Burton is a city in Genesee County in the U.S. state of Michigan and a suburb of Flint. The population was 30,308 at the 2000 census, making Burton the second largest city in Genesee County.
Although there were other persons who purchased land earlier, and even some who attempted to settle there, the first permanent white settler in the area is considered to be Levi Gilkey, who purchased land on May 11, 1831, and settled near the mouth of the Gilkey Creek (in what is now part of Flint). In 1833, Burton was part of Grand Blanc Township when the Grand Blanc was initially organized. Many of the original settlers of Burton came from the towns of Adams and Henderson in Jefferson County, New York. For many years the place was known as the Atherton settlement, after brothers Shubael and Perus Atherton (and later joined by another brother, Adonijah), who settled on the Thread Creek in 1835.
The City of Burton was originally organized as Burton Township, named after John Burton, a prominent local farmer. Burton Township had first been a part of Grand Blanc Township in 1835 then Flint Township in 1836. The North part of Burton was part of Kearsley Township along with the Southern part of Genesee Township from 1839 until 1843 when the township was merged back into Flint Township. When the City of Flint incorporated, Burton Township was separated from Flint Township by the Genesee County Board of Supervisors on October 12, 1855, although the first township meeting did not take place until April 7, 1856, which is sometimes taken as the actual date of organization. Over the years, large portions of the northern and western sides of the township were annexed by the City of Flint. On May 16, 1972, township residents voted to incorporate and the City of Burton was officially formed July 1 of that year.