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John Buri, 1858-1956

The following was compiled by the Annandale History Club secretary in conjunction with Blaine Barkley’s Dayton’s Furniture Store presentation.  Dayton’s Furniture Store was in the former Buri Hardware building.

John H. Buri (1858-1956)

1858:  John H. Buri was born in Chicago February 21. 1858.

1865:  At age seven, John Buri came with his family from Chicago to a farm southeast of Annandale.  He attended the rural school and helped farm.  (John Buri later purchased his parents’ farm.)

1878:  John Buri was a graduate of the advanced course at St. Cloud Normal School.   He taught school for a few terms in a log cabin in Corinna Township and also near St. Paul.

1886:  John Buri was time keeper for the construction crew which put through the railroad in this vicinity.  He was bookkeeper for the railroad for four years.  The first train rolled through Annandale on December 9, 1886.

He purchased the site on Annandale’s future main street and in 1886 and built one of the first buildings in Annandale.    

1887:  Mr. Buri opened his hardware store January 1, 1887. Buri’s hardware store is the oldest building in Annandale.

The winter of ’86 and ’87 was one of the most severe experienced – snow was about three feet deep…  For a main street (Oak Ave.) there was a narrow sleigh road passing the two stores (a small grocery store and John Buri hardware store).   History of Wright County, 1915:  Sam Wells had the first grocery store in Annandale, a small building facing east.  The grocery store and Buri’s hardware store were almost hidden from view by large trees and brush all about them.  The two stores and a lumberyard started by Henry Eggerglus were the beginning of the village of Annandale.

1888:  February 21, 1888, John Buri was one of the signers of the petition for the incorporation of Annandale.   John Buri was the first mayor of Annandale (1888-1891).  His yearly salary as mayor was $10.  He was on the council for 17 years.

 e was on the council for 17 years.February 5, 1889:  The trustees of the Annandale Methodist Episcopal Church met for the first time Feb. 5, 1889.  John H. Buri was one of the first trustees.  The Annandale M.E. church was built in 1889. John Buri served as superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school for 48 years.  He loved music and was a choir member for several years. 

1893:  John Buri was one of the founders of the Annandale State Bank.

1901:  The 1901 Corinna Township map shows that J.H. Buri owned 160 acres in Section 32, bordering Albion Township.   

1904:  John Buri and Ida M. Hansch of Maple Lake were united in marriage April 6, 1904, in Albion Township.   They lived for a time above the hardware store.

John H. Buri is the proprietor of one of the leading hardware stores of Annandale, and handles a full line of farm implements, fishing tackle and sporting goods and is the village recorder.  – St. Paul Daily Globe, May 23, 1904.

Years ?:  John Buri was the first clerk of the Annandale School Board. He served on the Annandale Board of Education for nine years.  The first school in the future Annandale opened in 1869, a small log structure near the east end of the village. In 1888 a new school was built near the location of the present Annandale Library.   Annandale Advocate, March 22, 1923:  “He has always been an ardent advocate of better education, and it was partly through his efforts and influence that Annandale’s school system has reached its present high standard.” 

December 1909:  Great Northwest Magazine –  “Among the prominent successful houses of Annandale, special mention must be accorded John H. Buri’s hardware establishment.  Mr. Buri has the distinction of running the oldest and best of its kind in this city.  He has built up an enormous trade, at the same time sustaining a high reputation for his enterprise and business integrity.  It would be impossible to attempt to enumerate the various articles pertaining to this important branch of industry that may be found at this store.   The stock is immense and the specialties, of which there are many, are of such a nature and bear such a usefulness that they claim unusual attention and general patronage.  The stock carried embraces every known article in the line of cutlery, shelf hardware, general iron supplies, tools for all trades, the Estate stoves and ranges. 

“In his farm machinery department will be found various kinds of machinery such as the Champion Binder and all other International implements, wagons and buggies.  His stock is inexhaustive and his prices are such that defy competition.  Personally, Mr. Buri is one of the most enterprising and progressive men of Annandale, and he is always vitally interested in the affairs of the city, having held various offices of trust, which he filled with eminent satisfaction.”

1909:  John H. Buri is Second Vice President of the Annandale State Bank.

1910:  John Buri is a director and president of the Annandale Publishing Company, a group of businessmen that purchased the Annandale Advocate in 1907.

1915:  John Buri was on the board of directors of the Annandale brickyard.  In 1915 A.M. Ridgway was president and J.H. Buri was secretary of the Annandale Brick and Tile Company.   

August 21, 1921:  The John Buri family accompanied by Mrs. Carolyn Hansch and Mrs. O.C. Olson are enjoying an outing at the Gille Resort on Lake John.  (Annandale Advocate)

1923:  The Buri’s daughter, Alice, graduated from Annandale High School.

c. 1937:  John Buri operated his hardware store for 50 years.  He retired from the business in the late 1930s.

1943:  Annandale Advocate, February 25, 1943:  Annandale’s first mayor and oldest living businessman, John Buri, observed his 85th birthday on Feb. 21.  There was no fuss over the occasion, as he is a modest man and cares nothing for frills.  Buri says he is the first man to buy a lot here, erect a building and start in business.  In the spring of 1887 he opened a hardware store, supplying the new settlers with nails, saws, axes and other hardware with which to put up their buildings and clear land.  As mayor for three years, Buri’s big job was building, clearing and grading the streets and building board walks.  He also served on the school board for nine years.

1952:  Annandale Advocate, July 31, 1952:  John H. Buri sold his two-story building on Main Street and the adjoining lots to William C. McNellis of Minneapolis. The building includes the office that B.R. Jones, land agent, has occupied.  Buri conducted a hardware and implement business there until he retired a few years ago.   

Advocate, September 11, 1952:  Dayton Barkley has purchased the Buri building from Wm. McNellis of Minneapolis.  Mr. Barkley is remodeling the interior, will put in a new front and make other improvements prior to moving his stock of furniture into same.  Mr. McNellis purchased the building a short time ago from J.H. Buri.   

Dayton Barkley purchased the 1887 Buri Hardware building on Main Street (Oak Avenue), and moved the stock from the furniture store he opened in 1950 on Highway 55.  The Buri store was empty when he bought it.  Blaine Barkley said that when cleaning out the old hardware store, his parents threw out many things that they later wished they had kept. 

Note:  The Buri’s home was on Chestnut Avenue just south of the Barkley’s house (adjacent to the Barkley’s back yard).

April 8, 1954:  Mr. and Mrs. John Buri observed their 50th wedding anniversary Tuesday, April 6, in a quiet manner at their home in Annandale.  They were married in Albion Township and have made their home in Annandale continuously since that time.  A few friends called during the day to extend congratulations on their anniversary.  They have one daughter, Mrs. Louis Rogers, and one granddaughter of California.  (Annandale Advocate)

1956:  John Buri died July 11, 1956 at age 98 years, 4 months, and 18 days, at the Madden Rest Home in South Haven.

1958:  Mrs. Ida Buri died October 6, 1958, at age 87.

Annandale Advocate:  Last Rites Held for Pioneer Businessman, John H. Buri:  John H. Buri, Annandale’s Pioneer businessman, died on July 11, at the age of 98 years and four months.  He had been confined to his home a number of years due to failing health. 

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Feb. 21, 1858, John Buri came with his parents to a homestead in Albion Township at the age of seven years.  He attended St. Cloud Normal School and was a graduate in the class of 1878.  He taught school in a log cabin in Corinna and on the outskirts of St. Paul.

John Buri and Ida M. Hansch of Maple Lake were united in marriage April 6, 1904, in Albion Township.  Mrs. Buri, one daughter, Alice, son-in-law Louis Rogers, and one granddaughter, Jean, are the immediate survivors.

Funeral services were conducted at 2 p,m. Saturday at the Methodist church with the Rev. Swan Mattson of Clearwater officiating.  Appropriate hymns were sung by Mrs. P.L. Sawyer, Mrs. B.H. Thayer, Roy Olson and Carl Folkerts.  Pallbearers were B.H. Thayer, P.L. Sawyer, Walter Lundeen, Lyman Ransom, Kenneth Rudolph and Marvin Zeidler.  Relatives from a distance attending the funeral were:  Mr. and Mrs. Lester Hansch of Cross Lake, Minn., Dr, and Mrs. M. Duane Sommerness of Fergus Falls, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Olson of Hopkins, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Norris and James of Robbinsdale and William Herold of Albion.

Mr. Buri was Annandale’s First Mayor:  Mr. Buri is well-remembered as the first mayor of the village of Annandale, also served in many other ways.  He often commented on the great progress made in the first half of this century; changes he had witnessed from his boyhood to his retired years.

One of his recollections was of the area where his parents homesteaded.  They burned up cord after cord of fine hardwood, maple and oak lumber; there was no demand for it here except for construction of the log cabin homes and to clear the “big woods” for farming, one had to find some use for the wood, and it turned into fuel.

John Buri was a time keeper for the construction crew which put through the railroad in this vicinity.  That was in 1886, the same year that Annandale was incorporated as a village (sic).

Erecting one of the first buildings in Annandale, Mr. Buri on January 1, 1887, opened his hardware store and for over 50 years was engaged in that business.

As one of the founders of Annandale, Mr. Buri took an active part in promoting school, church and business ventures that were needed to supply the demands of the early settlers.  He served as mayor on the first village council, on the school board, with cooperative industries such as the brickyard, creamery, elevator and bank.

He served as superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school for over 48 years; he loved music and was a choir member for several years.  Other affairs of the church always occupied his interest, and he enjoyed many a visit with the pastors of the parish.

Mr. Buri was the author of a history of the Annandale Methodist church, which was published by the M Club of the church a few years ago.

Annandale Advocate, February 1976:  In January 1887 the first store opened in Annandale.  The very first was the hardware store of John H. Buri, who sold only the finest and very latest lines….  Both the 1915 and 1935 Wright County histories call him a forceful leader and public servant.  No doubt his leadership helped Annandale become the thriving community it is today.

Annandale Advocate – Centennial Profiles – 1988, by Brian Hurd:  John H. Buri was truly an original.  The first mayor of Annandale, Buri also erected one of the first buildings in town (in 1886), and was one of the first men to operate a business (a hardware store on Oak Avenue).  He also served in many offices in the Annandale United Methodist Church, the city of Annandale, and the school district.

In addition to his numerous contributions to the development of Annandale, Buri will be remembered as a kind, gentle man to those who knew him.

Everybody got along with him,” said Pete Olson, who grew up on a farm owned by Buri.  “I never heard him say a bad word about anybody.  He didn’t drink, smoke, or swear.  When he got angry he would say, ‘Sugar, sugar, sugar,’ or ‘Oh, Sugar.’”

“He was as honest as the day is long,” said Raymond Olson (no relation to Pete).  “He was a wonderful man.  Everybody respected him.”  Raymond Olson was a student in one of Buri’s Sunday school classes.  He also operated a Maytag appliance store out of the building Buri opened for business Jan. 1, 1887.

Dayton’s Furniture Store now occupies the building where Buri operated his hardware store for more than 50 years.  Buri and his wife, Ida, lived upstairs. John and Ida kept up the most beautiful garden,said Julia Barkley, who along with her husband Dayton, purchased the building from Buri in 1952.  You could tell they put a lot of work and pride into it.

A parking lot now occupies the spot where the garden once grew.  City residents also used to get water from a well which stood near the garden.

When Buri opened for business some more than a century ago, his hardware store may have been the first business in Annandale.  (Sam Wells may have opened a grocery store earlier than Buri opened for business, but records are not clear.)

Buri closed his hardware store in the late 1930s.  His last years in the hardware business were more of a hobby than as a serious business venture....

Buri was born Feb. 21, 1858.  When he reached his 90th birthday in 1948, his birthday celebrations became front-page news in the Advocate.  His 90th, 91st, 92nd, 93rd, and 96th birthdays were given special attention. His 94th, 95th, and 97th birthdays were listed along with the birthdays of other well-known pioneers.  Buri was 98 years and four months when he died July 11, 1956. 


Compiled by Annandale History Club Secretary