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BURLEY, D. W. (ca. 1844–?). D. W. Burley, who represented Robertson, Leon, and Freestone counties in the Twelfth Texas Legislature, was born in Virginia around 1844. He was a free black before the end of slavery and in 1864 was a captain in a battalion of black soldiers that defended St. Louis from Confederate raiders. He arrived in Texas in 1865 and later organized a debating society for blacks. He won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1870 and was one of twelve black legislators to serve in that body. Burley was a Radical Republican, but he displeased some other radicals when he supported an effort to subsidize the Southern Pacific Railroad. He served only one term.


Alwyn Barr, "Black Legislators of Reconstruction Texas," Civil War History 32 (December 1986).

Paul M. Lucko


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Paul M. Lucko, "BURLEY, D. W.," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.