As a member of one of the pioneer families of this country, Mr. Pullen
calls for recognition in a compilation of the province assigned to the one
at hand, and it is a pleasure to enter this review of his upright and
successful career, for he has ever been faithful in the performance of
whatever duty he found to be his, without thought of reward or praise from
his fellow men.
Burden Pullen was born in Mercer county, New Jersey, June 8, 1833, the son of James B. and Sarah (McCabe) Pullen. Grandfather Pullen, who was of English descent, lived in New Jersey and died at the advanced age of ninety-eight years. He devoted his life to agricultural pursuits and reared to maturity a family of nine children. His noble life companion was a faithful member of the church. Grandfather McCabe, who was of Scotch-Irish blood, lived on a farm, and both he and his wife lived to advanced ages, rearing a large family. The father of the subject was reared in New Jersey, and being poor, his parents could not give him the school advantages that he desired. However, he made the best use possible of what he had, and after leaving school learned the cooper's trade, although he never worked at it to any extent. He left New Jersey in 1839 and settled in Middletown, Ohio, going into the fruit and nursery business and developing into a well known and prominent horticulturist, the study of which he had begun before leaving New Jersey, and devoted his life to that business with pronounced success. He died at the age of sixty-five years, having been survived by a widow until she reached eighty-six. They were members of the Baptist church and their family consisted of nine children.
The early education of the subject of this sketch was obtained in the district schools of Ohio, where he diligently applied himself. Desiring to receive a higher education, he later entered Franklin College in Indiana, but on account of sickness was obliged to leave before finishing the course he had hoped to take. He worked on his father's fruit farm and was with him as an associate in the business until 1856, when he came to Centralia, Illinois, then being twenty-three years old. He opened a nursery, becoming a horticulturist of more than local note. He bought the place where he now resides in 1857. The place consisted of seventy acres and all of it was used as a nursery and fruit farm. Much of his land is now laid out in city lots and has been sold. He closed the nursery branch and gradually worked all into the horticulture line, which he made a great success.
Mr. Pullen's happy married life dates from December 10, 1857, when he was united in the bonds of wedlock with Lucille O. Gex, a native of Kentucky. Her ancestry was of French descent. Her grandparents on the mother's side were named Price. They were from England and her grandfather was a Baptist minister. Her father was an educated man, a linguist. He was a planter in Kentucky and a slave holder.
Nine children have been born to the subject and wife, named in order of birth as follows: Lucian C. is married and the father of four children: Rena is the wife of E. S. Condit and the mother of two children; Maud, who was the wife of Dr. George Abbott, is deceased; Blanche is also deceased; May is the wife of Charles P. Marshall and the mother of two children; Fred is married and has one child; Rome B. is the seventh child and Bird G. the eighth, the latter married and has two children; Lillie is the youngest and the wife of Raymond A. Beck and the mother of one child.
The subject's first wife died in 1891, and he was again married September 13, in 1893, to Mrs. Anna E. Russell, of Clinton county, Illinois.
Our subject is one of the original organizers of the local First Baptist church, of Centralia, and is the only living member of the original organization. In politics he was originally a Whig, then a Republican, but in late years a Democrat. He was a member of the State Board of Agriculture, having been vice-president of the same for twenty years. He was one of the Commissioners appointed by the Governor to take charge of the Illinois exhibit at the World's Fair in 1893 at Chicago, and was chairman of the Committee on Horticulture and Floriculture. He spent two years in this work, having charge of and preparing the grounds and buildings for this display. He was for some time Trustee of the University of Illinois, by appointment of Governor Oglesby, having been Chairman of the Committee on Grounds. He was also Auditor of the State Board of Agriculture, having had charge of the purchasing department and a number of other departments. He has had charge of some one of these departments for the past twenty years.
Mr. Pullen, besides having been a very busy man in this line, has also had other business of much importance. He assisted in the organization of the Merchants' State Bank of Centralia and was its first president, having faithfully performed the duties of this exacting position for a period of six years, and withdrew on account of physical disability. E. S. Condit, a grandson of the subject, is now assistant cashier of this bank. Mr. Pullen was one of the organizers of the Centralia Ice and Cold Storage Company, and has been its president ever since it was first organized. His son, Fred, is secretary and business manager of the same and has ably filled this position since 1898.
Mr. Pullen has long taken an active interest in public affairs and he has served creditably as School Trustee and Director, also Township Supervisor. He was active in the District Fair Association and was the first president of the same, having been chosen by acclamation, and it was largely due to his efficient efforts that the success of the fair was due. Whatever of success has been attained by our subject is due entirely to his own industry, energy and ability. From small beginnings he gradually, by the most honorable methods, attained a prominence in his county which entitles him to be regarded as one of its leading citizens, his reputation being that of a man of business integrity, and his modem home is often the gathering place for numerous friends of himself and family.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 596-598.