Burt, William Austin, 1792-1858

Variant names
Birth 1792-06-13
Death 1858-08-18

Biographical notes:

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, June 13, 1792; received a good education; was for some time an engineer in Erie, New York; came to Michigan, 1822; member of territorial council, 1826-27; settled in Washtenaw County, 1824; engaged in mill-building and local surveying, 1824-33; County surveyor, Macomb Co., 1831-34; Postmaster of Mt. Vernon for 24 years; invented solar compass; surveyed Upper Peninsula 1840-27; discovered 20 beds of iron ore, 1844-46; representative from Macomb County, 1853-1843; died August 18, 1858. (from Appleton. Mich. Biog. ; Dict. of Amer. Biog) (blue index cards)

From the description of William Austin Burt correspondence, 1840 (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 319063411

Surveyor and inventor of the solar compass.

From the description of William Austin Burt notebook, 1841. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34420477

Burt was born in Massachusetts but lived in Michigan from 1824 until 1858. He served in the Michigan legislature and worked as a deputy U.S. surveyor in Michigan from 1833 to 1853. Among Burt's inventions were the typographer in 1829 (a predecessor to the typewriter) and the solar compass, a surveying tool used in the Michigan survey. While surveying in Michigan Burt discovered one of the largest iron ore deposits in the country in what is now Marquette County, Michigan.

From the description of Collection on William Austin Burt. (State Historical Society of Iowa, Library). WorldCat record id: 79477655

Burt (1792-1858) was a member of the Legislative Council of Michigan Territory representing Macomb County, 1826-1827, and a land surveyor in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. He was the most prominent citizen of Mount Vernon (Mich.) and its first post master, beginning on Dec. 19, 1832.

From the description of Collection, 1839,1952. (Clarke Historical Library). WorldCat record id: 41536875

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  • Mackinaw City (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Wakefield (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Wisconsin (as recorded)
  • Michigan (as recorded)
  • Upper Peninsula (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Mackinac Island (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Michigan (as recorded)
  • Upper Peninsula (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Michigan--Mackinaw (as recorded)
  • Wisconsin (as recorded)
  • Upper Peninsula (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Mount Vernon (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Macomb County (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Michigan--Upper Peninsula (as recorded)