Pictures of Burkes

burkeThe Burkes took their name from “De Burgh”, which was French for, “of the borough”.  They were Norman warriors who helped William the Conqueror to conquer England, then helped Strongbow to conquer Ireland.  They were granted lands in county Galway in the late 12th century.  Over the years, their name changed to its current form and the Burkes were known for “being more Irish than the Irish themselves”.  Today, Burke is one of the most common names in Ireland.

Burkes were among the warriors that participated in the Crusades.  In fact, their coat of arms bears a red cross on a gold shield, which was customary of a veteran of the Crusades.

The earliest Burke recorded in the US was an Ann Burke who came to Virginia in 1647.  The Burkes were known for being among the earliest settlers of Southwest Virginia.  My Burke heritage comes specifically from Blackwater in Lee County, Virginia.

God’s Word is very important in the Burke family.  My great uncle, great grandfather, and great, great grandfathers were all Baptist preachers.

My dear grandmother, Nettie Mae (Burke) Baker, one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever known.

My great uncle, Harold Burke, with his 2nd wife, Alice (Rhoton) Burke.  He was quite a character.  I remember him taking Karate lessons in his 60s and talking about “taking care of” 4 young men that assaulted him in the parking lot of the Dayton Mall in Ohio.

Harold’s son and my second cousin, Doyle Burke.  Doyle served many years in Dayton, Ohio, as a decorated police officer and detective. He currently works for the Warren County Ohio Coroner’s office.  He has written a book, “Death As A Living”, which details some of his most important cases.  You can learn more about it at


(back row, l-r) Harold Burke, Nora (Burke) Fisher, Dewey Burke, Nettie (Burke) Baker, (front row, l-r) James Baker, Shirley (Baker) Gay, Evelyn (Baker) Roberts

Roy Hampton Burke Sr. and his wife, Lettey Mae (Berry).  Roy was a Primitive Baptist Elder and the oldest son of Harrison and Louisa (Joyner) Burke.  They settled in the Ormond Beach, Florida, area and are buried there.

My great grandfather, Harrison Burke. He was a Primitive Baptist Elder and a “circuit preacher” who pastored 4 churches in Blackwater, VA. In fact, Burke’s Union Primitive Baptist Church on Route 603 was named for him.  He did this on horseback and grandma Baker talked about how she and her mother would go out and knock the ice off his stirrups so that he could get down off his horse.

Great grandpa Harrison Burke (far right) with 2 other Primitive Baptist preachers.  In addition to pastoring 4 churches in Blackwater, VA, Elder Burke helped to start Fairview Primitive Baptist Church in Bellbrook, Ohio.

My great, great grandparents, Robert & “Polly” (Mcpherson) Burke

My great, great grandfather, Robert Burke, in his later years. He was a Primitive Baptist Minister whom reportedly had a “booming voice”.


10 Responses to “Pictures of Burkes”

  1. Debra Baker Conner says:

    Dear Cuzz Jeff,

    Again … everything I’ve seen on this site … so COOL! Such hard work you’ve done. How long ago did you create this anyway?!?!

    Debra Faye Baker Conner

  2. Debbie says:

    Do you know of any site that is set up like this for the Willis ,Wilson,Lawson families of Blackwater,VA? I am a descendant of them. My dad’s aunt also married a Wallen. I have been speaking with her son,Wesley G.(Guy) Wallen. He is a very nice man. I just started doing some searching….wish I would have started when more relatives were alive. Out of 15 Wilsons,we are down to a brother and a sister of my Dad’s.
    I really enjoyed what I did read tonight and will visit again to read more. This is a very nice collection of memories.
    Thank you, Debbie

  3. My Uncle was Woodrow Thomas Jefferson Burke 1910-44 he married
    Pauline Collins in 1935-6
    They had 5 children 4 girls and one boy
    Cathy Collins

    • Sue says:

      We currently live in the foohtills of the Smoky Mountains. We have access to the Appalachian trail no more than 20 miles away. Since we live in the country, I just need to walk out the door to enjoy a nice walk.We lived in Burke Center, VA before moving here. Passed Burke Lake many times. What I really liked about Burke Center were all the trails throughout the area. You could walk or bike almost anywhere without having to go on the roads except to cross them. I do miss the area. It was close to so many interesting places.

  4. Ann Burke Hickman says:

    I am the grandaugter of Robert Clarence Burke and Elizabeth McFaddin of Holston Mountain section of Washington county, Va. Are you related to those Burkes?

  5. Woodrow Thomas Jefferson Burke was the son of Tom Burke and Sarah Fritz
    Woodrow married Pauline Collins in the 30s and had 5 children
    Peggy JO
    Charles Bruce
    Maragret , Doris and Ruth Ann all have died of cancer except Ruth Ann

  6. Carol Staples says:

    Hi I am trying to find some one who can tell me about the Burkes family. I know that the Bueke married a Neal. Iam kin to the Neal.I am looking for a Vera Dickerson,or a number of the Burkes Union Baplist Church in Blackwater VA. Thanks Carol

  7. Katy Brown says:

    Have you ever heard of a John Delaney Burke b. abt 1820. He is possibly the son of James Burke and Lucinda ?. Lucinda was possibly a Collins.

    John Delaney Burke m. 1. Zilpha Williams and 2. Mary Ann Stringer.
    His sister, Morning Burke m. Alexander Wallen b. abt. 1821.

    I don’t know the parents of Zilpha Williams, Mary Ann Stringer or Alexander Wallen.

  8. Linda Slark says:

    I am the G granddaughter of John W. Burke from the area of Blackwater Va. His Father was John Burke and Mother Jane Tate . My GG moved to Ohio around 1890 and married there for the second time a Sealy Burke. Would like to know if there are any relatives here on this site that may have more information .

  9. Kevin McLemore says:

    Hello. I am the son of Robert Burke Mclemore, who I believe was named for your GGGrandfather, Robert Burke. My grandmother, Minnie Pearl (Flippin) McLemore had heard him preaching and was so impressed that she named her son for him. I wonder if you can give me any details about your GGGrandfather – dates of birth/death, locations, etc? Thank you!

Leave a Reply