Biography of Napoleon B. Burge
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N. B. Burge, of Topeka, whose knowledge of real estate and commercial interests, and whose business ability, have brought him a particularly high standing in the state had lived in Kansas since boyhood and by hard work and ability he had earned the right to associate on terms of easy equality with the leading men of affairs in the state.
The Elmhurst Investment Company, the only concern of its kind in Kansas, was organized in the fall of 1910 by Mr. Burge. It was incorporated with a capital of $500,000, and its purposes were to buy and sell state, county and municipal bonds, farm mortgages, and to purchase, sell and develop real estate. Since then the Elmhurst Union Trust Company, performing a regular trust business and handling farm mortgages, had become an important adjunct to the original company.
This company is admitted to do business in four states, Kansas, Illinois, South Dakota and Florida. The company had laid out and developed Elmhurst Addition to Decatur, Illinois, Pinehurst Addition to Topeka, Elmhurst Addition to Concordia, Kansas, and is now developing Orangehurst in Orange County, Florida. Orangehurst is a community center and comprises over four thousand acres of land, laid out in ten acre lots, devoted to orange and grape fruit culture.
From its organization Mr. Burge had been president of the Elmhurst Investment Company, and the other officers are C. W. Horn and Louis P. Leach, vice president; and J. L. Buck, secretary. The directorate is composed of many of the prominent men of Kansas and practically the entire stock is owned by financial men of the state, chiefly bankers.
Napoleon B. Burge is a native of Indiana but he was born on a farm in the extreme northwest corner of that state near Chicago, in Porter County, on August 22, 1871. In 1878, when he was seven years of age, his parents John H. and Eveline C. (Blatchley) Burge moved out to Kansas, and established a home on a farm in Republic County, where his father lived until his death on May 8, 1914. The widowed mother now resided in Topeka. They were the parents of four sons and four daughters. The Burge family is of English ancestry, and had lived in America since 1682. The Blatchleys were Holland-Dutch, were connected in the early generations with the Royal family, and the first Americans of the name established a home in old Amsterdam, New York, about the time of the Mayflower pilgrimage.
Coming to Kansas so young, N. B. Burge received practically all his education in this state, and in 1887 completed a three years course in the State Agricultural College. He also read law, and for two years was connected with the Kansas Court of Appeals as secretary to Judge George W. Clark. After that up to 1895 he served the Santa Fe Railway in various capseities. Thus his range of experience had been unusually liberal and broad, and his fine natural talents have enabled him to make the best of his many opportunities gained by association with leading men and with important interests in this state.
In 1900 Mr. Burge engaged in the real estate, bond and mortgage business at Topeka. For four years he was a member of the firm of Burge, Harris & Company. Later he continued alone in the same line until organizing the Elmhurst Investment Company in 1910. In 1909 Mr. Burge built the Elmhurst Addition to Topeka, the most beautiful subdivision of the city. Associated with him in the undertaking were W. C. Glenn and E. C. Arnold.
While a man of intense public apirit, of great loyalty to Kansas and willing to do a yeoman’s share in developing community interests, Mr. Burge had only once consented to become a party candidate for an office. In 1912, when the republican party was split, he was defeated for the republican nomination for state senator by a narrow margin of eighty-seven votes. He is a member of the Topeka Commercial Club, in which he had served as vicepresident and director. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. On October 7, 1903, Mr. Burge married Miss Amelia Martin, daughter of George W. Martin, who for many years served as secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.