“Henry Burton had no one in Syracuse he called a friend in the true sense of the term.”

Burton mausoleum in Oakwood Cemetery

Pictured is the mausoleum of Burr Burton. Burr was a prominent citizen in the city of Syracuse, accumulating a large fortune as a leading salt manufacturer during the industry’s peak in the mid 1850s. Burr was born in 1804 and lived with his family on Carbon Street.

On an early May morning in 1865, Burr was murdered as he stood at the front door of his home. Conflicting reports were released stating why he had gone to the door. One report stated he had been awoken by the doorbell, while another said his wife had heard someone rattling the doorknob. Ultimately, the end result was the same. The assailant bashed the glass pane on the top of the front door and opened fire, shooting Burr dead.

The city’s Mayor and Sheriff both offered reward money for any information that led to the arrest and conviction of the person who committed the crime, but nothing of substance was ever unearthed. While the crime was never solved, Burr’s son, Henry, was often suspected. Henry was in the house at the time of the murder but was not aroused by the disturbance. At the time of his father’s murder, Henry was in great debt, but as an heir to the family fortunes, Henry stood to benefit financially from his father’s death.

Though no circumstances could ever connect Henry with the crime, the accusation followed him throughout his entire life. Law enforcement officials released statements declaring the innocence of Henry, but it was no match to the local gossip. A few days after Henry’s death in 1890, an article in the July 13th edition of the Syracuse Standard stated “Henry Burton had no one in Syracuse he called a friend in the true sense of the term.”

Upon his death, Henry was buried with his father.

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David is a nonprofit manager living in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse. He began telling historical tales on his Instagram account, @SyracuseHistory in 2013 and co-founded Storycuse.com in the fall of 2016.