Manufacturer, merchant, land developer. Born on December 28, 1834, in Martin County, North Carolina, Burroughs was the son of Anthony Burroughs and Ethelinda Cobb. Entering into farming at a young age, Burroughs soon became frustrated with the business. In 1857, with a gift of $40 from his mother, Burroughs left North Carolina to work for a cousin in a mercantile and turpentine business at Conway, South Carolina. That same year, on his own initiative, he won contracts to construct a bridge and gallows for the town. The following year he became involved in the short-lived partnership of Singleton and Burroughs.
In July 1861 Burroughs entered the military as a private in the Confederate service. After nine months of coastal defense duty in the Georgetown area, he took part in heavy fighting, including the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Atlanta, and Franklin. In December 1864 he was captured in the Battle of Nashville and imprisoned at Camp Douglas near Chicago. On his way home after the war, he was quartered at Greensboro (North Carolina) Female Institute and was so well cared for there that he later sent four of his five daughters to the institute. On November 15, 1866, he married Adeline Cooper of Conway. They had eleven children, eight surviving infancy.
After his marriage, Burroughs expanded his turpentine and retail businesses. Among his partners were William D. Gurganus, a relative, and Hampton Hart. In 1895 Burroughs and B. G. Collins incorporated a partnership dealing with manufacturing, naval stores, land, and mercantile stores in key Horry County localities. The naval stores business declined after an 1893 hurricane ravaged timberland, but their real estate business thrived. Although he never displayed an interest in politics, Burroughs was recognized as one of Horry County’s dominant figures from 1870 to his death in 1897. He lacked formal schooling but believed strongly in education and dominated the local school board. He saw that his daughters received higher education. Burroughs never spent the $40 he brought from North Carolina but passed the original coins down to his eight children.
Although Myrtle Beach was not founded in his lifetime, Burroughs dreamed of a coastal resort midway between New York and Miami. He set in motion the building of a railroad to what is now Myrtle Beach, and his sons completed his plan—a major step toward developing the resort. His widow named Myrtle Beach for the plant that thrived there. The Burroughs heirs, along with Simeon Chapin, built a remarkable business that was to include forestry, farming, shopping centers, theme parks, and golf courses. Burroughs died on February 25, 1897. He was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1993.
Bedford, A. Goff. The Independent Republic: A Survey of Horry County South Carolina History. 2d ed. Conway, S.C.: Horry County Historical Society, 1989.
Lewis, Catherine H. Horry County, South Carolina, 1730–1993. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998.
Lunan, Bert, and Robert A. Pierce. Legacy of Leadership. Columbia: South Carolina Business Hall of Fame, 1999.