The Children

The Children


Edward Munn Burdick


Emma Austin Burdick

a/k/a Reno



Emily Margarete Burdick was born on June 15, 1889 in Baldwinsville, New York.  It’s believed that Ed had sent Emma back home to Baldwinsville to be with his father so that she would have better hospital care for the birth of their first child.  This is also believed to be the time that Ed’s father finally accepted Ed as a magician. We guess that it is just impossible for any father not to mellow whenever a grandchild comes into this world.


Emily married Arthur Argus Burdene, one of the workers in the circus on February 11, 1907.


               Emily Burdick, “wire walker”

            Westmoreland, Kansas -  Aug 1908

(Her husband, Arthur Argus, is believed to be the man in the dark clothes under the wire.)    


Emily worked with her mother and father in the circus as a wire walker, and during the winter when the circus was in winter quarters and the family was traveling the Redpath Lyceum circuit, she did an act with a large ball on stage.  She would move all around stage on the ball while doing magic tricks.  Arthur’s stage name was “Argus”.  He called himself “Argus, the Magician.”


Argus and Emily would sometimes put on their own act.  Argus was a Cherokee Indian. His father was Chief of the tribe, and that is how their daughter, Auline, became known as “Princess Nonie”.  Argus was the clown of the show and was also known as “The Happy Hooligan”.


Argus and Emily lived most of their lives in Kankakee, Illinois and had four children.


Cecil Venay Burdene        born Jan 19, 1908; died  July 10, 1908

Nena Ruth  Burdene       (Twin to Naomi)  born July 10, 1909;  died Feb 1910

Naomi J.  Burdene          (Twin to Nena)    born  July 10, 1909;  died Feb 1910

Auline Myra  Burdene     (Princess Nonie)  born Oct 12, 1910; died September 19, 1927


In 1922 Emily and Argus divorced and in 1923 Emily teamed up with Harry Gilbert. They called themselves, “Gilbert and Burdene”. They showed together around Illinois and in 1924 in the Court House in Dixon, Illinois they were married. Harry had one boy by a previous marriage, Phillip, and shortly after Nonie’s death in 1927 they adopted a girl, Beatrice, who was 8 years old at the time and changed her name to Emilie.   After they married they moved to Alabama, then Georgia and remained in the south until retiring from show business shortly after Edward Munn Reno (Burdick’s) death in 1949.  Emily’s and Harry’s death dates are unknown.


Their two children are;

Phillip Gilbert            no information

Emilie Gilbert            born (private) has two children and lives in Montgomery, Alabama


Auline Burdick was born on October 25, 1893 in Omaha, Nebraska.  This was home to Emma’s parents, so it is believed that Emma went to them to have her second child.  Auline never really took to show business, but did do some stage work through the years.


In 1913, Auline married David R. Shirkie.  David and Auline lived most of their lives in Kankakee, Illinois.  In 1925 they moved to Asheville, NC and lived there until 1930 when Auline and David separated. 


They had three children.

David Edward Shirkie       born March 24, 1915 -  died Feb. 21, 1988

Nomi Shirkie                    born -private -  currently resides in Oregon

Austin Rex Shirkie            born August 19, 1917  -  died Dec. 1985


After the separation, Auline joined Ed Reno’s show for 2 years, and then showed with her sister, Emily, for about 6 months moving to Atlanta, Ga. in 1930. In 1933 she moved to Chicago, IL.


David died in 1948, and Auline passed away in 1966.               


Edward Austin Burdick, was born on December 24, 1894 in Mendota, Illinois. Young Ed followed in his father’s footsteps as a magician, although never reached the notoriety of his father mostly due to the depression and WW II. The “Reno Funmakers” was Edward Austin Burdick’s troupe.


In 1913 Ed married Gladys Payne in Chicago, Illinois.  They had two children. Ed and Gladys lived most of their lives in Athens, Georgia.


Their children are:

Pauline Burdick           born October 16, 1914        Died December 12, 1971

Sylvia (Dode) Reno     born (private – Sylvia is adopted and was given the Reno name. She is alive and well and lives in New York State.) 


Edward Austin Burdick died on December 30, 1963 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Williamstown, New York under his stage name of Reno. The death date of Gladys is unknown.


Edward Austin Reno’s grandson George Moon, has written a book about his grandfather, entitled “Reno Funmakers“.  The book chronicles young Ed and the “Funmakers” during the depression and up too  WW ll. It’s well written and a easy read.  I particularly like the way George ties in what was happening to the country during the great depression, along with happenings on the world stage. The book can be purchased at Amazon etc.  Just click on any of these links to order.


Ruth Burdick was born on March 14, 1896 in Plano, Illinois.  In her own words before she passed away, she said that she did spend some time on stage as a very young girl.  She just was not interested in magic.


On May 12, 1913 she married Harvey Francis Connell, a civil engineer graduate of Syracuse University.  Harvey was 20 years her senior.  They had two children and moved around the country to where Harvey’s jobs were.  During the first World War he worked for the Ordnance Dept. in Lowville, NY.  In 1941 he worked in Texas, and then moved back to Baldwinsville, New York, birthplace of Ruth’s father where he took a job as the first village engineer for Baldwinsville.


Their children are:

Josephine Alice Connell        born Sept. 8, 1914 – died Oct. 28, 1994

Glenna Ruth Connell            born May 13, 1916 -  died July 10, 1993


In 1947 Harvey and Ruth purchased property at Kasoag Lake in Williamstown, NY.  They converted a defunct resort into a bar and small camp ground.  They ran the bar together until Harvey passed away in  1953 when Ruth’s youngest daughter, Glenna moved from San Diego, California to assist her mother running the bar. Ruth stayed at Kasoag Lake until 1959 when she then moved to San Diego to live with her sister Auline and took a job as house mother for the Sigma Chi Fraternity at San Diego State University.  Ruth was awarded the title of “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” while working there. When Ruth left the bar, her brother, Edward Austin Burdick, came to assist Glenna and the two of them ran Kasoag Lake Inn until Edward Austin’s death in 1963.


Harvey passed away on April 27, 1953 and is buried next to his mother-in-law, Emma Austin Burdick (Reno) in Riverside Cemetery, Baldwinsville, New York.


Ruth passed away on January 7, 1969 and is buried, along with her two children, in Chase Cemetery, Lysander, New York.


         Date of this picture would be around Christmas 1916


On bottom of picture is written, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Mother” It was sent to Ruth, who was unable to attend.


Top row from left is Emma Burdick (a/k/a Reno), Auline Shirkie, David Shirkie, Ed Burdick, Jr. (a/k/a Reno), Arthur Argus, and Emily

Front roll from left is William Austin? (Emma’s father), Pauline Burdick, (Ed Jr. and Gladys’s girl) and Gladys Burdick (a/k/a Reno.) 


We have many first and second cousins that we do not know about, and some information on this page may need to be corrected.


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