btsarnia

A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode

James and Maria Burke – From Athlone, Ireland, to Oakland, California, 1884

Are you able to help solve this mystery?

James Burke and his sister Maria came from Athlone in Ireland and emigrated to Oakland in California sometime before the year 1884. This sad letter was sent from James to his father who was living back in Athlone. The letter seems to have been passed to other family members as there are later postmarks.

At the time of the writing of his letter James was working for the Christian Brothers at St Joseph’s College, Oakland, on the east side of San Francisco Bay. The letter refers to unemployment, financial hardship, illness and difficult family relationships. 

The Voter List for 22nd September 1892 shows that James Burke, a native of Ireland, aged forty-three years, was living at 5th and Jackson, Alameda, California. This would suggest that James was born in about 1849.

 


Richard Byrd has very generously spent time researching this family and the following details are those that he has gleaned so far:

Patrick Burke married Elizabeth Geoghagan or Gahagan at St Peter’s Church, Athlone, Co. Roscommon, on 23rd April 1836. They would appear to have lived with their family at Drum, Roscommon, within St Peter’s Roman Catholic Parish, Athlone.

On 29th December 1886 Patrick Burke, a seventy-six-year-old butcher, died of old age at Queen Street, Athlone, without a medical attendant. The informant was his daughter, Catherine who was in attendance at the death. She made her mark when she registered the death on 29th January 1887. 

From the registers for that church we know that they had a number of children:

1. John who was baptised on 7th October 1838.

2. Bartholomew (Bartley) Burke who was born in about 1840 – but no baptism is recorded at St Peter’s Church. On 27 July 1866 he married Catharine (O’)Toole, daughter of Bernard and Catharine (O’)Toole, in Manhattan, New York. He was described in the record as aged 26 years, born in Ireland, and son of Patrick Burke and his wife Elizabeth, nee Geoghigan (sic). 

Bartholomew Burke enlisted in the United States Army on April 13, 1865 in Brooklyn, New York and served continuously until April 21, 1883 when he was discharged at Fort Canby, Western Territory (Western Territory was comprised of a number of present day states).  Fort Canby would be in present day Washington State.  Bartholomew’s 3rd enlistment was at Vancouver Barracks (Washington state) and his 4th was at Fort Vancouver (Washington State). So it looks like the U. S. Army is why he was in New York and then moved to Vancouver, Washington.

Register of Enlistments, United States Army

No.:  503
Name:  Burke, Bartholomew
Enlisted
           When:  April 13, 1865
           Where:  Brooklyn, NY
           By Whom:  Lieut ?
Period:  3 Yrs
Where Born
           Town or Country:  Athlone
           State:  Ireland
Age:  25
Occupation:  Laborer
Description
           Eyes:  Blue
           Hair:  Brown
           Complex’n:  Dk
Height
           Feet:  5
           Inches:  9 1/2
Regiment:  Gs Inf
Co:  K
Remarks:  Discharged April 13.68 Expn of Ser at Fort Wood NY. H. at afoat

Register of Enlistments, United States Army

No.:  210
Name:  Burke, Bartholomew
Enlisted
           When:  April 13, 1868
           Where:  New York
           By Whom:  Capt. Lay
Period:  3 Yrs
Where Born
           Town or Country:  Athlone
           State:  Ireland
Age:  28
Occupation:  Laborer
Description
           Eyes:  Blue
           Hair:  Brown
           Complex’n:  Dark
Height
           Feet:  5
           Inches:  9 1/4
Regiment:  23 Inf
Co:  G
Remarks:  2 En. Discharged April 13. 71 Expn Service at Ft. Colvelle, W. T. a Sergt

Register of Enlistments, United States Army

No.:  489
Name:  Burke, Bartholomew
Enlisted
           When:  April 13, 1871
           Where:  Fort Colville, W. T.
           By Whom:  Lieut Rice
Period:  5 Yrs
Where Born
           Town or Country:  Athlone
           State:  Ireland
Age:  31
Occupation:  Soldier
Description
           Eyes:  Blue
           Hair:  Brown
           Complex’n:  Dark
Height
           Feet:  5
           Inches:  9 1/4
Regiment:  23 Inf 21 Inf
Co:  G. E.
Remarks:  3 En. Discharged April 13. 76 at Fort Vancouver W. T. by Expiration of Service a Sergt Character Excellent

Register of Enlistments, United States Army

No.:  249
Name:  Burke, Bartholomew
Enlisted
           When:  April 13, 1876
           Where:  Fort Vancouver, W. T.
           By Whom:  Lieut Evans
Period:  5 Yrs
Where Born
           Town or Country:  Athlone
           State:  Ireland
Age:  36
Occupation:  Soldier
Description
           Eyes:  Blue
           Hair:  Brown
           Complex’n:  Dark
Height
           Feet:  5
           Inches:  9 1/4
Regiment:  21 Inf
Co:  E
Remarks:  4 En. Discharged April 13. 81 Exp of Service at Vancouver Bks W. T. a Sergeant Char. Excellent

Register of Enlistments, United States Army

No.:  177
Name:  Burke, Bartholomew
Enlisted
           When:  April 13, 1881
           Where:  Vancouver, Bks W. T.
           By Whom:  Lieut Bailey
Period:  5 Yrs
Where Born
           Town or Country:  Athlone
           State:  Ireland
Age:  41
Occupation:  Soldier
Description
           Eyes:  Blue
           Hair:  Brown
           Complex’n:  Dark
Height
           Feet:  5
           Inches:  9 1/4
Regiment:  21 Inf
Co:  E
No. of Enlistment:  5
Remarks: Discharged April 21/ 83 at Ft. Canby W. T. per S.O. 80 AGO 83 a (???) Char. Excellent

At the time of the 1880 census for Vancouver, Clark County, Washington, Catharine Burke was listed as a laundress, aged about 40 years, and recorded with her were her children, James aged eleven, Catharine aged nine, Bartholomew aged seven and Patrick aged five years, all born in Washington. The 1880 census for Catharine Burke includes the words “Company E Continued” at the beginning of the page so he was probably detailed elsewhere at the time.

Bartholomew’s gravestone in Mother Joseph Catholic Cemetery at Vancouver, Clark County, Washington, reveals that he was born on 13 Apr 1840 in Athlone, Ireland, and that he died on 4th January 1893 aged fifty two years.

His widow, Catharine, who was born in 1845, was buried in the same cemetery in 1917. In 1900 she was living at Seaside, Clatsop County, Oregon. She was by then 55 and staying in the same property were her children James who was 31, Catharine who was 29, Bartholomew who was 27, Patrick who was 25 and William 21. Ten years later Catharine, by now sixty-two, was still living at Seaside with James, aged 41, Catharine, aged 28, and William, aged 26. By 1920 the brothers and sister, namely William, aged 40, James, aged 50 and Catharine, aged 45, were living there alone. The ages given in the census returns are not entirely consistent but ages were some times guessed by relatives or neighbours.

We also know that their brother Bartholomew J. Burke married for a second time on 20th September 1924 in Vancouver. He was then a forty-eight-year-old carpenter and his bride, Ethel J. Tucker, was aged sixteen years. In 1930 Bartholomew was living at Necanicum, Clatsop County, Oregon, with his brother James T. Burke, aged 62, and his son Bartholomew Burke Junior, aged 21. In 1940 the brothers Bartholomew J. Burke, aged 67, and James T. Burke, aged 71, were still residing at that address. 


Summary details for Bartholomew’s family:

Bartholomew Burke No.1
Born: 13 April 1840 Athlone, Ireland
Father’s Name: Patrick Burke
Mother’s Name: Elizabeth Geoghigen
U.S. Army Service
Enlisted 13 April 1865 Brooklyn, New York age 25
Enlisted 13 April 1868 New York age 28
Enlisted 13 April 1871 Fort Colville, W. T. age 31
Enlisted 13 April 1876 Fort Vancouver, W. T. age 36
Enlisted 13 April 1881 Vancouver Bks, W. T. age 41
Discharged 21 April 1883 Fort Canby, W. T.
Marriage: Catharine/ Catharina Toole/O’Toole 27 July 1866 Manhattan, New York, New York
Died: 4 January 1893
Buried: Mother Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Vancouver, Clarke County, Washington
Wife:
Catharine/Catharina Tool/O’Toole
Born: 1845 Roscommon, Ireland
Father’s Name: Bernard Toole/O’Toole
Mother’s Name: Catherine Dolan
Christened: 14 October 1838
Died: 1917
Buried: Mother Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Vancouver, Clarke County, Washington
1900 Census: Mother of how many children – 9
1900 Census: Number of these children living – 5
Children (5 living):
James Burke born December 1868 – 4 July 1967(date of death? – see below)
Catharine Burke born January 1871 – 15 July 1923(date of death? – see below)
Bartholomew (John) Burke No. 2 born 4 August 1872 – November 1965
Patrick Burke born January 1875 – 1902
William Burke born December 1878 – 1924
Children (3 deceased):
Three children of Bartholomew Burke and Catharine/Catharina Toole/O’Toole died of Diptheria
Jan 6-Feb 5, 1880 in Clark County, Washington.
Sacred to the memory of
Thomas
son of
B. & C. Burke
Died: Jan. 6, 1880
Aged: 2 y’s 5 m’s 27 d’s

Sacred to the memory of
Edward
son of
B. & C. Burke
Died: Jan. 20 1880
Aged: 10 y’rs & 4 d’s.
Sacred to the memory of
John B.
son of
B. & C. Burke
Died: Feb.5, 1880
Aged: 6 y’s 3 m’s 11d’s
May their souls rest in peace.
8 children identified – 1 not Identified
Possible deaths of siblings James T. & Catharine Burke.
James Burke
Oregon Death Index
Died: 4 July 1967, Clatsop County, Oregon
Certificate No.: 9563
Katherine Burke
Oregon Death Index
Died: 15 July 1923, Portland, Oregon
Certificate No.: 1738
Katherine Burke
Oregon Death Index
########################
Bartholomew J. Burke No. 2
(Bartholomew John Burke)
(B. J. Burke)
Born: 4 August 1872 Washington
Father: Bartholomew Burke No. 1
Mother: Catharine/Catharina Toole/O’Toole
Occupation: Carpenter
Marriage No. 1: Josephine Matilda Brady 26 June 1906; Elmore, Idaho
Marriage No. 2: Ethel T. Tucker 20 September 1924, Multnomah, Clark County, Washington
Divorced: Ethel T. (Tucker) Burke
Died: November 1965
Buried: Mother Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Vancouver, Clarke County, Washington

Wife No. 1
Josephine Matilda Brady
Born: November 1884, Utah
Father: John Henry Brady
Mother: Bessie McGowen
Died: 6 June 1923; Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
Buried: Mountain Home, Elmore County, Idaho
Children:
John Edward Burke
Born: 30 April 1907 Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
Father: Bartholomew John Burke
Mother: Josephine Matilda Brady
Occupation: Electrician
Died: 30 May 1925 Mountain Home, Elmore County, Idaho
Buried: Mountain View Cemetery, Mountain Home, Elmore County, Idaho
Bartholomew Burke No. 3
(Bartholomew Orlo Burke)
Born: 24 February 1909
Father: Bartholomew John Burke
Mother: Josephine Matilda Brady
Christened: 21 March 1909, Shoshone, Lincoln County, Idaho
Military: SSGT, US Army
Died: 12 August 1967
Buried: Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
Mary Josephine Burke
Born: 16 March 1912, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
Father: Bartholomew John Burke
Mother: Josephine Matilda Brady
Occupation: Student
Died: 19 November 1928, Seaside, Clatsop County, Oregon
Wife No. 2
Ethel T. Tucker
Born: About January 1909, Oregon
Father: George H. Tucker
Mother: (Anna Strauzer?)
########################

Bartholomew O. Burke No. 3
(Bartholomew Orlo Burke)
Born: 24 February 1909 Mountain Home, Elmore, Idaho
Father: Bartholomew John Burke No. 2
Mother: Josephine Matilda Brady
Christened: 21 March 1909, Shoshone, Lincoln County, Idaho
Marriage No. 1, Mildred I. Dawell, 1 November 1932, Vancouver, Clark County, Washington
Divorced: Mildred I. Dawell
Military Service World War II Army Enlistment: 16 September, 1940, Milwaukee, Oregon
Enlisted: National Guard, Private, Field Artillery
Civilian Occupation: Artists, sculptors, and teachers of art
Martial Status: Divorced without dependants
Marriage No. 2, Laura M. Steinhauser, 9 December 1947, Clark County, Washington
Died: 12 August 1967
Buried: SSGT, US Army, Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
Wife No. 1
Mildred I. Dawell
Father: Charles Dawell
Mother: Nina Clark
Wife No. 2
Laura M. (Peterson) Steinhauser
Born: About 1913
Father: Frank Peterson
Mother: Grace Wilton
Previous Marriage: William J. Steinhauser, 9 May 1932, Vancouver, Clark County, Washington


3. Henry who was baptised on 29th November 1840. Presumably died before 1858.

4. Thomas who was baptised on 3rd May 1846. Referred to in the letter as being back at home in Athlone.

5. James who was baptised on 23rd June 1848. Presumably died before May 1849.

6. James who was baptised on 26th May 1849. The letter writer.

7. Maria who was baptised on 20th December 1851. She travelled with her brother to San Francisco.

8. Kate who was mentioned in the letter as perhaps joining James and Maria in the U.S.A. in 1885. Her name also appears on the envelope with the address of Queen Street, Athlone.

On 20th November 1889 Kate married Michael Murphy at St Peter’s Church, Athlone. Catherine was described as a spinster of full age, living at Queen Street, Athlone, daughter of  Patrick Burke, a deceased butcher. Michael, was described as a bachelor of full age, working as a railway porter and living at Irishtown, Athlone. He was the son of Thomas Burke, a deceased railway porter. The witnesses were recorded as John Conroy (Brideswell) of Co. Westmeath and Mary Finneran of Roscommon. 

9. Brigid who was baptised on 24th March 1854.

10. Henry who was baptised on 21st April 1858. Presumably died before April 1861.

 


 


Nothing else is known about this family so any further details from Ireland or from the U.S.A. would be very much appreciated. If you have any information please contact btsarnia@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

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Pages two and three

 

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