Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Museum of History >> Hall of North and South Americans >> William Evans Burton





American’s Four United Republics: Discovery-Based Curriculum

For more information go to Historic.us

 

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





Virtual American Biographies

Over 30,000 personalities with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life stories. Virtualology.com welcomes editing and additions to the biographies. To become this site's editor or a contributor Click Here or e-mail Virtualology here.



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 





Click on an image to view full-sized

William Evans Burton

BURTON, William Evans, actor, born in London, England, 24 September, 1804; died in New York, 10 February, 1860. His father, George Burton, was the author of "Biblical Researches" and other writings, and was likewise a printer. Burton was a pupil at St. Paul's school in his native City, an institution associated also with the dramatic names of Elliston and Mathews. At the age of eighteen, in consequence of the death of his father, the youth was called to take charge of the printing-office; and also to be the main-stay of a widowed mother. His first effort was to establish a monthly magazine. The attempt was a failure, but it brought him theatrical acquaintances, and under their influence he presently drifted toward the stage. The first step, as usual, was to join an amateur dramatic society, and it is said that about this time he gave a performance of "Hamlet" somewhere on the Strand. In 1825 he was associated with a provincial company acting at Norwich, and elsewhere in England, and he played low comedy. His aspirations at the start were for the tragic, and it is known that late in life he still at times entertained the fancy that nature had intended him to be a tragedian. This is a peculiarity of mental bias by no means unusual with actors ; and it is furthermore to be observed that, in actual experience, tragic actors are often found to be cheerful, and even hilarious, as private individuals, while comedians are extremely apt to prove serious, pensive, and even melancholy. Burton was one of the funniest creatures that ever lived, but his interior nature was thoughtful and saturnine. He thought, felt, and understood tragedy, but when he came to act, he was all comedian. At the outset of his career he led the usual life of an itinerant actor. There is a tradition that in the course of his wanderings he once played before George IV. at Windsor. His first professional appearance in London was made, in 1831, at the Pavilion theatre, as Wormwood in "The Lottery Ticket," in which part he was much admired, and which he then acted there upward of fifty consecutive times. Liston was then the reigning favorite in London (Muuden, who died in 1832, being in decadence), and next to Liston stood John Reeve, upon whom it is thought that the earlier style of Burton was in a measure founded.

In 1832 Burton obtained a chance to show his talents at the Haymarket--Liston having temporarily withdrawn in a pet--and there he played Marall to Edmund Kean as Sir Giles Overreach, and Mrs. Glover as Meg in "A New Way to Pay Old Debts," a circumstance which he always remembered, and often mentioned with pride and pleasure. His talents as a writer likewise displayed themselves at an early age. In May, 1833, a play from his pen, called "Ellen Wareham," was first presented, and it is mentioned that this piece had the somewhat unusual fortune of being acted at five different theatres of London on the same evening. In 1834 he came to the United States, making his first appearance in this country on 3 September at the Arch street theatre, Philadelphia, as Dr. Ollapod and Wormwood. In that City he remained for four years, acting in many old standard plays, and continually advancing in the public favor. On 31 October, 1837, he made his advent in New York at the National theatre in Leonard street, enacting Guy Goodluck in "John Jones." The theatre was under the management of James W. Wallack, and this performance was given for the benefit of Samuel Woodworth, author of "The Old Oaken Bucket." Burton began a star engage-merit there on 4 February, 1839, as Billy Lackaday in "Sweethearts and Wives." It was not until 1848, however, that he finally settled in New York, as a manager. On 10 July of that year he opened his theatre in Chambers street (it had been Palmo's opera-house, built in 1842), and from that time for eight years he was the leader of the dramatic profession in the United States. His theatrical com-party included, first and last, John Brougham, William Rufus Blake, Henry Placide, John Lester Wallack, George Jordan, Humphrey Bland, George Barrett, T. born Johnston, John Dyott, Charles Fisher, Lysander Thompson, George Holland, C. W. Clarke, W. H. Norton, Charles Mathews, Daniel E. Setchell, Mary Devlin (afterward the first wife of Edwin Booth), Mrs. Russell (afterward Mrs. Hoey), Lizzie Weston (afterward Mrs. A. H. Davenport, and finally Mrs. C. Mathews), Mrs. Hughes (afterward wife of John Brougham), Mrs. Skerrett, Mrs. Hough, Mrs. Rea, Miss Raymond, Miss Agnes Robertson (afterward wife of Dion BoucicauIt), Miss Malvina Pray (afterward Mrs. W. J. Florence), Fanny Wallack, Miss Chapman, and Mary Taylor.

Burton revived "Twelfth Night," and other Shakespearian comedies in a luxurious style, and produced a great variety of plays in the best possible manner. The story of Button's Chambers street theatre, indeed, is one of the' brightest passages in the chronicle of the American stage. The stock sys-tern was maintained, and every detail of the work was planned and accomplished with sedulous care. Here it was that Burton made brilliant and memorable hits as Sir Toby Belch, Capt. Cuttle (with John Brougham as Bunsby and as Bagstock), Job Thornbury, Micawber, Sam Weller, Bottom, Lord Duberly, Mr. Toodles (first given October 2, 1848), Jeremiah Clip, Touchstone, Aminidab Sleek, Call ban, Autolycus, and Falstaff. Burton acted Falstaff in the "Merry Wives of Windsor" ; never in "Henry IV." This enumeration, although it gives but a few of the characters in which he was pre-eminently fine, and in which he became widely famous, may serve to indicate the direction and the range of his faculties. The Chambers street theatre was closed on 6 September, 1856, and the comedian then opened the Metropolitan, which afterward became Winter Garden; but he did not luxuriantly prosper in the new house, and in 1858 he gave it up and reverted to "starring." His last appearance in New York was made, on 15 October, 1859, at Niblo's Garden, where, for his benefit, afternoon and night, he played Mr. Toodles, Mr. Sudden, Toby Tramp, and Micawber. His last performance on any stage occurred on 16 December, 1859, at Mechanics' Hall, Hamilton, Canada, where he acted Aminidab Sleek and Goodluck in "The Serious Family" and "John Jones." The former part was acted by Burton 600 times, and he acted Mr. Toodles 640 times, in the course of his professional career. His affectionate and reverent biographer, William L. Keese, whose "Life of Burton" was published in New York in 1885, enumerates 184 characters with which the great comedian's name was prominently associated. Burton wrote several works, "The Actor's Ailoquy" and "Waggeries and Vagaries" among the rest, edited the "Literary Souvenir" in 1838 and 1840, established "The Gentleman's Maga-zinc" in New York .in 1837, of which periodical for a short time in 1840 Edgar Allan Poe was assistant editor, and published a "Cyclopedia of Wit and Humor" (2 vols., New York, 1858). He collected a magnificent library, especially rich in Shakespeare-an literature. He was twice married, and left a widow and three daughters, he was buried in Greenwood cemetery.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

Start your search on William Evans Burton.


 

 


 


Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

Search:

About Us

 

 

Image Use

Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The People Click Here

 

Childhood & Family

Click Here

 

Historic Documents

Articles of Association

Articles of Confederation 1775

Articles of Confederation

Article the First

Coin Act

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Monroe Doctrine

Northwest Ordinance

No Taxation Without Representation

Thanksgiving Proclamations

Mayflower Compact

Treaty of Paris 1763

Treaty of Paris 1783

Treaty of Versailles

United Nations Charter

United States In Congress Assembled

US Bill of Rights

United States Constitution

US Continental Congress

US Constitution of 1777

US Constitution of 1787

Virginia Declaration of Rights

 

Historic Events

Battle of New Orleans

Battle of Yorktown

Cabinet Room

Civil Rights Movement

Federalist Papers

Fort Duquesne

Fort Necessity

Fort Pitt

French and Indian War

Jumonville Glen

Manhattan Project

Stamp Act Congress

Underground Railroad

US Hospitality

US Presidency

Vietnam War

War of 1812

West Virginia Statehood

Woman Suffrage

World War I

World War II

 

Is it Real?



Declaration of
Independence

Digital Authentication
Click Here

 

America’s Four Republics
The More or Less United States

 
Continental Congress
U.C. Presidents

Peyton Randolph

Henry Middleton

Peyton Randolph

John Hancock

  

Continental Congress
U.S. Presidents

John Hancock

Henry Laurens

John Jay

Samuel Huntington

  

Constitution of 1777
U.S. Presidents

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Johnston
Elected but declined the office

Thomas McKean

John Hanson

Elias Boudinot

Thomas Mifflin

Richard Henry Lee

John Hancock
[
Chairman David Ramsay]

Nathaniel Gorham

Arthur St. Clair

Cyrus Griffin

  

Constitution of 1787
U.S. Presidents

George Washington 

John Adams
Federalist Party


Thomas Jefferson
Republican* Party

James Madison 
Republican* Party

James Monroe
Republican* Party

John Quincy Adams
Republican* Party
Whig Party

Andrew Jackson
Republican* Party
Democratic Party


Martin Van Buren
Democratic Party

William H. Harrison
Whig Party

John Tyler
Whig Party

James K. Polk
Democratic Party

David Atchison**
Democratic Party

Zachary Taylor
Whig Party

Millard Fillmore
Whig Party

Franklin Pierce
Democratic Party

James Buchanan
Democratic Party


Abraham Lincoln 
Republican Party

Jefferson Davis***
Democratic Party

Andrew Johnson
Republican Party

Ulysses S. Grant 
Republican Party

Rutherford B. Hayes
Republican Party

James A. Garfield
Republican Party

Chester Arthur 
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland
Democratic Party

Benjamin Harrison
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland 
Democratic Party

William McKinley
Republican Party

Theodore Roosevelt
Republican Party

William H. Taft 
Republican Party

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic Party

Warren G. Harding 
Republican Party

Calvin Coolidge
Republican Party

Herbert C. Hoover
Republican Party

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic Party

Harry S. Truman
Democratic Party

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican Party

John F. Kennedy
Democratic Party

Lyndon B. Johnson 
Democratic Party 

Richard M. Nixon 
Republican Party

Gerald R. Ford 
Republican Party

James Earl Carter, Jr. 
Democratic Party

Ronald Wilson Reagan 
Republican Party

George H. W. Bush
Republican Party 

William Jefferson Clinton
Democratic Party

George W. Bush 
Republican Party

Barack H. Obama
Democratic Party

Please Visit

Forgotten Founders
Norwich, CT

Annapolis Continental
Congress Society


U.S. Presidency
& Hospitality

© Stan Klos

 

 

 

 


Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum