Biography of Will R. Burge

Will R. Burge. Trained faculties and an enlightened understanding are necessary requisites of a newspaper man in these modern days. The responsibility resting upon the man in eharge of the policy and editorial branch of a newspaper is heavy and should not be lightly assumed. From the time of the discovery of the art of printing, the power of the Fourth Estate has been great, and fortunate indeed is the community whose newspapers are directed and controlled by men of real worth, integrity and knowledge. In Will R. Burge, the City of Cherryvale has a newspaper man of this enlightened class. As proprietor and editor of the Cherryvale Republican he is doing much to forward the interests of his community, and under his management the sheet is becoming a power in Southeastern Kansas affairs.

Mr. Burge was born in a log house in the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, October 18, 1880, and is a son of S. B. and Josephine (Grubb) Burge. The Burge family originated in Germany, where the name was originally spelled “Buradge,” and during the days preceding the American Revolution was founded in this country, one of the early members settling in Ohio. John Burge, the grandfather of Will R. Burge, was born in Ohio, and for many years followed farming in Paulding County, Ohio. Although past middle age when the Civil war came on, he enlisted in a regiment of Ohio volunteer infantry, and met a soldier’s death on the field of battle while wearing his country’s uniform. John Burge married Mary Meeks, who was born in 1817, in Ohio, and they became the parents of five children, namely: Reuben, who taught an Indian reservation school and died in Oklahoma; S. B.; Mary Ellen, who is deceased; John, who died on the home ranch in Oklahoma, where he was living with his mother; and W. W., who lives on a ranch near Pontotoc, Oklahoma.

S. B. Burge was born in 1840, in Paulding County, Ohio, received his education in the public schools and was reared on the home farm. He was married in his native locality and for some years engaged in farming there, but in 1879 went to the Chickasaw Nation, where he homesteaded a claim and resided until 1887. In that year he came to Kansas, and for about fourteen years was engaged in cultivating the soil near Burlington, but in 1901 retired from active pursuits and moved into the city, where he now resides. He took part in much of the early development of this locality and Oklahoma and experienced many of the hardships incident to pioneer life, but by hard work and good management succeeded in the accumulation of a property that insures his comfort in his declining years. Mr. Burge is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a man universally respected for his honorable and straightforward dealing, as well as for his good citizenship and his fidelity to friendships. He was married in Paulding County, Ohio, to Miss Josephine Grubb, who was born in that county, in 1847, and they became the parents of six children, as follows: Franklin S., who died in infancy; Geddes M., who died at the age of twenty-six years, at Siloam Springs, Arkansas, having for several years been a farmer in Coffey County, Kansas; Mary, who married Oharles Knoblock, a farmer and ranchman of Coffey County, Kansas; S. A., who is a contractor at Burlington, Kansas; Will R.; and Minnie, who died at Burlington, at the age of nine years.

Will R. Burge was educated in the public schools of Burlington, where he was graduated from the high school with the class of 1899, and in the following year gained his first newspaper experience in the printing office of the Burlington Courier. During the four years that be remained with that paper, he became thoroughly familiar with the mechanical department of newspaper publication, and in 1904 started on a trip that took him through California and to various towns along the Pacific Coast, working at the printer’s trade. Mr. Burge returned to Kansas in 1906 and secured the position of foreman with the Cherryvale Republican, and in the years that followed became more and more interested in it, until July 1, 1914, he purchased the paper and plant and became its owner and editor, it having been formerly owned and edited by H. J. Powell. The Republican was founded in 1871 and conducted merely as a weekly until 1898, when it became a dally, although the weekly has not been abolished. As its name indicates it supports the grand old party and is one of the chief adherents of republicanism in this part of the state. The plant, at No. 104 East Main Street, is equipped with the most modern presses and machinery, making possible the issuing of a clean, attractive and well-printed paper. This circulates freely in Montgomery and all the surrounding counties, and is sent in every direction in the country. Mr. Burge gives his readers clean and up-to-date news matter and editorials that are timely and virile. Local movements for advancement always find support in the Republican’s columns. Mr. Burge is a stanch republican, and a member of the Baptist Church. Fraternally, he is affiliated with Cherryvale Lodge No. 137, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and also holds membership in the Commercial Club, in the work of which he has been active.

On October 20, 1906, at Cherryvale, Mr. Burge was married to Miss Katheryn Patterson, daughter of A. W. and Elizabeth Patterson, the latter now deceased and the former a resident of Kansas City, Kansas. To this union there have been born two children: Madeline, born August 29, 1907, and now attending the Cherryvale public schools; and Josephine, born June 10, 1916.



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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