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John W. Burton was born in Lawrence County, Indiana, November 29, 1842. His father, Eli Burton, is a native of North Carolina, and is now in the seventieth year of his age; his grandfather, John H. Burton, was a native of Virginia. Eli Burton migrated to Indiana, when a young man, bought a farm. on which was a small log house, and there the subject of this sketch was born, and there his father continues to live, but the log cabin has given way to a handsome modern residence, surrounded by the broad acres of a well-improved farm, instead of the thick, heavy timber of the early days. Upon this farm, J. W. Burton and his eight brothers were reared, and taught habits of thrift and industry, working in the summer and attending school in the winter. This school was taught in a log cabin of contracted dimensions, two miles distant from the old homestead, and there our subject received the elementary foundation of his education, which he afterward completed at the University of Michigan, where he graduated, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Laws, in 1868.
At the breaking out of the war, in 1861, although but eighteen years of age, he volunteered for the defense of the Union, enlisting as a private in the Fiftieth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, served three years, and was promoted corporal for meritorious conduct. He participated in all the many battles and skirmishes iii which his regiment was engaged, in Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, which included the battles of Mumfordviile, Camden, the taking of Little Rock, and others. He was mustered out of the service at Mobile, Alabama, in March, 1865, and returned home, where he began to read law with A. B. Carlton, of Bedford, Indiana. One year later he entered and graduated at the State University, at Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the spring of 1868, as before mentioned, and in the fall of the same year came to Missouri, located at Carrolton when he was admitted to the bar, and still remains a member.
He found the inactivity of a law-office irksome, and determined upon entering the dental profession, and at once applied himself to the study. In 1872, having acquired a proficiency in his chosen calling, he removed to Gallatin and opened an office, where he has, by diligence and attention to his profession, succeeded in obtaining a lucrative practice. Dr. Burton is public spirited, and keeps thoroughly informed as to the passing events and political history of the day. He received the nomination of his party for probate judge in 1880. Dr. Burton’s practice is extensive, and is not confined to Daviess county, but extends in the surrounding counties of DeKalb, Gentry, Harrison, Grundy, Caldwell and Livingston.