Burton, Elias Black, Hon.
as found in
HISTORY OF
BENNINGTON COUNTY, VT


WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.

EDITED BY
LEWIS CASS ALDRICH
1889



BURTON, ELIAS BLACK, HON., was born in the town of Rupert on the 3d of May in the year 1816, and was the fourth of nine children born to Nathan and Charlotte (Graves) Burton, both of whom were highly respected residents of Rupert, the mother being a daughter of Dr. GRAVES of that town, a leading physician of his time. Young Elias was given the advantages of a good education in the district schools of the town at first, but afterward was under the instruction of judge Aiken, then of Manchester, afterward of Massachusetts, by the latter preparing for college. He also attended one term at the Royalton Academy, and later at the Bennington Academy, and in 1833 entered the Middlebury College for a regular classical course of four years. In 1837 he was graduated from that institution. He then went South and passed about a year, engaged in teaching at Carrolton, Ala., but at the expiration of that time returned to his home in Rupert.

The next year, 1839, our subject is found in Troy, in the office of Lawyer Wilson as a student, determined to enter the legal profession, but after four months he went to Salem, N. Y.; and there entered the law office of Allen & Blair, with whom he continued until his admission to the bar at the General Term of the Supreme Court held in May, 1842. In 1843 the young lawyer came to Manchester and formed a law partnership with Counselor A. L. Minor of that place, with whom he was associated until the year 1851, Mr. Minor then leaving off practice to enter upon the duties of the office of representative in Congress, to which he was in that year elected. From that time until 1854 Mr. Burton practiced alone, but in the year last named he took a partner in the person of Samuel Seward Burton, the cousin of our subject, who afterward became prominent as one of the leading and most successful lawyers and business men of LaCrosse, Wis., to which place he emigrated in 1857. Then, after a period of practice alone Mr. Burton formed a partnership in 1866 for law practice with Loveland Munson who had then but recently been admitted to the bar of the State, and who had prosecuted his legal studies in the office of our subject. This latter co-partnership relation continued until the spring of 1888, when the senior partner felt justified in retiring from the onerous and burdensome duties of active professional life.

As has already been stated it was in the year 1843 that Elias B. Burton began his professional career in Manchester, the north half-shire town of Bennington county, but his subsequent practice was not by any means confined to this locality alone. As a lawyer, whether young or old in the profession, he always applied himself diligently to its labors, and at an early day assumed, and to the time of his retirement maintained a leading position among the profession's ablest members. In the conduct of his legal business he was methodical and cautious, without being laborious. He discountenanced rather than promoted litigation, and in his intercourse with his clients mature deliberation always preceded council. He rarely indulged in rhetoric and never in ostentatious display, but addressed himself to the understanding of his hearers instead of appealing to their passions, and approached whatever subject he had in hand with dignity, self-possession, and in the light of principle and common sense. Upon all the political issues of the times he has entertained clear and well settled convictions and is perfectly frank and outspoken in the expression of them. His sentiments have been and are emphatically conservative -- naturally inclined to adhere to the established order of things, and not easily drawn into the advocacy of any of the isms of the day.

Naturally enough a man of his prominence could not well avoid being drawn into the arena of politics, yet he has by no means been an office-seeker. In 1849 he was elected State's attorney for Bennington county, and held that office one year. In 1855 he represented the town of Manchester in the State General Assembly, and in 1836 and 1857 in the Sate Senate. In 1865 he was elected to the office of Probate judge, and filled that position for twelve consecutive years. In 1860 John W. Stewart and Elias B. Burton were appointed delegates to represent the first Vermont Congressional District at the National Republican Convention held at Chicago, and at which Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the presidency of the United States, and it is to this last named event anti his connection therewith that Judge Burton looks back with feelings of the greatest pride and satisfaction.

On the 13th day of December, in the year 1842, the same year in which he was admitted to the bar, Elias B. Burton was married to Adeline M. Harwood, of the village of Bennington. Of this marriage there have been born six children, three of whom are now living, the other three having died in infancy.


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