Letter from William E. Burke

This letter is correspondence from William E. Burke to his brother Thomas E. Burke.

This letter appears courtesy of Lynn Groves .

This letter is transcribed exactly as written. It is very difficult to read due to the writer's poor grammar. I felt that correcting it would take away its historical value. Education was relative to the status of a family. William E. Burke was the oldest son. His father left to fight the Civil War and never returned. The family never knew what happened to him. William was possibly the "Man of the house" in his father's absence, and did not have the luxury of being educated; he had to provide for his family.

This letter, found in a trunk from the Rufus Preston "Pete" Saunders home, is correspondence from William E. Burke to his brother Thomas E. Burke. They were the son's of James R. Burke and Christian/Christianna Wheeler Burke who were married in Arkansas and are listed in the 1860 Bradley County Census.

To connect this letter to my family, "Pete" Saunders was my grandfather. William and Thomas Burke were brothers to Emily Burke Saunders, wife of Julius "Pete" Saunders, Peet and Em mentioned in the letter are my great-great-grandparents.

There is a reference to a Morgan family from near Wagoner church that had moved to Hempstead County and members of the family were sick. From the location of the origin of this family I believe they may have been relatives of my husbands ancestor, Mary Morgan Groves.

There are several members of the Morgan/Groves family buried in McFarland cemetery in Banks. The Burke family members buried locally are at Wheeler Springs cemetery near the Cleveland County line, north of Warren.

In 1997, my cousin, Tracy Saunders was able to find information on the father of William and Thomas Burke. James R. Burke was captured at Arkansas Post in January of 1863 and died at Camp Douglas, IL of Typhoid in March of that year, only a few days before he was scheduled to be released.

Hope Ark Nov 25the/88

Mr. T. E. Burke    Dear Brother it is withe pleasure that I take the
opertunity to Answer your kind letter that I Recieved some
time a go and sa in reply that I were glad to heare you all were
geting a long very well all so to heare that you had a good fair
at Warren it is a grate inducement to farmers gardners and
Stock Raisers heare they put in all kinds of mercantile
impliments and Every thing that women can make in the house
and Every thing elce that can be made or grown from a set of
doll Rags to the largest machinery I think thare will be another
year a big improvement in Hempstead and her surrounding
countys    Tom this leaves all well I have a bad carbunkle on the
back of my neck that boathers me in geting a round but I
haven't stopped work for it hoping this will find you all well
and doing well    Tom I haven't no nuse to rite the pople all
seemes to be buisy heare finishing up crops and other
buisness maken preporations for another year health is good
heare Except too familys in town and they are improoving
those 2 familys came from Bradley ther names is morgan and
Boyd    morgan youst to live 3 or 4 miles Southwest of the peet
wagoner church on the morrow and and Boyd lived neer New
Edinburgh    morgan married a boyd his wifes brother dide last
week and this week morgans Brother dide boathe young men
and havent ben heare long they had a fever a few days and it
seemed to Affect the Brain and made them Raven derange
pople Seemed to be Sceared of thair diseze it worked like a
disieze they are haveing in some of the Northern secks that
kills in a few days or a few hours and the doctors cant controll
it for they dont no what it is morgan an wife has gone on a
visit to his fathers he leaves the train at fore dice    tom eliza
Seed she wouldn't rite this time as I am riting all she noes to
rite    Tom I wish you and peet an Em would Conclude to come
to see us Christmas thare will be Excursions Rates over all the
gool Systom he owns the bottom belt now the rite name is St
Louis Arkansas and Texas if you Should come dont change at
Camden go threw to texarkana and you wont be delaid but a
Short time at texarkana if you could leave kinglons on the
morning train and dident get to Texarkana in time for the
morning train you could leave thare at 1 oclock and reach
hope 2.15 on the cannon ball I wish Some or all of you would
some if you can it will be impossible for me to come down
thaire withe out going in det and leave my little buisness and
work heare undune though I hope for the time to come when I
can Spend one monthe withe you all once more in life I have
had my sheare of misfortune this year hoping it will be beter
next    Luther ses tell uncle Tom to come to see him for he has
got a new dress So I will Close for this time hoping to heare
from you Soon      W. E. Burk

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