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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - T. J. Burrill

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


T. J. BURRILL, A. M. PROF. OF BOTANY AND HORTICULTURE IN ILLINOIS INDUSTRIAL UNIVERSITY T. J. BURRILL is a native of Pittsfield, Mass., where he was born, on the 25th of April, 1839. He is the sixth of a family of ten children, of John and Mary (FRANCES) BURRILL, who now live in Urbana, Ill. Mr. Burrill's parents emigrated to Illinois in 1848, and came to Urbana in 1869. Professor Burrill when a boy received a common-school education in his native town. At the age of twenty feeling the want of better knowledge he became a student of the High School in Rockford, Illinois, where he remained diligently occupied with his studies for some time. In 1862, he entered the State Normal University at Bloomington, from which institution he graduated in 1865, and the same year was chosen principal of the Urbana public schools. On the 22d of July, 1868, he was married to Miss Sadie ALEXANDER, the accomplished daughter of Ephraim ALEXANDER of Seneca Falls, N.Y., and sister of the late O. O. ALEXANDER of Urbana. Mr. and Mrs. Burrill are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, while not a partizan, he strongly believes in the principles of the Republican party, and during the war for the Union, was a staunch supporter of the government. His five brothers were in the ranks of the defenders of the Union, and were brave men and good soldiers. Prof. Burrill accompanied Major Powell as Botanist on his tour of scientific exploration in the Rocky Mountains, and a portion of the botanical report of Prof. Burrill was published by the government with parts of the others. His services were desired by the government for the following year, but being chosen to the position he now occupies he decided not to accompany the expedition, but to accept the chair in the Industrial University. Prof. Burrill has been devoted to his work and has won high rank amongst the scientists of his state and nation. He is now Secretary of the Faculty of the University, Dean of the College of Natural History, and Corresponding Secretary of the Board of Trustees. He is a member of the American Microscopic Association. For thirteen years he has been an active member of the State Teachers' Association, and of the State Horticultural Society for ten years. It is unnecessary to speak words in commendation and praise in his behalf. He is wisely and favorably known, and his record is without a stain.

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