Having attained an eminent position in the financial world and risen to the chief executive office in Marion, Illinois, the Hon. John H. Burnett may be classed among the representative citizens of the southern part of the state. As president of the Marion State and Savings Bank he has carefully conserved the interests of the depositors, and in the capacity of mayor he has administered the affairs of the city with the same ability that has characterized his business dealings. Mayor Burnett is a product of Williamson county, and was born September 29, 1844, a son of Thomas H. and Nancy (Parks) Burnett.

Thomas H. Burnett was born in 1813, in Wilson county, Tennessee, and came to Williamson county during the early 'thirties', spending the remainder of his life in agricultural pursuits and passing away in 1875, in the Crab Orchard neighborhood, where his brother James also reared a family, the rural neighborhood becoming known as the “Burnett


Settlement.” Originally a Democrat, he later became a Republican, but his life was spent in the quiet vocation of fanning and he never entered the stormy field of politics. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Nancy Parks, was a daughter of Hugh Parks, whose forefathers were North Carolinians, from which commonwealth he himself came to Illinois. Mrs. Burnett died at the age of sixty-two years, having been the mother of the following children: George, lieutenant in the One Hundred and Tenth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil war, and later a merchant and farmer in Williamson county, where he died in 1886; John H.; Milo, who served in the One Hundred and Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteers during the rebellion, spent some years in the mercantile business and died in Kansas during the eighties; Leander also an agriculturist of this county; Eliza, who died single; William F., deceased, and Sarah, the wife of Rolly Carley, resides in Williamson county.

The youth of John H. Burnett was spent in much the same manner as other farmers lads of his day, and when the Civil war broke out he, like his brothers, was fired with patriotism and desired to serve his country. He did not succeed in enlisting, however, until May, 1864, at which time he became a private in Company F, One Hundred and Forty-fifth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, his immediate commanders being Captain Evans and Colonel Lackey. His command rendezvoused in camp at St. Louis and dropped down to Cape Girardean, Missouri, later on and was discharged without reaching the front. Mr. Burnett's service covered some five months, and after leaving the army he taught country school for a time, but eventually settled down to farming, in which he was engaged until coming to Marion in 1887. As a dealer and shipper of live stock and a buyer of grain he enjoyed a measure of success, and in 1886 he was elected to the office of sheriff of Williamson county, succeeding Mr. Hartwell Duncan. After serving one term he again engaged in business, and he subsequently held the office of special agent of internal revenue, with headquarters at St. Louis. The voters of Marion elected him mayor in 1895, and he has since served capably as a member of the school board and the council, and again in 1911 he was chosen as the chief executive of Marion, The Republican party has found him an able and influential leader in this part of the county. He became identified with banking as a member of the firm of Denison & Burnett, a private institution out of which grew the Marion State and Savings Bank, of which Mr. Denison was president until his death in 1908, at that time Mr. Burnett becoming president.

In March, 1866, Mr. Burnett was married to Miss Mary A. Davis, daughter of Thomas Davis, a pioneer of Williamson county, and the following children have been born to this union: Misses Delia and Eliza, who reside in Marion; Senator O. Herman, who was one of the leading members of the Williamson county bar and state senator at the time of his death; Lillie, who married Frank Throgmorton and resides in Harrisburg; Amy, who married Harry McIntosh, of Marion; Estella; and Bertha, who married Philip Cline, of Marion, The family is connected with the Missionary Baptist church.

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