Biography of Fred Burris

Fred Burris of Wichita is county poor commissioner of Sedgwick County. He has been a resident of that city ten years, and previously had acquired an extensive acquaintance in Kansas as a traveling salesman.

Something more than passing mention should be made of his administration as county poor commissioner. He has introduced new methods and system and has given distinction to his method of handling the routine cases which come under his jurisdiction. For many years he has taken a deep interest in charity work and in his trips to other cities and other states has observed how the problems incident to the care of the poor were solved and handled. In his present office he is thus putting his previous experience and observation to practical use. For one thing, Mr. Burris has inaugurated a tabulated system showing a complete record of each individual case of the 1,100 families who are helped through his office each year. This system requires the co-operation of the superintendent of schools, the United Charities and the police department and has been the means of accomplishing a maximum of good at the least possible cost to the county. Another special policy of his deserves attention. In the case of school children who are in need of clothing, shoes and other supplies, if their parents were unable to secure these necessities for them, Mr. Burris has furnished such supplies, but has bought new apparel instead of second hand goods. This is a decided departure from an old established custom, and his office is probably the only one in the state that has put this reform into practice and its merits and advantages are too obvious to need explanation.

Fred Burris is a Missourian by birth, born in Livingston County, March 1, 1864. He was liberally educated, attending Avalon College and the State University at Columbia. On leaving school he spent a few years in the cattle business at Avalon, and then entered the services of a Kansas City, Missouri, lumber firm as traveling salesman. For a number of years he traveled over Kansas and other states selling lumber to retail dealers.

In December, 1906, he moved to Wichita and soon afterward established a local collection agency, which he made a profitable business and conducted for a number of years. He was appointed county poor commissioner of Sedgwick County in February, 1913, and is now giving practically all his time to the management of this office.

Mr. Burris is a republican, and in 1912 served as secretary of the Republican County Central Committee. He is a member of nearly all the fraternal societies, including the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Improved Order of Red Men.

On May 15, 1889, he married Mary Hayes of Avalon, Missouri. They have one daughter, Lucy.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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