Burdick Newsletters

Summer, 2015

Justin Herbert Burdick Biography

Submitted by Emelyn (Lyn) Kalinowski (LYNKAL@SBCGLOBAL.NET)

(Lyn is the granddaughter of Justin Herbert Burdick (I3099). She has collected a lot of information about this illustrious man and is sharing it with us. Following is a wonderful profile of him that was written in 1901. -- HB)

From: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Counties of Rock, Green, Grant, Iowa and Lafayette, Wisconsin
Published: 1901
Pages: 17-18

JUSTIN HERBERT BURDICK, M.D. Both grandfathers of this eminent physician of Milton were pioneers of Rock County. The paternal grandfather, George Stillman BURDICK, was a native of Rhode Island, and of English extraction. In his native State he was a member of the State militia. By occupation he was a lifelong farmer, and migrating about 1842 to Wisconsin, he located in Lima township, Rock County, where he followed farming for many years, removing to Milton a few years before his death, in 1890, at the ripe old age of eighty-nine years. His wife survived him several years, passing away at the age of ninety-two. Both were devout members of the Seventh-day Baptist Church. George S. BURDICK was a man of quiet, retiring disposition, but of firm principles and strict integrity,. He had four children, two sons and two daughters.

The maternal grandfather of our subject, Abel BABCOK, also a native of Rhode Island, about 1842 cast his lot with the fortunes of the growing Western State of Wisconsin. In the East he had been a woolen manufacturer, and after his arrival in Wisconsin he opened at Milton the "Dulac House," one of the finest hotels of the village. A few years later he entered mercantile business, which he followed successfully until incapacitated by old age. He lived to about the age of eighty years. His family consisted of twelve children.

George BURDICK, the father of our subject, was born in New York, and when a minor came with his parents to Lima township, Rock Co., Wis., where he was reared on his father's farm. He married Harriet BABCOCK, who was born in Pennsylvania, and to them were born two children: Clifford R., who died at the age of two years; and Justin Herbert, our subject. The father purchased land in Lima township, and adopted farming as his vocation. For the past fifteen years he and his wife have made Milton their home. They are prominent members of the Seventh-day Baptist Church, of which society he is a trustee.

Justin Herbert BURDICK, our subject, was born in Milton Dec. 29, 1851. He was reared on the farm in Lima township, five miles northeast of Milton, attending the district schools, and later, from 1868 to 1874, Milton College, selecting the classical course. Choosing medicine as his profession, he began his studies in 1874 under Dr. O. ALLEN, and in 1875-76 attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from the Medical Department of the Northwestern University, Chicago, in 1877. Until September, 1878, he was connected professionally with Mercy Hospital, Chicago, and then began private practice at Utica, Dane Co., Wis., continuing thus from 1878 to 1887. There had been inherited a taste for manufacture which now for a few years asserted itself. Relinquishing his practice, Dr. BURDICK began at Milwaukee the manufacture of steel elastic nuts for bolts, a device that has been widely introduced among the leading railroads of the country, East and West, and especially in the Northwest, their advantages in the great saving of construction and maintenance of track commending general use. For six years he continued actively engaged in this manufacture, but professional life called him back. He retains his stock in the National Elastic Nut Co., of Milwaukee, but in 1893, he re-entered the profession of medicine, locating at Milton, where he has ever since enjoyed a lucrative and growing practice.

Dr. BURDICK married, Aug. 30, 1882, Miss Fannie E. COON, daughter of Samuel H. and Lucy (COON). Five children were born to them, Percy Willard, Paul Howard, Lucy Adene, Justin Hugh, and Clifford Leslie. Mrs. BURDICK died Nov. 12, 1896, aged thirty-four years, and for his second wife Dr. BURDICK married, Sept. 1, 1898, Miss Clara L. STILLMAN, a native of Rhode Island, daughter of Jairus M. and Clara (LANGWORTHY) STILLMAN. By this marriage Dr. BURDICK has two children, William Stillman and Ruth Evelyn. Dr. and Mrs. BURDICK are members of the Seventh-day Baptist Church at Milton. Politically he has always been a Republican. For the past four years he has been executive officer of the Milton board of health. He is also a trustee of Milton College. His pleasant home in Milton he erected in 1893. He is public-spirited, and both as a physician and a citizen ranks high in the estimation of the people of Milton and the surrounding region, where he is widely known.

Justin Herbert Burdick Obituaries

Submitted by Emelyn (Lyn) Kalinowski (LYNKAL@SBCGLOBAL.NET)

(Following are several obituaries for Justin Herbert Burdick and his wives, Fannie and Clara. -- HB)


"Sabbath Recorder", Vol 126, No 23, p 392, June 5, 1939.

Justin Herbert Burdick, son of George Stillman and Harriet Babcock Burdick, was born December 29, 1851, in the town of Lima, Wis., and died at Rockton, Ill., April 3, 1939. He attended Milton College, and later was graduated from Northwestern University Medical School. He practiced medicine at Utica, Wis., later moving to Milton. His name has been on the roll of the Milton Seventh Day Baptist Church for forty-five years. He was in his fortieth year of service as a trustee of Milton College. He was especially interested in botany and geology.

His first wife was the former Fannie Coon of Utica, Wis. On September 2, 1898, he married Clara Stillman at Watch Hill, R. I. He is survived by his wife, five children by his first marriage, five by his second marriage, ten grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and one sister, Mrs. Jessie Noey of Milton. Funeral services were held in the Milton Seventh Day Baptist church on Friday afternoon, April 7, 1939, conducted by Pastor Carroll L. Hill. Burial was in Milton Cemetery. C. L. H.


"Milton Junction Telephone", Milton, Wisconsin, Thursday, April 6, 1939, p 1.

This community was shocked upon learning of the auto accident Monday night at Rockton, Ill., in which Dr. J. H. Burdick, Milton, was killed and his wife Clara, who was driving, was critically hurt. They were returning from Davenport, Iowa, where they had visited their daughter Phyllis, a patient in a sanitarium.

The accident occurred at a curve in the highway in a triangle formed by two side roads branching off from the highway and meeting. Three theories as to the cause of the accident are: that Mrs. Burdick fell asleep; that she hesitated a fatal instant whether to go straight ahead or follow the curve; or that she just could not make the curve. The car traveled about 200 feet on the left shoulder before it hit a tree with such impact that the engine pinned the unfortunate couple in the car. Both suffered skull fractures, broken legs and many other fractures and cuts. Mrs. Burdick is in a Rockford hospital and her recovery is doubtful.

Funeral services for Dr. Burdick have been planned for 2:30 p.m. Friday, Apr. 7th, to be held in the Milton S. D. B. church with Rev. Carroll L. Hill officiating. Burial will be in Milton. Pallbearers will be H. B. Crandall, L. A. Babcock, Dr. L. M. Babcock, Prof. W. D. Burdick, W. E. Rogers and Henry Ochs.

Justin Herbert, son of Harriet Babcock and George Stillman Burdick, was born in the town of Lima, Dec. 29, 1851. He attended Milton College during 1868 to 1872. Upon graduating from Northwestern Medical School, he practiced medicine at Utica and then in Milton but retired from active practice about 30 years ago.

Dr. Burdick was married twice, his first wife the former Fanny Coon of Utica died many years ago. On Sept. 2, 1898, he married Clara Stillman at Watch Hill, R. I. The five children by his first marriage are: Percy, Rockford, Ill., Mrs. Adene Wilcox and Paul, Los Angeles, Calif.; Clifford, Boulder, Colo.; and Hugh at home. Five children by the second marriage are: William S., West Allis; Ruth, Phyllis, Robert and Roger, all of Milton. There are ten grandchildren and one great grandchild. Mrs. Jessie Noey, Milton, is a sister of the doctor.

About 25 years ago Dr. and Mrs. Burdick with Dr. G. E. Crosley organized the Milton Electric company which they operated until October, 1935, when they sold out to the Wisconsin Power and Light company.

The doctor had for a number of years manufactured an antiseptic. He also had a government rain gauge and as a hobby had kept records of the precipitation for at least 45 years.


"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 52, No 48, p 767, Nov. 30, 1896.

Fannie E. Burdick, daughter of Samuel and Lucy Coon, and wife of Dr. Justin H. Burdick, was born at Utica, Wis., Dec. 29, 1861, and died at her home at Milton, Wis., Nov. 12, 1896. When about fifteen years of age she united with the church at Utica, Wis., retaining her membership in that church until called to the home above. She maintained a consistent Christian life. She was respected by all who knew her, and loved by a large circle of relatives and friends. Besides her companion, she leaves five children to miss her affectionate care and mourn their great loss. The funeral services, which were held in the Milton Seventh-day Baptist church, were conducted by her former pastor, Geo. W. Burdick, of Milton Junction, assisted by Rev. L. A. Platts, pastor of the Milton church, and Pres. W. C. Whitford of Milton College. G. W. B.


"Milton and Milton Junction Courier", Milton, Rock Co., Wisconsin, Thursday, 27 Jan 1944, p 1.

Funeral services were held at 2 p. m. Tuesday in the Milton S. D. B. church for Mrs. J. H. Burdick who died Sunday in a convalescents home in Janesville. Rev. Carroll L. Hill officiated and Kenneth Babcock sang two selections. Burial was in Milton cemetery with Rev. W. D. Burdick, Prof. W. D. Burdick, Prof. D. N. Inglis, L. A. Babcock, R. L. Hull and Elston Shaw acting as pallbearers. Out of town relatives attending were Mr. and Mrs. Percy Burdick of Rockford and son S/Sgt. David Burdick of Spokane, Wash.

Clara Lenore Stillman, daughter of Jarius M. and Lenore Langworthy Stillman, was born Jan. 6, 1869, at Potters Hill, R. I., her mother dying at her birth. She was taken into the home of her grandparents, the William L. Langworthys, Watch Hill, R. I., where she grew to womanhood. She attended the Boston Conservatory of Music, Alfred University and Milton College, receiving special musical training in all these schools. Her father, Dr. J. M. Stillman, was director of vocal music in Milton College for many years. She possessed a soprano voice of unusual quality, in which her father took great pride. While attending Milton College, she met Dr. Justin H. Burdick, a practicing physician in Milton, to whom she was married Sept. 2, 1898, at Watch Hill, R. I. Dr. Burdick brought his bride to his Milton home on High street. Both were interested in church and civic affairs.

Dr. Burdick was killed in an automobile accident April 3, 1939, in which Mrs. Burdick was critically injured. She had 13 bones fractured and she never fully recovered. She was a patient in Mercy hospital, Janesville, for a time prior to the last three weeks of her life in the convalescent home where she died.

Survivors are the three sons, William, Robert and Roger, and two daughters, Ruth and Phyllis, and seven grandchildren.

Electricity was Homemade

Submitted by Emelyn (Lyn) Kalinowski (lynkal@sbcglobal.net)

(This article appeared in the Spring, 2011 Burdick Newsletter, but I thought it was fitting to reproduce it in this issue... Sometimes it seems like our family is involved in everything. Lyn sent this short excerpt that appeared in the Milton Courier on April 19, 1984. Electrification in Southern Wisconsin started with a Burdick! Dr. Burdick was the local physician and a very special & talented man. The Milton House, in Milton, WI, has a display, which Lyn and her brother Malcolm helped build, honoring his many accomplishments. -- HB)

Dr. J. H. Burdick purchased a generator in 1908 and began generating electricity for his home. He ran wire to his next-door neighbor's house, and then to the college, and before long the Burdick home, which stood where the Milton College Campus Center is now, became the Milton Power Company.

In 1912 a brick (concrete) building was built in what was known as Burdick's woods, where Burdick Hall now stands. This served as the generating plant for four years, until the large gas engine driving the generator blew up. Then, in 1916, the Milton Electric Company began purchasing power from the Janesville Electric Company, which became the Wisconsin Power & Light Company in the 1920s. Wisconsin Power & Light bought the Milton Electric Company in 1935, but continued the office on Main Street and then Parview Drive until 1969 or 1970.

A Practical Self-Locking Nut

Submitted by Emelyn (Lyn) Kalinowski (lynkal@sbcglobal.net)

(Justin Herbert Burdick was truly a Renaissance man. Not only was he a doctor and entrepreneur, he was also an inventor. The next time you use a lock-nut on a bolt, remember that our family member invented it. In the late 1800s and early 1900s a common form of urban mass transit was streetcars. But due to constant vibration the nuts that were used to hold the rails in place could come loose creating a continuous maintenance problem. The answer - Justin Herbert Burdick's self-locking nut. Over time the device has been modified and transformed, but this is how it started. -- HB)

Elastic Nut Company
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Promotional Materials, 1891

What is the elastic nut? It is made from steel with one side open, and so made and threaded that when put upon a bolt it opens slightly, thus developing a powerful grip, which enables it to withstand any jar or concussion found in machinery or other places where lock or jam nuts are a necessity. We simply invoke the principle of elasticity in a very simple matter.

A common nut is dead, is born dead. It rigidity confirms this statement, and washers or other devices cannot impart life to a corpse.

The elastic nut will do what none other will do, remain tight where put on, even under such vibration and strain as will break the bolt. It can be turned up over or taken off rust by virtue of its elasticity, it not being necessary to destroy bolts to repair track as with common nut. It will tear a bolt under a wrenching strain and open no more than when set up for ordinary use. It needs no washer: it is simple, strong and efficient. Washers hide and thus deceive, where there is any elongation or wear on the bolts. It is a truth which is forced to the front, that the only known device to take up slack of bolts is a common wrench in the hands of a common man.

It will cost you no more than you are now paying for the common nut and nut locks: it has no extra parts to get lost and bother, and does not require the services of a mechanic with a kit of tools to use it. The tendency of late years in railroads has been to increase speed of trains and weight of rails, and no corresponding increase in the safety and strength of fastenings.

The elastic nut comes to you as the harbinger of less wear and tear of cars, track and roadbed, and of the saving of human life by reason of such destruction of material and the breaking of rails.

The elastic nut has been purchased and is in use by railroads that operate 44,575 miles of track, and is in test on railroads that operate 49,497 miles of track, and has been tested in every conceivable manner for the past three years with unparalleled good results. The only unfavorable report, with one exception, was caused by ignorance in saying that the nuts were broken, when they had only opened the requisite amount when going on the bolt.

We beg to submit for your consideration a few reports of tests from the many we have received, embracing track, locomotive and machinery:


Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
General Superintendentís Office
Milwaukee, April 13, 1891

Dear Sir:
Replying to your request for a report on the Elastic Nut in out track in Milwaukee, our track foreman reports as follows: "I have over tracks and overlooked and tested all nuts, and find where Elastic nuts are used they are tight and in good condition, and have been in use almost fifteen months." These nuts are on our tracks between West Water Street and the Passenger Station, where you can personally examine them any time you desire.
Yours truly,
W. G. Collins
Gen'l Superintendent


Southern Pacific Company
Office of Engineer of Maintenance of Way
San Francisco, June 9, 1891

Gentlemen -
There has been some little delay in getting the information necessary to answer your letter relative to samples of Elastic Nuts which you sent us some time since. Answering your questions: 1st - They have been in service about 16 months; 2d - None of the nuts are loose on the bolts; 3d - Where bolts have slackened, the nuts on the bolts are still tight.
Yours truly,
J. H. Wallace
Asst. Engineer, M. of W.


The Filer & Stowell Co. Milwaukee, Wis., June 19, 1891
Gentlemen -
The 3/4 Elastic Nut you gave us for trial we placed on one of the three 1-1/8 in. studs of the packing gland of our steam hammer, turning the stud down to fit. The other studs were fitted up with jam nuts, which were constantly coming loose and throwing a very severe strain upon the Elastic Nut, which, however, never stirred from its place. After a continuous service of about four months the stud parted, owing to the unequal strain. Our smith says this is the first nut he has found to stand in this place.
Yours truly,
C. Scholtka, Supt.


The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company
La Porte, Ind. Station, Oct. 24, 1890
Dear Sir -
Regarding the Elastic Nuts, they are in use in Cleveland yard, Toledo yard and on crossings, where they have had hard usage on my division for the past year. I have not found one nut loose. Bolts sometimes break but the nut does not work loose. We have had nothing to equal them. They are the best nut I ever saw.
Very truly,
Jos. Pont., Road Master, La Porte Div.


The Street Railway Journal
January to June, 1901

There are numerous places in street railway work where it is highly important that nuts should stay in position, even when subjected to severed vibration. The bolts used on cars, track, bridges, machinery, etc., will cause much trouble if the work loose, and a nutlock is often not a desirable remedy. The track bolts and nut illustrated herewith is claimed to always stay tight under any conditions. The nut is made of a single blank cut from a flat bar of steel, bent round into a ring, and then pressed into shape in a hexagonal die. This leaves a perfect hexagon nut with a split in the side. The nut is then tapped or threaded slightly smaller than the bolt, so that when put on a wrench it is distended a little and the split opens slightly. This leaves the nut with a constant grip on the bolt, which is claimed to prevent it from ever working loose. Being complete in itself, requiring no washer or nut lock, and having no extra parts to get lost, it forms a simple, efficient, durable and economical device.

It will be noticed from the description of its manufacture, given above, that the nut has a grain of the metal running around it. As this gives a much stronger structure than is ordinarily obtained, the nuts are supplied, in some cases, with standard threading, and can be used without the self-locking feature. Their expansibility renders them particularly useful in threading on to rusty or battered bolts, and they are readily removed by a simple wrench at any time.

They are made by the National Elastic Nut Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

The "Stradivarius"

Submitted by Emelyn (Lyn) Kalinowski (lynkal@sbcglobal.net)

(Finally, just to show that Justin Herbert Burdick had a family side, here is the story about her grandfather's violin. In Lyn's own words... "Grampa Burdick played this violin in a chamber music group with Grandma (Clara) Burdick who played the cello. My father, Roger Burdick, told me this information." -- HB)

The Stradivarius Violin that Belonged to Justin Herbert Burdick, M.D.

I really haven't heard much about Dave's grandfather playing the violin. I assume it was before, during and after medical school. I was aware that Dave's Uncle Bill and Aunt Cressie had the violin and case in their possession. It seems each time there was ever an article in the Milwaukee paper about a Stradivarius violin and how much it sold for at an estate sale, someone in the Burdick family received a copy of this from Aunt Cressie.

Well, the "famous" violin was appraised after the owner's death and we hear it was appraised for: yes, $3.00. It seemed no one was anxious to own it and it was sold at their estate sale. Dave thought it should be kept. We purchased it and gave it to Rose Marie and Doug. They, in turn, gave it to us as a house warming gift. Now, it does have a special place in our living room alongside a cross stitched verse of Amazing Grace. The plan is to have it go to the Milton Historical Society so it will be on display for Milton area friends and relatives to see. Oh, don't we wish that violin could talk. The bottom line: Justin Herbert Burdick's violin was purchased from Sears Roebuck.

I have been told that some antique dealers are paying much more than $3.00 for antique violins. I like it and it is an interesting conversation piece. Anyone know how to restring a violin? I know one that needs it... badly.

The Milton Historical Society seems to be anxious receive articles from former Milton people. However, they have currently (2005) run out of money and do not have enough money to finish their display places. They are trying to have many fund raisers. Their current large fund raiser is the brick campaign. When they have more money they will finish the inside of the Museum and display their artifacts. We hope they sell many, many more bricks soon. Not only for the Burdick family, but for all the Milton area.

I have been very impressed with the Milton Historical Society, their curator, their help, especially Sue.

Neva Burdick (I10300009) (Lyn's cousin)

Burdick News... Up-To-The-Minute!

I am so excited! I get to start this section of the Newsletter with some fantastic news. Cierra Burdick, one of the graduating star members of the University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Team, was selected in the second round of the WNBA draft by the Los Angeles Sparks! You may remember that we tracked Cierra's college career last year as her team made it to the latter rounds of the NCAA Tournament. This year they made it to the Elite Eight, losing to Maryland. I am sure all of you join me in wishing Cierra the very best as she starts her professional career. Here's a link to the video of her being the 14th pick of the draft: (http://video.utsports.com/?HTzyr3MsUv8).

K. Burdick (blackwulf-irishdalcassianknight@hotmail.com) is trying to learn more about his grandfather, Lyman Andrew Burdick (I213594), born Oct 28, 1908. K.B. has heard that Lyman was part Mohawk Indian, through his mother, Laura Louise Hawes. If you know anything about this line, please contact him.

Marilyn Elaine Bazley was born in 1936 as Marilyn Elaine Burdick. She is looking for her birth father, Clarence Burdick, who lived in Chicago, Illinois at the time. Marilyn's motherís name was Elive Niemi. Clarence was born in Wisconsin and was a laborer for some company in Chicago - that is all she knows. Marilyn's mother has been deceased since 1987, and would never reveal any details about her early years other than she was left with her grandparents in Upper Michigan as a small child. Marilyn has tried for years through letters and phone calls to locate some relative who might be related to her birth father. She realizes it was a long time ago but she would like to have some closure on this. If you know anything about Clarence or Marilyn's history please contact me howard@burdickfamily.org, and I'll pass the information onto her. Thank you.

If you recall, the last Newsletter relayed the story of Ellsworth J. Burdick (I112268) and his struggles to maintain the commuter rail system in Detroit in the 1920s. I heard from Mac Farr (mac.farr@gmail.com) who has purchased the house Ellsworth built in 1916 and is restoring the structure back to its former glory. The house is in the Indian Village of Detroit (lower east side). Mac located several artifacts left by Ellsworth and sent pictures of them, as well as the house. The pictures are in the "Photos" section of the Burdick Family Association web site. Take a look - there's a picture of an unknown little boy - see if you know who he is.

Kevin Pancoast (klpancoast@gmail.com) is searching for his g-grandfather, Cyrus Burdick. The family story is that Cyrus was the first white settler in Pomona, California and that Cyrus' gg-grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, that is as far as Kevin has gotten. Kevin's grandmother, Verna (Burdick) Pickering is still alive at 96 and has supplied information she remembers. If you can help trace down this line it would be very much appreciated.

Are you a collector of antique vases? If so, you may be interested in a piece that Chris Heck (c_heck@lakeview.k12.pa.us) has. Chris' wife inherited a rare Loetz extruded handle vase. This is an original exquisite piece from 1886 and is very rare and has the original sales sticker from the Bowler & Burdick Jewelry store in Cleveland, OH (which is why he contacted me). You may recall that Bowler & Burdick was a well-known jewelry store in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Clink here to see a photo of the vase. If you have an interest contact Chris as soon as possible, as there are other potential buyers.

Joe Burdick (burdick88@yahoo.com), a long-time friend and contributor to this Newsletter, has a mystery in his family. Joe's grandfather, Warren, was first married to Virginia P. Gardiner. Warren went off to fight in World War II and when he returned Virginia had vanished. She seems to have disappeared around 1943, either abandoning her kids or died -- nobody knows. Joe has found her parents and grandparents but found very little about her. In fact if it weren't for her daughters, a few photos and her name on two censuses, Joe would swear she never existed. Can you help?

Here is an obituary Carol Reppard (reppardc@gmail.com) has uncovered recently:

Published in The Olean (NY) Times Herald on Mar. 18, 2015. Abraham D. Burdick, 40, of 304 S. Union St., a former Richburg resident, passed away unexpectedly Sunday (March 15, 2015). Born on May 30, 1974, in Olean, he was a son of Gary and Marilyn Armbruster Burdick. Abe was a graduate of the Richburg Central School, class of 1992, and attended Houghton College. He served as a district representative for State Sen. Jesse Present. While living in Salem, Va., he was a sales representative for a security company. He was a loving father. He loved spending time with his boys. He also enjoyed cooking. Abe was continually engaged in his country and politics. He was always a faithful follower of Jesus. Surviving are two sons, Abraham Joseph 'Joe' Burdick and Robert 'Robie' Ortin Burdick, both of Richburg; his stepmother, Roxanne Burdick of Richburg; three brothers, three sisters, and sever nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family members.

Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2019. All Rights Reserved.