Jean La Rue Burnett, whose early death was greatly deplored, and whose career as a lawyer and statesman had shown much promise for the future, was a son of Perrine Burnett, a veteran of the civil war, son of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Mead) Burnett. Perrine Burnett married Harriet E., daughter of Edwin and Eliza (Barto) Rowley. Edwin Rowley was a son of Judah Rowley. a pioneer of Ontario county.
Jean La Rue Burnett was born in Canandaigua, Ontario county, New York, January 10, 1871, died at Albany, New York, February 27, 1907. He was a student at the Union School and at Canandaigua Academy, from which he was graduated in 1889. He then commenced reading law and later became a student in the law department of the University of Michigan, and was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1892. He was unusually gifted with journalistic and literary genius and was a contributor in both prose and verse to periodicals in all parts of the United States. He passed the examination of the supreme court of Michigan and was admitted to practice in January, 1892, and to the bar of New York, March 30, 1893. His political affiliations were with the Republican party, and he was one of the five organizers of the American Collegiate Republican League, which gained national reputation for the influence it exerted in the presidential campaign of 1892. He was honored by that organization by being selected as its toastmaster on the occasion of its first annual banquet, and the eloquence of his introductory address brought him so conspicuously to the notice of Governor Alger and Governor McKinley that when the national campaign opened, upon the recommendation of these gentlemen, the state committee of New York appointed Mr. Burnett as one of its regular speakers, and his subsequent addresses gained for him a name as an orator of marked ability. He was chief clerk of the assembly revision committee, and in 1898 was elected member of assembly and was continuously re-elected to that office, which he held at the time of his death. The fact that Mr. Burnett was nine times nominated and elected with practical unanimity to the assembly, a record never before approached by a representative of Ontario county in that body, evidences better than words the esteem in which he was held by the people who knew hint best.
Mr. Burnett married Margaret, daughter of John and Harriet A. (Jarvis) Gillette, of Canandaigua, New York. Two children: Margaret, born April 8, 1903; Jean Le Rue, February 26, 1907.