Vermont African Americans
Reuben Burton, Castleton
Regiment: 43rd U. S. Colored Infantry Company: D Rank: Private Date of Enlistment: 02/15/1864 Date of Discharge: 10/20/1865
Reuben Burton was born in 1821 to Titus and Diana Burton. He was a laborer by trade. Burton married Judith Crosier on September 1, 1852 in a ceremony officiated by Bristol Justice of the Peace Harry Soper. Judith was the sister to Eugene Crosier who was later to join the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Together they had two children, Ellen, born in 1853 and Sylvester, born in 1860.
Reuben Burton joined the Union army credited to the Town of Castleton in February, 1864. On August 10, 1865 Reuben wrote to his wife from Texas.
I am well & hope these few lines may find you the same. This is the first time I've had an opportunity to write home since I've got started being so far away. I've been to Mobile & New Orleans in Alabama and Louisiana. Tell Horace he ought to be here to get him a Mexican. They are the funniest people ever was. You cannot understand a word they say. Please let me know if Mark Robinson is in the army or not, also what regiment & place. You must get along the best you can for it is no use to send any more monies at such great distance. There is everything. TellHorace that God even made on land tea as frogs has 8 horns. Write to me if Eugene & all of them boys have got home. Write me all the news you can. Tell Ellen & Sylvester be good children. I'll bring them nice presents when I come. Tell the children I've got them sea shells from different places I've been. Tell Horace it is a good country here for fishing. When they do bite, you can catch them weighing from 15 to 17 lbs. It is sickly here and hot. Give my love to all. Please write soon & believe me to be good.
Reuben Burton Co. D 43 Reg. US
After the war, the Burtons settled in Hinesburg, Vermont, near the home of Judith's family in Bristol. On August 16, 1869 Reuben Burton died in Castleton, Vermont, when he was drowned in Lake Bomoseen. Judith collected a pension of $8.00 per month beginning in 1893. The reason for the delay in receiving widow's benefits was that there was no requirement for municipal clerks to keep marriage licenses at the time and the Justice of the Peace who married the Burtons records were destroyed in a fire. It took many affidavits and much time for Judith to convince the government that, grown children notwithstanding, she and Reuben were ever married.