Biography - Fred Burnett

FRED BURNETT, one of the leading grocers and dry-goods merchants at Vienna, is one of the most shrewd and enterprising business men of Johnson County. He is a native of Ohio, born on a farm near the town of Ravenna November 25, 1854. His father, Charles M. Burnett, was also a native of Ohio, having been born in Vernon, Trumbull County, January 27, 1827. The paternal grandfather of our subject was the Rev. John Burnett, a Methodist preacher, and also a pioneer farmer of Ohio. He was born in New Jersey December 2, 1800, and his parents were William and Mary (Walker) Burnett. When a young man he went to Ohio, journeying with teams, and for a part of the way had to cut a road through dense, primeval forests. He resided in Trumbull County some years, but his last days were spent in Portage County, where his death occurred October 6, 1878. The maiden name of his wife, to whom he was married December 5, 1823, was Harriet Merry. She was born in 1801, and died in 1864.
The father of our subject was reared and married in his native State, Margaret, daughter of John Henry, becoming his wife. He had been reared to agricultural pursuits, and for some years followed dairy farming successfully, but engaging in the oil business when it was first started, he was unfortunate in his investments and lost the most of his property. In 1862 he came to Illinois to begin life anew, and for two years was actively employed in farming on rented land in this county. Removing at the expiration of that time to Vienna, he became a mail contractor, and soon entered the livery business, in which he continued a few years. During this time he bought land, and in addition to his other business, farmed. He resided in Vienna until his death, April 2, 1881. His first wife, who was a native of Ashtabula County, Ohio, died in March, 1869, leaving four children: Frank, Fred, Helen and John. He was again married, and had a daughter, Ethel, by the second marriage.
Our subject was a boy of eight years when the family removed to Illinois. He assisted his father until he was twenty-one, and then commenced clerking in a drug store and in the Postoffice for F. M. Simpson, with whom he remained three and a-half years. May 30, 1830, he went into business on his own account as a grocer, and has continued in that line ever since. He carries a large stock of the best groceries to be found in the market, and has a fine trade both in the village and in the surrounding country. His energies arc by no means confined to this branch of business, as in 1884 lie opened a store for the sale of dry and fancy goods, and has conducted it ever since, it being well patronized by the people, who appreciate the advantages of such an establishment.
Mr. Burnett was married in 1879 to Miss Elizabeth Fields, who was born in Alabama, and was an infant when her parents removed from that State to McCracken County, Ky., where she was reared. Mr. and Mrs. Burnett have one child, Cora Margaret. The family is highly esteemed, and they have many warm friends in the community. The wife and daughter are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Burnett was a charter member of Vienna Lodge No. 218, K. of P., with which he is still identified. In politics, he is a sound Republican.

Extracted 16 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 145-146

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