Judson Burhans

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


Judson Burhans, junior member of the enterprising firm of Borst & Burhans, Cobleskill, N. Y. millers, manufacturers of buckwheat, wheat, rye and graham flours, and custom grinders of general feed, is a well-known business man of this town. He was born the first day of January 1849, in Carlisle, Schoharie County, which was also the birthplace of his father, John Burhans.

The emigrant ancestor of the Burhans family emigrated from Holland to the State of New York in the seventeenth century. Mr. Judson Burhans’s grandfather, Peter Burhans, spent the early part of his life in Greene County, New York, whence he removed to Carlisle with his parents. He married Annie Hummel, the descendant of a Dutch family of Greene County, and was the father of eight children, of whom two are yet living. His wife died in Carlisle at the age of threescore and ten years.

John Burhans, son of Peter and father of Judson, received his education in the district schools of Carlisle, and on the parental farm was well drilled in the various branches of agriculture. Deciding to make farming his life occupation, he purchased the old homestead when he became of age, and from that time until his death, at the age of seventy-six years, carried on general farming most successfully. He married Lavinia Loucks, who was born in Carlisle, the daughter of Peter Loucks, a well-to-do farmer, and descendant of an early settler of the town. Six children were the fruit of this union, namely: Judson, the subject of this brief sketch; Andrew; Melvin; Peter; Romeyn; and Walton. Mrs. Burhans is still living, and active woman of seventy years. She is a member of the Lutheran church, to which her husband also belonged.

Judson Burhans attended the district school until fifteen years old, when he began working out as a farm laborer and carpenter’s apprentice. After learning the trade he worked at carpentering in the summer season and taught school winters for ten years, finding time also to fit himself for a book-keeper at Cobleskill for a while, and then went to Albany, where he was engaged as a commission merchant from 1882 until 1886, when he disposed of his business in that city and returned to Cobleskill. Buying an interest in the Cobleskill mills, he has since, with the co-operation of his partner Mr. Borst, materially increased the capacity of the plant, which now produces on an average one hundred barrels of buckwheat flour, fifty barrels of rye flour, and forty tons of feed every twenty-four hours. These gentlemen make a specialty of buckwheat flour, which they manufacture from a number one grain, bought directly from the producer; and for the past few years they have sold the wholesale and retail dealers in all parts of the Union large amounts of their "Sure Rising Buckwheat," which is pronounced by the trade to be one of the most popular on the market, rivaling Hecker’s, the Martha Washington, and the I. X. L. brands.

On July 24, 1878, Mr. Burhans married Miss Mary E. Becker, one of six children of Francis Becker, formerly a miller in this part Schoharie County, but later a resident of Berne, Albany County. She was born and educated in Gallupville, a village not far from Cobleskill. Mr. and Mrs. Burhans have two children—Frank J. and Ella Floy, both of whom are in school.

Fraternally, Mr. Burhans belongs to the Albany Lodge of Odd Fellows. He also joined the Improved Order of Red Men while living in that city. He was one of the incorporators of the Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Bank of Cobleskill, and is one of its directorate. In politics he is independent, voting with the courage of his convictions for the best men and best measures, regardless of party ties. He attends the Methodist Episcopal church, of which Mrs. Burhans is an active member.


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