Erie County (PA) Genealogy
Faces & Biographies of those who left Erie County
William Burrows and Family
Written and Contributed by Beth Simmons
Harbor Creek Township coordinator Beth Simmons has extracted and transcribed several articles from John Miller, 1909, History of Erie County, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Chapter 35, “Notable People; Horace Greeley, Ida M. Tarbell, Senator Burrows and Others Who Went Away and Some Who Came,” p. 404-406. This is the extract for William Burrows.
William Burrows and family
family that has become notable, some of them attaining to distinction is that
of William Burrows, who in 1832 moved into Erie
county, settling upon a farm in the southern part of
North East. William Burrows was married in 1818 at Busti,
Chautauqua county, N. Y., and there six children, five
sons and a daughter were born, and this large family came with them when Mr.
and Mrs. Burrows moved into Erie
county. Two more children came into the family while living in North East,
“You were born in a log cabin on a farm in Northwestern Pennsylvania?” said the interviewer.
“Yes, on the side of a hill in Erie county. My father built a new house when I was a child which I thought to be remarkable commodious and elegant. Even when we moved into it with our belongings- there were ten of us in the family, seven sons and a daughter – it seemed entirely two large and oppressively lonely. I went back to look at the old house several years ago, keeping its stately proportions in mind as I had always remembered them, but I couldn’t find it. I saw a weather-beaten little hut of one and a half stories, with three rooms down-stairs and an unfinished attic. I was distressed and amazed to learn that it was the imposing palace of my childhood. My six brothers and I worked on the farm and attended district school in the winter.
“We left North East in the early spring of 1850 and bought a farm in the famous 19th District of Ohio, which was represented in Congress by Joshua R. Giddings, and at a later day by James A. Garfield, and which was also the home of Senator Benjamin F. Wade, the furious abolitionist. We were very poor. Money was scarce. Markets were few and far apart. Farm products had to be traded to merchants for calico and other goods. I got a little money by peeling apples and drying them in the sun. I milked five cows twice a day, and walked three miles to an academy at Kingsville. One winter I did chores at a man’s house for my board. Then I got a room at the academy, sweeping the building and ringing the bell for my tuition. My mother gave me a bed and a box stove, and I did my own cooking.
“I worked hard, but it was a contest with poverty all the time. The young men of today don’t know what it is to fight for an education, and those who are clothed and fed and given every opportunity by their fathers are utterly unappreciative. I found that I was making no headway, and went to Jefferson, the county seat, where I was engaged as principal of the village schools. The children of Wade and Giddings were among my pupils, as were the sisters and brothers of William Dean Howells, the novelists. My salary was too small to remember.”
Mr. Burrows moved to
he the only notable individual of his father’s family, or alone in the brave
and determined struggle to make progress. They were all of the same blood, and
the same fibre. They were all true and typical
American citizens, and all imbued with the same quality of patriotic devotion.
The oldest of the brothers, William R., died in
This page was last updated on Friday, November 21, 2008 .
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