The Burkes of Clinton County Iowa

John Burke was born in Tipperary County, Ireland in 1789 and died in Clinton County, Iowa c 1870/1880. He married Elizabeth. The two immigrated to America, along with their three sons John (b 1818 - see painting on - main page), Edmond (later Edmund - b.1819), William (b. c 1829) and a daughter, Elizabeth (b. c 1830/1832) Actually, it is not clear when the parents and sister immigrated to America. Most likely, the three sons came first and the parents and sister followed. Also, I’m not sure if they came directly to Clinton County or met the sons in Syracuse. Anyone know?

According to a letter from William James Burke (b. 1885), who is the son of Edmond Burke, "The three Burke Brothers...came to the U.S. on invitations to take out papers of 320 acres of land...The promoters were located in nearby Louisiana. I don't know how long they stayed in Texas. One Burke brother developed asthma and couldn't stand the sand storms, so the three brothers left Texas and moved to Syracuse, N.Y., where my father (Edmund) worked as a surveyor on the Erie Canal. We never heard from the Burkes until years later. A son of the Burkes in Syracuse, Charles Burke, stopped here (in Clinton) on his way to Stanford, California."

In the 1860 Census of Elk River Township, Clinton County, Iowa, William Burke (31, white male, born in Ireland) appears in the Burke Household. John (age70), Elizabeth (age 68), Edmond (age 38) and Mary (the wife of William?) appear in the same household.

So here is what became of the four Burke children:

Elizabeth - Married James Healy and is the grandmother of Mayme Healy that we heard grandma Gertrude speak of so often.

John - Married Nancy Quinlan, who immigrated to America with her brothers and sisters and her widowed mother, who apparently died on the voyage to America. John and Nancy settled in Hampshire Township until they had saved enough money to buy a farm. During this time John helped build St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Lyons, Iowa (now a part of Clinton). He was able to borrow the $2,000 from the Lyons Bank to invest in a farm in Welton Township. John and Nancy became the owners in 1865. They started out with a wagon and a cow and ended up with a forty acre farm, which is still occupied today by their great-great-granddaughter and her husband (Carol Ann and Larry Roeder). This is where the beautiful painting (above) of John and Nancy Quinlan resides today. John and Nancy gave rise to the Ryans(Dorothy's family), Powers, McDonalds, Meighans (Jean Kremer's family) and the Hanrahans, O'Mearas and more. His descendants have put together a thirteen- page descendancy chart, which you can obtain from Jean Kremer. Dorothy Ryan also has a lot of information about this side of the family.

William - Although William shows up in the 1860 census living with his mother, father and two brothers and possibly a wife, Mary, he seems to have disappeared! According to Bill Burke in Houston, Texas, "Clinton County deed records even show transactions between Edmund and William Burke. Some are as late as 1881." If you know what happened to William, let us know, please!

Edmond (Later, Edmund) - In early records he is referred to as Edmond Bourke, and later records show him as Edmund Burke. Edmond was born in 1819 and married Rose Anne Forquer who was born in 1849. They had six children; Mary E. Burke (b.9/1, 1880, d. 9/26, 1880), John Joseph (b.1882), Edmund Charles (b. 1883)(my grandpa), William James (b.1885 - He is the one in the baseball photo of "The North Poles"), Rose Ann (b.1887) and Philip Frances (b.1890).

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