The following data is extracted from Biographical Sketches, Coles County, Illinois - Mattoon Township.
William Burgess, manufacturer and dealer in boots and shoes, Mattoon; was born in North Molton, Devonshire, Eng., Oct. 12, 1827; he emigrated to America in May, 1849; for two years after coming, he followed his trade in Syracuse, N. Y.; he subsequently lived at various points in New York, Cortland, Elmira, Tioga Point, Bath, Corwin, Addison, etc. In the spring of 1855, he returned to England remaining one year. In 1856, he returned to America, stopping for a season in New York; thence to Pennsylvania; thence back to New York. In June, 1857, he went to Canada, remained but a short time, and next went to Michigan; thence to La Fayette, Ind., from there to Covington, Ind.; thence to Decatur, Ill. During these years he followed his trade. In May, 1860, he came to Mattoon and opened up his present store. He is the oldest established boot and shoe merchant in the city. He was married in November, 1862, to Agnes Evans, a native of England; three children have been born to them-Mary E., Emily F., living; Jennie, deceased; they have also an adopted son- Richard, owns forty acres in Mattoon Tp.; also two business houses and a residence in the city. Is at present a member of the City Council.
Source: Biographical Sketches, Coles County, Illinois - Mattoon Township