HENRY B. BURNS, of the firm of Burns & Kelly, general merchants at Van Horne, is a native of Germany. He was born May 7, 1840, in Hesse-Cassel, which was incorporated with Prussia Aug. 6, 1866, and now forms a part of the province of Hesse-Nassau. His parents were Matthias and Catherine (Mueller) Burns. They had three children: Catherine, the only daughter, who still resides in Germany; John emigrated to this country in 1854 and is now living in East Lewistown, Mahoning Co., Ohio. Henry B., the next in order of birth, attended school in his native land until fourteen years of age, receiving a good common-school education. He then learned the tailor's trade, at which he worked until 1857, in which year he concluded to emigrate, and bade, adieu to father and sister, his mother having died in 1849, and his brother having preceded him to this country, and set sail for the United States, from Bremen. He arrived in Baltimore Aug. 8. 1857, after a tedious voyage of fifty-one days. He worked at his trade in that city for about two years, and then emigrated to East Lewistown, Ohio, where his brother was living. There he continued to work at his trade until March 19, 1862, when he enlisted in the defense of his adopted country, in Co. C, 11th Ohio Vol. Inf., and participated in the battles of South Mountain, Antietam. Missionary Ridge, the Atlanta campaign, and numerous skirmishes, and was with Sherman in his famous march from Atlanta to the sea. He received an honorable discharge and was mustered out at Goldsboro, Wayne Co., N. C., March 28, 1865.
Returning from the war, our subject located in Ohio, but subsequently spent some time in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he received instructions in that department of his trade known as cutting. He afterward had charge of a merchant-tailoring establishment at Columbiana, Ohio. In 1867 he attended an English school nine weeks, intending to continue for a term of thirteen weeks, but his old employer concluded he had made advancement enough, and requested him to return to the store, which he did, and acted in the capacity of clerk. In 1868 he concluded to go West, and, following up his determination, came to this State and located at Blairstown, where he established himself in the merchant-tailoring business with a capital of about $600.
In 1871, becoming tired of single blessedness, Mr. Burns united in marriage with Miss Jennie Landon, daughter of Sidney and Amy (Carpenter) Landon. She is a native of Ohio, and has become the mother of two children — Maud E., born May 28, 1872, and H. Alvin, born Oct. 27, 1875. After their marriage our subject engaged as clerk in a general store at Blairstown, and continued to labor in that capacity for about seven years. He then engaged in general mercantile business for himself, and soon after associated with A. J. Tangemen, and they continued the business until November, 1881. The firm then established a branch store at Van Horne, erecting the first business house at that place. In 1882 the firm dissolved partnership, Mr. Tangemen retaining the store at Blairstown and Mr. Burns becoming sole proprietor of the store at Van Horne. He soon afterward took in James Kelly as partner, and they still continue the business at that place, with great success. They are the pioneer merchants of Van Horne, and carry the largest stock of goods at the place.
Mr. Burns is a Republican in politics, having voted with that party since he has been a citizen of the United States. He was the first Postmaster at Van Horne, and retained the office until July, 1885, when he resigned. He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees from the date of incorporation, he is a keen business man, strictly honest and conscientious in his dealings with his fellow-men, and is a respected and honored citizen of Benton County.Mr. Burns is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the A. O. U. W. and the G. A. R.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 204-205.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.