Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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BIOGRAPHY - CLARENCE H. BURNHAM.

For a period of forty years has the honored subject of this review [Clarence H. BURNHAM] been connected with the business of the L. A. PAGE Lumber company, of Mason City, representing the most important enterprise of its kind in Cerro Gordo county. The business of the WILSON Lumber Company was purchased by L. A. PAGE about the year 1870, and from the initiation of the new regime to the present time Mr. BURNHAM has been connected with the enterprise.

He is a skilled artisan as a carpenter and this fact has contributed materially to his success in his present position, as he is an able judge of the qualities and values of the various grades of lumber, with thorough knowledge of the quantity of stock required in connection with all kinds of building operations, so that he has been able to give to the many patrons of his company the most effective service. He has been a resident of Cerro Gordo county since 1867, and here followed the work of his trade until assumption of his present position. The L. A. PAGE Lumber Company has large and well equipped yards and warehouses and handles all kinds of lumber and builders' supplies with the exception of hardware.

Mr. BURNHAM finds satisfaction in adverting to the old Empire state of the Union as the place of his nativity, as well as to the fact that he is a member of one of the honored pioneer families of Iowa. The family lineage is traced back to stanch English stock and the name has been identified with the annals of American history from the pre-Revolutionary epoch. Mr. BURNHAM was born at Ticonderoga, New York, on the 24th of September, 1852, and the house in which he "first op'ed wondering eyes" stood not far distant from the walls of historic old Fort Ticonderoga. He is a son of Rev. J. D. and Clara (SPINK) BURNHAM, both of whom were likewise natives of the state of New York. The father was one of the pioneer clergymen of the Methodist Episcopal church in Iowa, and prior to coming to this state he had labored zealously as a circuit-rider in New York state, where his service was principally as a member of the Troy conference.

In 1867 he came with his family to Iowa and here he continued in the active work of the Master, until the close of his life. He had pastoral charges at Clear Lake and other points in the state and was unremitting in his ministrations to the pioneers in the widely separated settlements. He died at Plymouth, Cerro Gordo county, in the late '80s, at the age of about sixty-six years, and his loved and devoted wife preceded him to eternal rest by about three years.

At the time when Rev. J. D. BURNHAM came to Cerro Gordo county, the site of Mason City was practically unbroken prairie, and at one time he owned one hundred and sixty acres of land, all of which is included within the present city limits property lying east of Main street and south of Fourth street and now very valuable.

Rev. J. D. BURNHAM was a man of strong intellectuality and fervid zeal and consecration in his chosen work, and his name merits a place of prominence on the roll of the honored pioneers of the Hawkeye state. Of the six children only three are now living, Clarence H., who is the immediate subject of this sketch; Mary E., who is the wife of Leroy A. PAGE and resides in Mason City; and Anna A., who is the wife of John H. WOLFE, of Kimball, South Dakota.

Clarence H. BURNHAM gained his early educational discipline in the public schools of the state of New York and was about fifteen years of age at the time of the family removal to Iowa, where he continued to attend school for a time and where also he served his apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade, to which he gave his attention until he became associated with his brother-in-law, Mr. PAGE, in the latter's lumber business, concerning which adequate mention is made in the opening paragraph of this article.

Mr. BURNHAM has not hedged himself in with the affairs of business but has stood exponent of civic loyalty and public spirit. His political allegiance has ever been given to the Republican party and he is now representing the fourth ward as a member of the board of aldermen of Mason City, an office to which he was elected in the spring of 1909 for a term of two years.

He and his wife are zealous members of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Mason City, in which he is incumbent of the office of steward and he is affiliated with the Mason City Lodge, No 224, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with whose adjunct organization, Queen Lodge, Daughters of Rebekah, his wife is actively identified.

When about twenty-one years of age, Mr. BURNHAM married Miss Ida L. COLBY, a native of Canada, where she was reared and her death occurred in Mason City , Iowa, at about thirty years of age. She left two children, LeRoy D., merchant at Portland, this county, and Harvey C., agent for the Great Western Railroad Company.

At Charles City, Iowa, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. BURNHAM to Charlotte M. BERLIN, who was born in New York city and who is a daughter of Christian L. and Sofia BERLIN, who settled in Cerro Gordo county in the pioneer days. The father now resides at Rock Falls, but the mother died in 1909. Mr. BERLIN was long numbered among the successful farmers of this county and is now living virtually retired, being still vigorous in mind and body, though he has passed the psalmist's span of three score years and ten.

Mr. and Mrs. BURNHAM became the parents of one child Dwellie L., who graduated in the Mason City high school as a member of the class of 1910 and is now attending college at Ames, where he is taking up a course of civil engineering. He is one of the popular young men of his native city.

SOURCE: Wheeler, J. H. History of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. Vol. II. Pp. 468-70. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011

 

 

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