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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 257 [04-25-1882]

              [newspaper clipping]
		APRIL 25, 1882.
  With the death of General William Lothrop
Burt at Saratoga ended one of the most energet-
ic lives that ever had its field of action in Boston.
General Burt was born in Wilbraham, Mass., and
at the age of nine years his parents removed to
Ithaca, New York.  His early education was ob-
tained at the Ithaca Academy, of which his fa-
ther was the principal, and he entered Harvard
College in 1846.  During his youthful years he ex-
habited the same industry and persistency that
characterized his manhood.  In college he was
the classmate of Charles Hale, Joseph H. Thay-
er, T. Jefferson Coolidge; Hales W. Suter,
C. S. Lincoln, George M. Hobbs, Augustus
Lowell, H. R. Storer, George F. Richardson, A.
W. Boardman, James C. Carter and others who
stand and have stood high in important spheres
of active life.  He graduated in 1850, and after
passing a year at home he began a course of law
in the Dane school at Harvard.  Two years of
study and he entered the office of W.R. P. Wash-
burn, a distinguished lawyer of this city in 1853.
While in college he began to develop a taste for
great schemes, and among his early ambitions
was a plan for the draining of the lowlands in
central New York.  He formed a law partnership
with Mr. C. S. Lincoln in 1855, which
continued until 1859, and afterward practiced
alone two or three years.  While with
Mr. Lincoln, he was also associated with John A.
Andrew in several important suits, among which
was the defence in the British enlistment cases
when Mr. Crampton represented United States
interestes in London.  He was the projector of
the Suffoolk Horse Railroad, now merged in the
Metropolitan, and promoted other schemes in
and about Boston.  When Mr. Andrew became
governor, the exigencies of the war of the Rebel-
lion led him to call about him men of force, and
Mr. Burt was made judge advocate general of his
staff.  In this capacity his duties were varied and
important, and called him to every point in the
South where Massachusetts troops were engaged.
The governor�s appreciation of his abilities was
marked by every proof of confidence during
and subsequent to his term of service.  After the
war he passed a year in the South on plantation
business.  General Burt was postmaster of Bos-
ton during General Grant�s presidency, and he
was the projector and chief instrument in the
construction of the present post office and sub-
treasury building.  His positive course during
the progress of and after the great fire of 1872
will be well remembered, the result being several
law suits, from which he came out unscathed.  A
suit brought against him by Count Johannes for
alleged libel in characterizing the count as in-
sane while addressing a court, resulted in favor
of General Burt.  Among the enterprises whose
origin and completion are due to the foresight
and persistency of General Burt is the Utica,
Ithica & Elmira Railroad, which, after passing
through much financial vicissitude, is now a use-
ful line of traffic.  The last great scheme,
which engaged his individual attention when he
was stricken with paralysis, was the projection 
and promotion of the Boston, Hoosac Tunnel & 
Western Railway, which had long occupied his
mind, against almost unsurmountable obstacles,
as the true direct route between Boston and the
West.  Of this line he was president and mana-
ger.  General Burt was no less impressive as a
speaker than determined in action.  Discarding
in a measure the graces of rhetoric, he threw a
bold directness into his discourse that was at
once aggressive and convincing.  He never failed
to hold an auditory once secured, and he never
quailed in the face of the most powerful opposi-
sion.  He was twice married, first to Martha
Vinal, daughter of Robert Vinal of Somerville,
by whom he had one child; second, to Margaret,
her sister, who survives him, together with sev-
eral children.               
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