First Mayor – oath of office
Nita Lou: I am confused about who was the first mayor of Burleson. In the museum there are pictures of all of Burleson’s mayors. William P. Lace is identified as mayor from 1910-1912. George W. Bransom is shown as mayor from 1912 until 1921. Records show that Burleson was incorporated as a town on May 21, 1912. I’m confused as who was the first mayor. How about you?
John: The confusion about the dates is because W.P. Lace was mayor for the un-incorporated community of Burleson and served to lead the effort to get his community incorporated. Once the town became incorporated, George W. Bransom became the first elected mayor of the Town of Burleson.
According to James L Haley, author of the book Burleson Century written in 2012, George Washington Bransom moved to Johnson County with his family from Iowa in 1863 when he was fifteen years old. Over the years he became the father of ten children, economically prominent and a civic leader in the Burleson community. He farmed 500 acres of land, commercially bailed hay, threshed grain, milled flour and ginned cotton. He also at various times held interest in a drug store and the water works. On the civic side he was instrumental in moving the Red Oak Academy building from Brushy Mound to Burleson. To me, it appears that he was a good choice for being the first mayor.
The office of mayor was new but the prescribed oath given by G.W. Bransom seems to me to be unusual, but maybe appropriate for the occasion. Mr. Haley described the oath as “bearing a strange echo from the Old South”.
“I, G.W. Bransom do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as Mayor of the Town of Burleson, according to the best of my skills and ability, agreeable to the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state.
And I further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the Constitution of this State, I, being a citizen of this state have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this state or out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as a second, in carrying a challenge, or aided, advised or assisted any person thus offending.
I furthermore solemnly swear that I have not directly or indirectly, paid, offered, or promised to pay, contributed, not promised to contribute, any money or valuable thing, or promised any public office or employment as a reward for giving or withholding a vote at the election at which I was elected, so help me God.”
Signed - G.W. Bransom
I wonder if all Burleson mayors up to and through Mayor Shetter gave the same oath as the one given by Mayor Bransom in 1912?
I recommend that all of you who are interested in your city and its history purchase Mr. Haley’s book which was commissioned by the City of Burleson for its
Centennial Celebration. The book is available at the Burleson Visitor Center and Museum and other locations around town. This book places Burleson in more of a state context than local histories presented previously.
John Duke Smith is a local history buff. If you have questions for John, he can be contacted at “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com or through the Burleson Visitor Center and Museum.