SAMUEL B. BURT
††††††††††† An enumeration of those men of the present generation who have won honor and public recognition for themselves, and at the same time have honored the state to which they belong, would be incomplete were the failure to make prominent reference to the one whose name appears above.† A native of New York, Samuel Blane Burt was born in Corning, Steuben County, on the 16th of September, 1828.† At an early date in the history of Springfield, Massachusetts, his ancestors, natives of England, located there, the progenitor of the family in the new world being Henry Burt.† He took up his abode in Springfield in 1638, and served as one of the selectmen of the town.† Our subject is a representative of the eighth generation of his descendants.† The great-grandfather, Benjamin Burt, became one of the pioneers of Orange County, New York, where occurred the birth of Belden Burt, the grandfather.† Benjamin Burt, our subjectís father, was also born in that county, and when he had reached manís estate he married Miss Dorcas Ackerson, a native of that locality and a descendant of one of the prominent Knickerbocker families of the Empire state.† They were Baptists in religious faith and were industrious farming people.† They became the parents of eleven children, only four of whom now survive.† Both the father and mother died in their seventy-eighth year.† Belden Burt, their eldest surviving child, now resides in Riverside, California.
††††††††††† Samuel B. Burt, the next in the family, was educated in Alfred College, near Allegany, New York. †During his youth he remained on his fatherís farm assisting in the work of field and meadow with the exception of the time passed in school.† At the age of seventeen years he began teaching and followed that profession for three years ere his emigration to California.† The year 1850 witnessed his arrival on the Pacific coast.† He sailed from New York on the steamship Georgia and after traveling on foot across the Isthmus of Panama he took passage on the steamship Columbus, bound for San Francisco.† On the 7th of June he arrived at the Golden Gate and thence made his way to the Sacramento River and by steamer to the city of Sacramento, going afterward to Salmon Falls, in El Dorado County, with a company of twenty who had a claim in the riverbed.† There he engaged in placer mining for about a month and by the 1st of October had taken out one thousand dollars, his companions being equally successful.† He then came to Placer County and located a mining claim seven miles below the town of Auburn, near where the Loomis is now mined.† There he engaged in a search for the precious metal for a short time with fair success, after which he joined others in the building of a sawmill and began the manufacture of lumber, which at that time was worth two hundred and fifty dollars per thousand feet.† The enterprise had hardly been started, however, before the price dropped to twenty-five dollars.† Mr. Burt continued the operation of his mill for eight years and then went to Bath, where he engaged in merchandising for fourteen years.† On the expiration of that period his building and its contents were destroyed by fire, the loss amounting to twenty thousand dollars.† After this disaster he turned his attention to quartz mining at Bath, but the new venture proved unprofitable, although he is still the owner of the mine, which has since produced about one hundred thousand dollars.
††††††††††† Mr. Burtís fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, called him to public office and he was elected a member of the board of supervisors for Placer County.† His course there was so commendable that in 1873 he was elected a member of the state assembly, and was later chosen to represent his district in the state constitutional convention, where he assisted in formulating the present organic law of California.† Subsequently he was chosen by popular suffrage for the office of state senator, in which capacity he served two years, ably representing his district.† An incident worthy of mention in connection with his election is that he made no canvass for the office and did not spend one dollar in treating, something unusual in California.† As a legislator he gave close and earnest study to every question which came up for consideration, and when his mature judgment sanctioned a measure he earnestly labored for its adoption.
††††††††††† Tiring of public life, he again turned to general merchandising, opening a store in Auburn, which he has since successfully conducted.† His honorable business methods, his reasonable prices and unselfish dealing have secured him success, yet he has met many obstacles.† On the 20th of September, 1898, two of his warehouses were destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of five thousand dollars.† He is a man of marked perseverance and courageous spirit, however, and these qualities have enabled him to work his way steadily upward.
††††††††††† In 1874 occurred the marriage of Mr. Burt and Miss Ruth Augusta Eastman, a native of New Hampshire.† Their union has been blessed with one daughter, Sarah Willis, who is now in school.† They have one of the pleasantest homes in Auburn and are among the most respected and prominent citizens of that place.† He has ever been a stalwart Republican since casting his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont, and in political circles he has attained prominence, which is a merited recognition of his ability.† He has long been recognized as a leader in public thought and opinion and his influence in the legislature of the state has been beneficial.† He has a wide acquaintance among the most prominent men of California and is held in the highest regard.† After a pure, honorable and useful life, actuated by unselfish methods, prompted by patriotism and guided by truth and justice, he may, in the evening of life, rest assured that the people of his county are not unmindful of those who have devoted themselves to its interests.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010† Gerald Iaquinta.