Dr. David Burley – Coming to Almont

David Henry Burley was born on October 16, 1863 to Samuel Burley (1835-1925) and Maria Clark Burley (1845-1913) in Thedford, Ontario, Canada.  Thedford is now a neighborhood in the city of Lambton Shores, which is on Lake Huron just north of Sarnia.

After completing eighth grade, he went to work but also continued his studies with a Miss Burch.  He worked in a saw mill and salt mine at positions ranging from a “water boy” to a traveling salesman.  

Working as a traveling salesman convinced him to find an occupation where people would come to him instead of him going to them.

He then took a job working in a small town drug store.  The story was owned and operated by Dr. McEdwards, who was both a druggist and doctor.  Dr, McEdwards encouraged David to consider following in this footsteps and becoming a doctor and druggist. Mr. Burley took Dr. McEdwards advise and in 1890 he enrolled in the Detroit College of Medicine (now Wayne State University).  He graduated in 1893 with degrees in medicine and pharmacy.

Dr. Burley returned home to Thedford and then began looking for a small town in which to begin his practice.

He took the train and headed west. At each stop he got off, looked over the town and questioned residents.  By the time he got to Lansing, Dr. Burly decided to open his practice in Capac.

Dr. Burley returned home to Thedford.  He packed his belongings and equipment into his buggy.  He drove to Sarnia and took the ferry across the St. Clair River to Port Huron.  From Port Huron, he drove across the road which would become M-21 and is now Lapeer Road.

When he reached Capac, he checked into the Capac Hotel.  Talking to residents in Capac about finding an office and permanent housing, they suggested that Almont might be a better place to begin his practice.  Dr. Burley decided it couldn’t hurt to check out their suggestion.  Almont was not on the rail line so he hadn’t considered it.

Dr. Burley got back into his buggy and drove south down Capac Road to Allenton and then west across Almont Road to Almont.

As he entered Almont, he drove up East St. Clair Street.  He was impressed by the beautiful trees lining the street.  As he drove around town, he was also impressed by the quality of the Village’s streets.  He revised his decision and decided to begin his practice in Almont.

Dr. Burley returned to Capac, packed his belongings back into his buggy, checked out of the hotel, and drove back to Almont.

He rented a building on the west side of South Main Street.  He hung out his shingle on June 21, 1893.  Unfortunately, in 1894, the west side of South Main (all of the buildings south of the Masonic Hall) burned to the ground.  Dr. Burley then purchased one of the lots and built his office at 130 S. Main Street (current location of Tempest Air).

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