Ohio Biographies

Lemmon Burk

Lemmon Burk, deceased, who settled in Des Moines County in 1851, was born in Baltimore, Md., June 30, 1805, and was a son of Elisha and Rachel (Fuget) Burk, who were also natives of that city. He was the second of a family of two children; Alexis, the eldest, died in 1861. When our subject was but four months old, his mother was called to her final home, her death occurring in October, 1805. The father later married Miss Temperance Jones, who was also a native of Baltimore, the marriage taking place in Hamilton County, Ohio, in 1809, and to them five children have been born, of whom Lewis, Nelson and Ulick are deceased; Rachel, the widow of William Ammerman, resides in Howard County, Ind.; and Ellen is the wife of S. P. Sater, a farmer of Flint River Township. The father of these children died in 1819, and was buried in Hamilton County, Ohio, and the mother departed this life in 1825, her remains being placed by the side of her husband. The early life of our subject was spent in Hamilton County, Ohio, where he received a common-school education, and at the age of nineteen he started out in life for himself, going to Baltimore County, Md., there learning the trade of carding and fulling. Remaining there for three years, he then started on foot for Hamilton County, Ohio, a distance of four hundred miles. After working that winter in Hamilton County, Mr. Burk once more returned to Maryland, where, on the 28th of July, 1828, he was united in marriage with Miss Rachel Green, of Baltimore. At that time he had to pay $4.50 for a license. Mrs. Burk was a daughter of Abednego and Martha (Burk) Green. The following September the young couple removed to Butler County, Ohio, where Mr. Burk purchased fifty acres of land and began farming, which occupation he followed until within a few years, after which he lived a retired life. Remaining upon the farm in Ohio until 1832 he sold out, and went to Union County, Ind., where he purchased 220 acres of land, all of which had been cultivated, though no buildings had yet been erected. A house and barn were built, and there Mr. and Mrs. Burk resided until 1851, when, selling their land, they became residents of Des Moines County, Iowa, purchasing 380 acres in Flint River Township. At the time of his death he still owned 180 acres of this land, having sold or divided among his children the remaining 200. Mr. and Mrs. Burk were the parents of five children: Mary E., born in Butler County, Ohio, is the wife of W. F. Johnson, whose sketch appears on another page of this work; Martha, also a native of that county, is the widow of D.C. Riley; Barbara A., born in Butler County, is the deceased wife of Samuel Moore, a farmer of Flint River Township; Eliza J. became the wife of J. Q. Graham, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume; and Susan R., who is the wife of John Moore, a farmer of Union Township. On the 9th of June, 1876, Mrs. Burk was called to her final home, dying at the age of seventy-five. By her death the family lost a kind wife and indulgent mother, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she was a member, an active worker. In 1862 Mr. Burk enlisted in the 37th Iowa regiment, known as the Gray Beard Regiment, it being composed of men to old to enter the regular service. He did garrison duty for two years, and then was discharged on account of failing eye-sight. We are pleased to record the sketch of this respected citizen, soldier and pioneer, who for almost forty years has aided largely in the progress and development which has made Des Moines County second to none in the State. He died at the home of Mrs. Riley, in Flint River Township, July 22, 1888, aged eighty-four. Mr. Burk was one of the self-made men of Des Moines County. Commencing life without financial aid, he had, by industry and economy, accumulated a comfortable competence.


From Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa, Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.