Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


L. W. Burris

If the life of Mr. Burris were to be summed up in one word, that word would be versatility. He has been a resident of Santa Rosa for the past thirty-three years and during that time not an enterprise has been fostered in the town that has not received his co-operation, and the greater number of them have originated in his fertile brain and been brought to completion under his immediate superintendence.

A native son of the state and resident of Sonoma county throughout his entire life, L. W. Burris was born in Sonoma City April 14, 1854, the son of William and Elizabeth (Davisson) Burris, natives respectively of Missouri and Indiana, whose residence in California dates from the year 1850. In spite of the fact that the father was attracted to the state during the excitement caused by the finding of gold, he did not follow its fickle fortunes, but instead settled down to agricultural life in Sonoma valley and continued to follow this peaceful calling throughout his active years. As the son of a farmer Mr. Burris was early in life made familiar with the duties that fall to the lot of farmer's sons generally, and he performed his duties willingly and efficiently. Appreciating the value of good educational facilities as requisite to the foundation of any undertaking, the parents left no stone unturned in giving their son every advantage in their power, and after attending the public school and Presbyterian College ion Sonoma he attended a higher school in San Francisco.

With the knowledge thus acquired Mr. Burris came to Santa Rosa in 1877 and accepted a position in the Santa Rosa Bank, a position from which he was promoted from time to time, and for many years during the long period of thirty-two years in which he was connected with this institution he efficiently filled the position of cashier. It was with this long and faithful service to his credit that he resigned from the bank in 1908 and established himself in the insurance and brokerage business in the Dougherty & Shay building, in Santa Rosa, a business in which he is building up a good patronage. In mentioning his association with the bank and his present business interests, the scope of work which has passed through Mr. Burris' hands has not been touched upon. Many years ago he was one of the prime movers in the founding of the Hunt Brothers Fruit Packing Company, as well as the Rose City Fruit Canning Company, and for a long period was treasurer and a director in the latter company. He was equally well versed in wine-making and was financially interested in this business at one time. He was also interested in the redwood timber lands, in mining and in real-estate transactions, in all of which varied lines he was equally competent, in fact he was considered an authority on all of these subjects and his advice was often sought as the court of last appeal.

In 1882 Mr. Burris formed domestic ties by his marriage with Miss Laura Mathews, a native of California, and one son, Shirley, has been born to them. Notwithstanding Mr. Burris' many engrossing cares and undertakings he has never been too busy to do his duty as a good citizen, serving as a member of the board of free-holders that created the present charter, and for two terms he served as one of the city councilmen. He well recalls the little town when its population numbered only twenty-five hundred, and no one has watched its growth to its present population, eight thousand, with a keener interest, and at the same time no one has done more to foster the growth of the town in the largest and best sense. Fraternally he is a member of a number of orders, belonging to the Masons, Odd Fellows, Elks and Eagles, and he is also proud to claim membership in the Native Sons of the Golden West.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011