Walter Moses Burton

Full Name: Walter Moses Burton
Date of birth: August 9, 1840
Date of death: June 4, 1913

Terms of Service top

Chamber District Dates of Service Legislatures Party City/County Note Counties in District
S 17 Jan 12, 1881 - Jan 9, 1883 17th (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)   Republican Richmond / Fort Bend   Fort Bend, Waller, Wharton
S 17 Apr 18, 1876 - Jan 11, 1881 15th (8)   16th (7)   Republican Richmond / Fort Bend   Fort Bend, Waller, Wharton
S 13 Feb 20, 1874 - Apr 18, 1876 14th (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14)   Radical Republican Richmond / Fort Bend   Austin, Fort Bend, Wharton

(1) 2-year term; entire Senate went up for reelection in 1882 due to redistricting. Act passed May 3, 1882, 17th Legislature, C.S., ch. 13, Apportionment Laws of Texas, 1836-1950, 1950.
(2) "The entire radical ticket is elected," 11/18/1880, p. 1. Galveston Daily News.
(3) Republican, 11/17/1880, p. 2. Galveston Daily News.
(4) Republican. Pocket Directory of the Seventeenth Legislature of Texas, 1881.
(5) Burton of Fort Bend re-elected to the Senate; Dock Lewis of Wharton and A.C. Thompson [Tompkins] of Waller elected to the legislature, all Republicans. "Texas Politics," Weekly Democratic Statesman (Austin, Texas), 11/11/1880, p. 4. Portal to Texas History (University of North Texas Libraries).
(6) 17th Legislature, Regular Session - Oath of office administered to Senator W.M. Burton, 1/12/1881, p. 3. Senate Journal.
(7) Republican, 1/14/1879, p. 1. Galveston Daily News.
(8) 15th Legislature - All Senators except District 7 listed in roll call as Senators elect, oath of office administered, 4/18/1876, p. 1; Drawing of Senatorial Terms, 4/27/1876, p. 98, drew "long term" (four years). Senate Journal. April 14, 1876 April 27, 1876
(9) Entire Senate went up for reelection due to Senatorial redistricting. Ordinance adopted by Constitutional Convention of the State of Texas, 1875. Remained in effect from its passage until first reapportionment after 1880 Census. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History. Apportionment Laws of Texas, 1836-1950, 1950.
(10) Republican. Directory of the Members and Officers of the Fourteenth Legislature of the State of Texas . . ., 1874.
(11) Burton, in election contest over Z. Hunt 2/20/1874, sworn the same day. Hunt never seated, p. 344. Senate Journal.
(12) Roster of members elect lists party as Radical, p. [a], 14th Legislature, Part 1. Senate Journal.
(13) Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, Examination of the contested election of the 13th District (Z. Hunt and W. Burton), Jan. 19-Feb. 20, 1874. Protest against the seating of W. Burton presented, 1/19/1874, p. 50. Report of committee recommending that Z. Hunt be seated, 2/11/1874, pp. 255-259. Dissenting report from committee recommending that W. Burton be seated, 2/12/1874, pp. 272-279. Consideration of special order concerning election contest and adoption of resolution to seat W. Burton, 2/19/1874-2/20/1874, pp. 339-344. Senate Journal.
(14) "Because of the adoption of the new constitution [of 1876], any member of the 14th Legislature who wished to continue to serve had to run for reelection," p. 220. The Texas Senate: Volume II, Civil War to the Eve of Reform, 1861-1889, 1999.

Biographical Notes and Resources top

Resolutions and Journal entries

  • 79th Legislature, R.S., HR 589, paying tribute to African American legislators and constitutional convention delegates of 1868-1900. Resolutions - Congratulatory and Honorary.
  • 85th Legislature, R.S., HR 452, celebrating Black History Month and honoring the leadership and vision of African American lawmakers. Resolutions - Congratulatory and Honorary.
  • 88th Legislature, R.S., SCR 13, Recognizing the Texas Black Reconstruction Legislators Recognition Act. SB 667, Texas Black Reconstruction Legislators Recognition Act. Resolutions - Congratulatory and Honorary. SB 667 SCR 13
  • 88th Legislature, R.S., SCR 13, Recognizing the Texas Black Reconstruction Legislators Recognition Act. SB 667, Texas Black Reconstruction Legislators Recognition Act. Resolutions - Legislative Policy. SB 667 SCR 13

Biographical Sketches

  • Portrait and biographical sketch. Forever Free: Nineteenth Century African-American Legislators and Constitutional Convention Delegates of Texas, 2002.
  • Biographical sketch in "State Senators Elect: Personal Sketches Completed - Seventeen Lawyers, Seven Grangers, Two Doctors, One Editor and Four Colored Politicians - the Political Structure of the New Senate of Texas," 3/3/1876, p. 2. Galveston Daily News.
  • BURTON, WALTER MOSES (1829?-1913). "He left the Senate in 1882." Handbook of Texas Online.
  • Biographical sketch, including excerpt of speech by Burton on race, referred to as "the most thoroughly eloquent and effective . . . ever made in the Texas Legislature"; also "designated as the best-dressed man in the Senate." Chapter VI, "Black Belt Politics," pp. 104-106. The Negro in Texas, 1874-1900, 1971.
  • Senator Burton Holds His Own, p. 81; Biography, W.M. Burton, pp. 86-87. Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants: a History of the Negro in Texas Politics from Reconstruction to Disfranchisement, 1935.
  • Biographical sketch, pp. 29-30. "Politically he is a Republican." Sketches of Legislators and State Officers, Fifteenth Legislature, 1876-1878, 1876.
  • "Reconstructing a Legacy: The Trials and Accomplishments of Black Legislators in Post-Civil War Texas," by Michael Hurd, July 2021, pp. 68-71. Texas Highways.
  • Biographical sketch, William Matthew Burton, pp. 244-245. Born 8/9/1840. Texas Legislative Manual, 1879-80, 1879.
  • Biographical sketch, pp. 198-200. The Texas Senate: Volume II, Civil War to the Eve of Reform, 1861-1889, 1999.
  • Biographical sketch, Walter M. Burton, pp. 44-45. Birth year 1829, death year 1913, Appendix D. Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares: Black Leadership in Texas, 1868-1898, 2016.

Other Resources

  • Walter Moses Burton, birth date 8/9/1840, death date 6/4/1915, burial in Morton Cemetery, Richmond, Fort Bend County. Name listed on historical marker: Walter Moses Burton; name on grave marker: Walter Burton. Find a Grave.
  • Sheriff and tax collector for Fort Bend County, pp. 181-182, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County. HeritageQuest Online.
  • Biographical information, p. 54. History of the Republican Party in Texas 1865-1965, 1965.
  • Mentioned, pp. 147-156. Time of Hope, Time of Despair: Black Texans During Reconstruction, 1981.


Composite Photographs on Display in the Capitol

Committee Information top

17th R.S. - 1881
Agricultural Affairs  
Contingent Expenses  
Counties and County Boundaries  
Judicial Districts  
Public Roads, Bridges and Ferries  
Stock and Stock Raising  
16th R.S. - 1879
Educational Affairs  
Public Roads, Bridges and Ferries  
15th R.S. - 1876
Agricultural Affairs  
Counties and County Boundaries  

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