Biography of Belden D. Burt
The subject of this sketch is one of the pioneer merchants of Riverside, and is the senior member of the firm of B. D. Burt & Brother. This is now the oldest mercantile firm in the city, having been established in 1875, and been continuously in business since that time. The first brick block erected in Riverside was that occupied by Mr. Burt, on the corner of Main and Eighth streets. For many years he conducted a general mercantile business, but in the later years, has confined his business to dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, etc. Mr. Burt’s partner in his business is his brother, Benjamin Franklin Burt, and it is safe to say that there is no business firm whose standing is higher in the community than B. D. Burt & Brother, nor is there one that has inspired more confidence or gained a heartier support than this firm. The brothers are well known, and their years of dealing has been characterized by honest, straightforward business principles. Their word has ever been as good as the strongest bond; their name is synonymous with integrity and stability for years before the advent of banking institutions in Riverside. They were made the custodians of the funds of their customers, and even now their books show a large list of depositors.
The subject of this sketch was born in Orange County, New York, in 1823. In his youth his parents moved to Chemung, and later to Steuben County. Mr. Burt was reared to farm life, and educated in the common schools until seventeen years of age; he then entered into mercantile life as a clerk. He remained in his native State until 1849. The gold fever then claimed him as a victim, and he started in the spring of that year, via the Isthmus route, for the El Dorado of the West. He left New York March 3, but it was not until the 8th of June that he arrived in San Francisco, having been compelled to seek the port of Callao, after crossing the Isthmus, in order to secure a vessel to San Francisco.
Soon after his arrival in that city he struck out for the mines, and located in Placer County. He spent one season in the mines, and then engaged in business in Sacramento. With the exception of a visit to the East in 1852, Mr. Burt has spent twenty-five years in the northern counties of the State, principally in Placer, Nevada and Napa counties, during which time he was engaged in mercantile enterprises and other industries. He is well and favorably known throughout the mining districts. In 1875 he decided to seek a home in Southern California, and selected Riverside as combining the most desirable lands of any locality he could find. He was a firm believer in the future of Riverside, and has always been hearty and liberal in the support of the many enterprises that have tended to build up his chosen city. He is the vice-president of the Riverside Land and Irrigation Company. One of the incorporators of the Riverside Fruit Company, and the president and manager of the company from 1883 to 1885. He was one of the projectors of the Riverside Public Hall Association.
In the establishing of the municipal government of Riverside Mr. Burt took a prominent part, and was the first city treasurer elected in the city. In political matters he is a straight Republican, and has taken an active interest in the affairs of his party in whatever community he has been, serving in county and State conventions. He was for several years the Postmaster of North Bloomfield, Nevada County, and in 1873 was chosen as the Republican candidate for the Legislature of the county. He is a member of Riverside Lodge, No. 282, and Star Encampment, No. 73, I. O. O. F., of Riverside.
Mr. Burt married, in 1853, Miss Irene M. Badger, a native of Boone County, New York. There are no children from this marriage.