Pueblo County, Colorado
J. Knox Burton

Contributed by Jean Griesan.

J. Knox Burton, chief of the fire department of Cripple Creek, was born in New York City, November 15, 1859. His education, which was unusually thorough, was obtained in public schools primarily, and afterward in the College of the City of New York and the law department of Columbia College, from which he graduated. After completing his law course he engaged in practice in his home city for two years. In 1884 he came west to the San Luis Valley of Colorado, settling in what is now Monte Vista, and for two months acting as attorney for T. C. Henry, a prominent resident of the valley. He then bought the San Luis Valley Gazelle, which he published at Monte Vista for three months and at La Veta for six months. At the same time he taught school for a few months. Going from La Veta to Pueblo, he accepted employment as instructor in bookkeeping, penmanship and law in the Pueblo Institute.

Upon the failure of the school in the spring of 1885, Mr. Burton turned his attention to the real-estate business, remaining with C. H. Small & Co., until the fall of 1885, when he took a position with the Pueblo Chieftain. In 1886 he was made city editor of the paper, which position he retained for almost six years. His object in coming to Cripple Creek in February, 1892, was to write up the then new mining camp for the Chieftain. At the same time he carried on a cigar store. April 17, 1892, he organized the first volunteer fire department of the camp and was made its chief. During the same year he was elected a member of the board of aldermen of the place. As an alderman he took part in the consolidation of the towns of Fremont and Cripple Creek. In the fall of 1893 he was chosen justice of the peace. Two years later he was the Democratic candidate for county judge, but was defeated. In February, 1896, he was the prime mover in the organization of West Cripple Creek, of which he was elected the first city attorney. April 28, 1897, he was chosen assistant chief of the fire department of the consolidated city, and on the 8th of December of the same year he was elected chief, which position he has since filled. By his marriage to Miss Lenna L. Cummins, of Pueblo, in March, 1888, Mr. Burton has two children, Dorothy and J. Knox, Jr. Soon after he became twenty-one years of age he was made a Mason in Tabernacle Lodge No. 598, A. F. & A. M., of New York City. He was a charter member of Mount Pisgah Lodge No. 96, of Cripple Creek, and is now worshipful master of the lodge. He assisted in the organization of the Masonic Club of Cripple Creek. Pueblo Lodge No. 90, B. P. O. E., of Pueblo, and Cripple Creek Lodge No. 316, B. P. O. E., number him among their charter members. Of the latter lodge he served as the first exalted ruler. He represented it in the grand lodge in 1896 and 1897, and is now secretary of its board of trustees.

Extracted from "Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado," published by Chapman Publishing Company in Chicago in 1899.

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