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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

G[eorge] W. BURNHAM, junior member of the firm of Nichols & Burnham, attorneys at law, Vinton, was born in Champaign County, Ohio, Feb. 22, 1850. R. T. Burnham, his father, was born in Champaign County, Ohio, May 1, 1820. Mahala C. Winget was born in Maryland, May 10, 1820. When a child she moved with her parents to Champaign County, Ohio, where she met Mr. Burnham, and was united in marriage with him in 1840. Mr. Burnham was reared upon a farm, but on reaching his majority he entered into mercantile trade in his native State. In 1855 he emigrated with his family to Clayton County, Iowa, and was one of the original proprietors of the town of Hardin, erecting the first store in that place. At one time Hardin was quite a place, being the line of travel north and west of McGregor. Mr. Burnham remained here about ten years and then engaged in the milling business, He built the first saw and grist mill in the county. About 1866 he built a mill on Yellow River, in Allamakee County, and in 1869 one on Turkey River, in Fayette County. In 1882 he went to Plankinton, Dak., being one of the owners of the town plat. While actively engaged in various enterprises,he has kept posted in political affairs, and has often engaged in debates with the local leaders of the opposite party. During the gubernatorial campaign of 1885, he took the stump for Gov. Larrabee, being a warm personal friend of that gentleman.

Mr. and Mrs. Burnham were the parents of nine children, five of whom are living— Adelia, wife of Theodore Granger, a brother of Judge Granger; George W.; John; Olive, wife of Alex Davis, Plankinton, Dak.; Libbie, wife of Frank Watson, banker of Vinton.

George W. Burnham was the fourth child of R. T. and Mahala C. Burnham. The foundation of his education was received in the public schools, supplemented by attendance for a short time in the academy at Waukon. In 1867 he entered the Upper Iowa University at Fayette, where he took a two years' special course, when he went to the Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa, where he also spent two years in a special course of study. In 1871 he went to London, Madison Co., Ohio, and entered the law office of Col. J. C. McCloud, one of the best criminal lawyers in the State. In 1873 he passed an examination before the Supreme Court at Columbus, and was admitted to the practice of law. After his admission he returned to Iowa and married Miss Clara M. Young, born Oct. 13, 1853, daughter of J. F. Young, of Vinton, Benton County. Miss Young was a student at the Agricultural College at Ames, where the acquaintance was formed. They have two children living- Lois G. and Thuel K.; two died in infancy.

Returning to Ohio. Mr. Burnham formed a partnership with his preceptor under the firm name of McCloud & Burnham, and remained there two years. On account of the failing health of his wife he left Ohio and came to Vinton. In June, 1875, he formed a partnership with J. C. Traer, which continued until 1879, when he formed his present partnership with J. D. Nichols.

Mr. Burnham has been Attorney for the B., C. R. & N. R. R. for ten years. He is a member of Vinton Lodge, No. 62, A. F. & A. M.; Adoniram Chapter, No, 15, R. A. M., of which he has been High Priest for three years, and of Cyprus Commandery No. 37, being the present Recorder. He is also a member of the A. O. U. W. of Vinton. and has been Master Workman of the lodge.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 186-187.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on June 16th, 2007. Copyright © 2007 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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