Harvey Burgess Smith
Biographical Record and
Illustrated Compendium of Biography
Compendium of Local Biography
Including Biographical Sketches of Hundreds of Prominent Old Settlers
and Representative Citizens of
BUTLER, POLK, SEWARD, YORK, and FILLMORE COUNTIES, NEBRASKA
Geo. A. Ogle & Co.
Publishers, Engravers and Book Manufacturers
by Joan Brower
Harvey Smith Burgess presents a striking example of what
can be accomplished by persistent attention to business and unflagging industry.
He has a home on section 5, Reading township, Butler county, and under his
fostering care it has become a model farm. It is carefully tilled, made to
produce abundantly and in the quality and value of the crops it yields compares
favorable with any other tract in the county.
Mr. Burgess is a native of the state of New York, and his childhood home was Greene County, among the Catskill mountains, where he first inhaled the vital air in 1819. He came of an old New York family, and by both paternal and maternal lines of ancestry is related to some of the prominent people of the early days of the country. His father, David Burgess, was born in New York in 1778, and his mother, Abigail Ayers, was born in the same state in 1783. She was a granddaughter of a prominent Quaker, Samuel Adams, and was herself a lady of much refinement and force of character. He spent his childhood and youth in his father’s house and did not leave New York until he reached the mature age of forty-four years. He went to Michigan in 1863, and followed farming a number of years. But he was not satisfied with the outlook of that state, and decided to go further west. His first intention was to settle in Kansas, but through the influence of a friend, S. W. Rising, he decided to change his destination and locate in Nebraska. He came into Butler county alone, but was soon joined by his family. He located on section 4, Reading township, in the month of March, 1871, and immediately put up a modest shelter – a house 12 x 16 feet, and only six feet high. At that time this was an exceedingly wild country. There was not a house in sight, not as much as a tree to break the monotony of the prairie line. He built the first house in the township of Reading, and did not long lack for neighbors. Settlers rapidly followed his advent, and presently the county was quite fully populated.
Mr. Burgess was married in Greene County, New York, January 30, 1844, to Harriet C. Brewer, a daughter of Samuel Brewer, and a granddaughter of James Whitney, who was an old Revolutionary soldier. The fruits of this union are eight children – Minerva, Josephine, Eugene, George W., Giles, DeWitt C., Anna and Ada Idell. Minerva Taylor lives in Missouri and Josephine Hill in Rising, Nebraska, which is also the home of her two brothers, George and DeWitt C. Anna Catlin is in Missouri and Ada Bowman is in Butler county. The Brewers were an old Holland family and exhibited many of the best traits that have made their blood vital to the progress and honor of the nation.
His first wife died October 3, 1878, and he was again married May 12, 1880, to Mrs. Mary S. Dille, whose maiden name was Mary Paulus; she was a native of LaGrange county Indiana. They have two children by this marriage – Harvey S. and Omer D. They belong to the Methodist Episcopal church of Rising City. In politics Mr. Burgess is a stanch Republican.