John H. Burtis, Jr.

From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


wpe16.gif (146930 bytes)John H. Burtis, Jr., proprietor of the Hotel St. Charles, Hunter, N. Y., was born in Brooklyn, Long Island, October 24, 1869, son of John H. and Mary (Thompson) Burtis. His father is a native of Washington County, New York, and his mother was born in Nantucket, Mass. His immigrant ancestor came from Florence, Italy; and his great-grandfather Burtis and his grandfather, whose name was John, were natives of Washington County, this State.

John Burtis was a carpenter and builder and a manufacturer of sieves. In his latter years he removed to Hunter, where he carried on a large sieve factory until his death, which occurred in 1890. He was a justice of the Peace many years, was familiarly known as Squire Burtis, and he enjoyed the esteem of all who knew him. In his religious belief he was a Presbyterian. He married for his first wife Eliza Lee, a native of Washington County, and had a large family of children, of whom the only one living is John H., Sr. The grandmother’s death occurred many years prior to that of her husband.

John H. Burtis, Sr., was reared in Washington County. In 1845 he came to Hunter, and purchased a tract of land comprising three hundred and fifty acres, mostly covered with timber, which he at first used for sporting purposes, and later cleared for cultivation. For several years he conducted the stove and tinware business in New York City. After that he engaged in the dried fruit trade and still later in the wholesale drug and patent medicine business. At the present time he is a prosperous real estate dealer in Brooklyn, where he resides winters, his summer being spent in Hunter. His original residence here, which he built shortly after purchasing his property, he afterward enlarged for the accommodation of summer boarders; and it was conducted by his half-brother until 1882, when it was destroyed by fire. In 1883 the present large hotel was erected. For three years it was in charge of S. P. Van Loan, later in that of Mr. Scripture, and in 1892 John H. Burtis, Jr., became its manager.

John H. Burtis, Sr., is a Republican in politics. He was in the Assembly in 1875 and 1876, and is quite active in public affairs of Brooklyn. In Masonry he has advanced to the thirty-second degree. He has served as Deputy Grand Master, and belongs to the Mystic Shrine; is vice-president of the Union League Club, Brooklyn; and president of Aurora Grata Club.

His wife, Mary, is a daughter of James B. and Mary (Gardner) Thompson. Her father was a graduate of Yale and a well-known mathematician. He was the author of Thompson’s Arithmetics, and has written over forty different volumes, known as Thompson’s Mathematical Series, including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. He was at one time principal of an academy in Nantucket, Mass. During the latter part of his life he made his home in New York, where he died at the age of eighty years. His wife, May Gardner Thompson, who is still living, is now seventy-five years old. Mrs. Mary Thompson Burtis was educated in Brooklyn and at a young ladies’ seminary in New Haven, Conn. She is president of Memorial Hospital, Brooklyn, and is prominent in charitable work. She has had seven children, three of whom are living: Mary L., John H., Jr., and Grace L. Burtis. Charles Burtis, M. D., was graduated from the New York Homeopathic College, and at the time of his death was practicing his profession in Atlanta, Ga. Grace L. is a student at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie. The parents are members of the Congregational church.

John H. Burtis, Jr., began his education in the common schools of Brooklyn, and fitted for college at the Latin school. He was graduated from Columbia College in 1894, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and subsequently studied law. During the summer of 1893 he managed the Hotel St. Charles in Hunter, and since 1894 he has resided here permanently. This hotel, which is situated upon the highest elevation in the Catskill region, occupies a desirable location on what is known as Breeze Lawn Farm. The building is seventy-five feet front, one hundred and sixty-three feet deep, and four stories high. It had broad piazzas on three sides, and is equipped with all modern improvements, including passenger elevator and telegraph office. With the annex it has accommodations for two hundred guests. The table is supplies with fresh cream, butter, eggs, and vegetables from the farm connected with the house; and the service is of the best. Aside from the hotel Mr. Burtis manages Breeze Lawn, consisting of three hundred and fifty acres. He carries on a dairy, and sends his surplus products to market.

On October 9, 1895, Mr. Burtis married Zaidee I. Scribner, a native of Hunter, daughter of Peter H. and Agnes (Merwin) Scribner. Her father, who at one time was engaged in mercantile business in Catskill, is at present residing in Palenville, where he accommodates summer boarders.

Mr. Scribner originally came for Connecticut. He has had four children: Zaidee I., now Mrs. Burtis; George H.; Bertha and Merwin. Mr. and Mrs. Burtis are the parents of two children—Thompson H. and Grace Agnes.

Mr. Burtis is a Republican in politics, and has been quite prominent in public affairs. He belongs to the Masonic Order, being a member of Mount Tabor Lodge and the chapter in Windham. He attends the Methodist Episcopal church.


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