History of Burton, Texas.

history marker

Established in 1870 by German immigrant families, downtown Burton is listed as a "Commercial Historic District" in the National Register.  Burton is also one of the towns on the Texas Historical Commission's "Texas Independence Trail".


 Burton Farmers Gin

old cotton gin

The Burton Farmers Gin is home to a 1925 Bessemer Type IV diesel oil engine. The restored 16 ton “Lady B” is the largest internal combustion engine of its vintage still operating in America! Each year the gin gets fired up and bales cotton during the annual Cotton Gin Festival.

cotton gin today

Take a tour of the Gin and visit the Texas Cotton Gin Museum.

 On the third Saturday in April, celebrate this amazing piece of history at the "Cotton Gin Festival".

For more details visit: www.texascottonginmuseum.org


Burton Railroad Depot & Museum

Burton began as a terminal on the Houston & Texas Central Railroad in 1870. According to standard plans of the Southern Pacific Railroad (which absorbed the Houston & Texas Central), it exhibits elements of the Queen Anne and Italiante styles. Outstanding features include wide overhanging eaves and "Sunburst" gable windows typical in Southern Pacific structures. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1991.  The Burton Heritage Society maintains the depot and has created a museum inside for both the history of the buildings "life" as a depot and for the local/community history. 

The Depot is open for tours every 1st and 3rd Saturdays and by appointment.  For more info, visit www.burtonheritagesociety.org, call 979-803-0393 or visit the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/burtonheritagesociety/

Long Life Brotherhood Club/

United Brothers of Friendship

Matson Park

Another longtime part of Burton history is the Long Life Brotherhood Club.  The group’s roots are intertwined with Burton and possibly pre-date the town!  As of the late 1860s, the United Brothers of Friendship (UBF) organized and by 1884 formed “Matson Lodge” to serve the local African American community as a fraternal organization. The UBF dissolved in 1937 and the Long Life Brotherhood Club was born in 1940. For many years the club provided death benefits, life insurance, social services and of course a gathering place for celebration and fellowship.  The annual “First of August” celebrations date at least to the 1880s and possibly before.  According to family memories, the lodge building was constructed in 1919. Many families have been part of this club through the years and thankfully the work continues to preserve this important history and the lodge building.  For more information and to help in the efforts, please visit the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/LongLifeBrotherhood/.

Texas Ranger Leander H. McNelly


Leander H. McNelly was born March 12, 1844 in Follensbee, Brook County, Virginia.  He was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War and a captain of the Texas State Police.  In the 1870's he became a Texas Ranger.  McNelly commanded a special group that had the specific task of bringing order to the Nueces Strip.  McNelly and his rangers were responsible for saving the King Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the world.  McNelly suffered from tuberculosis, and retired in 1876 due to deteriorating health. He died on September 4 of the following year in Burton, Texas.  He is buried at the Mt Zion cemetery, that is cared for by the Mt Zion Cemetery Association and the Burton Heritage Society.  McNelly's monument was a gift from the King Ranch.     

Click here for more history on Leander H. McNelly.

Click here to visit the website of the Burton Heritage Society.


Burton Area Chamber of Commerce

P.O. Box 171

                             Burton, Texas 77835-0101 

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