Biography of Ezra R. Burgess
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Ezra R. Burgess, a member of the Racine bar, practicing as a partner in the law firm of Gittins & Burgess, was born in Mount Pleasant Township, this County. September 13, 1873, and is a representative of an early New England family. His grandfather was Benajer Burgess, of Vermont, who in early manhood removed from the Green Mountain state to New York. After residing there for some time he arrived in Southport, Wisconsin, in 1836, and there operated a sawmill on Pike Creek but was not permitted to enjoy his new home, his death occurring soon afterward. His son, Alonzo Burgess, was born in Bennington, Vermont, and accompanied his parents on their removal to the Empire state. Following the arrival of the family in the west he engaged in the brick manufacturing business in Kenosha and afterward located on a farm in Kenosha County. At a subsequent date he removed to Mount Pleasant Township, Racine County, where for a number of years he successfully carried on general agricultural pursuits, but in 1880 retired from active, business life and removed to Racine, where he spent his remaining days in the enjoyment of a rest which he had truly earned and richly deserved. In early manhood he wedded Mary A. Buswell, a native of New Hampshire and a daughter of Ezra Buswell, of the Old Granite state, who in the spring of 1848 took up his abode in Paris Township, Kenosha County, becoming one of the pioneers of this section of Wisconsin. The death of Mr. Buswell occurred in Racine in 1902, while his widow survived until 1912.
Broad educational opportunities were accorded Ezra R. Burgess, who supplemented public school training by study in the Wisconsin State University at Madison, from which he was graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1896. He afterward entered the law department and completed his course there in 1898. He then opened an office in Racine and has since been a member of the firm of Gittins & Burgess. His life record stands in contradistinction to the old adage that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country, for in this district in which he has spent his entire life, Ezra R. Burgess has made steady progress in his profession and now occupies a position that is most creditable and enviable, proving his ability and its recognition on the part of his fellowmen. While he continues in the general practice of law he specializes to a considerable extent in municipal law.
On the 29th of July, 1909, Mr. Burgess was married to Miss Gretchen A. Rickeman, of Racine, a daughter of George A. Rickeman. She served as assistant librarian at Racine from the time the library was established until her marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Burgess have been born two children, Robert R. and John S., aged respectively five and two years.
Mr. Burgess belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Royal Arcanum. His political endorsement has always been given to the Republican Party and for the past ten years he has served as city attorney of Racine, making an excellent record in office as is indicated by the fact of his frequent re-election to the position.