Remember When …

Pictured are some of Mona Ballge’s family. Photo provided

Pictured are some of Mona Ballge’s family. Photo provided

This historical column started out in 2019 to tell the forgotten story of my hometown, Burton Township, formed in 1855, after being asked to write a book.

My passion for the community’s history increased as I found out the Atherton Settlement in 1835 was the same name as my school, where I attended.

Growing up in Genesee County during the 1960s and 70s was a blast! There were kids everywhere; we were the baby boomers and General Motors was at its peak of 80,000 workers.

What stories do have to share about the wonderful days of downtown Flint, window shopping and then to the malls which were opening everywhere in the 1960s and 70s.

Now they want us to all shop online for the holidays, any thoughts?

What is your favorite holiday memory from Thanksgiving or Christmas?

My historical journey started in 2011 after I found out my alma mater was started in 1836, named after the Atherton family who settled this area.

I knew nothing about the Atherton Settlement, third oldest in our state, until I looked in my 1965 yearbook, and sure enough, it was there telling us about Atherton history.



So, I started the research and found a 1907 plot map from the Genesee County Court House and went door-to-door finding houses on the map that were still standing. Was that fantastic –more than 100 houses found, and so much history, and how the Athertons moved here from England as many other settlers did in the 1800s. Atherton Schools, starting out where the Burton Memorial Library stands today at the corner of Atherton and Center roads. It stood there for 100 years then moved to Center Road where Van-Y Elementary (Atherton Elementary) sits now.

The first public school in 1635 was in Boston within the 13 colonies in America. Public schools are still the most attended since kids started learning outside the home.

Both public and private schools alike have had to rethink the way they teach children since March of 2020 with the pandemic. Thank God for the Internet or what would we had done?

I hope you enjoy the fun history with me being a storyteller to share the history I have learned the past 10 years; even traveling to the England to find more facts.

Since part of my Burleson family came to Swartz Creek in 1840 (Kenyon and Barnett families after the Civil War) settling our family farm and living there until 1972, I became even more interested in telling our story.

By joining local historical societies, I have found more about my family in Grand Blanc, the Barton and the Brainard families; then in Fenton with Jeanie Dibble. So, I guess I am related to a lot of people in our community.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email