from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
William Burnside, of Oskaloosa, is president of the Hawkeye Lumber Company, owning and operating eighteen yards in the state. He is a native of Guernsey county, Ohio, born in 1842. His father, James Burnside, was the son of William and Margaret Burnside, who, emigrating from Ireland, settled near Londonderry, Guernsey county, Ohio, where the father followed the occupation of farming. James Burnside was given good school advantages and engaged in teaching for several years in his early manhood. In 1845 he moved with his family to Keokuk county, Iowa, going via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Keokuk, and the rest of the way overland by team. The family passed through the trials of the pioneers in this state, having to build their own log house after reaching their destination, and to split rails for all fencing that was done. The father died in the following February at the age of thirty-five, leaving the wife and four children, the eldest a girl of eight years. In the face of entreaties on the part of relatives to have her return to Ohio and her friends, Mrs. Burnside decided to take up the battle for existence and the raising of her family, single handed in the new country. Enduring the most severe privations and hardships because of straitened financial circumstances as well as the peculiar trials incident to pioneer life, she succeeded not only in giving each of her children a good common school education, but in bringing them up along the very strict religious lines which had been followed by her Scotch Irish ancestors. She was one of thirteen children of Robert Wilkin who was one of Ohio's Scotch Irish pioneer farmers. She died in 1865, at the age of fifty-three. Her strong character and the heroic way in which she uncomplainingly met the task of raising her four small children in this new country, under such trying conditions, made a lasting impression on them, and had a very large bearing on their lives. William Burnside attended the country schools of Keokuk and Washington counties, and also an academy in Washington, Iowa, and likewise pursued academic work in Monmouth, Illinois, attending the latter institution after the war. He also pursued a commercial course in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1868. At the age of twenty years he enlisted in Company A, Twenty-fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, August 20, 1862. He served with that regiment until January 23, 1864, when he was transferred to the Fifty-first United States Colored Infantry and was mustered out June 16, 1866, as first lieuenant at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was with Sherman's command until after the siege of Vicksburg and was continuously on active duty. When the war was over he returned to Washington, Iowa. In September, 1868, Mr. Burnside came to Dskaloosa and opened a real estate, abstract and loan office, purchasing the only set of abtract books in Mahaska county from Charles A. Croney. He rented from the county part of Lhe recorder's office for seventeen years which was at that time in the rear room of the building now occupied by the Mahaska County State Bank. In eight years he sold his abstract books, but continued in the realestate business for some nine years more. On account of failing health he engaged in raising stock and bought and shipped horses. In 1888 he turned his attention to the lumber business, purchasing the lumber yard of C. Taylor & Company, at Oskaloosa. In 1891 he admitted his son, Ralph H., as a partner. In December, 1901, the business was incorporated as the Hawkeye Lumber Company with William Burnside as president; Z. W. Hutchinson, of Muscatine, vice-president; H. H. Hutchinson, of Osceola, secretary; H. S. Howard, of Oskaloosa, treasurer; and Ralph H. Burnside, general manager. On the 23d of December, 1868, William Burnside was married to Hannah A. Henderson, who was born in Ohio in July, 1846, and is a daughter of John A. and Elizabeth A. Henderson, who came to Iowa in 1854 and located in Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Burnside had eight children, of whom Ralph H., the eldest, is represented elsewhere in this work. Charles H. is now assistant professor of mechanics and engineering in the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Mary Hortense is the wife of Irving C. Johnson, an attorney at Oskaloosa. Harry H. died in infancy. John H. is a traveling buyer for the Old Oregon Lumber Company at Seattle, Washington. Elizabeth H. is attending the State University of Illinois at Urbana. Margaretta H. is a student in Penn College. Alice H. is studying music. All seven of the children are graduates of Oskaloosa high school. The family are members of the United Presbyterian church. Mr. Burnside has been an elder in the church for about thirty years and for twenty years was superintendent of the Sabbath-school. The law of destiny accords to energy, industry and ability, success, and the truth of this is verified in the life of Mr. Burnside. In his business affairs he has shown wisdom and perseverance. His life has been one inviting scrutiny and his career with its success may well serve to encourage others.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy