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William H. Burgan
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Birth: Jun. 26, 1826
Lee County
Virginia, USA
Death: Apr. 14, 1911
Pleasant Grove
Olmsted County
Minnesota, USA

W.H. Burgan is one of the few remaining old settlers of Olmsted County. His slivery locks and faltering footsteps tell us that ere long he will "pass within that tent whose curtain never outward swings". In no way can we so well communicate such heroes of the olden time as by imitating their virtues and preserving inviolate the blessings guaranteed unto us in the civil, educational, and religious institutions founded and fostered by their wisdom and self sacrifice.
He was born in Lee County, Virginia, on June 26, 1826, a son of Isaac and [Sarah] Ellen Burgan, and a nephew [brother] of Yelverton P. Burgan. All these natives of Virginia, and the latter was among the first to settle within the present confines of Olmsted county.
Isaac Burgan was descended from German ancestry. He served in the war of 1812 and was a participant in the Bloody Run engagement. He learned the cooper's trade, which he followed until his death in 1839.
W.H. Burgan, the subject of this sketch, left home after the death of his father and began life's battle as a farm hand, first receiving $5 a month for his services and later $10. For a number of years he traveled throughout the Middle West, finished his schooling with a two years' collegiate course at Oskaloosa, Iowa, and served two years in the Union army.
In 1851 he married Ellen Collins [Ellinor], and having saved considerable money, which he carried in a belt about his body, bought, for $500 cash, a sixty-acre tract of Iowa land, upon which he located and began improving. From this time on he bought farms as his judgment warranted. In 1854 he disposed of his holdings in Iowa, and coming to Olmsted County, Minnesota, pre-empted a quarter section of land from the Government, in Pleasant Grove Township. At that time wild animals were more plentiful than domestic ones, and Indians were as frequently to be seen as white men. Here Mr. Burgan built his cabin in the wilds; here he grubbed, cleared, and improved, passing through the transition period of primal conditions to modern conveniences, and here he raised his family to honest, industrious manhood and womanhood.
As time passed his worldly means increased until he became one of the most prosperous men in the county. He took an equal part with his neighbors in the support of all laudable public enterprises, and while not seeking political preferment has filled local positions with credit as becomes the duty of all good citizens.
His wife, who shared with him his struggles and privations for fifty-three years, passed away on January 2, 1906. They were the parents of ten children, named as follows; John Wesley, deceased; Sarah M., now Mrs. Brown; Abigail J., Mrs. Bentley; Mary F., Mrs. Olcutt [Outcalt]; Anna E., Mrs. Smith; Edward R., Luman S., Jesse W., Lydia, and Laura, the last named being dead. The old homestead is now owned by Luman S. Burgan who, with his sister Mrs. Sarah M. Brown, now operates it.
Mr. Burgan, the father, resides here, passing his declining years in peace and with the full knowledge of a well spent life. He is a member of the Christian church and is a Republican in politics.

"The History of Olmsted County" 1910

Transcribed by g'g'g'granddaughter of William H. Burgan, Kathy Pike
January 2008
William H. Burgan

William H. Burgan, son of Isaac and Ellen Burgan was born June 26, 1826, Lee County Virginia. At the death of his father William left home for employment. He was a farmhand receiving five and later ten dollars per month above ‘keep' which meant meals, a place to sleep (not always a room or bed) and what laundry was considered necessary. Gradually he worked his way west, finished school and two years of college at Oskaloosa, Iowa. He served two years in the Union Army. With savings of $500.00 carried in a money belt about his body he purchased 60 acres of Iowa land.
On November 13, 1851 he married Ellinor Collins. She was born August 12, 1832 in Putman County, Indiana, the daughter of John Collins. She had moved with her parents to Clayton County Iowa. In 1854 William H. Burgan and wife sold the Iowa property, pre-empting 160 acres of government land in Minnesota Territory. This was the SW ¼ of section 22 in Pleasant Grove township, Olmsted County.
The ground based covered wagon was home for more than three months until land was cleared and logs hewed fir erection of a log cabin. More frequent visitors than white men were Indians, rattlesnakes, timber wolves, and wild creatures of the forest. A gun and axe were ever near at hand for self protection. Cleared, grubbed and cultivated, the Burgan farm, like others in the community became one of the most productive and prosperous. The log cabin gave way to a fine frame house erected on an elevation slightly north of the original home. Members of the Disciples of the Church of Christ in Pleasant Grove, active in civic and Republican affairs, the family enjoyed respect of neighbors.
Ten children were born to this marriage, John Wesley, married Kate Freeman; Sarah Margaret, (William Brown); Abigail J., Cornelius Bentley); Mary F., (Charles Outcult); Anna F., (____Smith and later Melvin Gwynne); Edward R., (_____); Luman S., (Pearl Clark); Jessie W., (Clara Owen); Lydia and Laura died in infancy.
Ellinor Collins Burgan died January 2, 1906. William H. Burgan died April 14, 1911. Wife, husband and infant daughters were laid to rest in Union (Evergreen) Cemetery at Pleasant Grove. The infants had been moved from the Burgan Cemetery to the family lot at Evergreen Cemetery. The son, Luman S. Burgan purchased the family farm on which his father spent fifty-seven years.

"Research History of Pleasant Grove Township" 1960 pg 441-442
Written by Belva Du Mez Bernard

Transcribed by Kathy (McAlister) Pike
g'g'g'granddaughter of William H. Burgan


William was the son of Isaac and Sarah Ellen (Woodward) Burgan, and the husband of Ellinor Collins.
He was one of the founding fathers of Pleasant Grove. 
Family links: 
  Isaac Burgan (1786 - 1839)
  Sarah Ellen Woodward Burgan (1796 - 1875)
  Ellinor Collins Burgan (1832 - 1907)
  Sarah Margaret Burgan Brown (1855 - 1925)*
  Abigail J. Burgan Bentley (1856 - 1935)*
  Mary Frances Burgan Outcalt (1860 - 1930)*
  Luman S. Burgan (1867 - 1939)*
  Jesse W. Burgan (1870 - 1952)*
  Mary Polly Burgan Trotter (1814 - 1867)*
  Jessie W. T. Burgan (1820 - 1901)*
  Lydia Burgan Plummer (1822 - 1905)*
  Yelverton Patin Burgan (1823 - 1899)*
  William H. Burgan (1826 - 1911)
*Calculated relationship
Pleasant Grove Cemetery
Pleasant Grove
Olmsted County
Minnesota, USA
Plot: 2 11 2
Created by: K. Pike
Record added: Apr 30, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10874274
William H. Burgan
Added by: K. Pike
William H. Burgan
Added by: K. Pike
William H. Burgan
Cemetery Photo
Added by: K. Pike
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- A. Mahan
 Added: Feb. 7, 2013
In memory of my g'g'g'grandfather Wm. H. Burgan.Gone but not forgotten.
- K. Pike
 Added: Nov. 24, 2006

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