BURTON, TEXAS. Burton, on U.S. Highway 290 in western Washington County, was originally established in 1862 and named for John M. Burton, an early settler in the area. The Burton post office opened in 1870, with A. C. Huberich as first postmaster. In the fall of 1872 the community incorporated, and Nelson Felder served as the first mayor. The town's economy benefited from the extension of the Houston and Texas Central Railway from Brenham to Austin after the Civil War. During the 1880s Burton had three churches, a bank, a school, and a hotel, and by 1885 it had a population of 150. Its population was reported as 400 in 1896 and nearly 600 in 1910. Burton had a population of 800 and thirty businesses by the mid-1940s. During the 1970s, however, the town declined, and its residents had dwindled to 296 by 1980. The population was an estimated 368 in 1987, and 311 in 1990, when Burton had a post office, an independent school district, a bank, and a number of small businesses. In 2000 the population was 359. Leander H. McNelly, one of the most famous Texas Rangersqv, was buried near Burton in 1877. In the early 1980s economist Douglas Hutchinson of Burton, Ohio, acquired a Victorian house in Burton and renovated an old cotton gin there as a center for information on cotton ginning.
W. O. Dietrich, The Blazing Story of Washington County (Brenham, Texas: Banner Press, 1950; rev. ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1973). Charles F. Schmidt, History of Washington County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1949). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.