Reuben Burgess was the nephew of my GG-grandfather George Burgess, of Dixon County, Nebraska. Little is known about Reuben's father -- Reuben Burgess, Sr. and his wife Hannah Richmond, or who their parents were. The account here is taken from early Dixon County history. George and Reuben Burgess, Sr. were circuit riding ministers in Michigan, before coming to Nebraska.
REUBEN BURGESS, JR. was born March 15, 1840 in Richmond, Michigan, and died June 08, 1919 in Wakefield, Dixon County, Nebraska. He married SUSAN A. FRENCH Abt. 1866 in Mt. Clement, Michigan. She was born April 21, 1842 in Macon County, Michigan, and died June 17, 1907 in Wakefield, Dixon County, Nebraska.
Following the Civil War, Reuben BURGESS received his Soldier's Land Grant, so he left his home in Richmond, MI. to move with his friend, J. Foster HELIKER, to Dixon county in 1867. Reuben filed on 160 acres N.E. of what is now Allen. Each man built the required one room house, broke the required number of acres, then sent for his family. Reuben also had a tree claim. He and his oldest daughter, Edith, pulled hundreds of cottonwood trees from Crystal Lake and planted them in furrows. Pioneer times were harsh and tragic.
Ten children were born to Reuben and Susan FRENCH, only three -Edith, Manley and Mabel grew to adulthood. They also raised two foster children. In pioneer times, winter burial services were nearly impossible. In spring, Reuben would take little Edith, whom he had taught to play a chord organ, and they would drive all over N.E. NE, often going as far south as what is now Wayne, NE. Reuben would preach a little service, while Edith would play the little organ, and all would sing, bringing comfort to sorrowing families.
Susan was known for helping those in need, often taking in children in times of illness and helping with housework. The children all attended Springbank school. One winter when no teacher would come, Susan taught 80 pupils in the one room school house. She would give a lesson to the older students, who would each take several younger ones and teach them.
All attended Springbank Friends church with Reuben often leading the singing using his father's tuning fork. He was the first Sunday school superintendent. In later years, Reuben and Susan moved to Wakefield, where he and Tom RAWLINGS ran the lumber yard. Susan was an invalid for many years but continued to hold missionary meetings in her home. Susan died in 1907. Reuben and Edith moved to Lincoln where Edith taught college. Reuben died in 1919.