The Burkes moved from Missouri some time in the 1870s. The patriarch, James Dowen Burke, was a Methodist minister, born in St. Clair County, Missouri in 1847. A brother Dowen Sidney Burke, born possbily in Cass Co., Missouri, was also a Methodist minister who at one time lived in Panola County, Texas.
Like many others the Burkes probably left southwest Missouri as a result of the turmoil of the Civil War. That part of Missouri had Southern sympathies in the War, and it was ravaged by a guerrilla war both before and during the Civil War. The Missouri war later gave us such notable outlaws as Frank and Jessie James and the Youngers. Many families from southwest Missouri moved to Texas to escape the poverty and recriminations that followed the War.
Burke's son, Arthur Lee, is much better known than he. He married Eva McCall, and he was a partner for many years with Eva's father, Daniel B. McCall, in the Burke and McCall store located in the old brick post offiice building at Burke. His sister-in-law, Miss Ina McCall, was postmistress from at least 1920 until the mid-1950s.
In his later years, Lee Burke moved to Lufkin. He died from an accidental gun discharge while hunting. He propped his gun on a fence post to open a gate, and it accidentally discharged with fatal consequences
Mr. Burke was the father of Ward R. Burke, who had a distinguished career as an
attorney and public-minded citizen in Diboll and Lufkin.
Mr. Burke has no family connection to the town's namesake Ed Burke.