It is an important duty to honor and perpetuate, as far as is possible, the memory of the eminent citizen—one who by hisblameless and honorable life and distinguished career reflected credit not only upon his city and state, but also upon the whole country. Through such memorials as this at hand the individual and the character of his services are kept in remembrance, and the importance of those services acknowledged. His example, in whatever field his work may have been done, thus stands as an object lesson to those who come after him, and though dead he still speaks. Long after all recollection of his personality shall have faded from the minds of men, the less perishable record may tell the story of his life and commend his ex ample for imitation.
Mr. Burrall, who was for many years prominently identified with the business interests of Rock Island county, was born April 13, 1815, in Canaan, Connecticut, of which state his parents, Edward and Lucy (Hunt) Burrall, were also natives. They had three children—Edward, of this review; Dr. George W.; and Mrs. Lucy Crane, now a resident of Beloit , Wisconsin . In early life the father was a merchant, but later turned his attention to banking. His last years were spent in Beloit , Wisconsin . The paternal grand father aided the colonies in their struggle for independence during the Revolutionary war.
Our subject was reared at Stockbridge, Connecticut , and was a schoolmate of Cyrus W. Field, who laid the first Atlantic cable. After leaving home he clerked in a store at Troy, New York, but in 1836 came to Mercer county, Illinois, to engage in fann ing as bis father had offered him four eighty- acre tracts there if he would cultivate and improve them. lie continued to follow agricultural pursuits until 1849, when he was stricken with the gold fever, and rented his land; going to California , where he engaged in mining for about nineteen months. On his return to Illinois he spent a short time in Henry county, and then purchased a store in Edgington, Rock Island county, where he successfully engaged in mer chandising until 1859. In that year lie came to the city of Rock Island and carried on the same business until the spring of 1865, when he sold out. He accumulated considerable property, was one of the organizers of the quilt factory, was a stockholder in the Rock Island Stove Manufactory and the watch factory, and a director in the Rock Island National Bank. He also owned several farms in Henry county and had a wide reputation as a most capable financier. Straightforward and honorable in all his dealings, energetic and progressive, his remarkable success in business affairs was certainly well deserved.
On the 13th of Jane, 1843, Mr. Burrall was united in marriage with Miss Ann Caroline Jack, daughter of Captain Charles and Ann (Robertson) Jack, both natives of Scotland, the former of Aberdeen and the latter of Edinboro. Five children graced this union, two sons and three daughters, namely: Charles E,, now a resident of Chicago; Arthur, of Rock Island; Mrs. Mary Montgomery; Grace Caroline, wife of George P. Frysinger, of Rock Island; and Alice, wife of Manuel M. Briggs, of the same city.
Although not members of any religious denomination, Mr, and Mrs, Burrall attended the Episcopal Church. He was a Knight Templar Mason, belonging to the Evert Commandery, and was a stanch Democrat in politics. At one time he served as justice of the peace in Mercer county, and was postmaster of Edgington for several years. As a public-spirited, progressive citizen, he took an active interest in the affairs of his community, did all in his power to advance the general welfare, and was the founder of the Library Association in Rock Island. On the 26th of April, 1876, he departed this life at the age of sixty years and thirteen days, but his estimable wife still survives, and like her husband is beloved by all who know her.
Captain Charles Jack, the father of Mrs. Burrall, was a finely educated man, having completed a collegiate course at the early age of sixteen years. Entering the British army, he was commissioned lieutenant at the battle of Waterloo when only seventeen. His father was for sixty years connected with King's College of Old Aberdeen, Scotland, serving as professor for the Erst twenty years, and later as principal of that noted institution. He died at the advanced age of ninety years.
Of a roving disposition, Captain Jack traveled extensively, and previous to his marriage made a trip to South America to aid the people in one of their wars, but became disgusted with their patriotism and returned home on the next ship. Crossing the Atlantic to the United States, he became a pioneer of Illinois, settling in Ottawa in the summer of 1831, and erecting the first house at that place. It stood for many years but was finally burned down. Afterward he lived at the head of Peoria Lake, at the place called Rome, where he also built the first house, but in 1835 he removed to Knoxville, Knox county, conducting a store at that place for a short time.
On selling out, he turned his attention to farming, but in 1838 took up his residence in New Boston, Mercer county, where he erected the largest house, but not the first. After conducting a store at that place for four years, he located in Henry county, and again devoted his attention to farming. Later he followed the same pursuit in Texas, where at one time he owned over ten thousand acres of land. During his residence there he made two trips to Kentucky and Illinois, besides various other long journeys, traveling on horseback and carrying his effects in saddle bags. He died at St. Louis, Missouri, in August, 1867, at the age of seventy years, and was buried in the cemetery at Rock Island. He was an Episcopalian in faith, while his wife, who died in 1874, aged eighty years, was a consistent member of the Scotch Presbyterian church. They enjoyed the respect and esteem of all who knew them.
Edward Burrall died on April 26, 1876 but before he died he had already chosen his own head stone. It was a 30 ton boulder that he had spotted along side of a road in western Davenport. Story has it it was moved across the frozen river by 60 men on horses. It is unclear however how it was taken to it’s final resting place at Chippiannock cemetery on Burrall’s grave. It’s known to many visitors of the cemetery as the “big rock”.
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