Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Their Own Words: George Burton

This biography was written by Mary Elizabeth Ransom, the wife of George Burton, after his death. The piece was edited by Lynn Ransom Burton on 7 February 1988.

George Burton was born 2 June 1875 at Bountiful, Davis County, Utah, the
son of George Burton and Mary Ann Johnson. He was the fourth child in a family of six, four boys and two girls. He was the oldest living son - James Thomas, another son, having passed away in England before they emigrated to America.

George's parents were early emigrants from England, having come to America
for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the year 1868. His father
worked on the Salt Lake Temple for many years as a stone mason, and George
related of times when he took his father's lunch to him and played with the
other boys around the temple grounds.

There were two sisters older than he - Sarah Ann and Mary Ann - both born
in America. In the following years, two more boys came to bless the little
family. In order of birth, they were: William Johnson Burton and Caleb Johnson

George was baptized 17 June 1883 by Anson Call, and was confirmed a
member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 17 June 1883, by
David O. Willey. When George was sixteen years of age his father passed away
leaving a wife and family and he, at an early age, left home and took up work
of caring for sheep to help support the family. He had attended district
school and was a very good student. He was ordained in the priesthood to the
office of deacon by Chester Call. He was taught to pray by his parents, and
if he prayed in faith his prayers would be answered. He has told us many
times of an incident that happened when he was a young boy. His father had
given him a horse which he valued very much. One night he put it in a small
alfalfa pasture for the night. In the morning he went for his horse and
couldn't find it anywhere. After walking the area several times, he kneeled
down and prayed to his Father in Heaven for help in locating his horse. On
arising to his feet, there stood the horse a short distance from him. That
and other such incidents gave him a strong testimony and strengthened his
belief in prayer.

About the winter of 1891 or 1892, he took the job of caring for Hyrum
Stewart's sheep and came to Idaho, going on the desert at Kelton, Utah in the
winter and returning to Idaho in the spring, where it was much cooler and
the feed for sheep was better.

On 6 April 1893, George and I became acquainted and after a courtship of
six months, were married 13 October 1898, in the courthouse in Salt Lake City, and later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. About a year after our marriage, Will (William) and Caleb, his two brothers, came to live with us, their mother having passed away in the spring of 1898, and they made their home with us until they were married.

George and I were parents of a large family - six boys and seven girls.
In order of birth, they are: Ethel, George R., Mary, James R., William R.,
Vera, Orella, Rulon R., Mildred, Elvina, Willis R., Lincoln R., and Delma.

About three years after our marriage on 6 July 1901, George was ordained
an Elder by Chester Call at Chesterfield, Idaho. Then on 21 August 1901, we
went to the Salt Lake Temple and were sealed as man and wife for time and all
eternity. George was ordained a Seventy in August 1908 by Seymour B. Young.
George held many positions in the Cleveland Ward, Cleveland, Idaho. He was a
Ward Teacher for many years, and would travel by horseback to do his teaching, riding a distance of about twenty miles, winter and summer. Many times he has left home before daylight to attend priesthood meeting at Grace, Idaho, and wouldn't get back until after dark, as the only way he had of traveling was with horses and buggy, or horseback, and Grace was twenty-five miles from his home. He also served as Sunday School teacher and President of the YMMIA. When the Wilson Ward was organized on the Divide, he has chosen as second counselor to Bishop James A. Ransom. George was a High Priest and set apart as second counselor in the Bishopric, by Orson F. Whitney, 20 August 1916.

I have heard George relate many times of a dream he had. He said that
a person came to him and said, "I am the original George Burton." George said
it wasn't his father or anyone he knew in this life. Also, the individual
wrote something in the sand or dust with his finger. It was so plain that
George thought he could remember it, but getting busy with his work, it
slipped from his memory and he could not recall what had been written.

Besides being a kind and loving father to his family, he was always ready
to help others. I can remember many times he has been called out in the night
to go to the store, which was five miles away, for something for the sick.
Although he had to go on a horse, as there were no cars in those days, the
distance was never too far nor the weather too bad that he did not go when
he was called. He was well thought of and revered by all who knew him. He
had a posterity of ten living children, five boys and five girls, thirty-nine
grandchildren and fifty-five great grandchildren to live and cherish his

George was killed by a horse in an accident on 4 March 1944, while on
the desert working with Foss and Mecham Sheep Company. Funeral services were held 9 March 1944 in the Cleveland Ward Chapel, Cleveland, Idaho. Burial was in the Cleveland cemetery beside three of his children, who preceded him in death.

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