From: History of Illinois and Her People
by Professor George W. Smith, M. A.; pub. 1927; Vol. VI, p.214

William Elias Burnett

William Elias Burnett, M. D., has been a physician and surgeon over forty years, and for the greater part of that time has practiced at Norris City in White County.

Doctor Burnett was born on a farm in Hamilton County, Illinois, January 28, 1852.  His father, William Green Burnett, was of English ancestry and a native of Rutherford County, Tennessee, where his parents had settled on coming from Virginia.  William G. Burnett was reared in Tennessee and enlisted in the American army for service in the Mexican war.  He was wounded in the hip by a gun shot at the battle of Buena Vista, and remained a cripple the rest of his life, though he conducted a farm with considerable success.  After his military service he removed to Illinois and married Cordialia Davis.  She was born near the old town of Roland, in White County.  Her father, Rev. Robert Davis, was a pioneer minister of the Presbyterian Church in Illinois.  She had a brother, also Rev. Robert Davis, likewise a Presbyterian minister.  William G. Burnett and wife were active member of the Presbyterian church and he was a democrat in politics.  He died at the age of seventy-two and his wife, at eight-one.  Of their eleven children nine are now deceased.

Dr. William E. Burnett was reared on a farm, attended country schools and first qualified himself for the vocation of teacher.  He taught in rural school districts four years, using that occupation as a stepping stone to the medical profession.  He fist studied medicine under Dr. C. A. Smith at Galatia in Saline County.  In 1884 he graduated from the medical college at Evansville Indiana, and subsequently pursued work in the Post-Graduate School of Medicine at Chicago, and in 1898 in the medical department of Washington University of St. Louis.  Doctor Burnett is a member of the White County and Southern Illinois Medical Societies.

He first engaged in private practice at Roland in White County.  In 1893 he was appoint3d physician and surgeon among the White Mountain Apache Indians in the Southwest, and was in that branch of government service for two years.  Returning to Illinois, he has been on the capable members of his profession, located at Norris City since 1896.  Doctor Burnett is a democrat, and a member of the Presbyterian Church and Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

He married, in 1886, Belle Raney, a native of White County, Illinois, and daughter of James and Sallie Raney.  She died November 3, 1923.  Doctor and Mrs. Burnett had two sons.  Walter J., a graduate in pharmacy, operated a drug store at Norris City, but sold out his business in preparation for joining the military service during the World war.  However, the armistice came before he was inducted.  He is now a traveling salesman living in Missouri.  The second son, Ambrosia W., was overseas with the Marine Corps during the World war.  He is also a pharmacist by profession.

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