Biography of JOHN BURKE
John Burke is a well known and prominent citizen of Riceville, where he is conducting a hotel and is also engaged in the real estate business. He was born January 1, 1859, in the city where he still resides, a son of Edward and Mary (Mahoney) Burke. The father was born in Ireland, September 3, 1829, and passed away in Mitchell county, Iowa, June 8, 1889, when sixty years of age. He had come to the United States when a little lad of but four years, or in 1833, in company with his parents, the family home being established in the state of New York. The mother was born in Canada and died in Mitchell county. Iowa, January 20, 1895. Edward Burke, removing westward to this state, established his home in Jenkins township, Mitchell county, settling on the northeast quarter of section 36, where in 1856 he built a log house. In that pioneer cabin he and his wife established their home and upon the farm resided until within a few months of his death. He was an enterprising citizen, taking an active part in the organization of township and county and doing everything in his power to promote public progress and improvement. He brought the first team of horses into the township and was otherwise connected with progressive affairs that indicated his interest in the welfare and upbuilding of the district. His son, Thomas Burke, still occupies the old homestead, which the father secured as a pre-emption claim. His other children are: John, of this review; W. S., also a pioneer of Howard county but now a resident of Chicago; Mary, the wife of E. C. Richmond, a druggist of Riceville; and Nellie, th e wife of William Roache, also a druggist of Riceville.
John Burke, spending his youthful days under the parental roof was educated in the public schools and after attaining his majority was married to Miss Kate Conners, of Howard county, in the year 1884. Up to the age of twenty-six years he had worked on the old homestead farm and at that time turned his attention to the further development of a farm in Douglas township, Mitchell county. He resided upon that place until forty-one years of age and then engaged in the machine business, to which he devoted two years. He next became connected with the operation if an elevator and the conduct of a creamery, poultry, egg and produce business, which claimed his attention and brought to him a substantial measure of success until 1909, when he and his son established a real estate office under the firm style of John Burke & Son. Mr. Burke still continues in all of these enterprises and is one of the alert and energetic business men, wide-awake to opportunities, which he utilizes and improves to good advantage. Whatever he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion, allowing no obstacles or difficulties to bar his path if they can be overcome by persistent and earnest effort. In addition to his other interests he is the proprietor of the Burke Hotel and his social characteristics as well as his business qualities have gained for him warm regard among all who know him.
To Mr. and Mrs. Burke have been born six children: Raymond, who is married and is engaged in the real estate business with his father; Mary, who is looking after the hotel; Kittie, who works in the drug department of the Emporium at St. Paul, Minnesota; Norbert, who enlisted in the navy May 6, 1917, and saw twenty-nine months of service, making nine round trips across the Atlantic; and Florence and Genevieve, at home.
The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church and fraternally Mr. Burke is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America. In politics he maintains an independent course but is keenly interested in all matters of progressive citizenship and was one of the very earnest workers in support of the Liberty Loan drives, doing everything in his power to promote the bond sales. He also served as food and fuel administrator of his township during the period of the war. He is one of the most prominent and influential residents of Riceville and without invidious distinction might be termed its foremost citizen.
History of Chickasaw and Howard Counties,
By Robert Herd Fairbairn (Published 1919 - Volume II)
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois