Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 773-75. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


Inheriting in no small measure the sterling virtues of a long line of New England ancestors, Willard A. Burnap of Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, holds a position of especial note among the valued and respected citizens of this section of the state. Patriotic and public spirited, he served his country nobly in her time of need, taking active part in the great Civil war, and has since been identified with its business, educational and official interests. He was born, October 17, 1840, in Paxton, Worcester county, Massachusetts, where he was bred and educated. In 1857 he made his first appearance in Iowa, and has since considered this his home.

In July, 1861, not long after the surrender of Fort Sumter, Mr. Burnap enlisted in Company I, Second Iowa Cavalry, and served until the close of the conflict, his discharge recording the names of twenty-seven battles and skirmishes in which he was personally engaged. He served in every station in the ranks up to first sergeant, and was with his company on every march and in every fight until the fall of 1863. The following extract from the affidavit of Brigadier General Datus E. Coon best tells us of the subsequent service of Mr. Burnap, General Coon testifying as follows:

"That he was personally acquainted with Willard A. Burnap from the time of his enlistment in the spring of 1861 until his final discharge in the fall of 1865. That in the fall of 1863, owing to excessive duties, his health failed and he resigned his position, and soon after was taken to the field hospital at Collierville, Tennessee. That failing to recover his health, he was placed on detached duty at General Greerson's headquarters, (as chief clerk and in command of orderlies) where he served out his three years' term of service. That at my personal request he re-enlisted, and was detailed for duty at my headquarters. Second Brigade, Fifth Division, Cavalry Corps, M. D. M., and would have been commissioned (as captain of Company I) had his health proved sufficient for active field work."

Duly sworn to and signed by General Datus E. Coon, at Mason City, Iowa, on the eleventh day of November, 1891.

After leaving the service Mr. Burnap was for several years connected with the Bryant & Stratton Business Colleges of Chicago Illinois, and of Springfield, Illinois, as teacher and manager. In 1871, after his marriage, he settled at Forest City, Winnebago county, Iowa, and was there engaged in the land, law and loan business until about 1878, during one year of the time serving, by appointment, as county treasurer. Coming from there to Clear Lake, he purchased of George E. Frost the Clear Lake Bank, which he conducted for about two years. An act of his cashier at that time compelled Mr. Burnap to close the doors of the institution and ask for a receiver, into whose hands he placed all of his private property, (including his homestead) and paid every depositor of the bank in full within ninety days. (See Court Records)

Since that time Mr. Burnap was for four years manager of the Business Exchange of Bryant & Stratton's Business College in Chicago; was for six years clerk of the district court of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa; and the remainder of the time has been engaged as a conductor of business classes for business men and as an expert accountant, making a specialty of settling with county officials.

Mr. Burnap has been director, vice president and twice president of the State Horticultural Society; also director, vice president and twice president of the Northeastern Iowa Horticultural Society. He has served as chancellor commander of Clear Lake Lodge, Knights of Pythias, and as captain of Mason City Uniformed Rank. For five years Mr. Burnap was president of Cerro Gordo County Farmers' Institute, and for two years was president of the Old Settlers' Association of Cerro Gordo and surrounding counties. He was also a member of Governor Newbold's staif, serving as aide de camp and receiving his commission as lieutenant colonel.

As a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Mr. Burnap was commander of the C. H. Huntle.y Post, of Mason City, and of the Tom Howard Post, of Clear Lake. He was likewise aide de camp and inspector general on the National Commander's staff, and at the present time is a member of the Council of Administration for the Department of Iowa. He has served as president of the North Iowa Veteran Association, and as secretary and as president of his own regimental society, the Second Iowa Veteran Volunteer Cavalry.

Mr. Burnap married, March 20, 1871, in Chicago, Illinois. Mary E Mathews, and to them six children have been born, namely: Leta Marie, born January 20, 1872, married C. W. Foster; Willard Lathrop, born January 28, 1874, married May Merrill; Mary Elizabeth, born December 27, 1875, is the wife of Edward Dahlnist; Martha Babcock, born April 27, 1879, died April 8. 1882; Sherburne Matthews, born May 23, 1882, married Ada Harte, December 8, 1910; and John Wheeler, born August 31, 1884, died April 2, 1888.

Transcription Sharon R. Becker, January of 2014



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