Milton Burright (1815-1905)

Milton Burright was a born in New York state to Cornelius Burright and Olive Messenger. Part of an old and well established American lineage he lived a long and successful life ending his days in Illinois.

Schenectady before Milton Burright was born here (1750)

Milton Burright birth and early life

Milton Burright was born on Christmas Day 1815, near Schenectady, NY to Cornelius and Olive Burright. He was the second of two sons, Orrin being his elder brother. Whilst still an infant Milton’s father moved the family first to Cuyahoga County and then in 1823 to Licking County, Ohio where his mother dies in 1827 at the age of forty five.

Cornelius remarries a year later and Milton decides to make his own way in the world. He works for a season driving oxen on the Ohio Canal before moving to Franklin County at the age of 19. Here he finds work making brick, cutting cords during the winter to fire the bricks during the summer. Milton’s next move was to Van Wert County, Ohio in around 1834-35, where he bought a claim of 80 acres. This happened to be close to where his brother Orrin was living at the time, although at this point we have no evidence that the two residences were connected. Indeed, in researching the two brothers we have failed to find a direct link between the two apart from the evidence that they have the same parentage. Nonetheless, we do know that Joseph Warren Burright (Milton’s nephew) was born in Van Wert County in May 1833, just a year or so before Milton arrives there.

Having spent a short time in Van Wert County, Milton decided to travel and heads south to Mississippi and Louisiana. He spends the best part of eight years travelling between Illinois and Mississippi, spending the summers in the north and winters in the south. Having spent one summer in Grand Detour and another in Dixon (both in Illinois) he buys up land in Pine Rock Township, Ogle County, Illinois in 1838.


On 24 October 1839 Milton marries Susanna Drummond. She is the daughter of Andrew Drummond. Susanna and Milton have nine children before she dies on 4 August 1873, seven of whom survived her.

Milton’s second marriage was to Judith (Drummond) Rinker, the sister of his first wife, on 10 February 1875. Judith was previously married to Alhanen Rinker, who died near Oregon in 1855, they had four children who lived to maturity.

Milton Burright Later life and death

After returning to Illinois in 1839, Milton began to expand his farm until he owned over 1,000 acres. These he passed on to his children when he retired and purchased a lot in the town of Oregon,Illinois. He lived here with his second wife until his death on the 21 October 1905.


1. Milton Burright Biography, Oregon Township Newspaper, Illinois (pre 1905, no specific date given)
2. Milton Burright Obit, Oregon, Illinois paper (October 25, 1905)
3. The Biographical record of Ogle County, Illinois – By S.J. Clarke Publishing Company (1899) – Page 21