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Burton/Lake/Garton family papers

Identifier: Coll 301

Scope and Contents

The Burton/Lake/Garton Family Papers contains correspondence and an array of other documents related to the Burton, Lake and Garton families and their activities—including reports, photographs, post cards, publications, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and artifacts. The materials have been grouped into series based on focus of the materials, or by type of material. Within series I and II, the arrangement is further refined into subseries for easier access to the materials.

Series I: Family Papers contains correspondence to and from various members of the Burton, Lake and Garton families. The majority of the correspondence is to and from John Garton while he was serving in World War II. The John Garton correspondence, sorted chronologically as incoming and outgoing, constitutes the bulk of Subseries A: Correspondence. Newspaper articles, pamphlets, post cards, posters, publications, genealogical materials, and the Rogers family Bible complete this series. (The Rogers are related to the Burtons in that one of the Burton girls is a Roger by marriage.)

Series II: Missionary Work contains correspondence and documents relating to Kate Burton Lake’s and Margaret Lake Garton’s work in Women’s Home Missionary Society Homes in San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon. The majority of this series pertains to the work done at the Oriental Home and School in San Francisco. The Oriental Home and School sheltered abandoned children, rescued slave girls, and advocated in the legal system for the Chinese. There are also documents pertaining to work done at the Japanese and Korean homes in California, as well as work done in the Portland Industrial Home with immigrants of all nationalities. All of this correspondence is sorted chronologically if dates are included. There are translations of the foreign language correspondence filed with the original documents, when a translation is available.

Two scrapbooks of newspaper clippings are included in this series. The majority of the news clippings in these scrapbooks pertain the Kate’s and Margaret’s time in San Francisco Mission Homes. The clippings in the scrapbooks are not organized by subject or chronologically. Besides the scrapbooks, there are also a large number of other newspaper clippings about the work of the Missions included in this series. Each item in this series is listed separately, and the articles are sorted chronologically when possible.

Series III: Photographs contains all of the photographs and negatives in this collection. There are 503 photographs in total. The majority of these photographs are of John Garton when he was serving in World War II. There are also a number of other family photographs. The age of the photographs range from a tintype circa 1870 to school portraits of family members circa 1985. Fewer than 100 of the photographs are related to the Missionary work of Kate and Margaret. The photographs are divided into two subseries, Family and Missionary Work.

Series IV: Artifacts contains a variety of material, such as cufflinks, stickers, stamps, boxes, and frames. These artifacts are related to both the Family and Mission series.

Series V: Oversized Materials contains two items: a framed Deaconess certificate from the Lucy Meyer Rider Training School in Chicago presented to Margaret Lake, and a hand-drawn map of San Francisco’s Chinatown, circa 1900.


  • 1848-1993


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Biographical / Historical

John James Burton (February 19, 1816-1878) married Margaret Watson (June 21, 1822-October 18, 1899) on May 29, 1839. They had fifteen children: Link C., Herber H., Edward R. Sarah Kate, Lois, William G., Linnoir L., Ben T., Margaret E., Charles W., Kezia, John J., Amy, Jemina, and Eliza. There are several pictures of Margaret in the photograph series; she is identified as “Aunt Margaret.” John James was a pioneer of 1844 and had a Donation Farm at Yamhill, Oregon. The family originally left Auckland, New Zealand in 1843.

Sarah “Kate” Burton (October 15, 1846 – January 9 1928) married John Rice Lake October 20, 1870, who died October 20, 1874. Kate Burton Lake was educated at Portland Academy, Tualatin Academy and Pacific College in Forest Grove. Kate was a schoolteacher in Yamhill, Portland, Nehalem, Astoria and Portland areas from approximately 1865-1890. In 1890 she moved to the San Francisco Bay area to be close to her mother and her brother Ben, who was a medical doctor.

In the summer of 1896 Kate began working with her daughter, Margaret, as teacher and matron in the Chinese Misssion of the Methodist Episcopal Church's "WOman's Home Missionary Society." She worked in San Francisco Chinatown for seven years until her dismissal in late 1902 or early 1903.

Kate was a charter member of Taylor Street Methodist Church Sunday School in Portland, Oregon. She was also a member of Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers, Oregon Pioneer’s Association and Yamhill County Pioneers. Kate Burton Lake is often referred to as simply Mrs. Lake, Kate B. Lake or Grandma Lake.

Kate Burton and John Lake had one child, Margarita (“Margaret”) John Lake Garton (March 30, 1873-October 1968). Margaret was known by several different spellings of her name, the most common of which is Margaret. Other spellings and nicknames present in the collection include: Margarita, Marguerite, Margarite, Lovie, Miss Lake, and Mother Garton. (For the organizational purposes of this collection, she will simply be known as Margaret.)

Margaret Lake studied to be a clasical pianist under Edward Heimburger in San Francisco. and was planning to go to Germany for further study when she was converted during a Salvation Army camp meeting and received the call to missionary work about 1893. In the fall of 1894 she enrolled at the Lucy Rider Meyer Deaconess Training School in Chicago and was ordained deaconess upon completion of her training on May 5, 1896. She wished to become a foreign missionary in China, but was instead chosen to be a home missionary in San Francisco, where she worked with in the Chinese Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church's "Women's Home Missionary Society". This was later renamed the Oriental Home & School. Here she worked alongside her mother rescuing Chinese women and children from various difficulties that were present in Chinatown.

In early 1903, Margaret was asked to leave her position as decaoness mssionary at the Oriental Home & School in San Francisco in a letter from J.W. Henderson, an attorney for the Oriental Bureau in San Francisco. Shortly therafter Margaret was reassigned as deaconess missionary in the WHMS Home for Japanese and Korean Women and Children in San Francisco, where she worked until her marriage to Ernest Garton in 1910. Margaret later transferred to the Portland Industrial Home in Portland, Oregon, which began operation around 1912. After her husband's death, Margaret returned to California where she was instrumental in helping found the Chinese Baptist Church of San Mateo, California.

Margaret married Ernest H. Garton (February 17, 1869 - December 17, 1938) on June 10, 1910. They raised two children, Marjorie and John. The Gartons moved to Portland around 1912.

Marjorie Garton married Lyle Morgan.

John Garton served in World War II and was stationed in Greenland for a time. John married Carol Ann. They had two children: David William Garton, born on September 24, 1952 and Paul Edward Garton, born October 27, 1957.


21 linear feet (22 containers)

Language of Materials



John James Burton, the progenitor of the Burton/Lake/Garton families, was an Oregon pioneer, establishing a farm on his donation land claim in Yamhill in 1844. Although the collection contains family papers of the Burton/Lake/Garton families, the collection will be of particular interest to scholars of Asian immigration in the West, and the work of Kate Burton Lake and Margaret Lake Garton to help Chinese and Japanese girls and young women through their work in the Methodist Episcopal Church's Oriental Home in San Francisco from ca. 1896-1903, and the Portland Industrial Home in Portland, Oregon from ca. 1913-1920. The collection contains correspondence, reports, newspaper articles, ephemera, artifacts, and photographs that reflect the Christian missionary work of Kate Burton Lake and her daughter Margaret Lake Garton; and the family life of the Burton/Lake/Garton families.


Collection is organized into the following series: Series I: Family Papers Subseries A: CorrespondenceSubseries A: CorrespondenceSubseries B: News ArticlesSubseries C: PamphletsSubseries D: PostcardsSubseries E: PostersSubseries F: PublicationsSubseries G: Family Papers Series II: Missionary Work Subseries A: CorrespondenceSubseries B: Letters of GuardianshipSubseries C: News ArticlesSubseries D: Notes and Reports of WorkSubseries E: PamphletsSubseries F: PermitsSubseries G: ReceiptsSeries III: Photographs (PH230) Subseries A: Family PhotographsSubseries B: Missionary PhotographsSeries IV: ArtifactsSeries V: Oversized Material

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dave and Dayle Garton in 2006.

Separated Materials

McLoughlin and old Oregon : a chronicle / by Eva Emery Dye, is located in the Oregon Collection at PS3507.Y355 M34 1906

Processing Information

Collection processed by Megan Dazey.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Burton/Lake/Garton family papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Megan Dazey
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA