for two years, moving then to a farm in Clayton county, near the dividing line. In the spring of 1894 he purchased forty acres of land on section 32, Franklin township, in Allamkee county, and this formed the nucleus of his present farm. To it he has made substantial additions from time to time and owns today one hundred thirty-two and one-fourth acres of excellent land. Upon it he has erected fine buildings and he has installed modern equipment, nothing being neglected which will add to the value or attractive appearance of the place. He operates his land as a general stock farm, raising high-grade cattle, horses and hogs. He is a stockholder in the Cooperative Creamery at Luana and was one of the promoters of the Farmers Cooperative Shipping Association and is a director in the Luana Savings Bank, being respected in business circles as a man of unusual ability, integrity and enterprise.

On the 31st of March, 1887, Mr. Burnham was united in marriage to Miss Carrie May Sawyer, who was born in Franklin township, March 9, 1863. They have become the parents of two children. Ray Hilas was born May 3, 1890, and makes his home with his parents. He holds the position of rural mail carrier from the Luana postoffice. Bessie M. was born June 19, 1891, and is now attending Carlton College at Northville, Minnesota. Both are graduates of the Postville high school.

Mr. Burnham is a member of the Modern Brotherhood of America and he gives his political allegiance to the republican party, never seeking office but taking an active and intelligent interest in community affairs. A resident of this part of Allamakee county since his birth, his upright and honorable life has commanded for him the respect and esteem of his neighbors and his success has placed him in the front ranks of progressive and substantial agriculturists.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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