My Dear Alexanders:
As Burden is approaching the 48th anniversary of her founding, I am sending the enclosed data, as recorded in the Early History of the State of Kansas, hoping it will be of interest to you and your patrons.
With Kindest Regards
Mrs. D. Collins
In the early history of Kansas, Burden is described as the child at the railroad in-as-much it came to the railroad rather than the railroad coming to it. In 1879 the town site of Burden was surveyed by a town company consisting of R. F. Burden, Ford, and Leonard, O. B. Gunn and T. K. Johnson. R. F. Burden was the chairman of this company and the town was so named in compliment to him. The ground for the site was purchased from Isaac Gatton and, Finley Graham.
The Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern Kansas, Railroad was completed, February 1, 1882, and the town was established and the population increased rapidly for a period of time. The first store building was occupied by Ford and Leonard with a stock off general merchandise. The second building was occupied by Hooker and Phelps, druggists and the third was the Post Office building. The first birth In the city was a daughter born to Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Hooker. The first marriage was that of: Mr. James H. Woods and Miss Hattie Smith. The first death was that of Mr. Wm. Schooling who was building a store room, and passed away before its completion. The first physician of the town was Dr. J. M. Wright and I. S. Moore was the first attorney. Prior to the founding of the town, a Post Office had been established at Moscow, with L. W. Hogue-as Postmaster, this was moved to Burden and E. A. Henthorn became the first Postmaster of Burden. A school had been conducted one mile north of the chosen townsite and this was also moved onto the site in 1881, and the instructors were Mr. E A. Millard and Miss Mattie West, who were succeeded, by Mr. T. J. Rude and Mrs. Mary A. Rude in 1882. The school enrollment was 150. Both the Methodist and Baptist people were holding services in nearby school houses before the town was established. The Methodist church's first pastor was the Rev. C. W. Commons who was followed by the Rev. J. I. Knight whose picture still hangs on the wall of the present church as a cherished token of that early day pastorate. The first Sabbath school of the town was organized by the Methodist Church with an enrollment of 75 and J. H. Phelps Superintendent.
The Baptist Church's first pastor was the Rev. Thomas who was followed by the Rev. Firestone, and in 1882 had a membership of 20. The Church of Christ was organized by the Rev. Shively of Lane, Kansas, with a membership of 35. The A. O. U. W. Lodge was organized February 2, 1882 with 35 members and E. A. Millard as M. W.
The first hotel was owned by J. H. McCumber, then came the Hisler House managed by Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Hisler, and later the Summit House owned by S. S. Moore.
The first newspaper was the Enterprise established by D. O. McCray in 1880-its form was 6 column folio-patent outside; in 1882 it had 900 circulation. J. W. Henthorn was editor and it was strictly Republican in politics.
Silver Creek township was organized in 1873 from parts of Omnia and Tisdale Townships and in 1882 had a population of 857. Cowley County derived its name from Mathew Cowley, 1st Lieutenant in Company I Ninth Kansas Cavalry, who died at Little Rock, Arkansas, in August 1864. The county was organized on February 28, 1870, and at that time had upwards of 600 in habitants and in 1882 had a population of 20,500.
R. F. Burden President
Ed Reed Secretary and Manager
Joe Henderson Treasurer
J. F. Stodder Vice President
The board of directors was made up of farmers in the trade territory.
The first fair was financed by collections from business men and a 25 cent charge for admission ( kids free ) at the gate, race horse entries, drink stands, doll racks, etc.. The business men shared in the expenses by covering any losses. This was seldom more than 2 to 4 dollars each. Attractions in the early days were Professor Killebrew and his balloon ascension and Para shoot leap, the first horseless carriage and the first air plane. Camens Military Band was an attraction for several years. Also a band from Fredonia. Families would come as far away as the Indian Territory and the Strip. Later on in years the Rodeo became popular, but was unknown when the first fairs were held.
In 1902 the City Building was built at the cost of $2000.00 Noah McDonald was the carpenter and George Gray did the stone work.
The sidewalks were first built in 1904 by B. E. and A. H. Burns at 14 cents a foot.
1905 brought about the first Telephone Franchise owned by John Harris and M. Ester. Company of Missouri and Kansas Telephone Company.
1906 A. P. McBride and T. N. Barnsdall brought natural gas to Burden. Company of Western Distributing Co. This brought about the first street lamps put at various corners in town.
1908 Burden purchased a Chemical Fire Engine and apparatus. At this time Fireman were paid 25 cents per fire run.
1910 The city joins the Kansas League of Municipalities. W. A. Hodges requested permission of the city council to open a Pool Hall in Burden. A petition was presented to the council asking them to reject the request with 132 names of voters on the petition. Discussion followed with a committee selected to talk with Mr. Hodges about withdrawing request. The committee offered him $100.00 to withdraw the request which he said was not enough he wanted $200.00. The amount of $135.00 was settled upon.; Request withdrawn.
1911 The City water works was brought into the city with the supply coming from Silver Creek.
1914 The Fire Alarm Bell which still stands was purchased at a cost of $40.62. This was the way people were called in around the country to answer all emergency calls.
1923 Was the year the Burden Fire Department was organized. Members were; C. E. Tredway, J. R. Galyon, Dick Alexander, E. L. King, R. F. Bill, A. G. McCormick, W. A. Brooks, J. B. Pickens, D. C. Cummingham with Nelson Gibson as Chief and E. L. Gann Assistance chief.
1924 An agreement was signed with the City of Winfield to supply Burden with Electric power by connecting to the electric line which supply Dexter. Burden owned all the lines, lights and other electric equipment which was later sold to the City of Winfield.
1936 Burdens first motor powered Fire Truck came to be. A 1934 Truck owned by the City was transformed into the Fire Truck which is still in Burden but no longer used for fires.
Some weeks ago a contract was made between city officials of Burden and Mr. Kerr of the Kerr Municipal Supply Co of Independence, Kansas, whereby the city's Chevrolet truck was to be converted into a fire truck. The work was done at Columbus and the truck delivered to Burden Wednesday afternoon. Nov. 18, 1936. In the first place the truck proper is not exactly new as it was purchased by the city some few weeks ago and used about the city. The truck chassis was taken to Columbus, Kansas, where the bed and equipment was installed. The bed is constructed of steel and besides the storage will hold 1000 feet of regular hose. A 400-gallon per minute centrifugal pump complete with drive and unit is mounted on the front. A special cooling system has been installed to keep the motor cool while operating the pump. Two 10-foot lengths of 2.5-inch suction hose are mounted on one side and one 14-foot roof ladder with folding hooks and one 26-foot extension ladder, equipped with rope hoist on the other side. The ladders are finished in natural color and mounted on brackets with quick release clamps. One 2-quart carbon tetrachloride and one-foam 2.5-gallon fire extinguishers are mounted in clamp type quick opening receptacles on the side. Other equipment includes: Two electric moisture proof F. D. lanterns in holders. One electric siren horn or flusher siren. One F. D. axe in brass holder. One F.D. crowbar in brass holder. One running board flange for carrying nozzles. One running board flange for carrying strainer and hydrant connection. One brass play pipe with shut offs and swivel handles. One nozzle tip. One double female hydrant, connection. Two electric searchlights mounted on dash. Two electric searchlights mounted on rear standards of body to furnish light for handling hose after dark. One ten foot pike pole with holders. 1 large toolbox mounted on running board. One brass nickled cap for suction of pump. Two brass nickled caps for discharge of pump. One brass suction strainer. One 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 siamese connection. One 200 gallon steel booster water tank, absolutely rustproof. Tank attached to pump so contents can be pumped thru chemical hose. Tank rectangular in shape and mounted in front end of hose body in special sheet steel tank compartment. One large filling opening into tank, equipped with quick filler. One strainer mounted in filler opening. 150 ft. standard ,black covered 4 ply water hose. One chemical hose reel. One heavy brass shut-off chemical nozzle and tip. There are to be a few changes in the equipment now on the truck as some of it does not correspond with the agreement between the company and city officials.