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Born in Newton, Pennsylvania, Burrell moved with his parents to White County, Illinois, in 1834. He attended the common schools. He engaged in agricultural pursuits. During the Civil War raised a company of Cavalry in June 1861, was elected its captain, and was attached to the First Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. He served as judge of White County 1873-1881. Sheriff of White County 1892-1894. He served as delegate to the Republican National Convention at Minneapolis in 1892.
Burrell was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1895-March 3, 1897). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1896 to the Fifty-fifth Congress. He retired from public life and resumed his agricultural pursuits. He died in Carmi, Illinois, June 7, 1921. He was interred in Maple Ridge Cemetery.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.