Big boy britches
When my dad was growing up, around 1915, young boys wore dresses before they were allowed to wear short pants. A boy felt he was becoming a man when he received his first pair of long pants, his “big boy britches”. In those days a man would not be seen in public wearing short pants. He even wore long underwear which were referred to as long-johns. Many of you know that Burleson was officially incorporated as a town in 1912. That was the year the rural community of Burleson metamorphosed into the Town of Burleson. That was the year Burleson put on its, “big boy britches”.
In the book, Burleson Century, written by James L. Haley, and published in 2012, the story of the incorporation is discussed. The Appendix in the book was written by Curtis E. Hawk, who was the Burleson City Manager from 2006 through March 2012. Hawk made a significant contribution to the book through historic research and placing Mr. Haley in contact with local citizens who had knowledge of Burleson’s history.
When I read the book, it appeared to me that after the successful creation of the Burleson Independent School District in 1910, the Burleson community leaders saw the possible benefits of municipal incorporation. The Burleson community at this time was operating under some type of informal organization, to serve the businesses and citizens of the community with W.P. Lace as one of its leaders. Mr. Lace’s photograph is hanging on the wall of the Burleson Visitor Center and Museum, showing him to be the Mayor of Burleson in 1910-1912, which was before Burleson became a town. Mr. Lace had been appointed Postmaster in 1897, and was probably the only public official in the community.
Mr. Lace and 24 other town leaders developed a Petition to incorporate the “Town of Burleson.” The petitioners were the “who’s who” of Burleson; J.A. Hicks, C.C. Taylor, L.D. Hardman, W.P. Lace, R.L. Anderson, E.M. Wilson, G.E. Bransom, G.W. Bransom, S.P. McNarin, L.H. Rudd, T.N. Pearce, E.J. Thompson, W.A. Orr, W.N. George, W.R. Taylor, J.F. Dunn, A.W. Haskew, J.T. Scott, James Clark, S.M. Taylor, B.L. Shaw, A.H. Loyless, A.G Borah, J.L. Mallett and W.M. Hurst. The Petition was accepted by the citizens of Burleson. An election was held and the petition passed when 49 citizens voted for, and 38 voted against, incorporation. The petition was presented to, and approved by the Johnson County Judge. The Town of Burleson came into existence on May 21, 1912. An election was then held to select the first town council, consisting of a mayor and five alderman. George W. Bransom was the first elected mayor and he remained mayor until 1921. In fact, out of those that signed the petition, four of them became mayor and nine became alderman for the Town of Burleson.
On July 25, 1938, the town council, presided over by Mayor George E. Bransom, passed an ordinance changing the “Town” of Burleson to the “City” of Burleson.
If you want to know more about the heritage of the great city you reside in, I suggest that you purchase Mr. Haley’s book at Burleson City Hall, or the Burleson Visitor Center and Museum.
John Duke Smith is a Burleson history buff and can be contacted at johndukesmith @sbcglobal.net