FRANK W. BURTON, State's Attorney for Macoupin County, with his office and residence at Carlinville, has attained distinction at the bar by the exercise of marked legal talent and an ambitious, progressive spirit, that has made him one of the leaders of his profession in this section of the Commonwealth of Illinois, though he is still a young man. Mr. Burton is also widely known as a breeder of thoroughbred horses, who has done much to raise the standard of the horses bred in this region, and has one of the finest studs of blooded animals to be found in this or adjoining counties.
Our subject is a native born citizen of this county, October 8, 1857, the date of his birth at Bunker Hill. His father, Henry W. Burton, was born at Pomfret, Windham County, Conn., August 14, 1819, a son of Olney Burton, who was a native of Cranston, R. I. The latter was a son of Rufus Burton, who is supposed to have been a native of that little New England State, where he engaged at his occupation as a farmer until his removal in 1800 to Pomfret, Conn. He bought a tract of land in that town, carried on farming and continued a resident of that place until his death.
The grandfather of our subject grew to manhood in his native State, and was there married. He went to Pomfret in 1800 and he and his father occupied the same farm. He always devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, and passed his last years on the old homestead in Pomfret. The maiden name of his wife, grandmother of our subject, was Abigail Burlingame. She was born at Cranston, R. I. and died on the old farm at Pomfret, Conn. She was the mother of these eight children - Rufus, Hannah, Sewell D., Lewis, Olney, James, Charles and Henry W.
Henry W. Burton passed his early life in his native county, and received his education in the local district schools. At the age of fifteen he began to learn the trade of a carpenter, and from that time cared for himself with characteristic self-reliance and independence of character. He was a resident of Pomfret until the spring of 1841, when he came to Illinois, shrewdly foreseeing that his chances for securing a competence were better in this comparatively newly settled country where energetic, enterprising, industrious men were wanted to help in its upbuilding. He came by the most expeditious route at that time, which was by steamer to New York City, by rail from that city to Philadelphia, from there to Pittsburg by canal and railway, thence on a steamer down the Ohio and up the Mississippi Rivers to Alton, this State, where he joined his brother James, and in his company came to Macoupin County to cast in his lot with the pioneers of this region. The brothers had but one horse between them and they took turns in riding him until they had arrived at their journey's end. They located at Woodburn and the father of our subject worked at his trade as a carpenter and at millwrighting there for some years.
When the great excitement of the discovery of gold in California set the world agog, Mr. Burton joined the great march across the continent in search of the precious metal, starting in April, 1849, with four others, and making the journey with ox-teams over the plains and mountains to the Pacific Coast, arriving at Bear River the 12th of following September. For one month the little party was engaged in mining at that point, and then, after laying in supplies at Sacramento, they went to Mud Spring, near Placerville, where they prospected and dug for gold until spring. The party then broke up but the father of our subject and one of his companions continued mining there until November, 1850, when they returned to their old home in Illinois by the way of the Isthmus. Mr. Burton soon entered the mercantile business at Bunker Hill, which he conducted until 1848. In 1860 he turned his attention to shipping grain, hay, etc., and was thus engaged until 1868. In that year he was elected Circuit Clerk and removed to Carlinville to assume the duties of his office, which he held until 1876, serving two full terms. After that he was appointed Deputy County Clerk, and acted in that capacity two terms.
Mr. Burton was married in 1844 to Miss Cornelia R. Rider, a native of Illinois and a daughter of Justus Rider. She died in 1872, leaving two children, our subject and Henrietta W., who is the wife of Robert B. Shirley. Mr. Burton's second marriage was with Miss Sue Engliss, a native of Macoupin County and a daughter of Hiram Engliss. One child has been born of this second union.
Frank W. Burton, the subject of this biographical review, was in his twelfth year when his parents came to Carlinville to reside. His early education was gained in the public schools of bunker Hill. He subsequently entered Blackburn University and was graduated from that institution of learning in the Class of ‘76. His taste led him to adopt the legal profession and in January, 1877, he began his preparation for it in the office of Hon. C. A. Walker, with whom he read law, gaining a thorough knowledge of its fundamental principles, and in the spring of 1879 he was admitted to the bar. In the following June he opened an office at Carlinville and has been in successful practice here since that time. He was early called to important legal positions, for which he has shown himself amply fitted. In 1881 he was elected City Attorney at Carlinville, and served acceptably in that position one year. In 1884 he was elected States Attorney for this county, was re-elected in 1888, and is still an incumbent of that office, his constituents being satisfied that a lawyer of his calibre, legal attainments, resolute and decided character is the right man for so responsible a place. Politically, he is identified with the Democrats.
Notwithstanding the numerous cares of an extensive law practice and the demands made upon him by his official duties Mr. Burton, who is a true lover of fine horses, finds time to superintend his establishment for raising trotters, and he has a stud containing some of the finest strains in the land, of which he may well be proud. He is the fortunate owner of "Truce," 7,859, who was bred by R. P. Pepper, of Frankfort, Ky., sired by "Onward," 2:25¼, son of "George Wilkes," dam, "Racket," is another valuable mare owned by our subject. Both "Riot" and "Racket" are bred to "Elector," 2:21¼, son of "Electioneer." Mr. Burton also possesses "Ditto," by "Durango," (record 2:23¾), dam, "Lena River," (record 2:33), said to be by "Blue Bull." Mr. Burton has several other valuable mares by imported "Speculator", from "Gold Dust" dams, "Niblo," 10,014, sired by "Walsingham," 2,166, son of "George Wilkes," dam, "Miss Fanny,: dam of "Fugleman,: 2:28¾, by "Hamlet," 160, son of "Volunteer."
Mr. Burton was married in November, 1880, to Miss Anna Robertson, a native of Carlinville, and a daughter of Dr. William A. and Nancy Robertson, of whom a biography appears elsewhere. Mr. and Mrs. Burton have a charming home, wherein their many friends are sure to meet with a hospitable welcome from the gracious hostess and genial host. Three children complete their household - Cornelia R., Robert and Nanette.