Born just over the town line in Simsbury, Burton O. Higley (1842-1919) started his career as a schoolteacher in Simsbury and West Avon before becoming a farmer and getting into the milk business. He was educated in one-room district schools and attended Wilbraham College.
Higley married Emma Josephine Woodford of Avon. No children were born from their marriage, but they brought up two daughters and a son. Eight weeks before Higley’s death one of his daughters died of pneumonia. Overcome with grief, it began “the undermining of his general health and was in part the cause of his sickness and death,” according to a newspaper report.
Higley was an active Democrat and was a member of the Village Lodge of Masons where he was a past master. He was the oldest member and senior deacon of the Canton Baptist Church. He became ill at a Ladies Aid Supper, leaving the church hall with a severe chill which developed into pneumonia and other complications causing his death six days afterward.
The funeral was held at the Canton Baptist Church. Pastor C. K. Flanders sang “The Land of the Unsetting Sun” and a quartet of Higley’s fellow Masons gave renditions “Lead Kindly Light” and “Now God Be With Us.”
Burton O. Higley is buried in the Canton Springs Cemetery on Canton Springs Road.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.