Clifford Michigan
Lapeer County
History of Lapeer (prominent men and pioneers)
H.R. Page & Co Chicago 1884 Pg 196

The township of Burlington, described in government survey as township 10 north, of range 11 east, lies on the northern line of Lapeer County. It is bounded on the north by Tuscola County, on the west by the town of Rich, on the south by North Branch and on the east by Burnside and Sanilac County. It is agriculturally one of the best towns in the county, having a gently rolling surface and a fertile soil, generally a clay loam. But one entry of land was made in this town prior to 1858. This was by Tomlinson Wells in section 81, Jan. 16, 1837. Entries of land were made August 17, 1853, by Ralph C. Smith, in sections 19, 29, 30 and 31; but no entries appear to have been made for actual settlement until 1854. Among the earliest settlers were William O. Smith, whose wife is said to have been the first white woman in the town and to cross the north branch of Flint River, William Burnett, James Day, Charles Ballard, Henry Seaman, Elisha Durphy, David Congdon, Jonathan and Edmond Spencer, Lucius M. Lyon, George Nightingale, Robert Stafford, Nicholas Soper, Alonzo Buckley, Jonathan D. Kennedy, William Bentley, William Clark, Reuben Dickinson, William Kennedy. Among these the entry of William O. Smith in section 33, dated April 25, 1854, is the earliest.

At a very early date death invaded the thin ranks of the pioneers, taking the father of George Nightingale in 1854. The body was carried about fifteen miles by hand upon a bier and then conveyed by team to Lapeer for burial.

The first person to be buried in the new cemetery of the town was Thomas Seaman, brother of Henry Seaman. He died March 7, 1857.

The first, birth was Carlton, son of William 0. Smith, in 1855. He is not now a resident of Burlington.

The first marriage was of William Edwards to Ruth, daughter of Edmond Spencer, by Esquire Ballard.

The first religious services were conducted by Elder Matthew McLain, a Baptist minister, at Nicholas Sopor's house, in 1855.

The text was John, fourth chapter, twenty-fifth verse: "Say ye not. There were yet four mouths and then cometh harvest. Behold, I say unto you. Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; they are already white to harvest." There were about thirty persons present, coming from many miles around.

The first services of the Methodist Episcopal Church were held by Elder Tuttle and a class organized in 1856. Services have been regularly held ever since, much of the time by Elder Henry Seaman, one of the earliest settlers, and whose name is thus prominently identified with the religions, as it has been with the civil history of the town.

Another pioneer preacher of Burlington was Elder Jesse Shaw, a Baptist preacher, who settled on section 8 in 1856, and of whom the following story is related. The elder was one Sunday on his way to hold services in the south part of the town when he met Christopher Middaugh, a mighty hunter in the laud, with a saddle of venison on his back. "You are in luck, Uncle Christ," said the elder. "Yes," Mr. Middaugh replied, "and I have got meat to work on through the week." Then, perhaps fearing rebuke for his Sunday hunting, he hastened to inform the elder that he had left the fore quarter for him, pointing back to the spot where be had killed the buck. It is said the elder's sermon was short that day, for he was out of meat and anxious to secure his prize.

There is as yet no church edifice in Burlington, though it is expected that one, and perhaps two, will soon be constructed. The Methodist Episcopal class has services every alternate Sunday in the McKillop school-house, under charge of Rev. George Walker, of North Branch. Services are also held in Oatman's Hall in tho village of Clifford.

The Baptist denomination holds services every other Sunday- in the McKillop school-house, also at Clifford: preaching by Elder Parmenter, of North Branch.

North Branch Grange No. 607, of the Patrons of Husbandry, is an active and prosperous organization, having a membership of thirty-four. It meets once a month at the house of Peter Stiver in the town of Burlington. Its officers are, Harrison Bradshaw, master; Emery E. Owen, overseer; Nathan Stover, secretary; Garrett Teller, treasurer.