Jacob G. Wilden was the first merchant in the limits of German township as it is today. He laid out the town of Burlington in 1839. Burlington was laid out in a very few years after the State road was opened, and was thought to be quite an important town; but its business and population have latterly largely diminished. It now shows but little of the enterprise it had in 1850. It has but one store, on cabinet shop, on shoe shop, and one blacksmith shop. It has one school and church. It also contains one lawyer, who has been a resident of the burgh since 1858.
Jacob G. Wilden was the original mover in all the enterprised of the town; he opened a store and run an ashery upon a large scale; built a saw-mill, and in 1843, seeing the need of a better supply of water for his business, commenced to dig for it, but when at a depth of forty feet left the well for the night. Before renewing their digging in the morning they tested the well by letting down a lighted candle; it went down safely until very near the bottom when the candle ignited what was supposed to be gas, but no explosion followed; the flames gradually arose in the well until near the surface when a terrible explosion took place, which was heard seven or eight miles distant. Several persons were injured, among them Mr. Wilden himself, who, by the seriousness of of the accident, was obliged to retire from business. The well was allowed to fill up and was never completed for use. The emission of gas is noticeable to this time.