Amos Shelton Burr was born in Bridgeport, Conn. in 1848, and came to Bement, Ill., in 1880 as a representative of the Bodmans of Massachusetts. Although he was trained as a lawyer and banker, Burr purchased Thornton Farm, in Piatt County, and developed it into one of central Illinois' show places by employing such methods as drainage and the use of fertilizer. In 1882, Burr married Sydney Amelie Compton of Rapides Parish, La., and eventually became the owner of the Amelie Plantation.
The collection includes legal documents, tax papers and ledgers which concern the Illinois property, the Amelie Plantation, and some land in Arapahoe County, Colo. In addition there are inventories and papers from the trust set up under the will of Burr, and a few papers and a copy of the will of Burr's sister, Carrie.
Burr's daughter, Mary Burr Brown, married Lloyd Warfield Brown, who farmed near Jacksonville, Ill. The Browns leased farms and land in Illinois from Julia Carter (wife of W. C. Carter) and Julius Strawn, farm magnates in Morgan County. In addition to the papers on their Illinois property, the collection includes a series of correspondence and documents that deal with properties in Louisiana and Colorado.
The entire collection was acquired in 1970 through Roberta Scouffas as a gift from Amelie Blyth (1924-2012), of Bement, Ill., niece of Ellen Burr Simpson, Burr's daughter.