New for 2005 and 2006:

Full Will for James Burk

Reconstruction of Grandchildren
Discussion of spelling of Burk or Burke

Trail found – Sarah Burk Wilson (~1734 - >1782)


New for 2010 and 2011

From Les Tate: Trail Found for James Burk (“II”) and John Burk, his son

Peggy Morphew finds Burk's 1734 Chester County Warrant

& Burk's Goose Creek Land in Today's Roanoke City

James Burk's Grandchildren in greater detail

Capt. Benjamin Burke: Montgomery County, Va. Children


James Burk (Burke) – Virginia Frontiersman 

Born about 1705 (various dates, mostly earlier) in Ulster or Limerick, Ireland; nothing concrete. 

Died 1783 Surry County, North Carolina

Married 1st to Mary Bane on 11 September 1730 at Goshen Meeting House,

               Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Married 2nd to Lucretia Reese/Rees Griffith between 29 May and 29 August 1751 in Augusta County, Virginia.

Father: Speculation exists. No Burks attended or were witnesses to James Burk's wedding, despite reports of one or more Burks in the area.   Names given to his children do not seem to follow strict Quaker naming patterns.


Mary Bane: Some gedcoms use Mary Jane Bane, but neither Goshen Quakers nor other records mention “Jane.”

Born about 1710 Goshen Quaker settlement, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Died 1748 or 1749 in Augusta County, Virginia

Father was Mordecai Bane (born 1683 in England or Scotland and died 1747 Goshen, Chester County, Pa.)  

Mother was Naomi Smedley or Medley (born 1683 in Chester County, Pa. and died April 1731 at Chester County, Pa.) 

Bane spelling changes to "Bean" for brothers James Sr. and Isaac are probably a result of pronunciation.           


Lucretia Reece/Rees, 2nd marriage.

Born: unknown date

Died about 1786 in Surry County, North Carolina

Parents: unknown

1st Husband:  Methusalem or Methusaleh Griffith married 2 February 1730 at Christ Church, Philadelphia to Lucretia Reece.  (Courtesy of Marshel Roy Cunningham, e-mail 21 June 2005.)

Children by first marriage:  (1) Morris Griffith (died 1764 Augusta Co., Va.), (2) Benjamin Griffith (born 18 November 1739), (3) John Griffith, an active American Revolutionary Tory mentioned in Col. William Preston Papers - alive in 1780, (4) Lucretia Griffith Wilson (born 18 June 1742) who was in James Burk's 1783 will, (5) Hannah Griffith (16 February 173?), (6) Elizabeth Griffith (6/8 September 1734).               

2nd Edition, Morphew/Murphy Story – J.R. Murphy, 12 November 2012; previous update 2 January 2011.


*See special map of Virginia and North Carolina Landmarks for Burks and Morphews – map3.gif


*See special map of Burkes Garden in Virginia – map2b.gif


Spelling of Burk or Burke


          The spelling "Burk" appears to be the most correct form for James Burk, since both his 1783 will and 1730 Quaker marriage records spelled it "Burk."  Other original references reinforce this spelling.  At this time, I do not know how, when, or if the spelling became "Burke," i.e. Burkes Garden.  For our purposes, both Burk and Burke are interchangeable.


Use of Burk/Burke Middle Names and Initials


          A word of caution is needed here.  Some websites use middle names or middle initials for Burk and his son(s).  Middle names were not very common during the 18th century which raises questions.  We need source identification and authentication.                


Why James Burk Begins the Morphew Story


Before North Carolina, our Morphew ancestor trail nearly vanishes.   James Burk is the father-in-law for our earliest known Morphew and is easily traceable.  He is ancestor to nearly all Morphews in the United States.   Burk’s story is an adventure as exciting as any that Daniel Boone could have told. 


Burke Immigration and Chester County, Pennsylvania


James Burk (Burke) was born in Ireland, roughly 1705 or earlier, and immigrated to America before he was married.  His father is questionably reported to be John Burk (Bourk, Bourke, Burke), who also immigrated to America.  Proof is lacking.   


1730 - Bradford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania Tax: James Burk

1730 September 11:  James Burk married Mary Bane at the Quaker Goshen Meeting House in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  No other Burkes witnessed the wedding, which raises doubts about a reported father in this county.  Quaker details of this Burk-Bane Quaker marriage can be found in the Bane Chapter (1F).   


1734 February 27:  A land warrant was issued to James Burk for 195 acres in East Bradford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Surveyor was John Taylor who dated his work 10 May 1735.   An appended note stated that "the above warrant was vacated by a warrant to Richard Woodward which was dated 1st December 1742.  Later in 3 July 1734, brother-in-law Mordecai Bean also received a Chester County warrant for 200 acres.

Courtesy of Peggy Morphew, email of 23 October 2009.  Thank you, Peggy for sharing.  That's a really nice find.  Additional source, Survey Book C223, page 5 online at Pa. State Archives


Augusta County, Virginia


To the southwest of Chester County, vast tracts of land were just opening up along western Virginia’s mighty Shenandoah and Roanoke rivers.  These wilderness lands offered untouched forests, rich river valleys, and of course, hostile Indians.


The first years in Augusta County for James Burk and his wife Mary were probably spent with her brothers, James and Isaac Bean (Bane), along the Roanoke River.  In those days, the nearest government administration was 75 or more miles to their north at Staunton.  Unless Augusta County had a roaming Circuit Court, Burk spent a lot of time traveling between his home and the county seat at Stanton as noted in numerous county court records. 


1742: James Burk joined the Augusta County Militia in Virginia and was in Captain George Robinson’s Company.  The local militia was needed to control hostile Indians in the valleys.  Within old Augusta County lies a city known as Front Royal.  This name derives from the days of James Burk, when the local troops were called to order with the command, “Front the Royal Oak!” 


Burk living on the Roanoke River in 1746

Near today's Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Virginia


1746 November 19:  Citizens were ordered to assist road construction in Augusta County.  Names included James Burk, his brother-in-law James Bean (Bane), Methuselah Griffith and sons, Ephraim Voss (Vause) and his servants, George Robinson, William Beus (Buis, Bewes) and his brother (Thomas Buis), Taskor and Thomas Tosh, Samuel Neely, and more than 15 others.   This road would be constructed from a ridge dividing the waters of New River from the waters of the South Branch of the Roanoke to end in a road that heads over the Blue Ridge.  Overseers for the road were James Campbell and Mark Evans. 


In colonial times, taxes were often issued in the form of work, and in fairness to the English administration at Staunton, a road tithable was usually issued to people living on or near the proposed road.  It was to the advantage of these people to construct the road, since it really served their needs.  However, James Burk protested to the colonial administrator at Staunton.  As a matter of fact, he protested so much and with such language, he was charged on 10 June 1747 as a “common swearer” in the Augusta Parish Registry Book and fined ten shillings, with Colonel James Patton being his security.


1747 February 26: Augusta County Court named James Burk administrator for the estate of his brother-in-law Isaac Bean – deceased.  James Burk was "his greatest creditor."   James Campbell, Ephraim Voss, James Nealy, and Ervin Patterson, or any three of them, would be selected by the Augusta County Court to appraise his small estate.  


1748 May 21: We don’t know when his wife Mary died, but it could be 1748 and her loss greatly troubled him.  On 21 May 1748, Augusta County Court charged Burk with disturbing divine service, and the case is brought before the court many times when he was absent.  Finally, the problem is settled by paying one pound to the Sheriff for Burk’s fine in 1755, almost eight years later.  


Burk's Lands in Augusta County, Virginia


James Burk received two land patents (grants) on the same day in 1748.  Processing grants takes several years and he probably was already living on them.  Where did he live?  Grant and deed clues can be used to find his actual location.


1748 September 20: Virginia State Land Office granted James Burk, 100(?) acres in Augusta County on the south side of Goose Creek beginning in William Campbell's near the mouth of a branch (unnamed).....


1748 September 20: Virginia State Land Office granted James Burk, 400 acres on north side Goose Creek on the west side of the Blue Ridge to a mouth of a branch on the north side of Goose Creek.


1753 March 21:  James Patton deeded Augusta County land to Henry Brown, Sr., 50 acres from Patton's original patent dated 3 November 1750.  This land was on or near Lick Run of Roanoke adjacent to a corner of James Burke.


1753 May 18: James Burk deeded 117 acres to James Bane, both of Augusta County, part of a tract patented to Burke, 20th September 1748, on the north side of Goose Creek, Augusta County, beginning at a double back on the bend of the creek... and runneth down (it).   Signed: James (x – his mark) Burk.  Witnesses: William Preston, James Patton, George Robinson, George McSwine.   Court: 30 May 1753.


1760 August 20 - Augusta County: Henry Brown and Alice deeded to Ester Brown for 5 pounds, 54 acres by patents, 3 November 1750, on a branch of Roanoke called Lick Run (to a) corner (of) James Burk.


Where Were Burk’s Goose Creek Lands?


Burk's Goose Creek lands were formerly thought to be located in today's Bedford County or Floyd County.   Peggy Morphew points out that the author Patricia Givens Johnson wrote: Burk "had settled on the Roanoke River at present (day) Salem, Roanoke County, Virginia.*      

* Settlers from Delaware River Come to Roanoke and New River, by Patricia Givens Johnston, 1995, page 98. Thanks go to Peggy Morphew for pointing this out in 30 November 2009


James Burk, Ephraim Vause (Voss), Charles Campbell, James Patton, and James Wood had early land grants on Goose Creek.  Goose Creek is now confirmed as an alternate name for that part of Roanoke River which runs through today's Roanoke City in Roanoke City-County.**       

** Evidence can be found the following deeds; (1) Tasker Tosh to Thomas Tosh on 28 May 1750, 120 acres on north bank of Roanoke River, "commonly called Goose Creek of Roanoke" and (2). William Martin to John Walker, Jr., 3 August 1753, 359 acres on "Mudlick Run of Roanoke, otherwise called Goose Creek.  Iron mine."  Augusta County Deed Book #3, pages 355 & 401 as mentioned in Chalkley's Chronicles, Volume #3, page 295 and 316.


Burk’s south bank land was near Lick Run which should be today’s Mud Lick Creek.  This creek flows northwest to empty into the Roanoke River (Goose Creek) within today's City of Roanoke.   Burk’s north bank lands are assumed nearby, but this is not certain.   One half mile to the west is Peter's Creek where it empties into the Roanoke River.   James Bean/Bane (Burk’s brother-in-law) had 190 acres on a branch of Peter's Creek, thought to be within the north central city limits of today's Roanoke.


A neighbor, Ephraim Vause (Voss) of Vause’s Fort had 3 land grants in 1748 and 1749; two on Goose Creek, and one further west on South Fork of the Roanoke River.   He built Vauses Fort on the South Fork land, which was located at today's Shawsville, Montgomery County, Virginia.  Burk's step-son "Morris Griffith - Vauses Fort" escaped from Indians in 1755.  On 25 June 1756, Fort Vause was over-run by Indians under French guidance with many killed and up to 150 captured and taken prisoner to Indian villages.  

Colonel James Patton's Survey Party – 1748


In the middle of May 1748, a large survey and exploring party was organized by Colonel James Patton, age 58, to explore southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee.   His party consisted of Colonel John Buchanan who was his son-in-law, Dr. Thomas Walker (age 33), Colonel James Wood, and Major Charles Campbell.  Jobs were offered to the adventurous since the party needed guides, chain carriers, ax men, and cooks.  Among this group is James Burk and a certain “J. Murphey or Js. Murphey” who must be our earliest known Morphew.  This trip must not be confused with one undertaken in 1750 by Dr. Thomas Walker.  The 1748 expedition started out from Colonel Patton’s home near the present-day Waynesboro.  No known diary exists of their movements and accomplishments, but the original surveys and notes may still exist at the Augusta County courthouse.  This first expedition surveyed lands in Holston and Clinch River Valleys in far southwestern Virginia.


On 2 November 1748, a large snow caught the party while returning home, and they spent the night at a spot later known as Burkes Garden, which is still found on the maps in present-day Tazewell County, Virginia.  Today, Burkes Garden is considered to be one of the biologically richest areas of the state.  According to Colonel Thomas L. Preston, “It was late in the fall and the next morning, after reaching the Garden, a heavy snow had fallen and they determined to suspend their surveying until the next year.   After cooking breakfast, a man named Burke, who was in the party as an axman or chain-carrier, cleared away the place where their fire had been made and planted a lot of potato peelings, covering them lightly with brush.”  The following spring or summer, Patton and Buchanan accompanied by William Ingles, returned to the survey lands and found a large bed of potatoes where Burke had planted and they gave it the name of “Burke’s Garden.”

“Annals of Augusta County, Virginia,” by Joseph A. Waddell, 1885


Peggy Morphew recently found a Tazewell County article reviewing a long legal fight over ownership for Burkes Garden, beginning in 1781 many years after Burk migrated to North Carolina.   Court records did not involve Burk directly, but Peggy located a survey diagram showing James Burk with 400 acres within Burkes Garden.  Burk could never get this land finalized into a Virginia Land Grant or deed. ^


Johnson states Burk at some point in time sold these 400 acres to the Ingles Brothers.  Because they didn't have a clear title, the Ingles eventually went to court against the heirs of James Patton.  The latter claimed Burk had promised to show Patton about 16,000 acres of good land to survey in exchange for ten pounds and 400 acres.  Patton claimed his surveyors saw only about 4000 worthwhile acres and claimed Burk did not earn the land. ^^    


^ Information courtesy of Peggy Morphew, September 2009, her source: Tazewell County Historical Society Newsletter, Volume IX, X, 1996-7)

^^ James Patton and the Appalachian Colonists, by Patricia Givens Johnson, 1983, 3rd edition, page 73.


1748 December 13:  James Burk, Methasuleh Griffith, and others were purchasers on the Daniel Monohan’s estate sale.


Pioneering Draper's Meadows (Today’s Blacksburg, Va.) - 1749+ to 1753


Soon after this time, Burk moved again.  This time he joined some friends and as reported by Joseph A. Waddell: “The Ingleses for the first time encountered the Draper family, who had settled on the James River at Pattonsburg.  This family consisted of George Draper, his wife, and his children John and Mary.  While living at Pattonsburg, George Draper went out hunting, and was never heard of again.  About the year 1749, the Ingles, Drapers, Adam Harman, Henry Leonard, and James Burke, removed from the James River and settled near the present town of Blacksburg in Montgomery County. They called the place Draper’s Meadows.  William Ingles and Mary Draper were married in 1750, and Bettie Robertson in 1754.  The marriages no doubt took place in Staunton, as there was no minister nearer Draper’s Meadows authorized to perform the ceremony.”  

“Annals of Augusta County, Virginia,” by Joseph A. Waddell, 1885


The settlement at Draper’s Meadows and their homes were built upon the present site and lands of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg at the west edge of the city.   Hale goes on to say that John Draper later purchased another piece of land in 1765 that could cause confusion with Draper’s Meadows.   This later New River land is still called Draper and Draper Valley, and is about 2.5 miles southwest of Pulaski, Pulaski County, Virginia and about 25 miles WSW from Blacksburg.   Draper is separated from Draper Mountain by Draper Valley Road.  About 5 miles east is a small stream called Burk’s Run.

“TransAlleghany Pioneers,” by John Hale, 1886   


Marriage of Mary Burk, Daughter of James Burk


An unidentified source on Family History Library reported Joseph Morphew married Mary Burk, daughter of James Burk, on 9 October 1749 in Bedford County.  Both the first name of Joseph Morphew and the location are now disputed, but the exact marriage date is still worthwhile.    


James Burk Marries a Second Time


Between 29 May and 29 August 1751,* James Burk married the second time to Lucretia Griffith, widow of Methusalem Griffith, who died in 1748/49.  Methusalem and Burke had worked the same road tithable several years before.  It is not known where the marriage took place.  However on August 29, 1751, Augusta County records state that Lucretia Griffith was administrator for her husband and had since married James Burk.

                   * Augusta County Order Book II, page 579 and Book III, page 169.


1751 August 19: James Burk took William Brookshire to court for debt. *   Brookshire "II" had or would become the husband of Honora Burk, his daughter.

                   * Augusta County Order Book III, page 170. 


Move to Burk's Garden About 1753


1753 May 18: James Burk deeded 117 acres to James Bane, brother to his first wife, part of a tract patented to Burk 20th September 1748, on Goose Creek, otherwise known as the Roanoke River. 


During this year 1753, James Burk and stepson Morris Griffith were reported in Burkes Garden, 30 miles west of the Draper site or 50 miles from Blacksburg.   Burk had moved to Burkes Garden about June 1753 with several other settlers.  This land had been surveyed and was owned by James Patton who was killed by Indians at Draper's Meadows in 1755.


Indians Destroy Draper's Meadows - 1755


During the next two years, Indian raids worsened:  “As a result of Braddock’s July 1755 defeat on the Monongehela with 777 killed and wounded at the hands of French and Indians, the whole frontier of western Virginia was thrown open to the ravages of Indians, who crossed the Alleghanies and pushed into Augusta County, the lower valley and New River settlements, torturing and murdering men, women and children....  Not withstanding that Draper’s Meadows settlement was far from the Ohio, and apparently safe for any probability of attack from any quarter, and although these settlers must have been aware that war was then being waged by the Indians against the whites, they took no reasonable precaution for their safety, but on Sunday, 8 July 1755, the day before Braddocks defeat on the Monongahela, they permitted themselves to be surprised by a band of marauding Shawnees from the north of the Ohio, who killed, wounded, and captured every person present.  Killed were Colonel James Patton, Mrs. George Draper, Casper Barrier, a child of John Draper, and James Call.  Wounded were Mrs. William Ingles, Mrs. John Draper, and Henry Leonard captured.”  

“History of Middle New River Settlements” by David E. Johnston, 1906


What Happened to the Burks During These Years


1755: The Preston Register mentioned in 1755 the following:  “__ Burk, Holston River, prisoner who escaped.”  This person may be our Burk or one of his sons.  In either case, it probably gave Burk sufficient cause for alarm.  This Preston Register also records on August 12, 1755:  “Morris Griffith, (of) Vause’s Fort, prisoner, escaped.” 

“Preston Register” of persons killed, wounded, or taken prisoner by Indians, possibly kept by Captain William Preston


1755 May 21: Augusta County Court records mention James Burk to be a plaintiff versus defendant Ervin Patterson in a lease dispute.  The two agreed upon resolution and the suit was dismissed.  


“Burk had moved with his family into the Garden in 1754, cleared up some land, and planted a crop, including potatoes, and in the fall of 1755 was driven out on account of fear of Indians and left his crop of potatoes in the ground which Lewis’s men found the next spring and appropriated.  Burk had killed a large number of deer, elk, and bear, and had tanned a number of hides, which he took with him when he left in the fall of 1755.” 

“History of Middle New River Settlements” by David E. Johnston, 1906


Indian Problems in Burke's Garden 1755-1760


 “On his way out with his family, he camped one night in old hunter’s cabin near what is now Sharon Springs in the new County of Bland, Virginia.  The Indians followed him, and on their way killed two hunters in their camp.  On approaching Burk’s cabin and seeing several horses, and the tanned hides rolled up in the cabin, they came to the conclusion that there were too many people for them to attack and contented themselves with cutting of the throat on one of Burk’s horses.” 

“History of Middle New River Settlements” by David E. Johnston, 1906


Captain William Preston was now empowered to hunt down these Indians and wrote in his diary of the Sandy Creek Expedition (with spelling improvements, etc):  “Sunday, February 15th, 1756, Old James Burk brought word that Robert Looney was killed, nigh Alex Sawyers, and he had himself one horse shot and five taken away by Shawnee Indians and that he thought from the signs he saw that they were not above four Indians that had done ye above.  Upon which there was immediately a Council of War held and it was concluded to send a detachment of 60 white men and 40 Indians out tomorrow morning (as scouts).  About noon, the Reverend Mr. Brown gave us a military sermon, with his text being 2nd book of Samuel, chapter VX, which was excellently treated upon and at night our Indians danced a grand war dance.”


Preston continues: “February 24th:  Crossed two mountains and arrived at Burkes Garden.  Had plenty of potatoes which soldiers gathered in the deserted plantations.... Burkes Garden is a tract of land of 5000 or 6000 acres, as rich and fertile as any I ever saw, as well watered with many beautiful streams, and is surrounded with mountains almost impassible.”   Preston was mentions: “April 27, 1758, William Burk, South Branch (of Shenandoah River) was killed.” *   This Burk lived about 125 miles away, and there is little evidence to suggest a relationship with James Burk. 

   * From the “Preston Register”


1758 September 1: James Burk was paid for 108 days of Augusta County military service with Colonel William Preston or Colonel John Buchanan and may have served as a scout for hostile Indians.  Burks remaining time in Virginia was now short. 


A New Home in Rowan County, North Carolina 1761+


1760 July 1:  James “Birk” and wife Lucretia, of Cumberland County, North Carolina, deeded to Thomas Walker of Albemarle County for 40 pounds, 100 acres on the south side of Goose Creek adjacent William Campbell’s line.  The document was received 1 July 1761 by Thomas Walker who paid 40 pounds.  Witnesses were William Ingles, James Bane, John Hawkins, and John Buchanan.  This document was delivered by Thomas Madison on 11 March 1763.   A number of these names were area leaders.   This deed states they were now living in Cumberland County, North Carolina.  Record searches in Cumberland County have been negative.


1761 December 21 - Rowan County, North Carolina:   James Burk was deeded 440 acres in Rowan County on both sides of Joseph’s Creek and extended north along the west bank of the Yadkin River.    This creek is now thought to be Forbush Creek in present-day eastern Yadkin County.


1765 October 10:   Men presenting claims for wolfs, panthers, and cats at the Rowan County Court included James Burk, which could be either Senior or Junior.


1766 October 17: Rowan County court ordered a road to be laid out from Shallow Ford upon the Yadkin River to the Ford, called the Etkin Fork.  Names for the road jury included Robert Forbush and James “Bourk.”     .


1768 - Rowan County tax list in Gideon Wright's District (probably Yadkin – Wilkes County area) includes:

Benjamin Birk

Joseph Murphey and John England are next to each other. 

                     (Silas Morphew married John England’s daughter Elizabeth in 1775).  

James Burk, Joseph Burk and James Burk (Jr.) next to each other and within only one name between Joseph Murphey and John England.   On the same page is                     is “Daniel Boon.”   All entries are as spelled.  


~1770 Rowan County tax:   Another book of tax lists was found, without a date.  1770 may be the exact date, or the book may be a copy of other 1768 tithable lists, but this has different names. 


 Joseph Burk, James Burk Sr., James Burks Jr., and Daniel Boone.   Joseph Murphy

                     is not here and there are now two James Murpheys.               


1770 February 15 - Rowan County Court:   Ordered that Thomas Mears, Valentine Vanhouser, James Sheppard, Gideon Wright, James Glenn, Abrah Creson, Robert Forbus, James Burk, Michael Baker, as a jury to lay out a road from Mr. Harts store, crossing the Yadkin to Yallow Banks Ford and for thence to Edward Rigs new cut road, from Allen Sawmill to the Shallow Ford at Smith’s cabin by the nearest and best way...Hezikiah Wright from John Sneed’s Store to Ben Souls Creek, Jobe Feltorn from then to the head of Forbushes Creek, John Allin from thence to Smith’s Cabin. 


          This entry is not clear if the reference is to James Sr. or Jr.   Rowan County spun off into smaller counties with Surry in 1771, Guilford in 1771, Wilkes in 1777, Burke in 1777, and much later Yadkin in 1850.  


1771 Surry County tax:   Benjamin, Joseph, and James Burk, Jr., but no Murphys or Morphews. 


1774 Surry County tax and partial for 1775:

Captain Martin Armstrong's District: Benjamin Burk, John Burk, and James Burk Captain Samuel Freeman's District:  Joseph Burk


          This John Burk couldn't be the grandson of James Burk, Jr. who was born 23 July 1760.  So who is this John Burk?  See discussion at the end of this chapter.


Burks in the American Revolutionary War


The last years of James Burk were interwoven with the American Revolution and were of great tragedy.  Although Burk himself took no active part (he was nearly 65), a list of sides that his children took is quite revealing:


 “Tory Loyalists:” Captain Benjamin Burk, Joseph Burk, Naomi Burk Pepper,

             John Griffith (son-in-law)          .


“American Patriots:” Ensign James Burk, Jr. and his son Private John Burk; Honor Burk Brookshire - her children; Sarah Burk Wilson - her-son-law Capt. John Lucas.


"Needs more research:" Mary Burk Morphew   


           James Burk, Jr. joined and died in service for the American Army.  For his services, his son John received a square mile of land in Surry County, North Carolina after the war. 


The fortunes of the Tory side of Burk’s family were even more tragic.  Benjamin Burk became a Captain of an irregular Tory militia made up of farmer-soldiers from Surry County, North Carolina.  On October 14, 1780, a band of 300 Tories left from Surry County to join up with Cornwallis at Charlotte, North Carolina.  Their leader was their friend, Gideon Wright.  Gideon had been an early settler of the area and was instrumental in getting Surry County’s first courthouse built.  The Patriots learned about the Tory movement and laid an ambush at Shallow Ford, some 4 miles southeast of where the Burks lived.  After the battle, the American Colonel Parsley reported:  “Fourteen of the enemy were found dead on the ground among which were Captains Bryan and Burk....  The Tories escaped, all being well mounted.”  Legend has it that Captain Benjamin Burk was killed with a sword by his nephew-in-law Captain George Pearis at Shallow Ford.


Joseph Burk did not fare better.  Patriot soldier William Benson sheds some light on Joseph.  Benson stated he was present and took part in the capture of Mark Adkins and a Joseph Burk of Surry for harrying William Griffin of Surry.  They had driven away Griffin’s cattle and then butchering them for Tory use.  He states that Adkins and Burk were taken prisoner Benas camp in Henry County, Virginia where the Patriots planned on hanging the pair.  If the hanging took place, then this is another Joseph Burk because our subject reportedly drowned in New River, Montgomery County, Virginia in 1785, long after the war ended.


Will and Estate of James Burk



In The Name of God, Amen


I, James Burk of the County of Surry and State of North Carolina, Planter being in a low State of health, I weak of Body but of Good, Perfect, & Sound Mind, & Memory, knowing the Mortality of my Body and that it is Appointed for all Men once to Die: Do make & Ordain this my Last Will & testament.


But Principals I first of all I recommend my Soul into the hands of the Almighty God who gave it, in sure & certain hopes that it will be restored again at the Day of General Resurrection and my Body to the Graves to be Interred with a Decent Christian Burial at the Direction of my Executors; And as touching such worldly good wherein my God has been pleased to bless me with in my Life time I Will & Dispose in the following Manner & form:


In primis, I give leave and bequeath unto my Beloved Wife Lucretia Burk the whole and sole management, possession, rights & profits of all my Estate both Real and __(words lost in fold of paper) __ life at the end of which all remaining after paying such legacies as I shall hereafter give to be all & every article sold at auction and equally divided amongst all my children, viz between Mary Murphew, Sarah Wilson, Joseph Burk, Naomi Pepper.  Provided that if my Negro wench Silvia should hence forth bring a living child on then the limits of my said Wife's life that said child after my said Wife, deceased shall be the property of her said Wife's daughter Lucretia Wilson. *


Item:  I give and bequeath unto my Grandchild Thomas Burk, a Negro Girl, born of the Body of my Negro Silvia to be delivered to him when he shall arrive at the age of twenty years old before which time said Negro Girl name Hannah shall be kept together with the rest of my Estate, in my said Wife's hand & after her decease in the executors until the boy's age as before mentioned.  Likewise on the same conditions & directions, I give unto my Grand Daughter, Honora Burk my Negro Boy Ned to be delivered to her at the age of sixteen.


Item:  I leave unto my Son in Law, William Brookshire the sum of ten pounds good & lawful money as in old times.


Item:  I leave unto my Daughter in Law, Mary Burk the sum of Five Pounds like money.  Also to her children now living to each of them five Pounds, Viz – to Josiah Burk, Samuel Burk, Elizabeth Burk, John Burk & Benjamin Burk. 


And whereas by the disobedience & unduly fullness of my eldest son James Burk, I have had just cause to deny him or his heirs any part or portion of my living take unto the other children.  I leave unto him or them only the sum of five shillings. 


Item:  I leave unto Sally Colman, my Grand Daughter one Ewe & lamb.


I appoint & constitute Samuel Pepper of Botetourt County in Virginia & (nearly unreadable but reported) Moses Baker of this county to be my lawful executors.  And I do herby disallow, revoke & __ all former wills & testaments by me here to for made.  Allowing , Confirming & ratifying this to be my last Will and Testament in witness whereof I have here unto set my hand & seal the fourth day of November Anno Domini 1782.  Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Pronounced, & Declared by the said James Burk to be his Last Will & Testament in the Presence of Us – Andrew Speer, John Thos. Longino – Juriat.  Signed James (his mark "I") Burk.  Entered in February 1783 Court.  (Surry County Wills, Book 2, Page 1)


* Lucretia Wilson was the daughter of Methusalem Griffith + Lucretia Rees.  Daughter – Lucretia married James Wilson.  (courtesy of Marshel Roy Cunningham, e-mail of 21 June 2005.   



          In the will above, Thomas Burk, Honora Burk, Josiah Burk, Samuel Burk, Elizabeth Burk, John Burk, and Benjamin Burk "II" are children of Benjamin Burk who died at the Battle of Shallow Ford in 1780.    The 1797 will of Thomas Burk confirms the names of these children - see his will below.   Daughter-in-law Mary Burk is Benjamin Burk's widow.  Sally Colman is the daughter of James Morphew + Mary Burk (daughter of James Burk).  Several gedcoms have suggested some of the grandchildren belong to a missing son named John Burk.  All the grandchildren in James Burk's will are now accounted for and do NOT include any from a John Burk.   


Final Years and Lucretia Burk


James Burk, Sr., died in 1783 at old Surry County, N.C. in what is now Yadkin County, N.C.  The revolution had torn his family apart.  His wife Lucretia Burk now shows up in the 1784 and 1786 Surry tax lists.  This writer thinks she died in 1786 about the time of the October estate sale.


1782 Surry County Taxable on Property:

Captain Humphries District: John Burk: 3 horses and mules; 2 cattle; 100 acres

Ayres District: James Burke: 2 horses/mules; 16 cattle, 220 acres on Forbush Creek in Ayres District.    Joseph Burke: 4 horses/mules; 9 cattle, 220 acres on Joseph's Creek in Ayres District.    Mary Burke: 1 horse/mule; 7 cattle, 840 acres on Forbush Creek in Ayres District.

Captain Hickman's District: Samuel Burk: single, 1 horse/mule, 200 acres on Snow Creek.


1784 Surry County Taxable Property: John Burk 200 acres, Lucretia Burk 200 acres; Mary Burk 840 acres; Riland(?) Burk; Samuel Burk.


1786 Surry County Taxable Property:

Capt. Willis District: (1) Benjamin Burk, no acres taxable and two entries away is (2) William Burk, 250 acres; also (3) John Burk 300 acres 2 polls

Capt. Humphries District: John Burk, 200 acres

Capt. Carson's District: (1) Lucretia Burk 200 acres, 0 polls (2) Silas Murphey 1 poll.


          This writer does not know who the parents might be for (1) 1786 Benjamin Burk, (2) 1786 William Burk, and (3) John Burk, 1774, 1782, 1784, 1786.


          Four children of James Burk, Sr. with their grandchildren settled in Montgomery County, Virginia.  They included (1) wife of Joseph Burk, (2) Sarah Burk Wilson, (3) children of Benjamin Burk, and (4) Naomi Burk Pepper.       


Children of James Burk + Mary Bane


          Names and birth dates for the children need greater accuracy.   Les Tate helps us with better birth date estimations and his dating is ear-marked by "^".   James Burk's will named grandchildren Honora Burk and Thomas Burk without stating who their parents were.   Now, there is proof that they are children of Benjamin Burk.    

                   ^ Email courtesy Les Tatum, 1 April 2010


 (I). Mary Burk was born about 1731 and is thought to be the oldest daughter.^  Mary married James Morphew on 9 October 1749 in western Virginia.  Sally Coleman, who was in James Burk's will, was Mary Burk Morphew's daughter, Sarah (Sally) Morphew Coleman.   See next generation in Chapter 2D and 2E.


(II). Honoura Burk was born estimated ~1733^ and possibly died between 1775 – November 1782.   Her name may be Honora or Honour.  She must be dead by the time of her father's will, which does not mention her, but does mention "my son-in-law, William Brookshire."  William Brookshire was born ~1730 and is still alive at the time of 1782 Burk will.   There is a William Brookshire I, II, III.  Our William should be "II," but separating them is not easy.                 


Locations and Sightings for the Brookshires.


1751 August 29 - Augusta County, Virginia Court:   James Burk took William Brookshire to court for debt.   Brookshire "II" had or would become the husband of Honora Burk, his daughter.

                   Augusta County Order Book III, page 170.

~1756:   William and Honora Brookshire moved to Randoph or Anson County, North Carolina about 1756 or so.*

1759 and 1770 Rowan County tax:   Mannering Brookshire and William Brookshire.     

1779 Randolph County, North Carolina tax:   Jesse Brookshire, Mary Brookshire, Swift Brookshire, and Mannering Brookshire Sr. & Jr. are recorded individually on the 1779 Randolph County, North Carolina tax list. 

1782: William Brookshire, "son-in-law" is named in James Burk's will.


Children of William Brookshire + Honour Burk*

          Names and dates of birth for the children vary somewhat:


(1). Mary Brookshire 8 August 1751

(2). Jesse Brookshire 16 January 1755

(3). William Brookshire “III” 30 December 1756 to 1836 who married Mary Ann __ and lived in Wilkes County, North Carolina and buried in the waters of the Kerry Scott reservior,* William was a private in the North Carolina infantry and was granted a pension.*

(4). Sarah Brookshire, after 1757

(5). Jemima Brookshire 17 February 1758

(6). James Brookshire 19 February 1760

(7). Honour Brookshire 21 December 1762

(8). Mannering Brookshire 10 January 1768 was Cavalry Lieutenant in the North Carolina Militia from Randolph County and was granted a pension.  On 1790 Rowan County, NC tax list with no land

(9). Benjamin Brookshire 9 March 1770; On 1796 Rowan County, NC tax list with no land

(10). Melvina Brookshire 1 April 1773

(11). Levin Brookshire 12 May 1775.

                   *Courtesy of Robert Emery, emails of 4 and 6 January 2009


(III). Sarah Burk (born about 1735^ and was still living in 1782) married about 1757 at Bedford County, Virginia to Samuel Wilson, Sr. (born ~1733 and died 1804/06 Tennessee).   Sarah Wilson is listed in James Burk’s 1783 will.    


          Samuel Wilson is hard to trace because of others with the same name.  There was a Captain Samuel Wilson who was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, who lived in western Augusta County (today's Highland County).  Charles Johnson points out he belonged to another clan, + and had married Mary Babb. *    In addition, there appears to be another Samuel Wilson living near the Forks of the James River in Botetourt/Rockcastle County area.  This one is so poorly understood that more info is needed. 

+ Courtesy of Charles Johnson, e-mail of 21 January 2006 and 5 February 2006.   

*SAR Revolutionary War Graves Register, 2000 Edition, by Progeny Publishing on CD


          Charles Johnson believes Samuel Wilson + Sarah Burk lived in Montgomery County and/or Rockbridge County, Virginia.   Kegley^ narrows this further by stating the daughter of James Burk married Samuel Wilson and lived on Ingles Mill Branch (most probably today's Wilson Creek**).  Wilson Creek flows into the North Fork of the Roanoke River, a few miles southeast of today's Blacksburg, Montgomery County (old Botetourt before 1776/77), Virginia.  Both Samuel Wilson, Sr. and Jr. cannot be identified in military musters and a question is raised if they might be Quakers. 


Probable sightings for our Samuel Wilson + Sarah Burk:


Pre-1770:   Location not yet determined.  Bedford County, Virginia?    

1770 Botetourt County (now Montgomery County):    John Robinson, Abraham Chrisman and Samuel Wilson to view the road from William Robinson's North Fork to the head waters of Catawba. ^   

1770 Botetourt County:   Samuel Wilson was appointed Constable for the North Fork of Roanoke. ^

1771 Botetourt County:   Samuel Wilson was deeded 262 acres on the North Fork of the Roanoke River. ^

1774 (13 April):   John Robinson, Samuel Wilson, and David Robinson to review and report (about)...a road from Jacob Brown's old place - mouth of Den Branch - down the North Fork to Isaac Taylor's - Fork of Roanoke River. ^

1779 Montgomery County:   Henry Watterson and Samuel Wilson are appointed surveyors of the road from Brown's on the North Fork to Peter Rieffs, with tithables payable from residents on Bradshaws Creek, the Den and Inglish (Ingles) Creek. ^ 

1782 Montgomery County land tax and personal property tax: Samuel Wilson is not on either one.  What happened to him and his son?

1783 (12 June) Montgomery County:   Samuel Wilson deeded 41 acres to William Smith on Ingles Mill Creek, a branch of Roanoak River, where Wilson now lives.^   

1783 (27 June):   Samuel Wilson deeded John Lucas (his son-law), for 5 shillings 47 acres on Ingles Mill Creek, branch of the Roanoak River. ^

1794 (4 February) Montgomery County:  Deed from Samuel Willson of Montgomery County, Virginia to William Heavins of same county for 140 pounds, 100 acres in Montgomery County on Ingle's Creek, a branch of the Roanoak, adjacent John Davis and crossing creek.  (Signed) Sam ("S") Wilson.  No witnesses.  Montgomery County March Court 1795. (B/2nd series of pages 184)

1795 Montgomery County:   Samuel Wilson deeded 100 acres on Ingles Creek to William Haven. ^

No date:   Charles Johnson added that later both Samuel Wilson Sr. and Jr. accompanied their daughter, Theodocia Wilson Johnson to Sevier County, Tennessee. +  

1804/06:   One researcher believes Samuel Wilson, Senior died there between 1804 and 1806. +  

1809 Montgomery County:   Kegley states John Erhart purchased the old Wilson house which was triangular in shape with a rock chimney at one angle and replaced it with a four room log house.^


Children of Samuel Wilson + Sarah:


(1). Mary “Polly” Wilson (1 January 1758 to 17 May 1843, buried in Lucas Cemetery) married on 15 February 1777 Montgomery County, Virginia to Captain John Lucas (15 July 1749 to 19 April 1836) of Montgomery County.  According to Kegley, John Lucas acquired the old Ingles home place on Ingles Mill Creek, married Polly Wilson, daughter of Samuel Wilson of Wilson's Creek and became a prominent pioneer in old Montgomery County. ^   Captain John Lucas has an American Revolution pension application naming his three children: Theodocia Lucas, Samuel Wilson Lucas, and Susan Lucas. *** 


1773 Botetourt County Tithables taken by Benjamin Estill: John Lucas - 1

1774 Fincastle County: John, William, and Charles Lucas were part of 11 Minute Men under Captain Thomas Burk to protect William Preston at his Smithfield Plantation near Blacksburg.   Also, militia of Captain Michael Woods from Rich Creek Mountain met and assisted them there.  ^^

1776:  Captain John Lucas, commander of the Smithfield militia was ordered to defend the lead mines and Fort Chiswell from Indians.  ^^

1777:  Captain John Lucas and his company captured the local Tory troublemakers Duncan O'Gullion, John McDonald, and others near Walker's Creek in today's Montgomery County.  ^^

1780: John Lucas and his company fought at the Battle of Shallow Ford, Surry County, North Carolina under Major Joseph Cloyd. ^^        


(2). Samuel Wilson, Jr: Unable to trace. 


(3). Theodocia Wilson (15 November 1773), married in 1794 to Benjamin Johnson (Johnston), son of Moses Johnson.  They migrated to Sevierville, Sevier County, Tennessee, and Benjamin died in 1804 at the age of 30. +      


+ Courtesy of Charles Johnson, e-mail 21 January 2006)

** Concerning Ingles Mill Creek being today's Wilsons Creek: Library of Virginia Land Grants has a record of a 20 July 1780 land grant to John Robinson "on a small branch of Ingles Mill Creek called Cedar Run, a branch of Roanoke."   Today's Wilsons Creek also has a small branch called Cedar Run and this suggests that the two creeks are the same. 

^ Kegley's Virginia Frontier by F.B. Kegley, 1938, pgs 195, 196, 397, 584, 585, 587, 590, 591, 592, 620, 620

^^ William Preston and the Allegheny Patriots, by Patricia Givens Johnson, 1976/1992, pages 122, 186, 246, 265.

*** Revolutionary War Records by Patrick G. Wardell, Volumes 1-6, Heritage Books Archives on CD.


(IV) James Burk (Jr. or “II”) was born about 1737 and was died August 1776 while in patriot military service during the American Revolution.  Middle name has been reported to be Edward, but source/proof doesn't exist.  He married Amey __., and little is known about her.   After James Burk (Jr.) died, Amey remarried about 1777 to Samuel Tate and had one child, Samuel Tate, born ~1780.


          Names of the children of James and Amey Burk are poorly understood, but they had a son John Burk who was born 23 July 1760.  Only one heir was named to James Burk's military land entitlement, but there may be several others.  An undated record exists of "Benjamin and Amy, children of James Bourk, deceased, (bound) to Francis Reynolds, Wilkes County, North Carolina." *    In addition, a 26 May 1784 inventory of the estate of Robert Walker, deceased had certificates due from Benjamin Burk and John Burk (listed next to each other). **

* Email courtesy Peggy Morphew, 31 April 2010.  Her source: North Carolinian, Volume ?, page 113

** Surry County, North Carolina Wills 1771 – 1827, by Jo Ann Linn, 2007.       


          Most of the following details for James Burk “II” and his son John is courtesy of Les Tate, emails of 9 & 11 October 2008, 31 March & 14 April 2010.    Thank you, Les!   John's Revolutionary War pension application greatly expands these obscure years.  Les also mentions that John spelled his surname as "Burk."


Locations and Sightings for James Burk “II” and his son John Burk


1760 July 23:   James Burk “II” lived in what is now Rockbridge County, Virginia when his son John reported he was born there on 23 July 1760.  

1768, 1770 Rowan County tithables (tax):   "James Burk, Jr."

1771 Surry County tax:   "James Burk, Jr."   Surry County was established 1771 from Rowan.

1772 Surry County tax:   James Burk x 2  

1776 March:   James Burk “II” enlisted in the American Revolution with his 15 year old son John for a three month tour in the Wilkes County, North Carolina "light horse" mounted service under the command of Captain Jesse Walton.***  James was an ensign for his company.  Their tour was spent in Rowan, Surry, and Wilkes County North Carolina. 


An aside note for 1776: Colonels Jesse Walton and Benjamin Cleveland (Surry County, N. C.) defended the Watauga and Nolachucky settlements from Cherokee attacks.  Later in 1778, this same Walton helped to establish Jonesborough, the first town in future Tennessee, then went on to help locate and convene Tennessee's very first court house in Washington County in May 1779. 


          According to John Burk, he was sent home by his father at the end of the 3 month enlistment.  In response to questions in the pension application, John stated "I expect my father got a discharge for each of us."  However, in his narrative about his service, John indicated James discharged John, then his father died in August 1776 while in service.  Our informant, Les Tate, could not find James' military service record.


          What is known about James Burk's military service is this: "John Burke," heir to James Burke “II” received 640 acres of Surry County N.C. land from the State of North Carolina, as a grant entitled to his father for 84 months of service in the Continental Line.

Courtesy of George Gordon, email of 16 September 2005, from a D.A.R. Application and "Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution," by N.C. Daughters of the American Revolution


          John Burk's pension application says 84 months of service, but must be incorrect.  Revolutionary War records were filed in Washington, D.C. and were burned by the British during the War of 1812-1814.   However, 640 acres given James Burk, Jr. was the amount of land given commissioned ensigns and lieutenants and his son John stated his father was an ensign.


1778/79 Washington County, North Carolina/Tennessee:    John stated that he "remained with the family" following his father's death until 1779 when the family "removed to the west" on the waters of the "Nole Chucke (Nolichucky River) in Washington County, North Carolina, which is now in Tennessee.   This moved included Samuel + Amey Burk Tate, but no one stayed very long.

1779:   John Burk served as an Indian spy on 3-4 short tours of 10-30 days each under Captain Amos Bird.  In 1780, he served again as a Tory spy in South Carolina under Captain William Richie for 2-3 weeks.  Next, he returned to North Carolina for a 3 month tour under Captain Samuel Johnson, but was never attached to any troops and was released after 2-3 week. 

1779 Wilkes County:   Samuel Tate applied for 3 parcels in Wilkes County land in 1779, but never completed the transaction.

1781 June 6 - Wilkes County, North Carolina:   John Burk married "Alise Sebastin" (Mrs. Alcy Robinson Sebastian) in Wilkes County with Henry Carter bondsman and George Wheatley witness (county record).  A Sebastian researcher stated he has a 1972 genealogical book giving her maiden name as Alise Sebastian, sister or daughter of Benjamin Sebastian.  A Texas DAR application listed her as Mrs. Alcy Robinson Sebastian and gives her birth and death dates. 


          According to Les Tate, John Burk lived on the Yadkin River in what is today's Wilkes County, North Carolina


1781 August:   John Burk was drafted for a 3 months tour under Captain Alexander Gordon (recorded on Wilkes County tax lists 1772-1779), and was under the command of Colonel Francis Locke.  His unit joined the army of General Nathanial Greene, Commander of the Southern Division in South Carolina.  They passed through Camden, Columbia and participated in the Battle of Eutaw Spring on 8 September 1781.  Here, John was part of two small battalions from North Carolina under a French Colonel whom he misnamed, but was Marquis Malmedy.  After the battle, he marched back to Salisbury in charge of English prisoners under Captain Gordon and was discharged.  

1786 Surry County, North Carolina:   Les Tate states James Burk's 1786 estate inventory and sale in 1786 do not belong to James Burk, Sr., but to his son, James Burk, Jr.   The executors of James Senior's 1782 will were Moses Baker and brother-in-law Samuel Pepper.  The 1786 inventory and estate sale indicate that Amey Burk and Samuel Tate were administrators.   This Amey Burk is thought to be his widow.       



1786 Estate Sale & Inventory for James Burk, Jr., deceased


The return of the estate sale of James Burk 28 October 1786:  Buyers were Samuel Wright, Capt. John Hamlin, John Burke, Starling Rose, Cornelius Sale, Acquila Greer, Anny (Amey?) Burk, Joseph Herndon, Benjamin Greer, John Greer, Mary Burke, Daniel Vannoy, James Mitchel, Isaac Walker, William Crane, Thomas Jones, Martin Adams, James Reynolds, Francis Hardgrove, Charles Walker, William Smith, James Ray, Jinkin Reynolds, Thomas Prater.  Amount: 205:10:10 pounds, returned by Amey Burke, admin. Rec. May court 1787.


Inventory of the estate of James Burk, deceased:  Ten pounds to Samuel Taite for

keeping one orphan girl for 1½  years, and one orphan boy for four years.  Returned by William Meredith and William T. Lewis and recorded in August court 1786.


          August 1786 Surry County Court: Inventory of Estate of James Burk, deceased, returned with Samuel Tate, administrator in "right of his wife." *


          Comment: Who is Anny Burk?  Poorly scripted handwriting could easily make Amey look like Anny.   The last entry indirectly indicates Samuel Tate is now married to Amey Burk.


          * Email courtesy Peggy Morphew, 31 April 2010.  Her source: Surry County Will Book, Volume 2, page 112.        


1787:  North Carolina State Census for Wilkes County indicates John Burk's family had one male 21-60; 3 males less 21 or 60+, and 4 females.  Two entries away is Francis Reynolds who has one male 21-60, 4 males 21 or 60+ females.  Reynolds had taken on two Burk children.

1795:  John Burk moved his family to Jessamine County, Kentucky

1811 - 1836 Wayne County, Indiana:   Later, John applied for a Revolutionary War soldier's pension in 1818, but was turned down because the only paper he had was for a militia unit.  In 1831, Indiana General Assembly and its Governor helped John obtain his pension.  The pension application shows that he died 1 February 1836.  He is buried in the Elkhorn Cemetery.    


Children of John Burk + Alcy Robinson Sebastian:


i. James Burk (born 13 November 1782) married Sallie Turner

ii. William Burk (13 February 1785)

iii. Mary Burk (19 April 1789)

iv. Benjamin Burk (29 August 1789)

v. Jesse Burk (22 November 1791)

vi. Dorcas Burk (16 May 1794)

vii. John Burk (Jr.) 22 February 1797

viii. Lewis Burk (23 March 1799) married Maria Moffitt.  


(V). Benjamin Burk was born about 1739^ and died 14 October 1780 at the Battle of Shallow Ford, North Carolina.  He was a Captain under the Tory Colonel Gideon Wright.  Formerly, Benjamin’s wife was reported to be Mary Grant, sister to Margaret Grant who married Joseph Burk.  The author Johnson counters this by stating Benjamin Burk married Mary Eliot who was dead by 1782, ^^ but Mary was still living in 1784.    Clues favor the Eliot/Elliot surname.  Some of their children moved to Montgomery County, Virginia.


Locations and Sightings for Benjamin Burk


1768 - Rowan County, North Carolina tax list:   Benjamin Burk

1771, 1774 - Surry County, North Carolina tax:   Benjamin Burk   

1777 August 27 - Surry County:   Inventory of estate of Ann Elliott, deceased; buyers at sale of estate included Benjamin Burk, Henry Chambers, Joseph Chadwick, James Murphew.

    Surry County, N.C. Wills 1771-1827 by Jo White Linn 

1779 - Surry County:   Benjamin Burk's land was mentioned in the following land entry request.  Thomas Church entered 200 acres of land in Surry County on Forbis’s Creek water including Benjamin Burk’s improvement for quantity on January 2, 1779 and the warrant was granted.

1780 October 4 - Surry County:   Benjamin Burk died at the Battle of Shallow Ford

1784 August 30 - Surry County:   The inventory and return of the Benjamin Burke, deceased, estate was returned by John Thomas Longina and signed by Mary "x" Burke, administrix.  This 1784 inventory listed 800 acres in two tracts, 115 bushels of corn, two feather beds, 3 chairs, as returned by Mary Burke, administrator.  There were purchases from Robert Forbus, Moses Baker, Benjamin Eliot and James Burk Sr.(?) in amount of 22.9.6 pounds.  Collections came from Hugh Logan, Joseph Burk, Thomas Elliot which made a balance of 18:11:9 pounds.  Witness was Henry Speer and this inventory was recorded in November 1785 Court.

    Surry County, N.C. Wills 1771-1827 by Jo White Linn


Children of Benjamin and Mary Grant Burk

per will of Thomas Burk (see below)


(1). Josiah Burk had a Giles County bond on 13 May 1806 Giles County to Rebecca Bean, daughter of James Bean, with Bean probably being "II."   Giles County was established from Montgomery in 1806. Josiah had a second marriage bond on 5 April 1813 in Giles County to Polley Orr, daughter of Alexander Orr. **   Johnson reports descendants in Lee County, Virginia. ^^     


Josiah Burk is found on the 1810 U.S. Census of Giles County, Virginia by himself, as a male between ages 26-45.   An 1815 tax list notes an Alexander and Margaret Orr to James and Andrew Orr deed on Walker's Creek, adjacent to Josiah Burk and the foot of Brushy Mountain.   One gedcom states Josiah Burk died 1816, but information cannot be confirmed.    


(2). Samuel Burk (estimated born ?) married Nancy/Ann Sovain


1810 U.S. Census of Montgomery County: Samuel Burk is recorded by himself, between ages 26-45 (born between 1765 - 1784).

1812 (30 December) Montgomery County: Marriage of Samuel Burk to Ann Sovain, daughter of Abraham Sovain. 

1815 (October) Montgomery County:  Samuel Burk wrote his Montgomery County, Virginia will and named only his wife Nancy Burke.  His estate included one house on Tom's Creek and another on Church Street in Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia.   Executor was his "friend" (and cousin) Jesse Pepper (son of Samuel Pepper).   Samuel signed his will with "Burke" spelling, which was entered in December 1815 Court.   

1816 Montgomery County:  John Pepper (another son of Samuel Pepper) and Samuel's widow Nancy Burk purchased property at the estate sale in 1816.  Samuel Burk lived several miles north of Samuel Wilson who married Sarah Burk, daughter of James Burk + Mary Bane.

1830 U.S. Census of Montgomery County: Nancy Burk, household total of 2 females, 1 - 20-30 and 1 - 30-40 years of age.

1840 U.S. Census of Montgomery County: Ann Burk with 1 female 30-39 and 1 female 50-59.


(3). Elizabeth “Betsey” Burk has a marriage bond on 21 July 1808 Giles County to Hiram Davis (county record).  She was named in Samuel Pepper's 1804 will.


(4). John Burk is difficult to trace.  There is a Montgomery County marriage record on 4 August 1786 to Mary Cloud (Montgomery County Record), who may or may not be him. ^^  **     Later on 11 August 1797, there is another Montgomery County marriage record of John Burk to Effie Boaine, without any parents being named.  John Burk is in the 1797 will of his brother Thomas Burk, but this writer is unable to trace further.  


(5). Honora (Honor) Burk has a Montgomery County marriage bond on 27 July 1790 to John Solomon Peterson.  She is named in the 1797 will of her brother, Thomas Burk.


(6). Benjamin Burk is on his brother Thomas Burk's 1797 will at a location not known and unable to trace further.


(7). Thomas Burk (estimated born ~1773) was a bachelor. 


1780 July 29: The following appears to be a different older Thomas Burk but be aware:  A certain "Thomas Burk" is labeled a Loyalist in Montgomery County, Virginia and posted a bond to Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia for his future good behavior. * ++   Later in 1780 or 1781, he briefly served in Capt. John Lucas' Company of Patriot Militia and Thomas Ingles's Company of Militia in April 1781.     


1793 April 15 - Montgomery County:  Know all me, that I, Thomas Burk, orphan using(?) 20 years of age in order to obtain necessary clothing and apparel in consideration (for) 12.6.0...bargained and sold unto William Pepper for 60 pounds, half of these in seed merchantable, (the remainder to) pay 4 June 1794, one negro girl named Hannah about 13 years of age and devised to me, Thomas Burk, by my Grandfather James Burk, deceased.   Signed - Thomas Burk Witnesses were Charles Taylor, James Ripley, William Preston.  15 April 1793: Received of William Pepper 4 pounds, 4 shillings, being an allowance with mentioned sum of 12 pounds 6 shillings.  Signed: Thomas Burk (B/205)   


1797 February - Montgomery County: Thomas Burk's will was entered into February 1798 Court, naming four brothers - Josiah Burk, Samuel Burk, John Burk, and Benjamin Burk; two sisters being Honor Peterson and Betsy Burk.  Witnesses were James Pepper, James Bane, William Pepper, and Joseph Pepper, with all the Peppers being sons of Samuel Pepper.    


^ Email courtesy Les Tatum, 1 April 2010 who gives us our best birth date estimates for the children of James Burk, Sr.

^^ Irish Burks of Colonial Virginia and New River, by Patricia Givens Johnson, 1992

++ The Preston and Virginia Papers of the Draper Collection of Manuscripts by the Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1915, 5QQ, page 47.

* On the 1782 Montgomery County, Virginia land tax and personal property tax list were 3 Thomas Burks.  One had to be Capt. Thomas Burk, who wouldn't sign a patriot loyalty pledge, but remained inactive during the 1779-1781 years.  Patricia Givens Johnson never mentions that he had a son named Thomas Burk (Jr.).  She also thinks that Thomas Burk, son of Joseph Burk being this loyalist, ^^ but evidence suggest he was born about 1773.    But to whom did the second and third Thomas Burk belong?

** Marriages in the New River Valley: Montgomery, Floyd, Pulaski, and Giles County by Therese A. Fisher, 2008.


(VII). Joseph Burk/Burke was born about 1744^ and had a marriage bond to Margaret "Margret" Grant on 29 December 1766 at Rowan County, N.C.    The bond was by John England, James Burk, and Gideon Wright (county record). *    Joseph Burk died 1785/86 at Montgomery County, Virginia, where the family was reported living near Samuel Pepper on New River.   There is a Giles County marriage bond of a "Margret Burk" "'probably' daughter of William Burk, Sr." to William Lilly on 16 August 1808.  Johnson indicates William Burk, Sr. had no such daughter. ^^   As a result, this latter Margret Burk is not understood.  It appears our Margaret Grant Burk did not remarry.


          Joseph Burk and Margaret Grant lived the following areas:


1755 February 14: “James Burk, Sr.,” deeded by quit claim to Joseph Burk 200 acres with appurtenances in Surry County on both sides of Joseph Creek.  Witnessed by John England and Hugh Lewis and signed by James Burk (“J B” – his mark).  Acknowledged in February 1775 court.

1768, 1770 Rowan County, North Carolina taxable records

1771, 1774 Surry County, North Carolina taxables

1785 Montgomery County, Virginia:  Joseph Burk of this county sold Surry County land.

1785 February 2: Joseph Burk, of Montgomery County, Virginia, deeded 21 acres of Surry County land to Thomas Elliot of Surry County on south Joseph’s Creek.  Signed Joseph (“B” – his mark) Burk and entered February term 1785.

1786 October 24 - Montgomery County:   Margaret Burk became administrix for the estate of Joseph Burk with Jacob Shell, security. ^^^ 

1786 November 25 - Montgomery County:  Inventory and appraisement of the estate of Joseph Burk, deceased was taken; appraisers being Howard Heaven, Adam Wall, and John Shell.  Estate included 4 horses, 11 cows, 2 calves, 8 sheep and 14 hogs. Cash in the hands of Samuel Pepper 13.0.0.  

1787 Montgomery County tax:    "Margret Berk" without her husband, Joseph.

1789 September 24 - Montgomery County tax: "Margaret Birk" with no white males 16-21 and 2 horses


            After this point in time, the following may or may not be our Margaret Burk:


1790 September 24 - Montgomery County tax:  Location of taxpayers, list C - Margaret Birk in area of Crab Stoubles, Mill Creeks, and Hans Meadows (today's Christiansburg).

1796 January 5 - Montgomery County: Henry Carty deeded to Margaret Burk, both of Montgomery County for 6 dollars, 98.5 acres in Montgomery County at the head of Meadow Creek waters of New River.  (B/219 second page series)

1802 September 22 - Virginia State Land Office Grant to Margaret Burk, 50 acres of land in Montgomery County on the head of Meadow Creek waters of Little River, a branch of New River and adjoining Francis Gardnor. (Library of Virginia online)

1810 U.S. Census of Montgomery Count, Virginia: Margaret Burk, Samuel Burk, and Jonathan Burk are listed.   Margaret is listed age 45+ and has a household of 2 females 26-45, 2 males 0-10, and 1 male 16-26.

1815 November 15 - Montgomery County:  Margaret Burk deeded to Charles Yearout, both of Montgomery County, (1) a tract or parcel of 98.5 acres conveyed to her by Henry Carty 5 January 1796, (2) the other a part of a patent of 50 acres dated 22 September 1802 Montgomery County...head of Meadow Creek and waters of New River...adjoining Henry Carty's land.  Signed: Margaret ("x") Birk.  Witnesses were James Craig, Jacob Yearow, Horatio Smith.  Entered Court December 1815. (D/71)

1820 U.S. Census of Montgomery County: Margaret Burk with a household of 6 members.  


          Names of children of Joseph Burk and Margaret Grant are uncertain and the following list follows that from Patricia Given's Johnson. ^^    To this writer, several marriages seem so late that they raise questions.    There is also a Montgomery County marriage bond on 17 December 1794 for a Joseph Burk and Jane Roeburn, daughter of James Raeburn.   This Joseph Burk is not mentioned in other histories.


(1). Jonathan Burk (estimated born ~1770-1775):


1805 (6 November) Montgomery County: Jonathan Burk married to Sally Cooper (county record). ^^

1810 U.S. Census of Montgomery County:  Jonathan Burk (age 26-45), 1 female (16-26), 2 male children 0-10.

1820 U.S. Census of Montgomery County: Jonathan Burk with 4 sons and 2 daughters.

1830 U.S. Census of Montgomery County: Jonathan Burk with a household of 10 persons.  Jonathan is age 50-59. 

1833 Montgomery County: Catharine Burk, "daughter of Jonathan Burk," married on 15 February 1833 to William Thompson, son of Samuel Thompson (county record).  Also, there is a nearby 28 March 1833 Floyd County marriage record of John S. Birk to Nancy Thompson, but parent names are not given.


(2). James Burk may or may not be the James Burk in a Montgomery County marriage bond on 14 December 1814 Betsy Cooper, daughter of John Cooper. ^^

(3). Mary Burk, "daughter of Joseph Birk," has a Montgomery County marriage bond on 28 December 1787 to Jacob Shull (Shell).

(4). Sarah (Sally) Burk, "daughter of Margaret Burk," has a Montgomery County marriage bond on 17 December 1789 Montgomery County to Richard Heaven.  

(5). Naomi Burk has a Montgomery County marriage bond on 8 February 1798 to Bolling (Bowley) Rogers.

(6). Nancy Burk has a Montgomery County marriage bond on 4 October 1798, Virginia to Jacob Douglass.

(7). Rebecca Burk ^^

* North Carolina Booklet: Great Events in N.C. History, Volume 11 by Mrs. Lee Moffet, Rowan County Marriage Bonds         

^ Email courtesy Les Tatum, 1 April 2010 who gives us our best birth date estimates for the children of James Burk, Sr.          

^^ Irish Burks of Colonial Virginia and New River, by Patricia Givens Johnson, 1992, page 117.

^^^ Annals of Southwest Virginia (1769-1800), by Lewis Preston Summers, 1929, page 815.

County marriage records are as found in "Marriages in the New River Valley, Virginia" by Thesese A. Fisher.


(VIII). Naomi Burk was born 1 February 1746 possibly in Virginia's Roanoke - Salem area and died 22 December 1824.   Naomi married Samuel Pepper on 13 March, 1764 at Bedford County, Virginia.   About 1765, they moved to New River in Montgomery County, Virginia.    Speculation exists that after Naomi's mother died about 1748, she was raised by her sister Sarah Burk Wilson.  This could explain a Bedford County connection. 


          Samuel Pepper established Pepper's Ferry over New River in Montgomery County and "Pepper's Ferry Road" still exists in this location.   Samuel Pepper's parents were Robert Pepper and Sallie Patterson.  Samuel's sister married George Pearis and he may the George Pearis at the Battle of Shallow Ford in 1780.   Today’s Pearisburg, Giles County, Virginia has its origins with George Pearlis or a son.


Locations and Events for Samuel Pepper


1758 - Bedford County, Virginia militia:   Samuel Pepper and Robert Pepper under Capt. Matthew Talbot.  *


1767 August - Augusta County Court:   Samuel Pepper became a constable on New River+ in what is today's Montgomery County.


1768 August - Augusta County:   Court case between Samuel Pepper versus George Pearis was scheduled. +


1770 - Botetourt Court Tax: Samuel Pepper - 1


1770 June 28 - Botetourt County:    Henry Paulin sold to Samuel Pepper 100 acres on the north side of Woods River which was called Buffalo Pond.++   


          Comment: This land is adjacent the future Pepper's Ferry on New River (formerly called Wood's River).    Pepper's New River location was first in Augusta County, later Botetourt, later probably Fincastle, and finally in Montgomery County. 


1774 - Fincastle County, Virginia Public Service Claims:   Payment owed to "Samuel Pepper for 84 forages and 2 diets."  **


1779 March 3 - Montgomery County Court Order:   "It appearing to this Court that a Ferry across New River at Samuel Peppers is absolutely necessary for the safety of the great number of travelers who are obliged to pass the river at the above place.  They do appoint a Ferry at Samuel Peppers across the River and do make the following rates to be observed by said Pepper, for man and horse 2 (shillings)...."   June 2, 1779 Court amended the man and horse charge to be 4 shillings for one year.  ***    Road to Pepper's Ferry was reported to run between Carolina Road and Botetourt County.  


1780 August - Montgomery and Botetourt Counties:   Court Proceeding by Justices – Following persons tried for misbehavior and treason against the state: (included) Samuel Pepper.  ^^


Samuel Pepper was an early Tory sympathizer in Montgomery County.  Later to satisfy Montgomery County officials, he was forced to enlist with Montgomery County patriot militia or find a replacement, the latter of which he did.


1780: Letter of Col. William Campbell to William Preston:   (Compelled) enlistment of men for militia service (is noted and) Samuel Pepper engage(d) a substitute (to take his place in the military draft). ^^


1780 or 1781 - Montgomery County, Virginia Militia:   William Pepper and Samuel Pepper, Jr. under Capt. John Lucas' Company.  ^  


Comment: The single record of a Samuel Pepper "Jr" raises questions and needs answers.


1781 March 24 - Montgomery County, Virginia Militia:   List of men in Capt. Patton's Company included Samuel Pepper.


1781 May 26:    Col. Stephan Trigg appointed Andrew Steele to be commissary for the Lincoln County (now Kentucky) militia:  Also mentioned without explanation were (Joseph) Lindsay, (and) Samuel Pepper of Montgomery County. ^**


Comment: This Montgomery County must be the one in Virginia because Montgomery County, Kentucky wasn't established until 1796.  Pepper was possibly a supplier for the commissary, but this is speculation.


1781 November 11:   (Colonel and later General) George Rogers Clark papers: "George Slaughter paid #300 for forage at the Falls of Ohio (River) to Samuel Pepper(?)" ^**


1782 Montgomery County, Virginia tax records:  Samuel Pepper.  ^


1785 May 22 - Montgomery County:  An account of David Louis, tax collection as a Deputy Sheriff in Montgomery County, names included Samuel Pepper, James Bean, but no Burks. 


1804 September 25 - Montgomery County:   Samuel Pepper wrote his will, naming his wife Naomi Pepper and 4 living sons - William Pepper, James Pepper, John Pepper, and his youngest son Jesse Pepper who was under 21.   Sally Pepper, daughter of his deceased son Joseph Pepper was named.  Daughters named were Polly Heaven and Sally Pepper.  Betsey Burk (daughter of Benjamin + Mary Burk) was bequeathed two cows, two calves and lambs.  Acreage surrounding Pepper's Ferry was given to his children.  William Pepper and John Pepper were named executors.


Children of Naomi Burk and Samuel Pepper:


(1). Mary “Polly” Pepper was born 1 February 1765 and died 28 September 1830 Floyd Township, Putnam County, Indiana – same township that James + Rebecca  Morphew were living.  Mary Pepper married John Heavin (Haven)


(2). Joseph Pepper (~1769 to ~1801 Montgomery County, Virginia), deceased, had his estate appraised 10 October, 1801.   On 9 November 1797 in Montgomery County, he was a witness to the will of Thomas Burk, his cousin.


(3). James Pepper (~1771)

(4). Sarah “Sally” Pepper (~1773)

(5). John Pepper (~1775) purchased items from the Samuel Burk Estate in 1814. 

(6). William Pepper (14 September 1776) has a Montgomery County marriage bond on 10 October 1791 to Jane Raeburn.

(7). (possibly) Samuel Pepper, Jr. (not in will and needs confirming that he existed).


(8). Jesse Pepper (~1786 or so) was named in his father's 1804 will and inherited 2/3 of the profits arising from Pepper's Ferry when he reached age 21.  His mother received the remaining 1/3 of the ferry profits.   


* "Virginia's Colonial Soldiers," by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, 1988, page 208.

** "Lord Dunmore's Little War of 1774," by Warren Skidmore with Donna Kaminsky, 2002, page 148.

*** "Montgomery County Road Orders, 1777-1806," by Betty E. Spillman and Shirley P. Thomas, 2008, pages 5 and 6.

^ "Montgomery County's (Virginia) Revolutionary Heritage," by Ruby Allizer Roberts, Cambia, Virginia as found on Family Tree Maker's "Virginia in the Revolution and War of 1812, Military Records" on CD by

^^ The (William) Preston and Virginia Papers of the Draper Collection of Manuscripts (1915), State Historical Society of Wisconsin, reprint, page 135 & 137.

*^ (Family Tree Maker's "Virginia in the Revolution and War of 1812, Military Records, CD, 2003)

^** (From extract of "Papers of George Rogers Clark," #7997, roll 5, images 66-67 and #10852, roll 6, images 897-898.)

+ Chalkey's Chronicles online, Volume 1, page 139 & 355.

++ Annals of SW Virginia (1769-1800), by Lewis Preston Summers, 1929, page 538, a CD copy by Archive CD Books - USA.          


Miscellaneous Records for another John Burk, Surry County, NC

Kinship – Undetermined


1774 - Surry County and partial for 1775:   Benjamin Burk, John Burk, and James Burk are in Captain Martin Armstrong's District.  Joseph Burk is in Captain Samuel Freeman's District.  This couldn't be John Burk, son of James Burk, Jr. who was born 23 July 1760.  The latter Burk was thought living in Wilkes County during the 1782-1786 years.  So who is this John Burk?


1781 December 17 - Surry County:    William Rogers of Surry deeded to John Burk of Surry for 60 pounds money...on Rockey Creek Branch of Stewart's Creek.  Witness: Robert Harris (Jural) and Rick Hazelwood.  Signed: William Rogers.   (Surry County Deed Book B, page 269)


1782 - Surry County Taxable Property:   John Burk - 3 horses and mules; 2 cattle; 100 acres, Captain Humphries District.


1784 - Surry County Taxable Property:   John Burk 200 acres


1786 - Surry County Taxable Property:   John Burk, 200 acres in Capt. Humprhies District; John Burk 300 acres in Capt. Willis District.  There appears to be either 2 John Burks or the same individual with two separated taxable lands.    


          Comment: Stewart's Creek is in today's Surry County and wraps tightly around the south end of the town of Mount Airy.  This land is far from the other Burks.     Evidence to prove kinship may require y-dna testing.